I must be doing this wrong because homeschooling is sucking the life out of me. I hear it a lot and I felt like that at one time too.
When Homeschooling Sucks the Life Out of You
Too, a lot of families who bring kids from public school can find it harder to appreciate the homeschooling lifestyle; many families who have homeschooled from the beginning equally can struggle.
Add in the mix of kids’ lackadaisical attitude toward anything, let alone school work and you have a recipe for quitting.
You may even feel public school is better for your kids.
Although I don’t claim to have all the answers, from my over 20+ years of homeschooling from prek to high school AND conducting workshops with new homeschoolers, I do have tips that will help you.
Besides, I care. I mean I TRULY care about your success.
I KNOW the homeschooling lifestyle is a superior approach to education. I will tell you why in a minute.
Am I Selfish For Wanting to Send Them to Public School
Homeschooling being superior may not be a popular mindset among public school advocates, but I’m not here to win a popularity contest; I want to see you succeed without you feeling like you have to give life and limb for a lifestyle which is backed by numbers.
I’m here to tell you that you CAN succeed without tons of anxiety and stress and how it can be done.
First, it starts with knowing stats.
Don’t get me wrong, I love math and science, but it’s not the way I normally help people. However, we need to start with an analytical view before I speak from my heart.
When Emotions Are High Judgment Is Low
See when our emotions close in on us and doubt hits our day whether we’re doing enough or not, numbers like how much time we spend teaching our child doesn’t change.
What I’m saying is that one-to-one tutoring is a superior approach to thirty kids to one teacher. It’s simply a matter of odds and time.
Even at times when I felt I was at my breaking point like when my husband almost died, and my sister too, my kids learned way more at that time about what was really important.
Additionally because we did get behind when life hit hard, I was able to catch up far quicker than public school. We did NOT have to wait for a full school year or until other kids got the concepts.
My focus was simply my kids and my family. Although I didn’t feel like I was in control of my life and homeschool and sometimes I wasn’t, I know now that I definitely was.
Unless you’ve checked completely out, meaning you’re not doing one thing to teach your child like having meaningful conversations with him, reading to him, or playing with him, the odds are STILL in your favor of succeeding.
Also, get some more research and stats from this site National Home Education Research Institute to see how homeschoolers really are succeeding.
How to Go From a Crippled to Confident Mindset
I was making the best decisions based on the odds and time actually spent.
Whenever I feel that deep down nagging tug that I’m not doing enough, I remind myself of how much time it actually takes to homeschool.
We have time for many interruptions at home and still have time to make progress.
So I changed my mindset from a choice of sending my kids to public school as my default solution to one of using my time to make homeschool work to the best I could. Instead of putting energy into an approach where my kids odds of learning were actually lowered, I made the homeschooling lifestyle priority.
Next, before I jump into sharing multiple tried and true tips to cope when homeschooling sucks, I want you to know that I don’t believe one should homeschool at all cost.
That belief too is not exactly a popular one with some of the faith-based community.
With all of my heart I know that homeschooling is a superior approach because a child gets a uniquely individualized education; however, there are other factors like health, mental health, and even finances which deter some families.
Homeschooling your children is a very personal decision and one that a family should make for their children without guilt or judgment.
We really do not know what goes on inside of every family’s home and so I respect the decision each family has to make.
10 Tried and True Trips When Homeschooling Sucks
Next, look at these ten tips to cope when homeschooling is sucking the life out of you.
Tip. 1. Just STOP, STEP AWAY, and RESET.
First, we may think we have to keep pushing. Why do we do that to ourselves and our kids?
When in fact, from a complete stop comes rejuvenation, power, and refocus. Sometimes we can try to squeeze homeschooling into a busy life. We may need to stop and look at our schedule again to see what is really important to keep and what can we let go.
Tip 2. Deschool.
A lot is said about deschooling in the homeschool world. Some of it I agree with, other information not so much.
Deschooling is not just something you do when you’re a new homeschooler. It’s a technique for burn out too.
Look at some of these ways to use the deschooling process:
- Do you need rest? STOP. Take care of your needs and your children’s physical needs. There is nothing selfish about self-care. A break does not mean a stop. It just means a break.
