It’s early September and I’ve already seriously considered putting one of my kids in school. It probably has a lot to do with the age of said child – 15 going on 25 – but 3 weeks into the school year does seem rather soon to consider quitting homeschooling.
I actually really enjoy homeschooling. I love being home with my kids and learning with them. I love the feeling of overcoming obstacles together and building their confidence through encouraging them to walk in their innate intelligence (gifts and talents). I love the freedom we have to create a lifestyle of learning in our family.
BUT, there are days when the attitudes, the lack of appreciation for what I do, and the subtle lack of respect for my superior knowledge, get me DOWN.
I don’t mind laying down my life for my kids to teach them at home, but when I feel unappreciated and taken for granted, I really struggle.
Yet, after sitting here at Starbucks waiting for a kid to finish with their math tutor (and comforting myself with a pumpkin scone) I’ve had some time to reflect on the situation.
What ever the cause of your struggles; whether its your kids’ attitudes, or a lack of confidence, or whatever, here are four things to think about before you quit.
4 Ways to Keep Homeschooling Even When You Don’t Want To
Take a time out. When a situation is getting me super frustrated, I have found stepping back for a time helps. I’m a peacemaker by nature and always want to resolve issues right away. But honestly, sometimes (and with some people) that is just not possible.
With some distance from the stressful situation, I’m better able to brainstorm solutions that will address the issues. There are a hundred different dynamics that go on in a homeschooling household; from all the relationships, to learning styles, mom’s mindset, kids’ mindsets, and time management. Allowing myself time to untangle the issues really helps me come up with more effective solutions.
Character training is a subject. I recently heard someone somewhere (sorry, can’t remember which one) say that all behavior stems from the condition of the heart. My kid who is selfish or inconsiderate or lazy has an issue of the heart that needs to be addressed. As a homeschooler, it’s easy to be so focused on education and outcomes or progress that I forget that I am educating a whole person, not just the intellectual part.
Putting external pressure on kids to behave a certain way is kind of like holding water in a paper bag. It only works so long. Finding a quiet time to ask questions of that child and getting to the root of the problem takes longer but has more long lasting and therefore, more satisfying results.
When I remember that building strong character in my kids is as important as teaching reading and math, I’m not so loath to take a break from the books when teachable moments come up.
It’s not about you. This kind of goes along with the idea of character training above. When our kids act like kids well, that’s kinda normal. Their immature behavior is frustrating and hurts sometimes but it’s not you. It’s them. Remember that one day they will grow up and their frontal cortexes will be fully developed and they will be better able to appreciate what you have done for them.
I distinctly remember after graduating from college and working with troubled kids as a social worker for several years, having a life changing appreciation for all that my parents had sacrificed for me – yes, even the boundaries and discipline that they set up for me.
I’ve also experienced that with my own adult kids. So, deep breath, and carry on sweet mama.
Don’t go it alone. It’s tempting to think that we’re the only ones struggling with homeschooling. As a long-time homeschooler who even speaks at homeschool conferences encouraging other homeschool families, it can be embarrassing to admit that there are times I don’t have the answers.
I mean, I understand teens. I have raised 4 of them so far reasonably successfully. I understand human development and know how this stage of life can affect kids. But the issue is more complex than just understanding puberty. My own feelings and needs factor in as well. No one said parenting would be easy!
When I can vent for a bit to a friend or fellow homeschooler who has some insight into my situation, it can make a world of difference even if my situation hasn’t really changed. Finding a sympathetic ear to can help me to put my struggles in perspective – even laugh at the seeming futility of it all.
In fact, writing this post today is helping me to process my situation and feelings, so if you can’t find another homeschooler to talk to – get out a journal to help process your thoughts – or start a blog!
A New Way to Find Homeschool Support
As a long time homeschooling mom, I know the value of having the right kinds of support. I’m super excited to be running through my 30-day mentoring course Revive! 30 days to a more peaceful, purposeful homeschool beginning October 1st. Revive is an online course where we’ll be talking about mom’s mindsets, kids mindsets, understanding how stages of learning impact how we should be teaching, expectations and goals, and how to stay the course.
If this sounds interesting to you, enter your name below to be notified as soon as the course is available and to receive an early bird special offer.
That’s all for today. We’re taking a break and heading to the beach for some fun in the sun. We’ll be back to school next week with renewed energy and strength!