The Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom is a post from Amanda Bacon
“Hey, I was thinking we should just continue to homeschool through the summer,” says the man I married eight children ago.
I blink long and hard, hoping that when I open my eyes, I’ll hear a sly, “April Fools!” or ” Ha! I’m totally kidding.” Because this man knows me. He knows I need a whole summer’s worth of a break from organized homeschooling.
Have the last fifteen years of our marriage been a façade? Does he even know me at all?
I think he could tell by the wild flash in my eyes that what he was saying just wasn’t computing. Because overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to describe how I’ve felt during this last year of homeschooling, summer was going to be my salvation.
After a moment of speechlessness, and in the most non-confrontational tone I could muster, I squeaked out, “Are you serious?” I prayed he was kidding. He had to be kidding.
“No, really, what if I helped you out this summer and did spelling and math facts with the kids when I get home?” said this saint of a man.
Oh… OH! Um, yes? By all means. This is perfect because the spelling curriculum I bought last July is still sitting untouched and those math facts? Oy. If it isn’t included in their math program, it isn’t going to be covered. In this season of life, there isn’t time for extras. I do what I can because it’s all I can do.
I need help. I’m not afraid to admit that. So it only makes sense for me to say yes to the person holding a shovel willing to lighten the load that is threatening bury me. My husband’s idea came at just the right time. Right when I was kicking myself for not giving even more of myself to homeschooling this year.
His kind offer helped me realize that I don’t have to do it all single-handedly. It’s a beautiful thing to look outside our own abilities and current reality and realize it’s okay to do this with a little bit of help.
Homeschooling has been a love of mine for the past nine years since we began during the preschool years with our firstborn. But this year, I’ve been asking God to renew my love and commitment for schooling my kids at home because it’s just been so hard.
Are you in the middle of an overwhelmed season like I am? Maybe you don’t have a large family that grew by one six year-old in the middle of the school year like us, but maybe you’re in the middle of a move, job loss, marital difficulty, sickness, the arrival of a new baby, or a similar upheaval. Know you aren’t alone.
Sometimes we need to get a little creative and a little more willing to accept help when it’s offered. When homeschool burnout or that heavy overwhelming cloud is hanging over your head, consider handing someone the proverbial shovel, so they can help lift you up again.
Here are 4 things that can help when you’re an overwhelmed homeschool mom:
1. Say Yes
Even when we’re in the midst of the most trying times, we’re tempted to say no to the help offered by well-meaning souls. Why, oh, why do we do this? Maybe it’s because we think admitting we need help is a sign of weakness. But truly, it’s a sign of strength.
We need each other, so why not let our friends and family receive the blessing of getting to help us? So the next time a truly helpful person offers to drive carpool, drop by some dinner, or come by and help you organize something, let them.
2. Do It Together
There have been many times in my days as a homeschool mom that I’ve needed to know I’m not the only one who struggles. Find those women who are doing the work and have a heart for teaching their kids just like you and start a secret Facebook group so you can encourage one another, or plan a once-a-month co-op on Fridays with some friends and their kids, or meet the girls for coffee on a Saturday morning so you stay encouraged along the road. There is strength in camaraderie. We really shouldn’t try to do this alone.
3. Say Goodbye to Boring
Do you get stuck in the same ruts day in day out, like me? Maybe we should say goodbye to boring every once in a while by moving school into a blanket fort, or out onto the grass for a change. Or perhaps in a tree house or at a restaurant? Could you, would you, at the lake? Could you, would you, eating cake? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But a little cake and a good read aloud does sound awful good, doesn’t it?
4. Capitalize on Expertise
I’d bet if we stopped to think about it, we could come up with several people we know who are experts in their field. Right now, I can think of individuals I know who own a tire business, run an online store, volunteer in search & rescue, fly commercial airplanes, and train horses. And the list goes on and on!
What if we decided to dive into some of the subjects we’ve had a hard time covering by creating our own field trips, had our expert friends “speak” to us using FaceTime or Skype, or invited them to our homes to share their knowledge? Calling on our friends to help just might add the right amount of sparkle we’re needing in our days. I think I just might make a few phone calls myself.
Is there anything you do that works to keep the sparkle in your homeschool? If so, how does it help ward off that overwhelmed feeling?
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Tonia Lyons says
Lovely post. My husband has stepped in to help quite a bit with homeschooling this year as well and it’s so nice to be able to turn some subjects over to him.
One thing I like to occasionally do is chuck the workbooks and make a list of activity ideas on an index card and give it to my daughter as her schoolwork for the day – find a new poem to memorize, read a book on an interesting topic, create something beautiful, etc. Just changing things up a little gives us a break from the everyday routine.
Amanda Bacon says
I love this, Tonia! Changing things up really does help! Thanks for chiming in.