How To Get Through The “Dog Days of Homeschooling”


You may have heard the phrase, the “dog days of summer”, that grueling stretch of summer when the heat is pretty close to unbearable.  Days are so hot, that doing the simplest of tasks outside become draining, and you almost dread going out.

Your goal becomes to spend as little time outside, and as much time in an air conditioned environment as possible.  When you have to go outside you do whatever you are doing as quickly as possible and get back inside.  You do the basics and move on.

It gets tough sometimes

Well, as a homeschooling family I am sure we are in the “dog days of summer.”  It is grueling, draining, and sometimes we just want to throw in the towel.  Those of you who homeschool can probably relate.  Those who do not homeschool are probably saying, “that is exactly why we do not homeschool!”

Even if you are not in the dog days of homeschooling, because you just got it going on like that, or you do not homeschool, there is a strong possibility you may be experiencing some dog days of your own.

Dog days are part of life

Perhaps it is the dog days of work, where your job is tough, stressful, and sometimes unproductive.  Maybe you are in the dog days of marriage, where the mere thought of coming home can instantly bring you down.  What about the parents in the dog days of parenting, when your kids behavior and your relationship is very strained and you cannot even imagine that these children are yours.

We all go through dog days.  But what do we do about them?  Is there anything that can be done, besides wait them out like we do that hot stretch to end in summer?  We can do something about it.  By doing so we can handle our dog days better, and possibly shorten them.

How to get through the “dog days of homeschooling”

  1. Go back to why you are even homeschooling.  When you are in the trenches sometimes you forget there is a purpose to all this.  If you have forgotten this purpose, then your efforts may seem purposeless.  Review your mission statement, the reason you chose this journey.  I wrote an article here about why you need a homeschooling mission statement.
  2. Know these days won’t last forever.  Just like the dog days of summer will end at some point.  If you can just survive through the tough days.  Unlike the dog days of summer homeschooling dog days do not last a certain amount of days.  Be encouraged they will end, but know the end may need to fostered by you.
  3. Take better care of your homeschool.  Imagine being in the worst shape of your life during the dog days.  Overweight, malnourished, and even mentally weak.  It would be even more unbearable.  The same is true for homeschool.  We have to make sure we are doing all we can to equip ourselves, and our kids for this homeschooling journey.  Sometimes the challenges of these days are just a reflection of our character and not putting forth the proper preparation and hard work it takes to be successful.
  4. Take a break.  Many families take their summer vacations in August.  They get away from everything.  Even if they go to a place where it is just as hot, the break from the norm is helpful.  Sometimes that is necessary in homeschooling too.  Take a week off, do very light, if any work at all.  Have fun, and get ready to start fresh.  We are currently taking a week off in our homeschooling, and I’m feeling refreshed already.
  5. Have an outlet or some relief.  My wife spends a majority of her days with our kids.  Almost all waking hours.  Do this day in and day out for an extended period of time, and those dog days are sure to arrive and stay.  This is why it is important to have some you time, to spend time away from education, and away from the kids and husband if needed.  If you can arrange a daily period of time where it is just you great, if not, I suggest you work something with your husband or even another family taking the same journey.

Now you are ready for the dog days

If you are in the dog days of homeschooling, or anything else, be encouraged.  You can and will get through them.  Sometimes it takes being a little more intentional.  An added bonus of making it through is you will be more prepared and equipped to face the dog days if they come around again.

Question:  Have you experienced dog days?  If so, please share your experience and how you got through them in the comment section below.

photo credit: dieselbug2007 via photopin cc

Feb 19, 2013