Okay. I admit it. I’m an uptight mom. Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way to manage my ADHD is to be extremely structured in almost everything I do. As a result, I tend to be pretty uptight.
While that strategy works for me as an individual, it does not work for me as a homeschooling mom. And it doesn’t work very well for my kids, either. I firmly believe that my tendency to structure every aspect of my life led to my burnout last fall, which resulted in The Great Homeschool Public School Experiment.
Now that we’ve returned to homeschooling, I’ve learned something very valuable: Relaxed homeschooling is a beautiful thing, even for uptight moms.
Image: jolopes / Dollar Photo Club
Why Relaxed Homeschooling Was So Hard for Me
First, I have to say that the idea of relaxed homeschooling was not new to me. We’ve always been eclectic homeschoolers, so we follow bits and pieces of several philosophies, including Charlotte Mason, workbooks, and unit studies.
However, even though I pieced my curriculum together from several sources, I still tended to follow an extremely structured schedule with my kids. The idea of “letting go and letting them learn” was something that I just couldn’t bring myself to do.
I worried that my kids wouldn’t learn enough. I worried that I wouldn’t do enough with them. And I worried that they would lose appreciation for what they learned.
Why I Wanted to Try Relaxed Homeschooling
Watching my children adjust to the increased workload of public school, though, made it very clear that a structured, heavily scheduled approach is not always best for children. Instead of feeling driven to excel, my kids were exhausted, irritable, and overwhelmed. While they enjoyed some of their lessons, they only had a few moments to appreciate them before rushing off to the next subject or preparing for an upcoming standardized test.
I decided that, when we got the chance to homeschool again, I would make sure they could learn and breathe at the same time. And now that they’re home, we’re learning in a much more relaxed way.
What I’ve Learned from Relaxed Homeschooling
Rather than scheduling times for lessons, I just set a broad goal for that day and we go from there. We also explore our read-alouds together and expand on whatever is mentioned in the book. In our Pack-n-Go Girls review last week, discussing the story led to an exploration of Mexico and dolphins – all of which stemmed from just reading a book together!
Interestingly, now that we’ve taken a more relaxed approach, I’ve observed that my kids are learning more now than they did before. They’re less stressed and, as a result, they remember what we cover much easier. And I’ve learned that I enjoy our lessons more, which helps me remain consistent far better than having my planned schedule nag me to begin teaching.
I’ll probably still be planning our homeschool year this month, but I’m looking forward to implementing it without the pressure of meeting a set learning goal or covering a certain number of pages. If we can all enjoy our lessons together, that’ll be a learning win for the day. 🙂
Do you take a relaxed homeschooling approach? How do you cover your lessons each day? Share your experiences in the comments!