This is updated from another time - back in 2019, but it's hitting home hard again. So, I'll use the same story and apply it differently to Suzanne today (Seriously, Suzanne) and hope it helps you too! (Aff links included - they'll help me fill the stockings for our five! Thanks for clicking!)
How do we keep going?
Honestly, back in 1999, (in the pre-baby times - do you remember those times?) when I was asked this question in my second (maybe it was third) interview for becoming a public school teacher after our move from Waco, Texas to Bryan, Texas, my heart jumped up into my throat, head, temple, on my tongue, inside my ear... wherever my heart was, it was NOT in my chest!
Why did I freeze? Well, for two reasons: first, because I REALLY wanted to teach in THIS school. (The other schools I had interviewed with on the same day served as practice, as well as my back up plans. This was the "rough school," and that's where I was called to teach. Spoiler alert: I got the job!) Second, because, I knew my honest answer was not going to be popular. Do I choose to answer honestly, or do I go with the "best answer?"
I chose to answer honestly, because that's just who I am. So, how do we keep going when we lack motivation? We find a carrot. That's right, we bribe our students. And GOSH, did I bribe! My principal smiled broadly when I leaned forward and told her all my plans...
I created all sorts of games, special challenges; I even had a putt-putt device that you got to play EACH Friday, if you had 3 of your 5 homework assignments completed. If you got a hole in one, you got to leave the classroom 5 seconds early! Bribe bribe bribe!
And guess what: it worked. My students were well-behaved and learned more Spanish than the other teachers in the hallway, who were sticking with drill and kill methods with a group of tired, restless, unmotivated seventh graders.
Alas, those were pre-baby days, when I was surrounded by 85 students each week who didn't know the REAL me, whom I didn't birth, never lost my temper, and I was not responsible for their upbringing, character, or soul. I was only responsible for them for 45 minutes each week day for ten months of that ONE YEAR. But still it worked! And it HELPED! It helps our own children too, but today, we're focused on you!
So, this week, this month, I recommend a carrot FOR YOU!
Your children will respond to all sorts of carrots in the form of games with your flash cards, or a bingo game or a movie viewing, in Spanish. Grab a carrot and let's boost that motivation!
FOR YOU, Momma, it's a little harder. What carrot can you dangle in front of your own tired, weary, out-performed homeschooling-Christmas-momma-nose?
For me, it's going to be a lighter load. The Gose family has had some major transitions around here - our birthday season last from July to December 6 for all five kids. This of course changes the family dynamic every year, but this year was is REALLY different - with two out of the nest, it just feels weird - especially knowing that next year this time, we'll have THREE grown and flown! Maybe it's the ages 14 through 21, and having one turn 18 and another turn 16... and the biggest being 21. Maybe it's just a lot. Maybe I am grieving a little. Maybe maybe maybe...
Here are a few of my carrot ideas. Maybe one will be the right one to get you through to the restful side of things
~ I'm choosing as many taks as possible to cross off the school list for this week. We typically end our school days around mid-December. This year, I'll be ADDING in several requirements to replace those I'm crossing off: definitely gingerbread houses, original Christmas poems in Dr. Seuss style, and some sing alongs on the piano, a few read-alouds from all the favorite funny poetry, and some Christmas charades. (THEY have to read TO ME!)
~We'll REQUIRE ourselves some homemade gifts to deliver on Christmas eve to the people who are working instead of at home with their families. And we're definitely going to a nursing home. I love that.
~I'll put a 45 minutes bubble bath for momma on my list, a special chocolate treat for one afternoon or morning (gotta make it different!)
~A required nature walk, no matter the weather, after dark.
~A FULL listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Album by all.
~Finally, I'll grab the Christmas joke book and have everyone read aloud from it for at least 20 minutes. Maybe the first one to laugh gets the last cookie.
Will any of these re-fuel you? What carrot can you dangle in front of your nose to finish the season well, and get to the restful part of Christmas time?