Are you an overwhelmed homeschooling mom who is drowning in all of the tasks that you feel need to be done during the day? Do you have multiple kids who demand a lot of your attention and you can’t find time for yourself? I have experienced both of these plus many other myriad of feelings that comes with the territory of homeschooling.
Over the passed 7 years, I have learned SOO much about myself and my children. I have found things that don’t work, and things that do work. During my first couple years, I remember getting so burned out and not feeling inspired at all. I felt like I was drowning and numb to my surroundings. I was officially that overwhelmed homeschooling mom.
I’m going to be blunt with you in this post. If all it does it just introduce an absurd or foreign idea to you to stew on for the next couple days/weeks/years, hopefully one day it will begin to resonate with you. We all have our own path of discovery as we take this homeschooling journey.
I remember when some of these suggestions were just that…suggestions. I didn’t take them seriously and had to learn it by experience. Gratefully, I learned quickly and have found so much joy in learning and joy in watching my boys love learning. Marlene Peterson said this,
“I have come to believe the purpose of education should be to prepare children to live lives of maximum joy and the method can best be summed up in a phrase I took from the writings of Charlotte Mason: True education is between a child’s soul and God.”
When I first started homeschooling, God came second and their academics came first. I have discovered that this method of learning is not a true education. Once you begin to align your homeschool views with Heavenly Father’s views, you will start to see miracles happen. Remember, homeschooling is a process and is about the journey. Be easy on yourself as you learn and ponder the things you are learning on your journey!
Here are 11 tips for the overwhelmed homeschooling mom
#1 – Understand that homeschool is not public school and don’t try and replicate it.
I think this is a mistake among many first year homeschoolers. Why wouldn’t it be? We are only teaching the way we were taught. There has to be a complete paradigm shift and know there are different ways to approach education. There are so many resources and opportunities available for home education and the key is to have your children involved in their education. This one tip will help every overwhelmed homeschooling mom.
#2 – Let the curriculum work for you instead of you working for the curriculum
I remember when I first started, I was a slave to the curriculum. The curriculum was fantastic and I knew if I followed it then my child would improve. It didn’t matter if my child wasn’t “feeling” it that day, or if there were tears, or if they were wanting to read or accomplish something else. The curriculum came first!
It took me a couple years to finally let it go. As I began reading more about homeschooling, I soon found out that curriculums need to work for you and not the opposite. Yes, my kids knew different spelling rules and could diagram a sentence, but they were not proficient readers. We didn’t dig into the world of books because we didn’t have time. As a result, I found myself and my boys left feeling uninspired.
#3 – Entertain the idea of letting go of a curriculum all together especially with your younger kids.
Once I let go of the curriculum, I felt a weight go off of my shoulders. Our focus now is to read, read, and read some more. We do english, nature, art, history activities and science all through reading books. We come across an animal or something we want to research and we spend time researching and learning.
A curriculum may not instill a love of learning in your children. For my boys, it did the opposite. I have not used a curriculum now for two years, and I am seeing so many incredible things that my boys are doing. They read A LOT more and they get excited about the things we are learning. Here is the educational philosophy I use in our home now that has changed our education approach.
#4 – Work yourself out of a job
Part of growing up is all about learning to be independent and confident in going out in the world and making it better place. There is no better place to learn how to do this than in the home. Work together as a family…a lot. Clean together, sweep together, do dishes together, do laundry together. Then as your kids get older, they will confidently be able to do these things by themselves.
Take time in the morning and create a house of learning. Does it need to be squeaky clean? HA HA no! I would be in trouble if it did. Focus on removing clutter from your learning places. When you all work together, you will be surprised how fast it gets cleaned. My boys are super talented and can create epic messes in short amounts of time, so we clean up after breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Find out what works for you by experimenting with different times of the day. Pay attention to the times that your house gets messy the most and then adjust those times as needed. Here is a great idea to help in the cleaning process. We use it almost every day!
#5 – Have your kids be a big part of the planning process
Ask your kids what they want to learn about, what book they want to read, or what secret do they want to uncover that day. You may be surprised on their answer. Your children are incredible and their contribution to this world is going to be great! As their mother, you have to be in tune to your kids and what inspires them.
I have seen over and over again the drive a child can have when they are inspired and not forced to accomplish something great. I have seen my boys read 4 books in one day, or create a website without any direction from myself, or write an incredible persuasive paper that moves me to tears. All of these things were not required, but was student led. There is no way we would have received the same results had it been an assignment from me.
#6 – On hard days…just stop
This is simple. When you aren’t feeling it, or your kids aren’t feeling it…just STOP. Go outside, go on a hike, cuddle up to a movie or read a book. It IS OK! It is better to stop then to kill your child’s love of learning.
#7 – When your child isn’t feeling it, than put it aside for later and do something they want to do.
There have been many times that we start something and either I’m not feeling it, or my boys aren’t feeling it. I don’t get mad, I don’t feel pressured to have to finish it, we simply “reshelf” the idea for another time. Again, if your heart isn’t in it, the impact it will have isn’t worth the time doing it. Especially when your kids are young.
#8 – Cook together, clean together, read together, learn together
This goes a long with #4, but what I want to focus on here is if there is something you can do together, then do it together. History, science, english, social studies, nature, home economics and even math activities can be done together as a family. Yes, you will need to adjust writing activities to your child’s level but many times they take care of that themselves.
Keeping house is a great class, so don’t fret when you are taking time to put your house in order. Are you worried about your mental wellness in all of this? HA HA don’t worry, I have been there too. Check this post out.
#9 – Do a 4 day week and take Friday to go on field trips or use it as a day to catch up on life.
We love our Friday’s!! Field trips, play dates with other families, catch up day, etc. Friday is a day I leave wide open to allow for anything to happen. It is a great time to fill up your bucket!
#10 – It’s okay to take a long break!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Ready? You don’t have to follow the public school schedule as a homeschooler! You can create your own. Every three months you can take a week off or every month take an extended weekend. If your kids are really pushing back on learning and aren’t really showing they love it, then it’s okay to unschool for a month.
Pray and find out what is best for your family and then do it. It is ok if it doesn’t align with what everyone else is doing. You do YOU. That is part of the joy of homeschooling. You can tailor it to your families specific needs. It is actually pretty fantastic!
#11 – When all else fails…READ
Seriously though, JUST READ. The more classics and great literature you can read to your kids, the better. Learn from the greats and becoming inspired by these greats will create the greatest education for your kids! Here is how you can create a reading culture in your home! A great book to start with is The Summer of the Monkeys!! Hilarious and fantastic!
I hope there are some ideas here that will help you… an amazing and sometimes overwhelmed homeschooling mom. Keep on keeping on! You got this and you are doing an incredible job! How do I know? Because you are here trying to learn more how to better your homeschool. That my friend is what its all about. Learning is about the journey and not about the destination. Learning doesn’t every stop!
Feel free to share this with any other overwhelmed homeschooling mom who could use some tips to help lighten their load!