Winter is the perfect time for a reminder to beware of the Grinch. There are five surefire ways for your homeschool to be derailed, so keep watch, and don’t let the Grinch use these methods in your homeschool during December or any time of year.
Sometimes our worst enemy comes from within via the attitudes of ourselves or our children. If I begin the day grouchy and short-tempered, the kids feed off of that tone, and everything spirals downward from there. If you are the one with a bad attitude, try to determine the cause. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you hungry? Are you just tired of the daily grind? Is one of the other things on this list wearing you down?
Whatever the case, feel free to give yourself a timeout to refocus or take a day off from school where the kids watch educational videos and do some free learning via educational websites. If the kids’ attitude is the problem, it might be time to set aside the books for a week and focus on character issues while making sure something more serious (lack of sleep, educational struggles, etc.) isn’t causing problems.
While having an abundance of activities and groups in which to participate is an benefit, it can also be a curse. Just because twenty things are available for your children to enjoy doesn’t mean that they need to be involved in twenty different activities.
In fact, over-scheduling is a definite recipe for burnout and stress. Limit the time you spend outside of the house because you do need to have time to actually educate your children. Make sure the activities and groups that your children are involved with are things that fill a need in your child’s life. We had to deal with being over-scheduled for the first time this year, and I promise you that it’s better to decide ahead of time the quantity of commitments you will allow instead of scrambling to cut things after you realize your mistake.
You’ve heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy, and that is certainly true when it comes to your homeschool. It seems to be something that homeschool parents can’t resist doing though. We compare our children to their public school peers, we compare ourselves to other homeschool moms and dads, and we compare our chaos filled homes to the pristine pictures on Pinterest.
By the end of the day, it is easy to feel defeated and lost. The only cure for this is to stop. Stop comparing.
Focus on the children you have before you to teach. Focus on the progress your children have made. Focus on the goals you have for your homeschool. Focus on the love in your home instead of the clutter. You might have to stop yourself from comparing one hundred times a day, but eventually you will train your mind to focus on what you are doing well instead of focusing on others.
While some homeschool parents might fall under the too lax umbrella, I would guess that most of us are too rigid in our homeschools. One of the biggest benefits to homeschooling is working at your own pace and your own schedule, but many times we try to regiment our day to the precision of a Swiss watch. I can say from experience that this will cause stress for everyone involved.
It’s okay to loosen up the day and be more free flowing. It’s okay to follow your own educational path for your child instead of feeling that you must teach certain subjects depending on the grade level. It’s okay to school for four days a week or have Monday and Tuesday as your days off instead of Saturday and Sunday. Don’t feel like a cog in a machine, but let your homeschool be a reflection of you and your kids as individuals.
Out of all the problems that I see among homeschoolers criticism is probably number one. For some reason everyone from the grocery store cashier to your extended family will think it is their right to comment on your decision to homeschool, how you are homeschooling, what your credentials are to homeschool, etc. One negative comment can cause a homeschool parent serious self-doubt and worry.
Do not let criticism get to you. This is one of those times that you need to anchor yourself to the reasons that you started homeschooling in the first place. You are the parent; you know what is best for your child. You know what they need to grow and prosper. Hold strong to your choice, smile brightly, and say, “We have made the decision to homeschool and are secure in that choice.” Repeat as necessary until they take the hint. Stand strong in the face of criticism and be proud of your choice to homeschool.
When you see the Grinch sneaking down your chimney ready to leave some of these awful presents under your tree, be ready. Prepare yourself to withstand these five destructive forces so that you can homeschool confidently and in a way that enriches your family.
About the Author
Chelli has been homeschooling for seven years and married for thirteen. She has three children Grace (5th grade), Sophia (2nd grade), and Levi (5 years old). When she's not educating or blogging at The Planted Trees, you can generally find her with her nose in a book, cooking up something yummy in the kitchen, or if she's really lucky, you can't find her at all because she's traveling with friends and family.