The following is a post from contributing writer, Mary Prather.
We all know homeschooling is DIFFICULT. It is a unique type of stress we shoulder as homeschooling mothers.
For the majority of last year I seriously considered GIVING UP. Throwing in the towel. Quitting. It was just TOO HARD.
I know what the tuition is at our local private schools. I know what it would take to put my children in our local public schools because I called the registrar at each school and asked. Believe me when I tell you I was seriously considered GIVING UP.
I am so thankful God worked in me to give me the courage and strength to keep going. Looking back I can see there were some helpful steps I took to overcome my feelings.
Yes, it’s that simple. Just STOP homeschool for a while. Take a break. Believe me, your children won’t suffer if you take a week or two (or even a month) off. I read this advice all the time, but it’s TRUE!
Take time to take care of yourself and just be your children’s MOTHER and not their TEACHER.
We finished our school year at the end of April last year – not by design. I just was worn out and we needed to STOP. Out of this break came rejuvenation. I achieved physical and mental rest. My children got a break from a somewhat grumpy, task-master mother.
It was not time wasted. In fact, I would say it was an investment.
Investigate Your Options
Much of the stress in our house came from having a preteen that was changing as a learner. Motivation was a constant struggle, as I know it can be with all children this age. When it’s your own child though, it just doesn’t make sense.
I knew that we needed accountability and structure coming from someone other than myself. We looked at several local homeschool hybrid schools. I cannot express to you the relief that came when we found Classical Conversations and we are happily involved in that this year!
Do not suffer in silence!
I bore this weight of wanting to quit all by myself for several months. I even hid my thoughts from my husband, when he was more than willing to help me.
The day I shared my struggles with my husband, he immediately asked how he could help me. He then suggested I confide in a good friend. This friend would text me encouragement through the day, she would pray for me, give me books to read, and just LISTEN. She reminded me to give my children up to God and TRUST in His promises.
If you are having a hard time, please talk to someone. Chances are, many people have felt (or are feeling) the exact same way. There is great power in community and sharing!
Be Willing to Change Your Path
Sometimes a change in course can make all the difference.
Our homeschool had always been very eclectic. We did a lot of interest led learning and even bordered on unschooling during certain times. This wasn’t working last year, yet I felt I would be “failing” (what a terrible word that is) if we abandoned that style and tried something more structured. People knew me as that creative mom that would plan and execute fun and engaging unit studies. I spent hours planning schoolwork.
I was getting tired.
It was also clear that my oldest NEEDED more structure and direction. My youngest loves checklists and memory work. I knew the Classical method was calling our name, but I just couldn’t let my “ideal homeschool” die.
You see, I have a type A personality and when I get on a path I like to STAY on that path until the bitter end. (I’m learning this isn’t one of my best qualities.)
Ditch the Comparisons
I had to stop comparing my children to other children we knew in school situations. I gave up reading blogs for a season. My children are just that… MY children. They are unique and comparing them to anyone else’s children does us all a disservice.
Everyone goes through that feeling of wanting to give up on homeschooling. Maybe reading about my experience will help you know you’re not alone. Take some time, find a friend, and remember why you started homeschooling in the first place. Give your decision over to God and trust He will coordinate everything for good.
This year is MUCH BETTER in our homeschool. It’s not perfect, but I have learned that (just as in life) homeschooling goes in seasons. I think we’ll stick with it for the long haul.
Mary is the author of a music appreciation curriculum for children, SQUILT, which aims to make teaching great music EASY for the non musical parent. She also blogs about her homeschool journey at Homegrown Learners. Her two children (ages 12 and 8) keep her learning and growing!