5 Tips for Gaining Momentum

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My swim trunks clung to my legs like my nephews trying to knock me over. The water looked cool and refreshing. The pool was almost completely empty.

'I'll just warm up with a nice 500,' I told myself. If you're unfamiliar with competitive swimming, a 500 is 500 yards or twenty lengths of the pool. I jumped in and slid easily through the water. After five years of not swimming, it felt great.

...for about three lengths.

Then, suddenly, my body started to revolt. My lungs couldn't get enough air. My arms burned. My head felt light as my legs became heavy. I forced myself to swim another few lengths and then stopped for a break.

I went home early.

Sometimes it's hard to get back into the swing of things, even things--like swimming--that you were a rock-star in just a few short months ago. Gaining that momentum back can be really trying. It's even more frustrating when things were going so well right at the start there. But not now.

If you're feeling that way in your homeschool adventure, take heart! Re-entry can be rough, but if you take it easy you can get back up to speed. Here are a few tips I hope will be encouraging and helpful:

  1. Get a buddy. I've found I'm not very good at motivating myself when it's just me in the pool. I'm really good and pushing myself if there's someone else there. Find a friend--even one online--who is also homeschooling and check in now and again to keep you going.
  2. Take it easy. You may need to back off a bit at the start. Stick to the basics and focus on the fun stuff (like reading aloud). Don't push too hard. I worked steadily all season to get ready for Nationals, but I certainly wasn't up for it the first day of practice.
  3. Don't run on empty. I ate a ton during the swim season. My body needed all those resources because I kept using them up. Similarly, if you don't have the resources you need, it's likely that you'll burn out soon. Complete homeschool packages can be ideal for fueling your home education. But it may be that you just need something small, like a Science Kit, to give you everything you need to keep going.
  4. Refocus. Keep your eye on the prize. It's easy to get bogged down in the daily grind. Keep your homeschooling goals in mind, and that should help you set priorities and keep at it.
  5. Remember the joys. I love swimming. I love the feel of the water, the sense of accomplishment, the smell of chlorine in my skin. But I tend to forget all that when my body is screaming at me to stop. Perhaps it's time to think back to the recent joys you've had. Any Sonlight Moments you need to recall? Did you recently finish reading a book that you just love? Did you get to witness a time when the "light bulb" went on?

How do you keep yourself going when you can't seem to pick up momentum? Are you rolling right along, or have you found the start of this year to be not as easy as you had anticipated?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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