Here’s the thing. We all have our different ideas of what homeschooling is supposed to look like and what we want our homeschool to look like.
And it’s so easy to get caught up in these ideals. So when you find yourself thinking of one picture and it’s not quite turning out that way then remember these do’s and don’ts of homeschooling:
Don’t second guess yourself.
Yes, I know, easier said than done. But you’ll save yourself some headache and worry if you just go with your gut. Use those mom instincts and know that what you know you’re doing for you kid is what’s right for your kid. Once you decide on a direction to take, don’t let your brain go on overdrive thinking if this would be better or that should be done. Be confident and continue learning as you go and if you need to change something, it’s not out of fear or because someone else says to.
Don’t play the comparison game.
See Sally’s son over there, he’s reading all those level 3 early readers at age four all by himself and my boy is still struggling. Why can’t he just learn to read already? Who cares?! Are you doing what you know is right for your son, right now?
If you’re plugging along and he’s just not getting it yet, there’s no need to worry, because he will get it. If you’re plugging along and you’re really concerned about the skill level, is it that he’s resistant and you just need to take a break for a few weeks or do you just need to try a different approach? What works for your child is going to be different than what works for someone else’s child. You’ll even see differences between your own kids. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong and it doesn’t mean that your child won’t ever “get it.”
Once you start comparing your kids to other kids or you to other moms you’re going to get sucked into this trap that has you questioning everything, and worrying about everything, and stressing. Who wants more stress? Not me.
So just stop. Don’t compare. Do what you know is best for your family. And remember the big picture.
Do slow down.
Please, please, please slow down. I have caught myself so many times feeling this whirlwind of life just swoop in and overtake me. We get so caught up in all the things we “should” be doing and forget about all the things that are most important.
Take time to build the relationships you have with your kids. Snuggle, cuddle, read a book or a stack. Talk to your kids, look them in the eyes. Take a walk, enjoy what’s around you, enjoy the discoveries your kids make. Bake cookies together. Let them help you cook and do chores. Let them sit on your lap (or play with your hair, mine like to do this when I’m at my desk). Stop and listen to their story, play that game with them.
I’ve found when I’m intentional about slowing down, because sometimes I have to be purposeful about it, that we just do life better. Everyone has an easy going attitude and we all get along that much better.
I know I get upset when we need to go someplace and I give fair warning to get shoes on and what not. Next thing I know it’s time to go but no one is ready. Instead of being calm I tend to get anxious and all worked up, then at some point by the time we get in the car somebody’s crying. I don’t want to go through life all hurried and irritated. I know if I slow down just a little bit the whole situation can be changed.
Besides, when my kids grow up I don’t want them remembering me as the mom who always lost her cool.
Do go outside.
Ooooh… this is a good one. Let me tell you all the wonders a bit of sunshine and fresh air can do for the kids. And you. Go outside, everyday. I mean it. It can reset you and give you that calm you might be looking for.
It is so good for kids. They get their dose of Vitamin D. They get to move around and work their bodies. They get to play! They get a chance to be creative and use what’s in their surroundings. And when you get plenty of time outdoors your mood improves too.
Connect with other homeschool families.
We were made for relationships and to be part of a community. You have to connect with other families for support, encouragement, and to have opportunities to get out of the house. This doesn’t mean sign up for everything under the sun to make sure that your kids are being “socialized.”
This means find your tribe, connect with other moms who you can build a relationship with. Connect with other families your kids can build friendships with. And it’s okay if this tribe changes over time, we all go through different seasons of life and we have different needs that are to be met in these types of relationships.
You’ll want to find opportunities where these relationships can form and grow. Try a co-op (if it’s a good fit for your family), go to the lego club at the library, start a book club, join dance, go to karate, make playdates.
I found that facebook (I didn’t ever go on FB before I homeschooled!) was a great way to stay in the know about different opportunities because I joined the local group pages. Just remember to take it easy. Start with only one activity to get to know other families. There are so many things out there that you have to learn to say no. And you have to learn if something doesn’t feel quite right, then try something else.
Remember, each of our journey’s will look different. Embrace that and enjoy the ride!