Homeschooling can be hard. The really tough days are when you start second-guessing yourself and the job you’re doing.
If the headline for this post caught your attention, chances are, you’re having one of those doubting days – or you know that they can blindside you at any time. These 4 tips are all things that you can do right now – at least to some extent – be be a better homeschool mom (or dad) today.
1. Stop comparing.
The comparison trap is probably one of the biggest hurdles for homeschooling moms everywhere. We compare our kids – their behavior, their academic achievements, their talents – and, usually not in a positive way. (Of course, if you’re comparing your kids to someone else’s and finding the other person’s kids coming up short, that’s not too nice either.)
We compare our curriculum. We want the new, the shiny, the stuff with all the bells and whistles – the stuff that someone else’s kid (the one who is doing better academically in the kid-comparison trap) is using.
There is nothing wrong with trying new curriculum or tweaking the old – particularly if what you’ve got isn’t working or you discover something really awesome. However, the expression “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies if you’re only being lured by negative comparison with your homeschool neighbor. (She’s probably negatively comparing her curriculum to yours!)
Let’s stop the madness. Comparison makes us depressed, moody, and irritable. It makes us push our children beyond their abilities or their developmental readiness while we ignore their unique gifts and talents. It makes us provide a roller coaster ride of curriculum as we jump from this one to that one without giving anything a chance to work and without allowing any cohesiveness.
One huge step toward becoming a better homeschool mom (or dad) right now is to stop the comparison game.
2. Stop stressing.
This one is so easy to say and oh-so-hard to do. There is so much to worry about as a homeschooling parent. I mean, hello? We’re not talking about only our kids’ educations here, but about a completely different way of life. It’s so difficult not to doubt and stress.
Some very wise homeschool mamas once told me that the fact that I was worried about my kids’ education showed that I was concerned enough to put forth the effort to give them a good one. So, we don’t want to not worry and not stress to the point that we’re not fully invested in home educating.
We do, however, need to stop stressing to the point that we’re causing unnecessary anxiety for ourselves and our kids.The majority of homeschooled kids love being homeschooled. Think about all the reasons you, as a parent, love homeschooling. Focus on why you homeschool.
The hard days are going to happen. It’s inevitable. They don’t define you or your homeschool. The reasons why you began and why you continue to homeschool are what define you.
The hard days don’t define you or your homeschool. <<Click to tweet
So, right now, take a deep breath. Stop stressing. Your kids pick up on that. Relax. Trust the process and enjoy the journey. The years go by quicker than you could ever imagine.
3. Take care of yourself.
It’s so hard to take care of other people when we’re worn out and not taking care of ourselves. Homeschooling isn’t easy. Some of the ways I like to take care of myself are:
- Meeting a friend for lunch.
- Taking myself out for a sweet tea.
- Stepping outside for some fresh air and sunshine.
- Taking my husband or my in-laws up on their offer to take the kids out for lunch while I stay home alone.
- Curling up with a good book that is completely unrelated to school.
- Taking a weekend get-away with friends once a year or so.
- Taking my kids to the jump park – and taking a good book for myself.
- Going for a mom’s night out with friends.
- Shutting myself in my room (with or without my husband) for some serious zoning out with a favorite TV show.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to involve an expensive spa day (though that’s not a bad idea) or time away from home and kids (every time). Sometimes, it’s just doing something that doesn’t involve a lot of brain-power, but that does involve some quiet.
Whatever your favorite means of taking care of yourself – whether it’s indulging in a hobby, getting away with friends, or curling up with a good book or TV show – make sure that you take time to do it regularly. You’ll be a better mom (or dad) if you take some time to just be you – not Mom – every so often.
Okay, I know not all my readers are Christian. This one is for my fellow Christian homeschool mamas because we need to pray like we need to breath. Prayer should be our first response, rather than our last resort.
Christian homeschooling mamas, you can be a better homeschool mom right now if you take just a minute – or a few – to spend time with your Savior. Pray for guidance in all those curriculum choices, wisdom in all those discipline issues, peace for the stress, and direction for the choices you’re going to have to make today.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5.
Wherever you are in your homeschooling journey, whatever is going on in your home today, these are four steps you can take right now to be a better homeschool mom today.
Take a deep breath, mamas. You’re going a great job!
Which of these four things do you most need to do right now?
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.
images courtesy of depositphotos
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.