1. Level your expectations with reality.
Ok, let's talk homeschooling. When I first set out to teach my daughter how to read I would be so frustrated when we weren’t making any head way. Tears…frustrated mommy! So we took a break. In that time I realized that what I was expecting from her was NOT a realistic goal. And even though I never said it my frustration with our lessons let her know it that she was failing. So then my tactic changed.
I praised her effort not just the final accomplishment (granted accomplishments always led to extra dancing, hugs and praise) BUT once I changed it to telling her that the lessons ARE hard (we as adults forget!) and that we need to try and never give up..then suddenly she was able to work through things and figure it out versus give up because the mood (MY MOOD, MY EXPECTATIONS) had changed.
2. Say yes to you (and your kids), and say no to excess.
I heard the best way to get things done is to ask a busy person. Interesting…the more we pile on the more successful we’ll be? I used to agree…until I realized the quality of things I actually accomplished fell way short of what I was hoping. This was definitely an aspect of homeschooling. If I’m overstressed or planned way too much into our day than the day usually implodes at some point. Melt downs from me or the kids or both.
So now I am learning that if an outside activity or an extra thing we just need to fit in is causing undo stress…it goes. I value my sanity much more cramming it all into a day or a week. It’s OK to say no!
3. Make the journey fun.
We all want our children to be geniuses love learning…because then and only then will they question, explore and find what they truly are meant to do! If it’s drudgery for you then that often times translates to drudgery for your kids. I’m not saying every day our school day consists of non-stop giggles or that there isn’t a seriousness to our lessons but I do know that when my attitude is that of doom and gloom than I know it spills over into my children’s attitudes whether we’re conquering school, chores, or just coexisting in our little family!
4. Protect yourself from burnout.
A theme in my life before kids, and a resounding gong of a message after kids… protect your heart from burning out. A mom I knew was burnt out. Not just burnt out but past burnt out. You can see her heart, her life is on fire… (even though by most outside standards she was solid as a rock). She knew exactly what to do to get through the school days with her kids…but the journey was so heavy.
In these situations there are NOT any easy answers as there can be hormonal disturbances, sleep issues and a gambit of other things making a burnout imminent. But if you’re able to be an observer to your life (if you’re not ask your spouse or friend) for just a minute figure out what are the hang ups that add to your day (talking about dinner, laundry, dust bunnies, errands) and work on new strategies to build in a buffer or a creative solution to help alleviate certain stresses so you don’t burn out!
5. Do not be afraid of failure.
As a parent we are afraid of a million thing. Will our children be happy? Will they be successful? Will they catch a cold since that person just sneezed? Will they be a crazy driver? Will they have my clumsiness? :) Our fears range from legitimate to silly but again we rack our brains with it.
Part of it is our expectations that we place on ourself from other people…other parents ( our family perhaps.). By cramming the expectations too high above where we actually are…we set ourselves up for failure. I’m still working on changing my attitude on this but to rejoice in our failures as a stepping stone to where we actually want to be will be key in moving forward versus staying stuck where we are.
Hence this blog…if I had figured it all out, could you relate to me at all? I doubt it …after all perfection is a mirage of sorts. But the journey we ALL can relate to. So rather than say “I screwed up again.” Can we say to ourselves, “This day didn’t work (ie. yelled at my kids, barely got through our school day, ate 50 donuts— a challenge I might enjoy!), how can I make the next moment (not day…start small) better?”
It’s not unreasonable to homeschool! It’s not unreasonable to think you can be successful at it. After all when you unpack what you’re putting into it I bet you’ll be the best homeschool parent out there and no doubt the best one for YOUR kids! So press on momma, take a moment to see what you can add or take away to your day, and you might be surprised just how SUCCESSFUL you can be!