I’ve been a homeschooling parent for almost nine years. More than that, I’m a homeschooling graduate. You’d think I’d have this stuff down by now.
But last week, it happened. I had an utter and complete homeschooling meltdown. My children were behaving horribly, I was behind on lesson planning, I was exhausted, and I was defeated. It literally felt like I was drowning.
Ever been there?
Homeschooling is a wonderful lifestyle for families. It gives us a lot more freedom, flexibility, and time with our kids. But it also takes a lot from us. And, after a while, it can feel draining, especially when things aren’t going so well.
Despite my years of practice, I still have times when homeschooling feels like too much to handle. Yet, here I am, back on track and still homeschooling. Here’s how I keep going, even when I’m ready to give up on homeschooling.
Image c/o: Jaykayl / depositphotos
What to Do When Homeschooling Feels Like Too Much
First: Remind yourself it’s okay to feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes homeschooling parents, moms in particular, get exhausted and frustrated and then feel guilty about feeling that way. Once we get onto that carousel of emotional guilt, it’s very, very hard to get off. The days begin with super high expectations and then end with a crash when lessons don’t get completed or children don’t behave.
It’s perfectly okay to feel like this. Parenting is hard. Teaching children is hard. (Don’t believe me? Ask a public school teacher!)
Take a breath, acknowledge how you honestly feel, and then give yourself grace for experiencing a normal human emotion.
Second: Focus on the now.
A few months back, I heard an actor do a quick mental meditation exercise on television. He said “Focus on this moment you have right now. This moment now is the only one that matters.”
And, really, he was right. As parents, we can start to think so much about our children’s future that we bury ourselves in a sea of worries.
What if my children don’t pass their tests?
What if they have to repeat a grade?
What if homeschooling turns out to be a huge mistake?
What if they hate me for insisting on teaching them at home?
NO ONE can life a happy life while carrying that kind of mental and emotional weight, and you shouldn’t attempt to be the first.
When you’re overwhelmed, think about the moment you’re in. Are your children healthy? Are they (relatively) happy? Do you have the things you truly need? Then, for this moment, you and your family are fine. Make yourself stop and appreciate the security of it.
Third: Throw yourself a lifesaver.
There are many, many situations we face in which we have little to no control. Homeschooling, generally, is not one of them. We have plenty of say-so in how we teach our children, what curriculum we use, and which homeschooling method we implement. Use that authority to make homeschooling work for you!
Are you exhausted from planning lessons? Use prepared unit studies to make planning less strenuous. Do you despise teaching math? Try Khan Academy as a stand-in math teacher. Do you feel lonely spending all day with the kids? Get them out of the house (and yourself around some other adults) by attending library storytimes, local museum events, and more!
You are absolutely not tied to any homeschooling curriculum, method, or schedule, no matter how much money or time you’ve invested in it. When you feel like you’re drowning, throw yourself a homeschool lifesaver and float for a while instead of trying to swim on your own.
How do you manage your emotions when homeschooling feels like too much? What do you do to get yourself back on track and recommit to teaching your children at home? Share your tried-and-true tips in the comments!
Be sure to read some of my other homeschooling support posts!
And see even more tips for homeschooling successfully on my Homeschool Tips Pinterest board!