I spent the first couple years of homeschooling stressed and overbooking everything we did. I was continuously feeling like we had so much to do and never enough time to do it. I would have so many amazing things planned and so many outing that I wanted to go on, yet when things didn’t go exactly to plan I would feel like a total failure. This just wasn’t working for us, I was always stressed out and my kids were always feeling like they were falling behind or drowning in their workload. Close to the end of last year, I realized that it didn’t need to be this way, we were homeschooling because we wanted to have the freedom to do what worked for us and this certainly wasn’t working for us! This year there are a few things that I have decided to change, some are physical changes such as the supplies we are using and some are mental changes in how we look at our homeschool.
1. Less is More
In the past, I was so obsessed with the notion that my children were going to fall behind because I was homeschooling them. Which honestly is such a crazy thing to think, but when people are constantly questioning your choices or quizzing your children in the check out line you begin to wonder. Long story short, I was making my son do WAY to much work. He had several workbooks and websites that he would use for each subject and he was not only getting bored with learning things over and over, he was also getting overwhelmed with the amount of time it was taking us to get through everything. I have now figured out that we can learn just as much if we use a quality curriculum and have a well-rounded learning experience. We will have a lighter workload (still all inclusive) so that we are able to do more of the outings, play dates, and fun classes.
2. Mom Needs Time Too
I’m sure that I’m not the only homeschooling mom that forgets herself when planning out the year. The first couple of years I didn’t really find my people. I’m an introvert with social anxiety so meeting new people can be pretty difficult and at first I didn’t think that it was a huge deal that I wasn’t socializing. Yeah I know, ironic that I’m the parent of homeschoolers and I was the one who wasn’t socializing enough! This year I want to make a conscious effort to take care of my social needs. The plan is to do at least two adult only outings a month, even if it might be a bit scary at first!
3. It’s Okay to Say No
Last year our calendar seemed to be bursting at the seams, we were busy almost every day! By the end of the year, we have been so burnt out that it seemed like we were crawling to the finish line. I had planned to homeschool through the summer but with how exhausted we had been from trying to juggle our busy schedule I decided we just needed to take a long break from any scheduled learning. The point of this story is that I was so concerned with my kids getting socialized that I was sacrificing our sanity. This year we will still be doing activities and meeting up with our fellow homeschoolers, but we will be scheduling it in a manageable way.
4. Schedule Vs. Routine
In past years I thought that having a strict schedule would help our family get everything we needed to do that day done, but our days continually looked different and we were always falling off schedule. Each time we would get off schedule I would feel like I was somehow failing, which then resulted in me getting upset that we didn’t finish. This wasn’t fair to the kids or me, something had to change! Just after Christmas last year I figured out that a routine would work much better for us. We started making lists of what needed to be completed during the day and instead of having a set time to do it we just check off the task when it was complete. Sometimes this meant that schoolwork was done before noon, sometimes this meant that schoolwork wasn’t done until dinner, and that was okay! We all felt better about getting everything done and my son really enjoyed the fact that he could choose which subject he wanted to do in what order.
5. Accept Change
During our journey thus far we have had many changes. Believe it or not, homeschooling is one of those big changes! Our son originally started out in public school, so when changes arise you would think that I would be better at handling them. That’s not the case though, I always find myself unsure if I should fight through what’s not working or ride the wave until I find something that does work. This past year when my sons favourite subject turned into his least favourite subject I knew that my perspective on change was the thing that actually needed to change! Honestly, it was really hard for me to accept that sometimes things just don’t work out, no matter how much time I spent planning it or money I spent buying it. When I finally realized this we were able to look for this that actually did work for us, which meant my son once again loved math and I was finally feeling like there didn’t need to be a struggle if something didn’t work.
You can find tons of other great posts by other homeschool moms here: