Do You Feel Overwhelmed by Homeschooling? Relax and Use These 7 Tips
Tags: Learning Styles
Anyone can feel overwhelmed at any time during their homeschool journey. You might be a brand new homeschooling parent and everything feels so difficult. You could be a seasoned homeschool veteran having a bad year because of health problems. No matter where you are in your journey, rest assured that someone else feels overwhelmed by homeschooling.
Feeling overwhelmed by homeschooling isn't uncommon! It's one of the top posts you'll see in homeschooling groups. Parents become frustrated with their children, the lack of learning (in their eyes), their child's behavior, and more. Homeschooling is a long marathon, and some of the curves and turns are sharp and painful!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, your first task is to decompress and stop what you are doing! Take it from me; no learning is happening when you feel overwhelmed and the kids are unhappy. If your kids are kicking and screaming about learning and school, they probably aren't learning.
So, what can you do? Here are some of my tips for relaxing and conquering the mountain when I feel overwhelmed.
1) Take Time for Yourself
When you feel overwhelmed, the first thing you need to do is take time for yourself. Remember that you can't give to your children unless your cup is full. Sometimes, it's hard to go out somewhere because you don't have sitters for the kids! If that's the case, plan a day when you just do the minimum. Dishes have to be washed, but deep cleaning can wait. Plan a movie day with the kids, make ice cream sundaes, and give yourself a pedicure.
2) Take a Picnic to the Park
If it's nice outside, pack a picnic and take the kids to the park. The kids will think you're an awesome parent - you ARE! - and they get some much needed outside time. Plan to meet some other homeschoolers and bring coffee. Breathe in the fresh air and relax. All is okay!
3) Take a Look at Your Schedule
Feeling overwhelmed happens to everyone at times - life can be complicated at times. However, if you feel overwhelmed ALL the time, it might mean you need to reevaluate your schedule.
Our family uses six weeks on, one week off schedule. During the one week off, I spend time deep cleaning the house, catching up on my work, and planning the following six weeks. We might do a family field trip or two, or we might spend a whole week relaxing!
What works for my family may not work for yours, and that's okay! It took a few years of trial and error to determine which schedule fits our family.
4) Figure Out if There is More Independent Work Available
When you look at the tasks you and your children must complete in a day, it is smart to determine if there is room for more independent work. When all you have is pre-readers and pre-writers, almost everything requires your attention. As your child learns how to read, plug in some self-reading time when they sit in their rooms or on the couch with a book and read. Children who are writers can practice their copywork alone, and all you must do is check it. Look into a math curriculum that has a CD portion.
5) Make Plans Based on Skills Not Page Numbers
I once tried to make plans solely based on the page numbers in a book, but that put extra stress on me and my kids. I felt driven to complete those tasks and check the numbers off. That didn't mean my children were actually comprehending anything if I pushed them to complete certain numbers. Instead, try focusing on building skills. For example, your goal is to learn all the states in the year. You might play board games, complete a puzzle, and pick two states each week to research. Another example is that you want your child to learn their multiplication table by the end of the year. It reduces stress!
6) Remember Your Individual Child
Over the years, I've learned that certain methods and different learning styles don't fit every one of your kids. Some kids LOVE textbooks and flashcards, such as my daughter. Other kids love hands-on learning, like my son.If something isn't working for your child, feel FREE to stop doing it. No one is dangling a noose over your head to continue that math workbook. One of the reasons we homeschool is for the ultimate freedom it allows us and for the ability to tailor our homeschool to our children.
Remember that freedom next time your child just isn't getting those math skills. Feel free to put the books away. Feel free to research a new way to learn. Find a board game to help, or find a video online. Stop math work completely for a week - blasphemy!
7) Plug in Tea Time
Before you ignore this suggestion, hear me out! For a while, I disregarded the importance of reading aloud to my kids. I felt as if it was an extra that was expendable. However, it isn't, and it should be at the top of your list. Getting little kids to sit for read-aloud time is and was a struggle until I heard the concept of tea time. It's quite similar to a morning basket, but my family members aren't morning people, so we have afternoon tea. It's a time when my kids and I come together at the dining room table. I make hot tea and typically set some simple snacks out like cheese and crackers, popcorn, or cut up fruit. The kids are free to color, play with legos, or roll out playdoh. They must try to listen! I start off reading a few pages of a few stories. I pick short stories and longer ones.
Soon, tea time became a requested time. If we get nothing else done for the day, we spent time reading. We might travel around the world in our stories or explore classic novels. The options are endless, and it gives mom time to drink her coffee hot for a change.
Seasoned homeschoolers, what are your pieces of advice to other homeschoolers to relax and conquer their overwhelming struggles?