I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: homeschooling can be hard. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s not a matter of if you will have a bad day (or week or month or year), but when.
I don’t say that to discourage you, but to prepare you. I’m the mom who always told my kids, “Okay, the nurse is getting ready to give you a shot. It’s going to hurt, but just for a second.”
I want to know what’s coming because it’s usually not as bad when you’re prepared. So, y’all, if you haven’t already, you’re going to have days when homeschooling is hard.
Now that you know they’re coming (I bet you already did), let’s talk about how to make them not so bad.
1. Capture the excitement that you’re feeling right now.
Unless you’re just insanely burned out from last year, you, like most homeschooling mamas and dads, are excited right now. It’s the start of a new year – a fresh, clean slate.
What are you excited about?
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Why are you feeling proud of your kids?
Why are you homeschooling?
Don’t just think about it. Write your answers down. You may need to refer to them later. Put your answers where you can find them later or hide them here and there in your planner, teacher’s guide, or a book you plan to read so they’ll be there to surprise you later.
(Or, if you’re like me, put them where you can find them later, forget where there was, and still enjoy the effect of being surprised.)
Oh, and that “why are you homeschooling” thing? If you haven’t worked that out in your mind yet, now is a good time to do so. Use your answers to that question to develop your homeschool mission statement. Knowing your purpose will not only buoy you up on the hard days, but it will guide your decisions throughout your homeschooling journey.
2. Homeschooling is not all academics.
For some homeschooling parents, academic excellence is the sole reason for homeschooling. For most of us, though, academics are only one part of why we do what we do.
Remember that this year when those inevitable moments arise that require you to put the academics aside and deal with a character issue. Or when an amazing opportunity arises and threatens your well-laid lesson plans. Or when life circumstances derail your home and your school. Or when you’re just not sure you’re going to be able to face one more day of whatever is going on in your life or your school.
Those moments, when met head-on, can strengthen your faith, your family, and your resolve.
3. It can’t all be what’s wrong with public school.
We all have our reasons for homeschooling (and a complete dissatisfaction with public school is actually not one of my reasons for homeschooling).
However, you can’t be homeschooling only because of what you see as the failings of public school. You have to also be homeschooling because of what is right with homeschooling. Otherwise your choices and decisions are just reactionary and, on the really bad days that stretch into weeks that stretch into months, you’re going to lose sight of why you’re homeschooling.
4. Take time with friends – mom and kids.
Make sure that you and your kids are taking time to spend with friends. Kids need to hang out with their peers – you know, so they don’t wind up all weird and unsocialized – and you need to hang out with other moms or dads who can relate to your experiences.
I can’t tell you how many times a bad day has been made better just by being reminded that I am not alone – that someone else has experienced what I’m going through with everything from a struggling reader to a sometimes-hard-to-live-with teen.
Make sure you’re not isolating – intentionally or unintentionally – yourself or your kids. It’s okay to set the books aside from time to time for a day spent with friends. It will revitalize all of you.
5. Pray about it.
This last reminder should really be the first step for Christian homeschooling parents. When you’re having a bad day, take it to the One who loves your kids even more than you do and who loves you more than you love your own kids. Sometimes just handing it all over to God is such a release for me. I know He’s got this, so I don’t have to keep stressing over it.
Bad homeschool days are going to happen. Having a plan in place for dealing with them and having a heads-up knowing that they’re coming can make them much easier to deal with.
How do you handle a bad homeschool day/week/month/year?
Top photo credit dragonimages/depositphotos
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.