Homeschool life is hard. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
I felt it the second I woke up, that unmistakable sense of dread. I stumbled into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror, shocked at the haunted eyes that met my gaze. What went wrong? I thought. How did our homeschool life take such a nosedive? How do you continue to homeschool when you just want to quit?
Homeschool Life Gone Awry
You see, I was the quintessential homeschool mama with the maxed-out library card, jaunting off on field trips, and thrilled at the thought of diving down another rabbit hole. I swore I wouldn’t trade these years for anything; until suddenly it went from a lifegiving journey to twisting cramp in the bottom of my stomach.
With no inspirational breakthroughs on the horizon, I slogged through my early morning rhythm, while trying not to fantasize about drinking a latte at my favorite coffee shop while my children attended a real school led by a professional teacher.
I was done.
Making Homeschool Life Work for You
Have you ever felt tapped out when it comes to your homeschool journey? If so, homeschool mamas, here are three ideas for how to homeschool when you want to quit. These practices saved my sanity, my children’s love of learning and our homeschool way of life.
1. The Importance of Scheduling Rest
Have you ever put off taking a break because a) it was just easier to stay in your routine, or b) you felt guilty because your kids weren’t “learning” anything? We live in a culture that celebrates hard work and productivity, at times to the detriment of the health of our bodies and souls. We can quickly fall into the trap that we are what we do, which begins a vicious cycle that can be almost impossible to break.
An antidote to the lie is to intentionally schedule rest. To remind yourself and your children that the world will continue to run whether or not you cross off all the items on your to-do list. Rest gives us permission to breathe, to quiet the noise swirling around us, and allows us space to realign our hearts with our key values.
It is vitally important to schedule rest into your calendar because what gets written down gets done. Rest is not an optional luxury. It’s actually critical to the health of our bodies, relationships, and souls.
Let’s get practical, shall we?
Option #1-Take a day or more for yourself. Arrange for childcare and engage in something that brings you joy. This will look different for everyone but here are some ideas to get your wheels turning.
Afternoon or Day Ideas
- Walk the trails at a local park
- Spend time in silence
- Browse a book store
- Visit a local attraction
- Go to the movies
- Window shop
- Visit the local arboretum
- Try something new
- Go on a day-long retreat
Option #2– Schedule time each day to rest and recharge. This is not time to get ahead on homeschooling planning. Be intentional about finding the beauty in each day.
- Go for a run
- Walk in the woods
- Find or engage in a hobby
- Draw, doodle, paint
- Sip coffee outside and watch the clouds
- Find a quiet place and read a good book
- Listen to relaxing music
- Take a nap
- Go grab a coffee at your favorite coffee shop
- Take a bath
2. Flexibility is King
One of the reasons I fell in love with homeschooling is the flexibility that it offers. We are not held by a traditional school year, daily hours, or a set curriculum. Homeschooling gives power back to the people for we can determine what is best for our family in that season and adjust our schedule accordingly.
When you reach that place where you want to quit put away the school books and focus on things that bring joy to your family. Seriously, when you are experiencing burnout the last thing you need is to try and convince your third grader (for the 40th time) to memorize their multiplication tables.
Choose activities that replenish your souls, deepen your relationships and refocus your attention on why you chose to homeschool in the first place. Field trips, lazy days, good books, meandering walks, naps, yummy food, and time spent together are just some of the ways you can find rest and recharge. Check out How to Homeschool When You Wake Up on The Wrong Side of the Bed for more tips and ideas.
3. Celebrate The Wins
One of my favorite things to do when we all have had enough is to take my children out for a treat and talk about our homeschool wins. There is nothing more encouraging than to truly celebrate what is working and important in the life of your family.
Ask everyone to spend a moment or two thinking about:
- What is their favorite part of homeschooling?
- What are they most proud of this year?
- What is the most exciting thing they have learned?
- What is their favorite memory from this past year?
This should not be limited to academic achievements, but every aspect of their lives. The beauty of homeschooling is that it cannot be contained in one little box, but that it permeates every part of our lives. An example could be learning how to tie their shoes, do the laundry, master the multiplication tables, be kind to their sibling, or in spending time with Jesus. List everything big or small.
Then celebrate together, encourage one another, call out progress in each other. Delight in the accomplishments! You can find a list of 17 ideas to celebrate here!
4. Evaluate and Brainstorm
Only after you have thoroughly celebrated the wins do you transition to evaluation.
With a humble heart ask your children:
- What’s challenging for you daily? Weekly? Why?
- What area do you feel like you need help from me the most? Why?
- Brainstorm- Is there another way we could learn about this subject or topic?
Write down any ideas that you come up with. For more ideas of ways to partner with your child in their educational journey check out this article.
Then ask, what are you interested in learning? What grabs your curiosity? Brainstorm different and realistic ways that you could explore that subject together.
Now sit down with your spouse or friend and evaluate your family’s responses.
a. Is homeschooling still a good fit for your family?
b. If so, what things could we tweak to make homeschooling more lifegiving?
Rest in the knowledge that everyone experiences seasons where they need to take a break. It is a normal, and healthy part of life and homeschooling. You got this, mama!