Monday, February 13, 2012

Mondays Make Saints of Us

I cannot remember the last Monday I enjoyed. Sigh! Wait. No. Yes. It was Monday, January 17th. Otherwise known as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Otherwise known as a day off from work for my husband. Yes, that was a nice Monday, but it was not a "normal" Monday, whatever that is.

When I was a classroom teacher, I do not think the impact was quite as severe as it is as a homeschooling mother. You see, the kids that go to "away school" (that's what we call it to simplify including both public and private schools), have a set of expectations that go along with being in a school building. Even though they were away for two days, within an hour or two, they usually remember those expectations and settle in to their school day.

Fortunately for us, homeschooled kids are home all the time. They have a set of expectations on school days and a set of expectations on non-school days, but they do not have the change of a building to help their transition. Some, like my dear, sweet children, do not even have the benefit of a schoolroom at home and conduct school in the living and dining rooms. I say, "fortunately for us," because every challenge like this is an opportunity for us to grow in virtue.

I am not saying I take advantage of this opportunity regularly, but there it is.

I do have three simple suggestions for coping with Monday transitions as a homeschooling mom. Please know that these are new ideas, and I have not yet implemented them with any success. Nevertheless, I see no reason why they cannot help Mondays become more enjoyable, and the effort put into their implementation surely gains us at least a tiny bit of grace.

1. Be prepared. One thing that helps me, although not with any consistency, is to make breakfast the night before. Just serving cereal on Mondays does not give us all the lift that reheated breakfast tacos seem to give. Of course, I also have to make sure the children's lesson charts are filled in and that I have all the books and materials for our Morning Basket and Subject of the Day. And, oh yes, waking up on time helps, theoretically.

2. Start the day with something fun. Maybe go outside for a short time or put on some silly music to dance. Play an educational game or read something entertaining. Finding one thing that everyone enjoys and can start the week off on the right note, might make the difference between delight and disaster.

3. End the school day with something fun. Perhaps it would work better for your personality to plan an activity like the ones above for once the school work is done. Make it a tradition to have an afternoon tea, such as in Mondays With Mary, or head to a nearby playground or the library every Monday. What will motivate everyone to have a positive day?

When all of this fails, of course, caffeine, chocolate, and Christ are my stand-bys as I endure the storm. Should none of the above happen or help, just remember Mondays can lead us to holiness if we embrace the crosses and offer our struggles to God.

What are your ideas to make Mondays more tolerable or at least to enter them with the best attitude possible?


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