Do you ever feel like you used to be a “fun mom”…until you started homeschooling? It doesn’t have to be that way. When tears and frustration replace love and laughter its time to get back to basics and remember the “Three R’s.”
Do you remember the reasons you started homeschooling? Write them down and post them where you will see them. They’ll serve as a helpful reminder whenever your caboose veers off-track.
Remember, homeschooling is not about bringing school home, but rather a lifestyle…an atmosphere. What do YOU want YOUR homeschool atmosphere to be? Once you determine the answer to that question make the necessary changes to make that happen.
Do you remember what you used to do with your children when you were still a “fun mom?” Was it reading to them, playing, baking, exploring, laughing? You can do ALL of these things AND teach your children. The two are not mutually exclusive. You CAN homeschool and be a fun mom at the same time. Will every day be perfect? Of course not! But the majority of your days can and should be amazing. In the end, every effort you make in creating a positive learning environment will bring you one step closer to instilling a love of learning in your children and building strong family relationships.
“The two are not mutually exclusive. You CAN homeschool and be a fun mom at the same time.”
No doubt you have heard a person referred to as being “honest to a fault” or “generous to a fault.” “To a fault” means to take a good thing so far that it becomes a bad thing. As homeschool parents, if we’re not careful, we can end up “homeschooling to a fault.” With the very best of intentions, we can get so doggone “serious” about homeschooling that we take all the fun out of it and as a result, risk our relationships with our children and even our spouses. Academics are by all means important, but relationships are paramount.
2. Reduce Your Frustrations
What frustrates you? Is it too many responsibilities? A cluttered house? Your on-the-go schedule? A challenging child? No time for you? No time for your husband? All of the above? A frustrated mom is not going to be a fun mom. Plain and simple. That means you are going to have to find ways to eliminate or at least reduce some of the things that frustrate you.
One of the benefits of having children is having more helping hands, so make use of them. Enlist your children to help clean, cook, and do laundry. Even toddlers can get in on the act by sorting socks, putting away their clothes, and helping in the kitchen. Trust me! The extra time you invest teaching your children to help with the workload now will pay off big time when they are teenagers.
If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to find peace and calm amidst clutter. That’s why I dedicated a portion of every summer to decluttering our home of whatever we didn’t regularly use 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 extra-curricular activities. With so many 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 lots 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 reduce some of our frustrations.
Do you have a challenging child? If so, then that is all the more reason to cut back on extra-curricular activities. That way you will have the necessary time and energy to devote to that child in a loving and patient manner.
Are you frustrated that there is no time left for “me time” or you and your spouse? That’s the challenge of parenthood. But, it is essential that you make the time. Whether it is a quiet time, time to exercise, time with a friend, time for a date night, or all of the above taking time for yourself and your marriage will, in the end, benefit the WHOLE family!
3. Reexamine Your Curriculum 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 visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners, or a combination thereof? Take time to research the various learning styles and if necessary reexamine your curriculum. What looks cute to you or works for your friend may not be right for your children.
Investigate curriculum that makes serious learning fun. Learning about people, places, events, and God’s amazing creation are 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, the more fun teaching will be for you, and the easier your job will be!
Consolidating curriculum was another biggie for our family. Subjects such as math and language are grade specific. But, history and science can be taught to multiple children, regardless of age, thereby consolidating your curriculum AND further reducing your frustrations. That’s why unit studies are so valuable, because they enable all your children, regardless of age, to learn about the same science and history, at the same time, together. After all, isn’t being together and enjoying each other’s company a large part of what homeschooling is all about?
Are you ready for fun? Let’s do this thing!