After an extended homeschooling break of any sorts--whether summer or Christmas or whatever--I have learned an important lesson for my family.
Begin again gently.
Sometimes in all of our Monday morning zeal and purpose and caffeine, we mamas charge ahead as Generals barking orders in a war that doesn't exist. We think we are warring against sloth, inefficiency, lack of productivity. We feel a pounding in our hearts and minds that we MUST get this home and these children back into shape and fast.
But really there is no war, just dear children. There is no battlefield, just a nurturing home. There is no plan-of-attack, just a lifestyle of learning ahead of us.
We need to take a deep breath and not let fear and drivenness and comparison cause our home to become something it isn't designed to be. Instead of marching through, let us walk slowly. Plump up the couch pillows. Clear a bit of living room clutter. And sit and read together.
Reading aloud is the gentlest way to begin again.
Long lists and big schedules and check marks may come again, but not yet. That's just too much of a shock to the system. It will weary us all again when we have hardly begun! Read and read again. Discuss the coming semester with your older children. Ask for their input. What did they enjoy? What has become tedious and unmotivating? What are their current interests? Read and talk. That's all good.
And then over the next week add a little here and a little there. Keep the relationships healthy...your relationship with your children and their relationship to learning. Stress diseases those relationships but gentleness and slowness keeps health.