5 Ways To Get Out Of A Rut
Our rut felt like it lasted forever. It made me rethink everything. It made me question my role as a mom and educator. In the midst of it, I didn't see a way out. I saw us stuck and failing. I was hoping there would be no repercussions for these hard weeks.
In all reality, our rut lasted about 3-4 weeks. In the grand scheme of things, that is nothing. But I'm sure you've experienced being in a rut, whether it is in your relationships, sports, work, school, parenting, etc and it is all consuming some days. You go down the rabbit hole of what if.
Most of the time a rut begins when a routine is interrupted. Interrupted by our choice or not, like sickness, vacation, depression, weather, trauma, etc. Luckily, our rut began when my husband and I got back from vacation. One of the many reasons I love homeschooling. I can get up and travel when we want. I do not have to do sub plans, schedule off work, take the kids out of school, etc. The flexibility is endless! But this vacation threw us into a rut that I was not expecting.
When we returned from our vacation, my boys pushed back on all of our school "stuff". Our normal routines were not exciting to them. They refused to do their work, which in turn, made me upset and annoyed. For 3 days, I fought this. By day 4, I gave up. There was no purpose forcing my kids to do their work and fighting every day. A huge reason why I wanted to homeschool was for the freedom to do their work when they wanted, to be excited about school, and learn more things that interest them. Unfortunately, this back and forth fight lasted for about 2 weeks. I think we only did "school" for 2-3 days.
The next week, my youngest came down with a stomach bug. Of course, this threw us off again. Right when I was ready to tackle a new week and get back on track. That week, we snuggled, watched movies, and recouped. I knew this week that my focus would be on my sick child, and deep down I was okay with this. But I also felt like this was another week "wasted".
I knew we needed something different. Something to get us out of this rut. I was feeling very unmotivated, out of a routine, and in all seriousness, I was not excited for our days together. I was dreading the long days and inevitable fighting.
Although this list got us out of our homeschooling rut, they can be useful to all. Below are a few things that helped us get back on track.
1. Get outside: This one seems so simple, but when you're in the thick of it, we often forget. The boys and I stopped doing "recess" and bike rides. I'm not sure why, but we fell out of that routine. We all know we feel better with some fresh air and sunlight.
2. Switch up your routine: Instead of getting back into our same routine, we switched things up just a little. Instead of our normal morning tubs (work that can be done independently, mostly review that I change out every 2 weeks), I added a few different activities within these tubs that were not our normal activities. We added in a chapter book to read together. We also added some board games into our routine. These seem simple, but they were new and exciting things that kept us going.
3. Change of scenery: Instead of doing school in our normal spot, we moved our work in front of the fireplace. We also went to a coffee shop to play our board game. We went to the grocery store, and added in our academics there. If you need help adding in academics into your everyday life, check out some of my lists here.
4. Get away: Get out of the house! Whether it is a coffee date with a friend or by yourself, dinner with your mom/dad, date night, a staycation nearby, traveling. visiting family, etc. I know this sounds contradictory because my vacation away is what threw us into a rut, but you will thank yourself later. Getting out of the physical place you're in a rut at, is helpful. We took a day trip to Fort Wayne, my hometown, and I hung out with my mom and saw my grandparents. It was deeply needed. The time away with my people, and the conversations were moments that refreshed and motivated me.
5. Give yourself time and grace: This is easier said than done, and in the moment this often is not our first thought. Once we were out of our rut, I was able to look back and see that if I just would've given myself some time and grace, maybe I would've avoided the rut. I had unrealistic expectations for that week, that were not being met, which turned into frustrations. Now, moving forward I am giving myself more grace for those moments that do not meet my expectations, days not going as planned, or school work not getting done, etc. A day or a few days will not derail you. It may even help you avoid a rut.
What are some of your go-to things you do when you find yourself in a rut? Write them down. Share them. Look back at them when you're in that space. You're doing great. Keep going.