If you've been homeschooling for any length of time, then you know that something happens in January. You start to think about the next school year. You begin to think about curriculum, look forward to the homeschool convention, talk with friends about next year, and possibly even start to question your sanity and wonder if you even want to do this anymore.
This is a common pattern for homeschool moms. Many homeschools follow a traditional calendar, which puts your homeschool on an August through May calendar. January puts you about halfway through your school year.
About midyear you begin to reflect on the past 4 months and make plans for the next 5 months. Maybe you're wondering if they've learned anything. After winter break, they seem to have forgotten what they had learned and they can't seem to get back into routine.
If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Even traditional school room teachers have this slump with their students.
Homeschooling is a different slump though because they are your children and you ultimately are responsible for their learning. Their lack of cooperation can cause you frustration and make you want to stop homeschooling altogether. You think, you just don't know if you're cut out for this.
You begin to look at your mom friends that have kids in public school and think about their ability to do whatever they want during the day.
If you are frustrated and questioning your ability to continue next year here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make your final decision.
1. What is my reason for homeschooling?
Often in the hustle and bustle of the day to day homeschool journey it is easy to get caught up in the curriculum and the check lists and forget the original reason you decided to homeschool.
Take a minute and let your mind revisit your decision to homeschool.
Have you lost focus? Have you started to compare yourself or your kids to other homeschoolers? Are your priorities out of order?
Take some time to reflect on these questions. Answer them truthfully.
Homeschooling groups are great for socialization. But they are really hard on moms when the subject of grades, curriculum and activities is discussed. Everyone thinks they have the correct formula. When in all actuality, they have the right formula for their family. You know your children best and you know the formula for them. You know what they need and how their brain works.
Ultimately, your purpose for homeschooling, is a question that only you can answer.
2. Are we over scheduled?
Being part of a homeschool community is great because it offers you opportunities to meet people and socialize. However it also offers you outings that you might not go on if you were not a homeschool family. The outing sounds fun so you put it on the calendar. The next thing you know you're out of the house 3 days during the week and the book work is not getting done or you are doing school in the car. This isn't a problem but sometimes this isn't as effective for easily distracted children.
This running at break neck pace is a recipe for burnout for you and your child(ren).
Only you can set your pace. Kids will do whatever mom says they're doing.
Take a look at your calendar. Make a list of the activities and then rank them in order from "need to do" to "want to do".
If burnout is causing you to want to quit, maybe you can reevaluate your schedule and try that for a while before you make a final decision.
3. Do we need to take a break?
Not like a quitting break but maybe a couple of days of repose. Just enough time to recoup, clear your mind, and see how you feel.
Were you just having an off day? Was your child over tired? Were you tired?
Sarah Mackenzie, the author of Teaching from Rest, says "Surrender your idea of what the ideal homeschool day is supposed to look like and take on, with both hands, the day that it is. Rest begins with acceptance, with surrender. Can we accept what He is sending today?"
Sometimes walking away from a situation and taking a break will help to give you a new perspective. It will clear your mind and oftentimes enable you to see things through a different lens.
Take a break. The best part is that because you are homeschooling, no one can tell you how long this break should be. You can make the break a day or a week. Either way, plan some fun activities and remember why you started this homeschool journey to begin with. Chances are if you're frustrated, your child can feel it and they may need a break too.
Don't quit on a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day.
Homeschooling has a way of showing you sides of yourself that you didn't even know existed. This is where you need to press in and seek God. He is made strong in our weakness. Talk to him and ask for wisdom. Pray about this decision.
Is homeschooling hard? Yes! Are your kids worth it? Yes!
You are doing a great job mama! I'm praying for you!