Why is this so hard? Isn’t this supposed to be fun and magical? Why can’t they just do their work in a timely manner? Am I screwing my kids up? Am I screwed up? WHEN DO I GET A BREAK?! These are the questions I constantly ask myself, day in and day out, even though I am an experienced teacher with two credentials and a seasoned (only three years, who am I kidding?) homeschooler. It doesn’t help that my very own tiger mom isn’t totally onboard with our homeschooling adventure, but thankfully she has stopped comparing my kids to others.
I know most of you out there feel the same way, especially those of you that are “unexpected homeschoolers” during this crazy, stressful COVID-19 world we’re currently living in, but you got this. No need to wash your face or change out of your pajamas, because you are a bad ass parent working from home while homeschooling your wild brood. That is hard! Or maybe you aren’t working from home, but you are still doing ALL of the things, plus taking time for yourself (even if it is just a locked bathroom break) all the while homeschooling your kids. Trust me on this sage advice, just give yourself a break and relax into this whole homeschooling thing. It’ll make your life a whole heck of a lot easier.
When I first started homeschooling my oldest son, he was in 1st grade and I actually tried to mimic school at home. We had a schedule covering all of the subjects, play breaks, mealtimes, etc. School lasted from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed. It was the only way we could fit everything in, because I was determined to give my son the best education EVER! And that, my friends, lasted about a month, if even that. I was stressed and felt like a complete failure because we never got everything on the list done, my kid was unhappy, and I seriously contemplated putting him back in public school. It was easier for me to teach 90+ students and a staff of teachers than it was to teach my 6 year old son.
That’s when I turned to the internet. I was amazed by the plethora of homeschool blogs, both secular and non-secular, curriculum, conferences, Facebook groups, Instagram tags, and podcasts. There was so much information, so many different ideas about homeschooling, so many families from varying backgrounds and belief systems, that I was utterly amazed. But I was also extremely overwhelmed, like most of the time when I try to google something general online. I didn’t know where to turn or what homeschool ideology to follow, so I looked towards my seasoned homeschooling friends. I studied their facebook posts online, I followed the same homeschool Instagrammers they did, and I asked for recommendations. Through that process, I was able to discover a few homeschool gurus all promoting the same message. Slow down, read books, play games, ask questions, watch a documentary, go outside and observe nature, and most importantly, enjoy your children. Learning happens continuously and stealthily. If they find something interesting, dive into that rabbit hole and learn all you can together. These simple ideas redirected our course on our homeschooling journey.
But I have to be honest, it took a couple years for me to fully “de-school” myself and really relax into this homeschooling thing. I had to be okay not covering all of the subjects, that sometimes we won’t get to math that day because we took longer than expected studying worms and getting dirty. I had to be okay with the messes, the interruptions, the moods, the oooohhhh soooo many moods, and much more. And once I did, we were able to finally find our homeschooling groove. That happy place we homeschoolers strive for.
You will eventually find that too, if you haven’t done so already. Mind you, not everyday will be perfect. You will have hard days and emotional days where you question yourself, but that’s life. And tonight as I write this blog post, California is now on state ordered shelter-at-home that’s enforceable by law. Scary stuff. Your home is your family’s sanctuary. So relax, gather some books, make some tea, and cozy up on a couch while you learn with your children. You were made for this.