My son was pouting over having to write a report about the bristlecone pine. His brother didn’t want to memorize the three times tables and my daughter was freezing up, scared she’d fail her phonics test. Meanwhile, I’m trying to calm the baby screeching at the top of his lungs.
We experience a whirlwind of emotions as homeschooling families but the worst is when you are convinced you want to quit. Nobody wants to admit defeat. When we start out, our mantra is, “failure is not an option!” Of course the hard times come and we have no clue how to handle this newfound pressure. The pressure we experience trying to juggle housework, our children’s education, character building and everything in between can become overwhelming. Where can we turn when the stress builds up?
PRAY. At first, when the pressure would build, I would burst. Clearly, this was not the best example for my kids. When this did not produce any positive results, I would force myself go into my room, and pray. I focus on getting my heart right before the Lord and be sure I was thinking godly thoughts before re-entering our schoolroom. At times I would feel guilty for leaving and trying to have some alone time, but it’s better than lashing out on my kids. It would help me regroup and bring peace into a chaotic situation.
CALL A FRIEND. You aren’t the only one who has experienced a dark day. Other moms have gone before you and some are with you along for the ride. Connect with homeschool moms in your area, despite your differences. Listen to their stories. Put their number on speed dial and be assured that they can bring encouragement on a discouraging day.
ASSESS THE SITUATION
- Did your kids stay up late last night?
- Have they had an extra busy week?
- Are they over stimulated?
- Is it Monday?
If you answered yes to any of the above then give yourself some grace. Know that it might be might be a rough day of correction and discipline but understand why your children might be acting the way they are. It isn’t an excuse but maybe an extra nap is in order. Maybe the children need to be separated a bit. Once you understand why, it is easier to deal with the problem.
DO IT! That’s right. Quit. I dare you! Not for good, just a few hours. Or a day. Even a week. Take a break. Taking off once in awhile can help you get your priorities (and emotions) in order. I’ve talked to parents who felt bad that they let school out early one day because of the stress but I’ve also met parents who have quit because of the stress. I understand that there are times when parents find that homeschooling truly isn’t the best option for the time being but if the reason you are reconsidering homeschooling is because of the stress, know that it’s okay to be flexible. Don’t be so hard on yourself and trust that your kids will turn out fine even if there are days that you feel like a basket case. Others have gone before you and succeeded, don’t be downhearted and give up too easily. Today might have been rough, but there is always tomorrow!