Are you overwhelmed?
It’s the first week of school.
You’re a homeschooling mom. You’re committed, and you’ve done your best. You’ve worked hard to plan your first week to perfection, and you’re ready to go!
The first day goes well, the second day’s good, and then... the novelty starts to wear off.
The kids aren’t cooperating. They might for the first hour or so, but then they don’t feel like doing school anymore. They’re too fidgety to focus.
They complain that they don’t understand the lesson, no matter how many ways you try to explain it to them. It’s as if they’ve decided that they’re not going to get it, no matter what.
They complain that they’re bored.
You want to be a homeschooling success so badly. And the more frustrated you get with your kids, the more they dig their heels in. They know how to push your buttons, and they do so.
So, what do you do?
Down a glass of wine and a sleeve of fig newtons by 11a.m.?
Lose your temper and have a full-on mama explosion?
Cry your eyes out?
All the above?
If that’s what you need to do to diffuse your upset feelings and negative energy, then go for it.
But after that, practice the mindset tips and actions I share below. They'll help you feel better about your not so great – or downright awful -- days as a homeschooling mom.
These strategies will work for you in the long term, and they’re less expensive than wine and cookies. That means they’re money savers too. ;)
Homeschooling is hard. You need support and encouragement!
Give yourself grace.
If it’s your first year or so as a homeschooling mom, you’re going to have a lot of bumpy, not so great days. Some days will be downright failures.
Homeschooling is a huge undertaking. It takes time to establish a routine that works well. It takes time get familiar with a curriculum and learn how to explain it to your kids. Most of all, it takes time to figure out what kinds of learners your kids are, and each of your kids might have a different learning style.
And you need to discover your own teaching style too!
You’ve got to give yourself grace. Give yourself at least a year to experiment and get a clear handle on what works for you and your kids.
Manage your expectations. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Don’t take it personally.
Don’t take your fail days personally. When you do that, you’ll start blaming yourself and thinking of yourself as a failure. You’re not. You’re getting intense on the job training.
It’s not only their education, but it’s yours too. You’re learning how to homeschool, and it’s a big learning curve.
When you take the kids’ uncooperative behavior personally, you start reacting without thinking. It's easy to fall into the rabbit hole of a power struggle with them. That power struggle is a no-win situation. When you find yourself there, take a break to diffuse it.
The sooner you learn not to take the bad days personally, the sooner you can observe your kids in an objective manner. You’ll see the patterns in their focus and behavior. Take note of the triggers that get things started toward a good or bad direction.
Once you observe those patterns, you’ll start to get ideas on how to turn those fail days into not-so-bad days.
Be a scientist. Experiment. Take notes on your results. Drop what doesn’t work, do more of what does work.
And on the days you do end up having a full-on mama explosion, don’t worry about it. Don’t beat yourself up for losing your cool. The kids will get over it.
They’ll watch and learn how to handle their own mistakes as they watch you handle yours.
Don’t try to do it ALL alone.
Let’s face it. You’re a homeschooling mom superhero!
But you’re not a superhero, because you don’t have special powers. You can’t homeschool, keep a perfect house, run your household errands and cook nutritious meals for everybody all day long.
Get help. Find support for all those other tasks you do during the week.
Make the older kids take turns cooking and cleaning for the family and doing the laundry. That’s Home Ec, right? They all need life skills and their future spouses will love it.
Can you get help with meal planning? The hubster could take on a few tasks inside the home too.
If you try to do it all yourself, you’ll burn out, and that’s not helpful to your homeschooling success. You need time and space to recharge every day.
You need your mentors!!
You’re going to need support from more experienced moms as you run into obstacles.
I know homeschooling is different from classroom teaching, but I wouldn’t have survived those first few years without the support of more experienced women to guide me.
You need people to lean on, vent to, ask questions, and get reassurance. You’ll offer the same support to others too. If you’re not able to do that now, you pay it forward in the future.
Find and join local homeschool communities. Join homeschooling mom groups on Facebook. There are loads groups with plenty of kind and supportive homeschooling moms like you.
Don’t stop looking until you find some mentors, and ask for lots of advice!
You’re homeschooling. You can change the structure or daily plan whenever you want.
The best part about homeschooling is that it doesn’t have to look like traditional school.
Your homeschool is your own little learning laboratory. You’re going to play around with it, experiment, see what works and what doesn’t. You and the kids will have to do a lot of hard work. At home, you have the chance to go at it in different creative ways and change things up whenever you want.
Never forget to have fun with the kids, every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes.
This bonding time is important, and they’ll be more responsive when it’s work time. You and the kids are in it together.
You got this mama!!
Tell us how your first week of homeschool went in the comment section below.