Homeschool moms why are we so stressed all the time?
Every time, I talk to a mom that homeschools her kids, the conversation turns to how stressful our lives are. And it’s no wonder, our children’s future is in our hands. What if we don’t choose the right curriculum? And that science curriculum we bought, what if there are not enough experiments? What if we don’t teach the right things and our child can’t go to the college of their choice, or what if they don’t get in at all? Plus, we have to keep the house clean and the laundry does not do itself! The kids are constantly hungry. Then, there are all those extra-curricular activities for the kids; we definitely do not want them to be unsocialized homeschoolers! Even though we all say we don’t believe in those stereotypes, we still do a lot to make sure they are not true and we want our kids to have friends.
We have a lot on our plates!
We really, truly do have a lot on our plates. But I want to tell you that it does not have to be this stressful. My first two years of homeschooling were so stressful for me and my kids (you can read about it here). I wanted to do it all! Somewhere I got the notion that because we now homeschooled, my kids should be well versed in everything. They should excel in subjects that they previously hated. Even though math was not my son’s thing, he should start getting A’s, just because we now homeschooled. Of course, this is ridiculous, but it caused me stress before I figured it out.
Some aspects of homeschooling are not for everyone
I read about nature journaling, loved the idea! Went out and bought everything for it…the kids hated it, it sucked the joy out of spending time outside. I loved the idea of a morning basket! We were going to do morning basket even if it killed us. It is supposed to ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the day, you know. Oh, and it did alright; the tone was grumpiness. I have some kids that love to get up early and get going right away and some that love to sleep in. If I waited until everyone was awake, I had some kids annoyed their day started so late. If I got everyone up early then my kids that like to sleep in were grumpy all day. It was a no-win situation.
I wanted to do everything that everyone else was doing because they made it seem so awesome. And it was, for their family. Not for mine. That was the key, I needed to find what worked for us.
I wanted this year to be different. Over the summer, I thought about the reasons that were making homeschooling stressful and I was determined to stop those things. Kids do not learn well in a stressful environment.
10 Ways to Beat Homeschool Stress
Do not compare yourself, your kids, or your homeschool to others. Just because your friend down the street schedules her whole day and knows exactly what she is doing next week or even next month, doesn’t mean that’s the way you have to do it. Even though your mom keeps telling you about her friend’s granddaughter who has been reading since she was 4 years old and yours is still not reading at 6, let it go. Every child learns in their own time, it’s not a race! Know what works for your family and be content to do just that.
If your curriculum is not working, change it! I’m not saying change your curriculum all the time, because that causes stress too. But if your child is HATING their math curriculum and its causing tears and fights every day, it’s not worth it. Get rid of it, try something new. We went through 5 different math programs before we found the one that we love and truthfully only my 3 older kids love it. My daughter, in first grade, uses something else altogether, because it’s what works for her.
You don’t have to use every part of the curriculum. We LOVE our Language Arts program from The Good & The Beautiful, but it doesn’t mean we use everything. Personally, I have never done sentence diagramming and so neither have any of my kids. It was causing all sorts of stress trying to figure it out, so we stopped. We now leave those sections out. Sometimes we change part of the curriculum too. We are Canadian, but most curriculum is written in the United States. While I am all for learning about other countries, there are times we swap American content for Canadian. It’s what makes sense for us.
You do not have to learn it all. Don’t go overboard with what you teach each year. Choose what is the most important to your family and concentrate on those things. While I loved the idea of nature journaling, when it came right down to it, it was not high on my list of priorities, so we scrapped it. Don’t overload your day. We get our school work done in the morning, because I want my kids to figure out their own passions and have time to explore them. That is what is important to me.
Less is more. This goes along with the previous point. I believe in teaching my children how to learn and how to find information on their own. We live in an age where what we know is not nearly as important as the ability to find out what we don’t know. We focus on the 3 R’s and I guide my kids in learning the rest on their own through books, movies, and the internet of course.
Do you have a mission statement for your homeschool? My first couple of years, I tried to do everything. I didn’t even care about half the stuff we were covering and you can be sure the kids didn’t care about it. After talking to friends and going online, it just seemed like they were doing things we should be doing too. This caused so much stress in our lives. Now, my husband and I have decided what we feel is important for our kids to learn and if something doesn’t fit into those parameters, we don’t do it.
If you find something that works, stick with it. It takes a lot of work to always be shopping for a new curriculum. I know as homeschool moms we are always looking for the next, new, awesome curriculum to come out. I know I sure LOVE shopping for curriculum! But if you do not need a new curriculum, don’t waste your time!
Combine subjects. One of things we believe is important for our kids to learn is technology, so often the kid’s science or history assignments will be in the form of a power point or they need to design an infographic. They end up learning 2 subjects at once. Maybe you can combine history and language arts or math and art, your options are limitless. See which subjects you can combine to make your life easier.
Teach your kids to do chores. Every child from toddler to teens can do chores. Yes, it does take time to teach them to do it correctly and it may be easier to do it yourself. But, eventually they will be proficient enough to do the chore on their own, leaving you to be free to something else. You might even have time to relax. Which brings me to my last point…
Take time for self-care! I know, you’re thinking right now, “I didn’t even have time to shower today, now you are saying I need to take more time for me?” Yes, please do! For me, even if I didn’t do any of the other things on this list, but I was able to take 30 minutes to myself, I can continue to be a good mom. You may need to get some help here. Maybe, Grandma can come take the kids for a couple of hours or Dad takes the kids to the park to play. Or you may have to get up earlier than your kids, to get that alone time you need to recharge your batteries. I will be expanding on this in a future post, because self-care is extremely important for all homeschool moms, but especially for us that have special needs kids.
Are there anythings on this list that you could try to help get rid of some of your stress? Do you have a good tip on how to make homeschooling less stressful? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you on Facebook or Instagram!