Just like a pencil becomes dull overtime, homeschool can be similar. You will have days that seem dull. Some days homeschooling can feel down right difficult. Some days you may look around your house and see a mess. Some days you may spend hours trying to encourage your child to listen and understand a new concept. Some days, you may feel like your homeschool is taking up your entire life and you no longer have time for yourself or your spouse. Some days homeschooling will no longer seem fun; instead the very thought of it may have you feeling exhausted. If and when these days visit your home, don’t worry, don’t get discouraged it just means it is time for you to regroup as a family. Remember, if you don’t take time to sharpen a pencil or even replace it from time-to-time, then the pencil will have no value.
Last year during our first official year of homeschooling, I felt discouraged especially when my daughter became sick and was hospitalized. During this first year, I had my hands in too many places and tried to be a supermom. I didn’t know how to say no, so I tried to do every task that presented itself. However, I needed to become comfortable with the challenges of homeschooling before I took on other large projects. I tried to work part-time, lead a ministry at church, blog, attend co-op weekly, go on field trips regularly, cook homemade meals 3 times a day, keep my house clean, and sleep. Needless to say, I hit the edge of rocky cliff and felt like I was almost tumbling over. The proverbial pencil in our home was broken and I needed to replace it.
In January, I assessed the things in my life that were causing me the largest amounts of stress and let them go. I had to pray. I had to earnestly seek God for a respite in order for me to regain my focus. I had to ask myself what is the most important things in my life that I could not afford to let go. Honestly, a part of me just wanted to retreat and let it all go and just focus on myself and my own personal needs, but I’m not a selfish person so I knew that was not the best option.
When I sat down and weighed the pros and cons of everything that was consuming my time, I realized that not prioritizing my family and adding focus and purpose to our home school meant that my children were not getting the quality of education they deserved at home and I was losing myself. Thankfully, I can share with you that a lot has changed.
I homeschool happily, and my children are learning and thriving. Spiritually, I am more grounded, emotionally I am peaceful and content. Joy has returned to our home.
Here are 7 things that you can do to help joy return when homeschooling feels too difficult:
- Know your mission! Just like it is important for a corporation to have a mission statement, it is important for your homeschool to have one as well so that you have a clear understanding of your goals. If there is something that you are adding to your life that undermines your mission, let it go.
- Prepare early. Have a planning day. I use Sunday mornings before my kids and husband wake up to plan my week. I should try to plan it even earlier than that, but for now, Sunday mornings are working for me.
- Have at least one homeschool friend. You are not in this alone, there are many families on this homeschool journey with you. We may not all homeschool for the same reasons, but we homeschool because we love our children and want them to fulfill their potentials. When you have a friend you can talk to and share ideas with, it helps to recharge your energy for the days ahead.
- Pray and meditate. A few moments of quiet time is important. Once a day, find a quiet place where you can connect with your Creator. Pray for your family. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) Says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” —Tweet this When you leave your burdens at the feet of Jesus, you can start your week free, rejuvenated, and ready to conquer what lies ahead.
- Have a chore chart. Yes, getting your children to help out in some capacity will add joy; especially if you cannot live in a messy home. Even if you are only encouraging your child to keep his or her own room clean that is one less job that you will have to handle on your own. My kids surprised me one day and cleaned the house. It made me so happy. They came up with a plan and called themselves secret agents they went to every room they could and secretly tidied up that area. They even left little notes that said, “the agents were here.” Now, I know I can give them larger responsibilities to clean areas like the bathroom. Once you teach them how to clean an area, let them make a game out it and complete their chores. The other added benefit of having your children help out is that they may not dirty up as much, if it is an area they know they may have to clean.
- Set goals. Setting small goals will help you reach your larger dreams. —Tweet this. Use a schedule to guide you. Whether you write in a planner, reminders on your phone, or make a to-do list on post-it notes, you need a system that outlines your schedule or the areas you want to focus on each day. This guide will help you stay on track. Even a weekly menu can help take stress out of your homeschool environment.
- Assess your homeschool needs. Find out what is causing you to feel discouraged. Write down answers to the following questions: What do I need to be a quality teacher to my children? What do my children need to learn well? How can we make our school lives more creative? How can we make our home more manageable? Some people may need more outside support, and some parents may thrive on being away from home and having school at a local library at least one day a week. The purpose of this post is to encourage parents to find the root of your feelings and address them so that you can have a healthier learning environment for our kids.
Homeschool should not be a burden on your family, it should be an added joy. This year, the love my family has for each other has grown tremendously. If things are not how you want them to be at your home, assess the situation and try to find at 3 three possible solutions to help solve the problems that you are facing.
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