By contributing writer Colleen
As we dive into fall, many of the homeschool moms I talk to, especially those homeschooling for the first time, start admitting that the initial excitement they once felt has worn off, and they’re left feeling tired and overwhelmed.
Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. Here’s some encouragement for you.
The newness of the curriculum and plans has gone away, and the battles have begun. Let’s face it, fighting over homework gives way to fighting over all work once you begin homeschooling. Very few children adore being told what they need to do and when they need to do it.
Homeschooling can be hard.
I want to encourage you that you’re doing a great thing. Even if it’s one of those days when you peek through the curtains and stare wistfully at that big, yellow bus full of kids and wish that your kids were getting on it too.
We all have those days.
When those feelings hit you, it’s time to step back and remember why you are homeschooling in the first place. Call for an impromptu day off, pile the kids in the car, and head to a park or museum, taking advantage of having the venue mostly to yourself. We call these “surprise rides,” and I don’t tell the kids where we’re going. I just tell them to get in the van because we’re going on a surprise ride.
Instantly, moods change, and the atmosphere turns collaborative as they take turns guessing until we pull into wherever it is that we’re headed. Hearts change, and we enjoy each other once more.
During these breaks, try really hard to put aside work and school thoughts in your mind. The goal is to put everything else away and just be there for your kids. Play, explore, and enjoy each other.
On the way home, you’ll all feel refreshed and blessed. It’s a time to remember that those reasons you homeschool (whatever they are) all boil down to the sweet faces you live with and love. Taking advantage of the flexibility to step back when you all need a break is one of those often forgotten blessings of homeschooling.
Shed Your Expectations
Perhaps fall is the perfect metaphor for homeschooling. It’s a time to shed all the old expectations and behaviors that weigh you down, relax, and pull back to be with your family. A hibernation of sorts.
Regardless of how you regroup, remember that you’re homeschooling for the best of all reasons. You’re doing what you feel is best for those precious children. Always keep them in the front of your mind, and you won’t go wrong.
Take heart, mama. That yellow bus will continue to pass you by, while you sometimes stare longingly at it, but those kiddos in your kitchen are going to be there for you and for each other. You’re building a legacy of love. Keep up the great work.