One of the top arguments I hear against homeschooling is, “I could never homeschool! My kids wouldn’t listen to me and we would fight constantly.”
Well… that, and the age-old socialization question. (Insert overdramatic eyeroll here because anyone who has ever homeschooled knows that homeschool kids get way more adult and peer socialization than most children in the public school world.)
However, back to the topic of the day… If you can’t envision educating your children at home and getting along with them perfectly, there’s something EXTREMELY WRONG WITH YOU!
Actually… you’re exactly the same as every other mom – homeschool or otherwise!
No mom gets along with her children perfectly all the time. No mom feels as if she can educate her children at home without ever having a complaint! No mom has the mistaken belief that her children are always listening to her.
Moms, hear me when I say this:
No mom is ever 100% confident that she can successfully homeschool her children with a happy heart.
Homeschooling with a happy heart is challenging even for the most seasoned homeschool moms. I guarantee you, if you ask Michelle Duggar, Cathy Duffy or Charlotte Mason herself, she would tell you that it takes an effort to always find the joy in homeschooling. It’s not always easy, but is it worth it? Well, that depends on YOU…
What is your WHY with Homeschooling?
Is it because you want to enjoy every moment of raising your children without missing out on them eight to ten hours of the day, five days each week? Is it because you want to choose what your children are exposed to, plus when and how? Is it because you want to advance them through their schooling years with a self-confident identity of their own instead of having them constantly compared to the rest of their classmates? Is it because you want to build on the subjects they’re interested in and allow them to thrive at an increased pace, or rather slow their education down to a less overwhelming speed for your child? Whatever the reason is, you have to remember WHY in the homeschooling days (and years!) to come…
WHAT kind of mom do you want to be for them?
Obviously, all moms want their children to remember them in a good way. You want your kids to remember you as the best mom in the world, even when we sometimes aren’t. We want them to remember us as patient, positive, loving, affectionate, strong, tender, caring, and brave. Right? As hard as that is, we have to become those things (with time) for our children to remember us in that light. No mom can be all of those things without determination and persistence but homeschooling our children can train us to become the mom we want our kids to remember us as.
Okay, you know why you want to homeschool your kids and whatkind of mom you want to be for them, but how do you become and remain joyful while homeschooling them??
- Get in the right mindset before schooling. Every day, before you start homeschooling, take ten minutes alone to meditate or pray. Completely clear your mind and take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself WHY you’re homeschooling and WHAT kind of mom you want to be for them. If you like affirmations, go for it! Just spend these minutes getting into the right head-space before starting your homeschool day.
- Allot plenty of time to homeschool and don’t be in a rush! I don’t know about you but when I’m in a hurry (no matter what for!) it puts me in a bad mood. Rushing your kids and being in a hurry will almost always lead to a fight with them. You want to avoid stressing yourself out during school and you also want to avoid making them feel overwhelmed, stressed or hurried with their work.
- Give yourself something to look forward to and make memories with your kids! Homeschooling them is meant to be enjoyable, not always critical and serious! Just a suggestion, but try “Fun Fridays.” IF, and only IF, my kids finish all their work for the week and they’ve had a positive attitude (some forgiveness is required here, they’re kids, nonetheless…) we have a Fun Friday activity. Sometimes it’s an educational movie about what we’ve been studying in History or maybe an art project, but looking forward to Fun Friday encourages my kids all week to be on their best behavior and to get their daily work done in a timely manner!
- Find a method that works for you and curriculum that doesn’t stress you out! There are hundreds of methods and curriculums to choose from. Find what works best for you! Many moms love computer based homeschooling because it takes some of the pressure to teach out of the equation. Other moms (ME!) are overwhelmed by technology and like to take a more “traditional schooling” approach with books and workbooks. Whatever works for YOU and YOUR KIDS, is all that matters!
- Mold your homeschooling life into an outlet for your personality type, not a chore to force upon yourself. Are you an extrovert? Choose a co-op, find a charter school, do mom-and-me playdates, etc. Don’t lock yourself inside! Are you an introvert? Don’t sign up for too much! Keep your homeschool based at home and be selective about what you commit yourself to. Don’t be afraid to “socialize” your children (eyeroll) but also don’t be guilted into doing every activity known to man just so your kids won’t be “socially awkward homeschoolers.” (They won’t be!)
- Set realistic but firm expectations and boundaries, then be consistent! Not every day will be perfect and sometimes it’s okay to take a day off, but you can’t take off every day so set boundaries. Don’t let your kids think they can beg their way out of school work. The first year of homeschooling is always the hardest because you’re learning to balance and they’re learning their boundaries. If you don’t like starting over, stop quitting. You can take breaks as needed, but commit to your schedule (whatever that might be!) and be consistent.
- As your kids get tired of working and become grumpy, distracted or whiny… remind yourself WHY you’re homeschooling and WHAT kind of mom you want to be. Take deep breaths before responding, remind them of what incentives they have for being positive and getting their work done. When push comes to shove, give them (and yourself!) a fifteen minute break for a quick snack, then finish your day. As hard as it is, remember that you’re training to be the best mom you can be. These tough moments are the best training experiences you can have!
- Spend one-on-one time with them while homeschooling! Focus on homeschooling during homeschool time. Don’t try to cook dinner or do laundry at the same time as you work with the kids. Don’t count down the minutes until their math is done so you can do something else. If you expect them to focus without being distracted, you also need to focus during this time. Keep the joy!
- Reward yourself! After your homeschool period is over for the day, don’t be afraid to take 20-30 minutes alone to decompress! Spend that time thanking God for allowing you the experience of homeschooling your children even on the hard days! Pray that each day gets better (although not all days will be better than the one before!) and that you will honor Him in your homeschooling journey. Enjoy the silence and allow yourself the time you need to get back into a positive mindset before resuming your mom duties!
- Give yourself a lot of grace! You will never have a perfect day! GUESS WHAT: Teachers who went to college and earned a degree specifically to educate children also never make it through a day they deem as TOTALLY PERFECT. Perfection doesn’t exist. Children are hard, man! But no one cares about your kids as much as you do! No one wants them to learn and grow the way their mom will! Girl, your babies don’t want a perfect mom. They want a mom who loves them and tries her best! They will forgive you on the tough days, so do yourself a favor and forgive yourself too.
Moms, it’s impossible to be a perfect homeschooling parent but if The Lord is calling you to homeschool your children, don’t make an excuse that you can’t do it because you and your children would fight. The best homeschool moms will fight with their children from time to time, just like great teachers in the public school system will also fight with your kids! But, if you’re willing to put in some effort, you can find joy in homeschooling your kids and grow to have a happy heart with them. Homeschooling can improve your relationship with your kids! You can become the type of mom who can confidently say, “YES! I can homeschool my children and enjoy doing it!” (Most days!)