I came down with a really bad case of bronchitis in January, and wasn’t good for much of anything. I could point and grunt, but that was about it. School suffered—at least, the parts that require me to think. And we won’t even discuss how my housework suffered. That’s just too pitiful.
After I recovered and we were able to get back into our groove, I noticed a distinct lack of enthusiasm on the part of my twelve-year-old son. It was hard to get him to feel any excitement about resuming our routine, especially when it came to math. Our first day back on the math train, he sat and stared at his paper for a long time before finally handing it back to me, only 1/3 done. “I just can’t concentrate,” he said, and I couldn’t really blame him.
Kids need a constant routine in order to stay plugged in. And when it comes to something like math, which requires a lot of memorization, they need to work on it daily to keep their skills sharp. No wonder he was having a hard time concentrating – it had been a few days since he’d rehearsed those skills, and he’d fallen out of the loop.
It’s natural to have days when school doesn’t happen the way it should. There are illnesses and emergencies and times when our best-laid plans go out the window. But here are some tips that will hopefully help in those situations:
1. Do a mini-day. If you know you only have half your allotted school time, choose a few topics that are of most concern with your little students and work on those. Then another day, when you have a little more time, you might do a little extra, just to bring the cosmos back into balance.
2. Play an educational game. When time is really tight and there’s no way to work in a math page, pull out a math game and have your kids play it with each other. You may be running around putting out fires, but they’re at least rehearsing those facts and keeping themselves sharp, ready for the next day.
3. If circumstances force you to take a couple of days off, ease back in slowly. Make your first day back a half-day and do some basic review. This way, your children have a bridge rather than just diving back into the water.
It’s easy to fall out of a groove, but it can be regained. Focus, keep a positive attitude, and find ways to encourage your reluctant children in a way that speaks personally to them. You’ll be back in that groove in no time!