Sometimes homeschooling can make even the most experienced of us a little crazy. For example, I find that one of my greatest homeschool mom life difficulties involves the endless pendulum swing between feeling freaked out about my sons’ education or totally checked out. Let me explain…
Another homeschool mom and I were talking about how hard homeschooling has been in 2020.
It just has.
The loss of easy playdates and field trips. The increased anxiety for my sons (and for me). Even having my husband home all the time has added some pressure as we adjust to living, learning, and working all in each other’s space.
As we lamented our homeschool mom lives a bit, I realized my response to the last six months has become rather polarized. I’ve lost the feeling of being even-keel.
I realized when it comes to homeschooling right now, I am always one of two things.
I’m either freaked out or checked out.
In writing this, I’m assuming that I’m not the only one riding this rollercoaster of ups and downs.
The truth is, realizing this is just how it is for me right now has been immensely helpful. I wanted to share it with you in the hopes you might find some encouragement as well.
Let me explain.
Homeschool Mom Life: I’m Either Freaked Out Or Checked Out!
Over the course of the last four weeks, I have spent roughly 50% of our days listening to audiobooks, watching YouTube videos with my boys, and trying desperately to get us outside. That’s it, and even this was difficult. I was pretty much checked out.
The other 50%? I looked like the Instagram poster child for homeschooling moms.
We did hands-on activities. We had deep discussions. We studied maps and read books.
It looked amazing and felt amazing, but what was driving it was this feeling of being totally freaked out about not doing all the things.
Neither felt healthy. Neither felt right.
Both left me with a vague sense of this not being sustainable.
Getting Past Freaked Out Or Checked Out
I am sure part of this new, polarized expression of our homeschool life is a reaction to so much chaos in our world. Because of this, I have some grace for all of us just trying to get through and get by.
I have grace for it, but I would like for it to level out a bit.
It’s too difficult to go back and forth between extremes, both for me and for my children.
With this in mind, I have had to get back to what I consider to be the absolute basics in our homeschool days.
Establishing A Daily Homeschool Minimum
I know I shared at the beginning of the school year that I begin each day with a simple set of minimum expectations. They rarely vary, and I have been intentional about making sure they address my boys’ needs collectively, not just academically.
A few months ago, this was the list I established –
It’s so simple, so achievable. So why am I not sticking to the plan?
Turns out, my desire to do much less or much more has been overriding my desire for consistency.
I thought about revising the list, in an effort to get us back on track, but the truth is, this is exactly what we need. (I feel like a dummy – it’s like making a to do list for cleaning the house, never looking at it again, and then wondering why the house is messy.)
Homeschool Mom Life: Try Not To Freak Out
We take this homeschool mom thing seriously. The responsibility we feel for our children’s learning and well-being is immense.
It’s appropriate, but it can be a lot, especially when so much else is going on around us.
But freaking out never helps anyone. Not me. Certainly not my children.
I wrote about how this played out when I was consumed with my son learning to read. It was the same feeling and my advice was still the same – try not to freak out. It’s a consistent part of homeschool mom life. You can read about my experience today on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
At the end of the day, I want my kids to feel a sense of stability in our home and in their learning.
I am learning over and over again, that too much is just as bad as too little when it comes to achieving this goal.
For More Resources And Support:
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.