Do you ever feel like you used to be a “fun mom”…UNTIL you started homeschooling? When love and laughter are replaced by tears and frustration that’s when you’ll want to get back to basics and reexamine the “Three R’s.”
Do you remember the reasons you started homeschooling? Write them down and post them where you’ll see them. They will serve as a helpful reminder anytime your homeschool caboose veers off-track.
Remember that homeschooling is not about bringing school home, but rather a lifestyle…an atmosphere even. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But, sometimes we can get so buried in our everyday responsibilities that it takes a friend coming alongside and gently nudging us back on track. So, friend, what do you want your homeschool atmosphere to feel like? Examine your present conditions and make the necessary adjustments.
Do you remember what you used to do with your children when you were a “fun mom.” Was it reading to them, playing, baking, exploring, laughing? You can (and should) do all these things while teaching your children. In fact, they should play an integral role in your curriculum, homeschool choices, and everyday life. Homeschooling and fun are not, nor should they be, mutually exclusive. You CAN homeschool and be a fun mom at the same time. I believe making learning fun is essential to instilling a love of learning and building strong family relationships, which are two of the most important things we can do as homeschool parents. Do we neglect character training and discipline? Of course not. But, if we are experiencing more bad times than good, changes are in order.
“The two are not mutually exclusive. You CAN homeschool and be a fun mom at the same time.”
And, if we’re not careful, we can fall into the trap of “homeschooling to a fault.” Being “honest to a fault” or “generous to a fault” are old, familiar adages. “To a fault” means to take a good thing so far that it can actually become a bad thing. With the very best of intentions we sometimes get so “serious” about homeschooling that we can take all the fun out of it…and risk our relationships with our children, and even our husbands. Remember, academics are important, but relationships are paramount.
2. Reduce Your Frustrations
What frustrates you? Is it too many responsibilities? A cluttered house? Your chauffeur schedule? A challenging child? No time for you or your husband? A frustrated mom is not going to be a fun mom, so find ways to reduce your frustrations.
One of the “dividends” of having children is having more helping hands! Make use of those extra hands. You are only one person and, being a mom and a homeschool mom to boot, you already have a full-time job! You don’t need to be a maid too. Enlist your family members to help clean, cook, do laundry, and even shop for groceries when they’re old enough to drive. Little ones can get in on the action too, sorting socks, putting away their own clothes, and helping with simple kitchen duties. Trust me! Time spent teaching young children to do chores will pay off big as they grow older.
If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to find peace and calm amidst the clutter. So, as a homeschooler I always dedicated a portion of my summers to decluttering and purging our home of whatever we did not use regularly or absolutely LOVE. That way, by the time the new school year rolled around we were off to a fresh and clutter-free start.
One of my biggest frustrations has been an overabundance of extra-curricular activities. With so many wonderful opportunities to choose from, a peaceful homeschool lifestyle can quickly turn into “road-schooling” chaos if we don’t learn to say “no.” Homeschooling our children requires an abundance of time and patience. The more we go, the less of both we will have. Eliminating the “good” things for that which is “best” can help us reduce some of our frustrations.
Do you have a challenging child? All the more reason to cut back on extra-curricular activities. That way you will have the time and energy necessary to devote to that child in a loving and patient manner.
Are you frustrated that there is no time left for YOU or you and your sweetheart? There never will be…unless you purposely carve time out of your schedule and literally make an appointment. Whether it’s quiet time, time to exercise, time with a friend, time for a date night, or all the above…in the end, taking time for yourself will benefit the WHOLE family!
3. Reexamine Your Homeschool Options
Finding the curriculum that works best for your family is half the battle. That’s why it’s important to determine how each of your children learns best. Are they a visual, auditory, kinesthetic learner, or a combination thereof? Take time to determine their learning styles and reexamine your homeschool options. What looks cute to you or works for your friend may not be right for your family.
Investigate curriculum choices that make serious learning fun. Learning about people, places, events, and God’s amazing creation are all far too interesting to make boring. Seek out curriculum that gets kids excited and instills a love of learning. Besides, the more fun you make learning for them, the more fun teaching will be for you, and the easier your job will be!
Consolidating curriculum was another biggie for our family when it came to fun-schooling. Subjects such as math and language are grade specific. But, subjects like history and science can be taught to multiple children, regardless of age, thereby consolidating your curriculum. That’s where unit studies come in. Unit studies are more engaging and enable all your children to read, write, and learn about the same science and history, at the same time, together. And togetherness is what homeschooling is all about!
Are you ready for some fun, Mom?