So, just to be real, here you have it–I’m not always thriving. Here’s a recent Facebook post I shared on my personal profile, just in case you don’t believe me.
“Some days homeschooling depletes all of my patience.
Me: “What’s 10-7?” My son: I don’t know.
I respond: Son this is review, you know this.
My son: I don’t.
We went back and forth like this for at least a minute. Now I’m super frustrated, “Son, you just did 5 problems with the same step and it involved subtraction, you know this. Now figure it out.”
My son: I don’t know.
AAAAAAAAAHHHHH, someone call me a sub.”
There are days when I’m barely surviving but that’s just life, and part of “thriving” is coming to the realization that things will not always go as planned. It doesn’t mean that I throw in the towel, it just means that I may need to rethink my plan of action. I
So this bring me to my first point…
8 Ways to Thrive as a Homeschool Mom
1. Accept that your day will not always go as planned. At the beginning of the school year I plan out our semester; with notes, list of books, pages to read, math sheets to complete… But by the end of the first month, I’m usually off track. At first it drove me nuts but then I realized it was okay that I got off track because that’s part of the advantage of homeschooling, I can chase a rabbit trail when studying the American Revolution, if I want. I can spend the whole day on our knight theme and maybe I’ll incorporate math into it but maybe not. It’s okay if you’re not following your curriculum to the T, find what works for you and go with it.
2. Set up a routine–just because things will not always go as planned doesn’t mean you don’t schedule out your days, it just means you learn to hold your agenda loosely. Setting up a routine will help your kids get their day started. I make our kids get dressed for the day, they are not able to come down in their pj’s unless they’re sick or it’s a special day. They count on recess at 10 a.m. and at 2p.m.
3. Go out. Yes, you need time to just be you, so if it means you take yourself out for coffee or your girlfriends join you–just get out of the house at least once a week. A few weeks ago, I went for a walk in the rain. It wasn’t long, maybe 20 minutes max but it made the world of a difference for me. I got out of the house by myself.
4. Learn to apologize. You’ll mess up and it’s okay. You’re human and your juggling 500 other things in the midst of teaching your children. It’s important though when you do mess up, to apologize. It’s also important that your children see you make mistakes and handle them in a healthy way.
5. Incorporate brain breaks. When I have scenarios as the one I mentioned above with my son, I have him do some kind of physical movement. It helps you get your “thinking brain” back. That’s what I call the part of our brain that does the thinking–Neocortex. Neocortex uses words to name our experiences so we can gain control over the non-verbal instinctive coping brain elements. Unfortunately, when we’re emotionally overworked, stressed, panicked… it’s hard for us to get our thinking brain to work so what helps is some physical movement. Physical movement increases blood flow bringing more oxygen to the brain and leads to better problem solving. So, we both do some sort of brain break. I have him run up the stairs, run around the driveway two times or do jump jacks. I walk around and take deep breaths. While I breathe in, I tell myself to breath in “the peace of Jesus” and breathe out my stress.
6. Don’t try to do it alone. Meet up with other homeschool moms even if it’s through an online homeschool group. Plan an educational playdate with other homeschooling parents, this is where joining a homeschool co-op is helpful.
7. Acknowledge you can’t do it all. This is hard for me because deep down inside I feel like I should be able to do it all. Unless, you really do have a leotard with a big S on it under your clothing then you really can’t be there for everyone, do everything on your own, make all the crafts and activities that go with your lesson and guess what some days your house is going to be a mess. I’ve had to ask my hubby (or maybe he offered) to help me with the dishes after dinner. He doesn’t mind it, on most days and it’s a huge help to me.
8. Learn to say no. Yup, all those little “yeses” add up and you end up feeling depleted and overwhelmed. Therefore, not leaving you time to enjoy those big moments with your kids and family.
And my bonus tip is get a crock pot. Crock pots are a gift from above, on days when you just can’t manage to add something else to your day–you pull out the crockpot!
Above all, spend time in prayer asking God for wisdom, patience, love and discernment as you guide and teach your children.
What tips would you add? I’m going to keep a running list so share with me your tips.