Box Day is amazing! You get an enormous box of educational goodies that you will love and enjoy for the next year. Yet Box Day can be overwhelming, too.
If you're having feelings of stress on Box Day, please know that it's not uncommon. But we have suggestions for how to cope so that the overwhelming emotions pass as quickly as possible, and you can celebrate with a bar of dark chocolate or a bubble bath.
When talking to moms who feel overwhelmed on Box Day, there seem to be three different causes of the drowning feeling:
- the sheer quantity of physical stuff
- the general stress of anything new
- the magnitude of the task of homeschooling
So let's look at each and strategies for easing the anxiety in each particular case.
1. If You Are Overwhelmed on Box Day by the Quantity of the Physical Stuff
Just like Christmas and baby showers and any other time you suddenly find yourself with the pleasure and stress of a bunch of new possessions, Box Day involves at least one large box that requires some materials handling.
Ideally, you’ll have a spare shelf for the books since most Sonlight programs will fit on a single good-sized shelf. But if not, consider any flat surface as a possibility, such as on top of a dresser or a table. Many families keep most of the books on a reasonably handy shelf, but keep the books used for the week in a basket by the couch. On Box Day, you probably don’t need to figure that out. Find a place to stack these beautiful books, and be at peace.
The Instructor’s Guide, in its binder, is enormous. Most Sonlighters separate out some portion of the pages into a working binder. If you have a one-inch binder around the house, you can fit several weeks’ worth of notes in it, and keep that with your books. (Bonus: this method gives you a feeling of forward progress, as you swap out completed weeks!)
Do you have a spot in the kitchen for your Science supply kit? Maybe a slightly-empty cupboard or shelf? Many experiments are easiest done in the kitchen, so consider finding a storage spot in an out-of-the-way but still readily accessible spot.
If you don’t have a spot to hang your Markable Map (and many of us don’t), you might find it easiest to keep it folded up with the books on a shelf or in the basket.
Fortunately there are not many days of the year when you have to take in, process, and store this many new items. So if you’re overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the physical stuff . . . that’s okay. You'll be past this organization phase quickly.
2. If You Are Overwhelmed on Box Day by the Stress That Comes with Something New
The thing about homeschooling is that it’s always changing. As is life in general. So if you’ve never homeschooled before, there’s some overwhelm because it’s all new!
And if you have homeschooled before, that’s maybe a little comforting, but you’ve never homeschooled this child or these children, using these materials, at this stage in your life.
You have to navigate shifting relationships, shifting roles around the house, and shifting responsibilities. Oh, and manage the rest of life that you were already living, too.
It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed because of that.
But just like everything else you’ve had to begin—high school, a job, marriage, parenting—you might feel a little overwhelmed and discombobulated at first. But you keep moving forward, and eventually you might even think was high school really that difficult?
In this case, homeschooling is not the overwhelm. Newness is the overwhelm. And nothing is new forever.
3. If You Are Overwhelmed on Box Day by the Magnitude of the Task
If you have a teaching degree, you know that all your training in classroom management won’t translate very well to the different challenges of homeschooling. And if you don’t have a teaching degree, you might feel even more overwhelmed, not even sure where to start—especially when you’re facing a pile of books and goodies.
This is where your Sonlight Instructor’s Guide comes in.
It’s not just fancy marketing to say that the Guides allow your homeschool day to be just open-and-go. It’s literally true. All the books you just organized are pre-scheduled for you. You won’t need to guess about assignments, or when to read one book instead of the other.
So although the stack looks overwhelming, it’s broken into 144 or 180 parts (either 4-Day or 5-Day). That’s a tremendous amount of days, and you’ll have a manageable amount to deal with each day.
You’ve got this. You can read to your children. Your children can listen and either learn to read or read for themselves. You’re going to have a most excellent year. You’ll learn a lot. You’ll laugh and maybe cry.
And when you look back on Box Day, you’ll see that it was the start of an adventure, and you wouldn’t have missed it for the world.