Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Doing the Hard Things!

Have you ever heard the ole adage about eating an elephant??

It can only be done...one.small.bite.at.a.time.

Of course you realize I'm not talking eating elephants (they're way too cute for that!), but instead I'm talking about those difficult, seemingly mountainous tasks that block our vision....hold us back...keep us discouraged and disheartened.

Since beginning our journey in homeschooling, I have discovered this one thing: if I don't want to end up going absolutely crazy by the end of the year, then I need to BE FLEXIBLE! I need to take it slow and steady. I need to constantly and consistently move my brood forward, yet not allow my 'goals' to cause our family stress, if a day, or a lesson, or a task, or whatever, doesn't go the exact way we planned it to.

Let me give you a tangible example from our home:

Two of our four children despise math...they vow that they hate the ground that math walks on! They look at their word problems, the geometry, the algebra, all the numbers, decimals and fractions and want to cry...

And I, as the parent and facilitator of our school, feel the pressure that it puts on me to try and explain the math questions...in like a gazillion ways! These times demonstrate to me that I'm still growing in the area of patience...

Well, what's the answer? How DO we eat this elephant? 

Well, for our family, what has been working is breaking down our goals into bite-sized bites.  Here's what we have been doing, and seems to be working much better:

  • our curriculum has already been purchased for the year and it has 12 booklets, so instead of getting overwhelmed with all twelve of them...we are simply focusing on 4 or 5 pages per day
  • I don't allow them to negative self-talk, they ARE able to complete their work. It may just take longer. It may just take a different way of explaining the problem...but I am confident they can get through their problems!
  • the children are being encouraged to work through the problems on their own at first, then we come back together to look over what they 'got', and what they need to practice
  • this school year we are awarding points for every booklet finished and every few weeks they get to select a small prize for their completion
While every homeschooling family will have to find their own remedy for obstacles, I have found that the old principle is true: you can only eat an elephant, one simple bite at a time!


  1. Frankly I can't blame them, lol! My oldest didn't mind math until around fifth or six grade. Then he grew to hate it.

    I got a different curriculum that year ('cause I didn't like it either) and we were BOTH fine, lol!

    My youngest pretty much struggled with math for years. It was mostly him struggling with his mental block. He just was afraid to try.

    He would start to panic the minute I taught a new concept. So he was so busy panicking and saying "It's too hard, I'll never get it, I'm stupid" that he wasn't listening.

    As he got older he eventually learned to calm himself down and listen. It was comical because he would mentally balk at first, sometimes, but just quiet down and let me teach the new concept.

    At the end of it he'd say "That's it? That was easy!!!"

    He's now in his second year of college and seems to have overcome his mental block, lol! He's taking calculus this year. Yikes! ;)

    Thanks so much for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today! :)

    1. Do you mind if I ask which math program ended up working when you switched? We are already planning next year's curriculum...and pretty certain in the area of math that we'd also like to switch :)

  2. My oldest has always enjoyed math...she could add and subtract before she could read. Her younger sister, however, was not a fan. Until I got her to memorize her math facts. We seriously spent close to a semester on it, but once she could do the basic operations in her sleep, we were able to get to the "fun" stuff. She was no longer bogged down by figuring 9 x 9 on her fingers ;-)

    1. I agree. We have had to do a lot of review this year of the basics that were sort of glazed over by a couple of my kids.
      I am trusting as we keep at it, eventually it will take :)
      Thanks for sharing & stopping by!!

  3. I have one that loves math, one that hates it, and one that I am not sure about yet! Now that we found a program that the math hater can tolerate things are going much smoother! Thanks for linking up with us over at NOBH!

    1. It can simply be just changing up the program, can't it? I hear you totally and agree. We have to be a bit flexible with each child.



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