Holidays are Hard! Math and Motivation

Hey there! How’s it going? I feel like we have had just a moment to breathe after Thanksgiving and that very, very soon we will all be caught up in the whirlwind rush of the year-end holidays.

 

Which is great.

 

Except when it’s not.

 

Like when you are trying to stay focused on schoolwork but there’s so much excitement that you just want to say “Forget it! We’re having 21 days of lessons that involve baking cookies and watching Christmas movies!”

 

If that’s you–and your school schedule can handle it, I salute you! If you’re like me, though, you still need to get the math (and a lot of other things done). So. How do you stay motivated to work during the season of twinkle lights and parties and perhaps even put yourself in a place to start the new year strong? Here are three things that will work well if you’ll implement them in a way that works for your classroom.

Limit distractions. This could be as simple as making sure schoolwork can get done in a room that doesn’t have the tree, or the seasonal toys, or other distractions. It may mean that you give yourself permission to say no to the activities that will crowd your schedule. And that may even means saying no to activities you may have enjoyed in the past but which just don’t work for you this year.

 

Plan rewards. Who doesn’t love a reward when they’ve worked through something difficult? You can plan either small daily rewards (maybe a day to just play games, or a special seasonal treat) or big (taking a big chunk completely off school to do absolutely nothing). Either way, let your student know that something good is coming, if they can just muscle through the hard stuff. And regardless of the reward, heap on the praise! Virtually everyone has a hard time staying focused this time of year.

 

Decide what’s essential. Do you have to do science this month? Would one less swim practice a week make life more enjoyable? Is that unit study that seemed like a great idea before the family plans were finalized still looking as good? It’s okay to pick your battles this time of year. Is it essential you do five math lessons this week or does one of them need to yield to a special family outing? Maybe not. And that’s okay. If you get four quality lessons in instead of five mediocre ones, that can sometimes be just enough to get you through in a way that keeps you going strong.

 

Do you have any tips for staying motivated through December? If so, let me hear ‘em at nicole@nicolethemathlady.com. Have a great one!

 

Talk to you soon,

Nicole the Math Lady