- Did you jump from public school to homeschool without really taking the time to know how your children learn? Putting your child in the next grade because public school said they belong in a grade is a huge newbie mistake. It take times to know how your children learn and you can do that with inexpensive to free curriculum until you know your child’s learning personality.
- Deschooling does not always mean idleness. Deschooling is different for each family. I know kids who do well with routine. However, can you scale back your expectations until whatever is the object of the stress subsides? Have you heard of the power of little done often? It’s true.
Furthermore, I share tips here on my video How to Deschool – Are You Doomed If You’ve Never Deschooled.
Tip 3. Do a Unit Study.
Additionally, I switched from boxed curriculum to unit studies many years ago.
Little did I recognize then the full and positive impact they would have on our day and now our journey.
Unit studies can take a bit more time to plan; the return is the satisfaction of learning exactly what interests us.
When homeschooling loses his luster, try a different approach. You may need to just switch approaches instead of quitting homeschooling.
Look at my post Top 5 Approaches New Homeschoolers Need to Know to know you’re following the approach that is best for your family and that you’re not repeating public school at home.
Tip 4. Use Nap Time to Tidy Up.
Moreover, if you have a younger household and still have naptime, use about 15 or 20 minutes of the time for a quick tidy up.
Even though it may not be the type of cleaning you really need, don’t forget the power of little. Every bit counts when you have a house full of littles.
I used to run myself almost completely ragged while two of my kids napped.
Twenty years later, I realized some of the time should have been spent relaxing and just sitting down to put my feet up.
Tip 5. Occupy the Older Kids with their Devices During Naptime.
Likewise, something else I shouldn’t have felt guilt about was allowing my older kids to be entertained while my young children slept.
Thinking I had to constantly school my kids when I was at the point of exhaustion was not balanced.
Homeschooling at all costs, even costing your health is not healthy.
It’s okay to allow kids time to entertain themselves while you rest.
Tip 6. Read.
In addition to using naptime to rest, reading has been one of my best ways to relax.
I read an article that stated: “researchers found that reading is one of the best ways to relax, and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two-thirds.“
Too, what I’ve learned now is that even if all we did was reading for the day it was enough.
My kid’s fondest childhood memories are of us reading together as a family.
Reading IS school; all the elements needed for learning like concentration, comprehending, and studying are associated with reading.
Also, reading aloud to your kids has many key benefits, but remember taking time to read what you enjoy rejuvenates YOUR love of learning. That is equally important.
I know you’ll love my book, Homeschooling 31 Day Boot Camp for New Homeschoolers: When You Don’t Know Where to Begin.
Tip 7. Do a 4-Day Schedule.
Next, one year I switched to a 4-day schedule and never looked back. It’s true, at home we can accomplish more in less time.
However, until you try it you don’t really know.
When I switched to a 4-day schedule, it was one of the BEST things I did early in our journey.
I took off Monday to have a slower start to the beginning of the week. Taking time to get caught up on house cleaning, meal planning, and bill paying gave me a sense of control when my kids were very young.
As my kids grew older and could help more with chores, I switched to having off Friday as a day to rest and rejuvenate.
Tip 8. Take Time to Educate the Educator.
Another tip I learned was that some of my part in the feeling of lackluster towards homeschool was I didn’t take time to educate myself.
Why do we not think twice about dropping hundreds of dollars on our kids’ education, but don’t take time to learn how to choose curriculum or how to get organized?
Educating children is rewarding and at the same time it’s one of the most draining jobs I’ve ever done.
I needed the essentials in how to homeschool to smooth my path as I educate my children.
Many years, I ago I taught workshops to new homeschoolers and wrote a curriculum.
Having taught that workshop for 10 years, I now put those workshops online for you.
You’ll love my self-paced online workshops.
How-To Homeschool Courses
Go from Overwhelmed to Got this! The detailed courses: Teaching the Stages of Homeschool, How to Choose Curriculum for Beginners, Homeschool Organization for Beginners, and The New Homeschooler Boot Camp are real eye-openers. You already know homeschooling will give your child the most benefit. Now, take time to educate the person who loves your kids the most – YOU!
