Homeschooling is great. You can sleep in if you want to. There is no school-run rush to curse your way through. Say goodbye to packing lunches that never get eaten anyway. Homework headaches? Gone. Along with the P&C politics, the forgotten permission slips, washing uniforms and exorbitant stationary lists.
Homeschooling is great. Until it’s not.
Because this is something every mama, whether you are homeschooling or thinking of taking the plunge, NEEDS to know. RIGHT NOW.
There are days when this is hard. There are days when you will want to throw in the towel and enroll them in the school down the round. There are days when you will think to yourself, “If I have to spend one more day alone with my kids, I will end up rocking in the corner“.
Sometimes it will feel as though your life is entirely taken up with your children. You are responsible FOR EVERYTHING. Not just for making sure they are fed and loved and their teeth are brushed. But for everything. It’s all on you. They don’t socialise unless you organise the playdate and take them along. You spend half the week in the car running them from co-op to the library to their sporting team to Scouts. There is no one else taking responsibility for teaching them their 3Rs, the history of the world, the scientific method and how to tie their shoelaces.
You will at times feel overwhelmed. You will lose your temper. That one in particular comes with a 100% money back guarantee.
But you know what?
You are not alone.
Every homeschool mama I know admits to having days where she doesn’t want to keep going. Every homeschool mama I know admits to having days where she feels like she isn’t enough. Or feels like her kids are TOO much. Every homeschool mama I know doesn’t always like homeschooling. And that’s okay!
We place so much pressure on ourselves as women, as mothers, and as homeschool mamas in particular. We look at the highlight reel on Instagram. We pin the perfect pictures on Pinterest. We read ALL the blogs and look at ALL the curriculums, and we come away feeling not enough.
We chat to other homeschool parents and we put on our brave face. We dare not let our public school friends know that this isn’t a dream life all the time. Forget about confiding in family who didn’t think this was a good idea to start with. We can’t let the world know that it isn’t all roses here in homeschool land.
Stop putting this pressure on yourself. Stop convincing yourself that you need to be the perfect homeschool mama. Stop trying to convince everyone around you that you are. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay to not really like homeschooling every day. Hell, it’s even okay to not like being the adult sometimes.
Because while you need to know that every mama feels like this from time to time, you also need to know that this is just one day, or one season, of your life as a homeschool parent. It will get better. You will get back into your groove. You will find your joy in homeschooling again.
It’s important as a homeschool mama to find your tribe. You need to have other parents in the same boat that you can confide in. It can be in a facebook group, in the comments section of a blog or at your local co-op. It doesn’t matter where. Just find them. Find them and stick to them like glue. When you have a bad day you need someone to chat to who will just get it.
Take time for the things that are important to you. Whether this is going to the gym (they will be fine in the creche), reading a book- not for research or curriculum planning- just for pleasure, or starting a bullet journal. Seriously, how freeing is a mind dump?!
Forget the regular curriculum for a while and indulge in enrichment week. Tell yourself school this week will just be picnics, read alouds, baking, drawing under the shade of a tree. Or make it nature study week and spend the whole week going to the beach to play. A break helps. It truly does.
Throw out your expectations. If something in your homeschool isn’t working, don’t keep it just because you think you should. If you hate teaching another language and your kids hate you trying to, dump it. Or outsource it if you think you really need to keep it. If nature study is something that feels like too much pressure, forget the journal side of things and just enjoy going for bushwalks. Remember the reason why you included these activities in your plan to start with. What purpose are they there for? If they aren’t serving this purpose, change them or get rid of them altogether.
Remember to do things with your children that have nothing to do with homeschooling or with chores. Enjoy your kids. Connect with them. We like pizza night with an old-fashioned musical on the telly. Or snuggling in bed just chatting and tickling and giggling. Or going bowling. The fun stuff. The stuff where you don’t have an agenda. Do more of that.
Scale back the activities. Your kids don’t need to be in every homeschool group, sports team and extra curricular activity you can find. It’s fine if they play with their siblings, their cousins and the kids down the street. It’s even fine if they aren’t particularly interested in socialising. Don’t feel like you need to run yourself ragged trying to force this issue. Pick a couple of activities that they like and that you don’t hate taking them to, and do those.
Give yourself a time out. If you’re feeling shouty, give yourself 10 minutes alone with a coffee. Go outside. Kids are far less annoying outside. Go to the park. Send them to grandmas. Ask your significant other to put them to bed while you sneak in a cheeky wine at the end of the day. Don’t lose your mind before you ask for help or for a break.
Because this is the one truth that every mama needs to know before giving up on homeschooling. Yes, this is hard. Yes, you will want to give up. Yes, it will pass. Yes, it is worth it. And you are amazing.
You are amazing xx