Homeschooling can test the patience of a saint, but Erin has some practical anger management strategies for homeschooling parents.
I had a major outburst today, folks. Have you ever had one of those? If you’re a mother, homeschooler – gosh, let’s face it, a human being – then I’m sure you have.
We woke up late, as usual. But today we had somewhere to be and homeschool appointments to keep. It seemed that everything was against us in making it anywhere on time.
I couldn’t get anyone to eat their breakfast or brush their teeth. One was complaining that the other wouldn’t stop looking at them. Someone’s sock was turned the wrong way, and they couldn’t walk until we fixed it.
Twenty minutes later someone else had forgotten their blankie. Then someone got to lock the back door before the other got a chance! Oh, the tears.
Good. Grief. The kids were tired and cranky, and so was I.
We are not morning people.
As we were backing out of the driveway and the bickering and crying escalated. I bellowed, “Enough!”
Then, I pulled the car back into the driveway and ordered everyone to get out. “We aren’t going anywhere,” I yelled. The shock on my children’s faces seared into my brain as I got out of the car and marched back inside the house.
It wasn’t my finest moment, folks.
I want to model calm, peace, and patience for my little ones. But this was not it. So, what are my anger management strategies when homeschooling gets hard?
We All Struggle with Our Emotions
Anger is the hardest emotion of all to control. Yes, homeschool moms get angry sometimes. We’re human, after all.
We have stressful jobs. Kids have meltdowns over assignments. Siblings bicker. And, we never get to go to the bathroom alone.
Being with our kiddos all day every day can be taxing. Don’t get me wrong; we also have the most fabulous job in the world. Homeschooling is a beautiful blessing, but sometimes juggling a million different balls gets to us.
Especially when the balls drop.
Underneath the emotion of anger, other subtler emotions lurk. We may not even recognize them. Underlying feelings such as fear, guilt, shame, and hurt masquerade as anger.
Am I doing enough?
Are my kids falling behind?
I’m failing them!
I can’t do it all.
These hidden emotions result in responses lacking the grace, love, and understanding we intend.
We all struggle with our emotions.
And then, we don’t enjoy the lovely gift of all that homeschooling has to offer.
Anger Management Strategies for Tough Homeschool Days
The best defense is a great offense. Recognize when your emotions are about to get the best of you and take action to handle them more positively.
I shouldn’t have yelled, but canceling our plans for the day was necessary. It prevented worse meltdowns from both the kids and me. I was able to go inside and re-group, reschedule, calm down, and plan how to turn our day around.
And it did turn around. We had a lovely day of nature, art, and board games.
These helpful tips work for me when homeschooling get hard:
1. Slow Down. Count to 5 or 10 or even 30 – whatever you need to slow down and acknowledge that your emotions may be getting the better of you. Check your expectations and evaluate what’s going on.
Did you schedule something in the early morning knowing that your kiddos are NOT early morning people? Are you expecting too much or overscheduled? Both can cause a usually calm person to lose it. Maybe you need to cut back and leave space? Remember, learning still happens in those unplanned spaces.
2. Breathe. Breathing, which helps calm anger, is vital for controlling emotions. When we can calm our anger, we are more in control of ourselves. Take a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe in and count to 4. Then breathe out and count to 4. Repeat. The bathroom and bedroom closet make great breathing rooms.
3. Mindfulness. We aren’t in control of anyone else’s actions, only our own. While we’re slowing down and breathing is a great time to reflect on this fact.
Other Helpful Anger Management Tips
One of the most helpful things I’ve learned over the years of parenting is NEVER to act while angry. Anger causes us to lash out. We may feel vindicated in our actions, but after a cool down we will see the overreaction and hurt relationships that our anger caused.
For me, homeschooling is about building the relationships with my family.
Find Your Tribe
When your homeschool is less than perfect, seek out your tribe for wisdom and inspiration. If you don’t have a physical tribe to turn to, then look online for like-minded mamas.
Whenever you’re feeling down in the dumps about homeschooling, watch one of Julie Bogart’s videos. Julie is the creator and owner of a language arts program called Brave Writer. She is also a former homeschool mom of 5 for 17 years.
Anytime I need a pick-me-up or help understanding where to go when my emotions are high; I turn to Julie. I always feel like she’s in my homeschooling corner. She helps me remember my “why,” and rediscover joy and contentment not only for myself but also for my kiddos even on the toughest homeschool day.
Take Your Vitamin N
Nature. When homeschooling gets hard, it is a soothing balm to the soul for my kiddos and me. Any time we wake up cranky, or I feel my emotions getting the better of me, we pack up our books and head out into the wild. Listening to the soothing sounds of water and the wind in the trees are all we need to turn our moods around.
Playing favorite games is a great way to take the edge off a tough homeschool day. Games don’t judge, and they provide a stealthy way to work on early literacy, math, verbal communication, and cooperation skills. Plus, they help build family relationships while having fun!
On those days or weeks when homeschooling throws you for a loop, art proves a beautiful way to both process and reconnect as a family. Why? Because art helps us calm down and focus. Our favorite art programs are You ARE an Artist Chalk Pastels and The Masterpiece Society Art Courses.
When the inevitable happens, and you lose control of your emotions, give yourself lots of grace and apologize to your kids. Ask for their forgiveness. After you’ve had time to cool down, talk with your kids about your frustrations and how you could have handled your anger better. Then put those words into practice.
Trust me; life will give you plenty of opportunities to practice.
How do you control your emotions when homeschooling gets hard?