“Why aren’t you in school?” asks the cashier, the person at the museum, or any adult who sees my nine-year-old with me out of the house on a school day.
My daughter’s answer, “I homeschool,” is always followed by questions, some directed to her, others to me. People want to know why we homeschool, what we like about it, and almost always end the conversation with, “I could never do that; I’m not patient enough.”
It’s true, patience is a good skill to have when you homeschool or parent, but I certainly don’t always have it. And while my answers about homeschooling are often the same—upbeat and encouraging, the truth is some days I don’t love homeschooling. Some days I doubt myself. Some days I, too, wonder why we homeschool.
We all get out of rhythm. During these times it’s helpful for me to reflect and process my feelings. Setting aside even ten minutes to mind-dump in my journal helps me remember my reasons to homeschool. At times I gain insights about myself and become get re-inspired as a result of this introspection.
Journaling helps me make sense of my thoughts. It clears my head and helps me find the truth of what I’m feeling or thinking, which can easily get lost if I’m feeling tired, anxious, or overwhelmed.
We can buy a great curriculum, set up an ideal schedule, have all our notebooks and pencils at the ready and still feel like something is off. Homeschooling asks a lot of us. It’s important to take time to process how we’re feeling and how things are going.
Journaling isn’t just for the times when things feel hard though. It can be a great way to jumpstart planning, prepare for the questions you get from strangers and your well-meaning relatives, and process all you're experiencing as a homeschool parent.
There is no wrong way to journal. Simply grab something to write with, find a quiet place, and begin.
10 Journal Prompts for Homeschool Parents
Set a timer for ten minutes. Go with your first thoughts. Ignore your inner critic if it tries to tell you something is dumb or wrong. This writing is just for you.
Write about why you started homeschooling. Maybe begin with a list of your reasons or write a letter to yourself. Remind yourself of your why.
Write about something you have recently learned about yourself, your child, or homeschooling. Maybe describe how this insight came about or what you might do differently going forward as a result.
Write about a recent success you've had. Acknowledge and celebrate what worked.
Write about what you love about homeschooling and what is hard. Name your truths. Try to do so without judgment.
What are you really good at when it comes to homeschooling? Where could you use some help? We all have strengths and challenges. Be honest and kind to yourself.
What questions do you have about homeschooling? Make a list or write to one question that keeps coming up for you.
What concerns do you have as a homeschool parent? What or who motivates these concerns? Where might you find answers to help address them?
Write a letter to yourself from the voice of your child. What would they say to you about homeschooling and how you’re doing?
Begin with the phrase, Today I feel... or What I want to know is... or If I could, I would...
Write down your favorite homeschool memories. There are hard parts in all our homeschool journies, but there are so many good parts too. Remind yourself of what you and your children have loved and learned.
About the Author
Kelly left teaching middle and high school English to homeschool her children and reclaim how she and her family spent their time. Followers of interest-led learning, her family's days rarely look the same, but they tend to include a lot of books, art supplies, and time outside.
Kelly facilitates local writing circles for women and children and blogs about nurturing the love of learning on her blog, Curiosity Encouraged. She loves to journal, read memoirs, hike, and travel. She seeks quiet mornings and good coffee daily.