Written by Kara Fleck
“We’re not getting anything done. I’m failing at this.” I hear this lament from moms on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m the one saying it.
Usually, this kind of thinking sneaks in when I get a case of homeschool envy and compare what we do to another family. Is that what might be going on with you right now? If so, can I suggest some advice from my personal blog: Before you quit, try this.
I can also start to feel this way when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life, like new babies or my husband working a lot of hours or those years when we had three under the age of five but I also had an 11 year old to teach.
“We’re not getting anything done.”
Are you sure you’re not getting “anything” done? Really?
Most moms I know are doing so many things.
Do a little experiment for me: write down everything you and your kids do for the next couple of days. From the stories read to planting your spring garden – anything remotely learning related, add that to your list.
See? You did that. You’re doing that.
Maybe you’ve simply evolved into a more relaxed style of learning that works better for your family?
What homeschool looks like in this moment might be less formal than what it normally is, but I would be mighty surprised if you and your children are truly doing nothing.
You’re allowed to take a break. I promise.
When is the last time you took a break?
Regroup, catch up on sleep, read, and get back into a good mental space.
Many times when I feel overwhelmed a simple day off, hanging out in pajamas and reading a stack of books (that have nothing to do with our lessons or being a homeschool parent) helps refresh me.
Usually, it doesn’t take as much as I fear it will to bring things back from the edge, I’m just too tired / stressed / overdue for a ME day to think clearly about our situation.
There have been other times I’ve needed a longer break, and my kids have, too. Take the time you need.
Homeschooling is wonderful, but it can sometimes feel like it’s all we live, eat, sleep, and breathe, you know? Not every day, book, vacation, or activity needs to be for our children’s educational benefit.
Take a break. It’s all part of the rhythm of life.
Back to basics
Is something going on that is affecting your school days? Is this permanent or short term? If it is short term, how can you modify your lessons to accommodate this time?
When I am overwhelmed, our homeschool gets scaled back. There’s no shame in scaling back. I like to think of it as “specializing.”
Trim your homeschool work down to what YOU feel are the essentials and then let that be your focus until life gets less crazy.
Try a theme week (or month)
Maybe what you and your kids need is to shake up the routine? Set everything else aside and focus on one unit study or project.
My advice: If you’re burned out, this is not the time to be writing your own unit study. Let someone else handle it this time around, okay? I know you’re brilliant and could ace the planning, but we’re trying to give you a break, not add to your workload.
Some other ideas:
Maybe it IS time to quit
Be honest with yourself. Realistically, is this just a bump in the road? Or something more?
If your soul searching leads you to the conclusion that homeschool isn’t working for you or your child, it is a wise thing to accept that and make your decisions based on it.
Can you find solutions and continue homeschooling if you want to? Are those solutions something you can honestly and effectively apply to your life and your child’s life right now?
Or should you stop homeschooling?
I’m not sure anyone else can answer those questions for you, but please remember that choosing to quit homeschooling isn’t a negative thing: this is about doing what is best for your child.
Maybe in this season of life, homeschooling isn’t the right answer. That’s okay! Whether this is a temporary situation, or a permanent one, the important thing is to do what is right for your family. Follow your heart.
Whatever choice you make, let go of any guilt. Move forward in the direction that is right for you and your child. You’ve got this!