March 2017, Issue 7
Is Your Homeschool On the Right Path?
by Homeschool.com’s Rebecca Kochenderfer
Self-doubt can rise during any part of your homeschooling journey. Sometimes the reasons for this are obvious. Perhaps your child is struggling with a specific subject area or a family member doesn’t support your decision to homeschool. Other times it is difficult to pin point the exact source of self-doubt.
In either case, feelings of insecurity can zap the fun right out of any homeschool experience and make achieving learning goals feel nearly impossible.
Before we can respond to difficult emotions, we need to identify them.
Signs that something is not quite right:
- Your heart tells you so. The days are going smoothly. Everyone seems OK. But in your heart you feel like something isn’t right. Be with those feelings, and sit with them until you understand their source.
- Your child complains when it’s time to do lessons.
- You find yourself spending more time tending to household tasks or professional responsibilities than you do engaged in meaningful time with your child.
- You and your child are tired of looking at the same curriculum each day.
- Learning no longer feels exciting.
- Instead of a cozy haven, your home feels confining.
- You find yourself doing all the cleaning and cooking alone.
- You don’t feel personally fulfilled.
Do any of these feelings resonate? If you answered yes, don’t be alarmed. Just about every homeschooler I know has encountered these emotions one time or another. It’s common and natural.
Once you’ve admitted that the days aren’t quite what you’d expected, it’s time to get proactive. Rise up and change whatever isn’t working.
- Listen to your heart. What is it asking for? Make a plan that addresses these feelings.
- When your child complains about lessons, ask her what she’d rather do. If she can’t come up with anything, it’s time to make a trip to the library, craft supply store, or to do an online search for new ideas and projects.
- Make a two-columned list of all the responsibilities demanding your attention. Put the tasks you must do in column A. Tasks that aren’t essential belong in column B. What items can you put aside or delegate to another family member? A lighter load makes a lighter heart.
- Put the old curriculum aside for a while (or maybe forever!). Is there a new curriculum you’ve been curious about? Order it today! Think outside the box. Experiment with unit studies, hands-on science experiments, more field trips, and volunteer work. The weather is warming up. Get outside!
- When learning feels dulls, consider whether your kids are studying subject matter that they find interesting? Are they moving enough? Are you excited about the information you are sharing with them?
- Our homes provide a central place where we can gather and enjoy time together. But too much of a good thing is possible. Make a concerted effort to leave home on a regular basis. Join a homechooling co-op. Establish a weekly play date with another homeschooling family. Get a membership at the local museum. Visit your local library, park, or science center.
- Ask for help. You can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t either. Chores are an important feature of any home education. Chores make kids feel competent, and they teach responsibility and valuable life skills. Work together, make it a game.
- You enjoy your children, you care about their education, but you feel drawn to outside interests too. It’s important to address these needs. It will make you a better teacher. Take a class in your community or online. Get a part time job you can do on weekends or from home when the kids are sleeping. Read more. Learn about a new kind of music. Run a marathon!
Be easy on yourself. Some seasons of homeschooling are easier than others. You have the strength, ingenuity, and the stamina to fix what isn’t working, and your children will learn from your perseverance.