- Homeschool Organization for Beginners
- How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum for Beginners
- Teaching the Stages of Homeschool
- Identifying Your Homeschooled Child’s Learning Personality
- FLEX New Homeschooler Boot Camp
Tip 9. Find the Balance Between Rigid and Too Relaxed.
Furthermore, it seems when I’m not feeling the love of how easy homeschooling is supposed to be, I’ve had to look at my expectations.
Many homeschoolers are too rigid, but I’ve also seen more homeschoolers who don’t have a plan for the day.
Find out what your children need.
It’s not always a problem of being too rigid, but it could be you don’t have a list of expectations or a routine for the day.
Your children may need more routine instead doing school by knee-jerk reactions. Ouch. It’s hard to self-analyze – always.
Or, are you so rigid that your children feel crushed under the weight of unnecessary sternness?
Again, you are the only one to make this analysis. Achieving homeschool balance is possible if you’re willing to be flexible.
Tip 10. You are doing more than homeschooling AND your children need to know that too.
Finally, you’re doing more than homeschooling your children; you’re training them far beyond academics.
It’s flat out hard to parent while being a homeschool educator.
They’re intertwined. And you do not want to keep your two roles separate.
Because parenting and homeschooling are weaved together, your kids have responsibilities beyond their academics for the day.
Hear my heart when I say it’s hard to STOP and take time to train your kids to clean, cook, do chores and put away their toys or objects.
However, not only are you teaching them to be independent, you’re instilling pride and confidence.
Many kids who are grown lack self-confidence. Although doing chores is not a complete problem solver, it is a solution.
Chores give kids a sense of pride, belonging, and a way to help others.
Many years I had to accept a kid friendly cleaned house; it wasn’t always easy because I had high expectations.
However, I’m FOREVER grateful that instilled an ethic of hard work in each of my sons.
Is Homeschooling Really Freeing
Now that they have roommates, their roommates thank me for my sons’ positive mindsets and neat and clean habits.
Encourage your child to be a good friend when he is an adult.
It does start with his surroundings, taking care of his room, and other areas in the house.
I love when I get positive feedback from my son’s roommates and moreover I hope in the future, their spouses will too.
Respect comes first from caring for themselves and their area in your home; it pours over then into a child’s live when they’re away from you and now adults.
They extend that same courtesy to others and learn how to truly be happy.
What I’m saying is sometimes homeschooling is a heart problem and not a homeschooling problem.
What genuinely makes kids happy is being fulfilled each day no matter how small the task.
Do not forget that the odds are in your favor for succeeding.
Go slow and remember your kids deserve to know how to take care of themselves, clean, cook, know how to follow a schedule, and take care of others.
Kids will NEVER forget how you SKILLFULLY prepared them for life not just academics.
Don’t forget to think about what brought you to homeschooling in the first place and look up from the pit of despair.
Most circumstances are temporary at best although we don’t feel that way at the moment.
Having an online homeschool group is important too. You need to know you’re not alone. You’ll love my facebook group if you do facebook.
With Power Struggles Give Choices and Freedom
With plenty of rest or even stopping for a bit until you rekindle your love of homeschooling, I hope this heart to heart talk nudges you in the right decision for you family.
From my heart to yours, homeschooling has been worth every bit of stress and tears.
If you’re struggling right now, please let me hear from you. I may not have a solution, but I may be able to steer you in the right direction.
Look at these other tips:
- The Great Homeschool Hoax – Public School At Home?
- Transitioning from a Public School Mindset to a Relaxed Homeschooling Lifestyle
- Is Homeschooling Making the Grade? It’s in and the Grade is ALL Fs!
- When Homeschooling is Not an Overnight Success (Is it Worth the Risk?)
- Finding Joy In Homeschooling When You are Not Really Feeling It
- 6 Things I Won’t Regret After Homeschooling 16+ Years
- How to Get an Out of Control Homeschool Back on Track
- Homeschooling for the Love of Learning – Does It Really Work?
- Blurring the Line Between Living and Learning When Homeschooling
Hugs and love ya,