Have you ever wanted to quit homeschooling ?
Homeschooling your kids is hard work and it can take a toll on you as well as your kids, bringing about the much dreaded B word – burn out. But there’s hope. Here’s 14 ways to help you keep going when you need it the most.
1) Take a well-deserved break
As a homeschooling parent you have the simple pleasure of being able to take a break when you need to, as opposed to normal teachers in school. When you are at the point of quitting, take a break. Just stop. You might need a day off, you might need a week off, or you might even need a month off. But if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling, here’s how to keep going by just taking a break for as long as you need.
If you take a break from homeschooling your kids won’t suffer, and neither will you…in fact it will invigorate you to carry on.
You need to take some time out for yourself and just be their mother and not their teacher too. Your school year might end at any time as you realise that you just need to take a break to get you firing on all cylinders again. Taking this time out for yourself can be an investment if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling and keep going. If you think about it, schools take a break, and they do this to reenergise kids and teachers, so your homeschooling should be no different. Of course, you are blessed with the fact that you can do it at any time that you want to.
2) Write a list of what you love about homeschooling
You started homeschooling for a reason and if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling here’s how to keep motivated. Write down a list of what you love about it. When you’re tempted by school, you can remind yourself of your current lifestyle – flexibility, individualised education and the ability to go at your children’s pace. Quite frankly it’s a pretty great thing that you’ve got going on despite the challenges, and just writing down these reminders can get you back on track again. Create a family mission statement and look at your motivation and purpose as to why you’ve chosen the route you have.
3) Make Sure you want to Homeschool
This is an incredibly difficult thing to ask yourself, but find out if you really want to homeschool. Do you feel that it’s right for your family? Do you feel that your kids are benefitting from it? No doubt when you’ve weighed up the pro’s and con’s you’ll realise that this is the path for you. Make sure that your husband or partner supports the decision too, as just wanting to do it by yourself can be really difficult. If you homeschool because you feel that’s what you’re called to do, then there is a desire in you to do it.
4) Figure Out What Works for Your Family
Break out of the mind-set that homeschooling must only be done one way, or that it needs to follow a school model. Rather figure out what works for your family? Maybe you follow a school model; maybe you want to teach in the evenings, maybe its 2 hours a day, maybe its 5 hours a day. Maybe a big part of your homeschooling is done outdoors or at museums and libraries. Each family will have a style of their own so you need to figure out what works for you – you don’t have to follow any particular way of doing anything – you are in charge.
5) Stop Comparing Yourself to other Homeschoolers or School Going Families
One of the number one reasons that parents give up on homeschooling is because they feel completely inadequate as they compare themselves to others. Remember that you have your own unique personality, limitations and strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what your strengths are, and work with confidence in those areas. When you compare yourself to others you can quickly lose hope and want to throw in the towel. This is one thing to absolutely avoid if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling here’s how to keep going. Find out your own strengths and weaknesses and work with those to keep you going.
6) Get Support
There’s nothing worse than feeling left out in the cold with no support. Find a mentor or other friends that are on the same journey as you. Having a good support system in place will help you to persevere. If you open up as to how you’re feeling, you will feel a whole lot better and might find help in places you never thought were possible. Even talking to your spouse can be a good idea, to get their support, as well as friends and family. You can also find homeschool conventions in your area, which are always a good idea to attend. You’ll be surrounded by people that are going through exactly the same that you are, and you’ll get heaps of encouragement. You can also join a homeschool forum online and interact with other homeschooling mothers about curriculum, schedules, and everyday life. There are plenty to choose from, you just need to look around and see which forums you like.
7) Have Fun!
We really mean this when we say this, if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling, here’s how to keep going. Have fun. Some real fun. Keep it simple. Read aloud to them every day, have a variety of learning activities during the week like letters, numbers, shapes, colours, games and puzzles too. Go places, dance, sing, run in the rain, go on field trips, make sure you’ve got some great educational manipulative toys that the kids would enjoy too and would enrich their learning, like Spielgaben. Don’t stick to a fixed sit down ritual for a few weeks and just let things happen naturally, you’ll be a bit more refreshed and ready to take on more. Enjoy having your own schedule and relax. Enjoy being together!
8) Be prepared to be Flexible
How you start off doesn’t necessarily mean that this is how you need to continue homeschooling. Be prepared to change direction. You might find that where you started out really free and flexible, one of your kids might be craving a bit more structure, or the other way around. Take their lead and see where you can change course to make it a more fulfilling experience. If you’re spending hours and hours planning schoolwork, you might be on the path to burning out, so look for resources that can help you out when it comes to lesson plans. You don’t even have to follow a normal Monday to Friday week; you could take it easy and include weekends for lessons too. You really have the freedom to make it work for you. You can literally go onto the internet and the world is your oyster when it comes to homeschooling resources.
9) Ditch the Comparisons
As we said earlier that you have to stop comparing yourself to others, this goes for your kids as well that are in normal schooling systems. You have to accept that your kids are who they are, and that they are your children. They are unique and you can’t compare them to anyone else. The moment you stop comparing them to other kids is the moment you’ll feel more relaxed about exactly who they are.
10) Believe in Yourself
One of the biggest reasons that homeschooling parents fail is that they believe that they’re not smart enough to do this and that they’re never going to be able to keep up. If you have this attitude your kids are most certainly going to pick it up, and they’ll start to lose some respect for you. As homeschooling parents you’re responsible for their education right through to high school, which might fill you with fear with scary words like algebra, chemistry, foreign languages and more. You can’t let these fears stop you in your tracks, rather think of it as an exciting journey you are about to embark upon with your children in learning new things. If you don’t know about a certain subject there are plenty of resources on hand to help you. Rosetta Stone is there to help for foreign Languages, Teaching Textbooks or Math U See on DVD, and Apologia has amazing science programs that go through high school written for the student to comprehend. If you need further help, there are always tutors available to ask for help!
11) Your Child has a bad Attitude and Days turn into Terror
This is a classic part of homeschooling where you get a smart backchatter who thinks they know better than anyone. You slave away only to have your kids dishing out their bad attitudes and your days end in tears. Many homeschoolers suffer the same fate as you. One of the ways that you can target this is to step back from education for a while, and start to focus on character. You might find that there are some events in your area regarding teaching kid’s character, as well as many resources are available. A great resource is the book Laying Down The Rails For Children. You’ll find this an invaluable resource to incorporate into your school day.
12) Burning Out
You may feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, constantly just homeschooling and cleaning the house, never having a moment to yourself. Everyone needs time to have their space and give themselves some time to breathe. If you don’t get any alone time you WILL crash and burn. You don’t need to disappear for hours on end but you can literally browse Pinterest for a while, go to the grocery store by yourself, have a dinner date with your husband or put the kids to bed and watch one of your favourite movies.
13) Inspire Yourself
If you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling, here’s how to keep going. Pick yourself up a little bit off the floor, if you can, and read some inspirational books or some words of wisdom. Use your network that hopefully you’ve created and be inspired when you are feeling at your worst.
14) Take one Day at a Time
When you’re really in a rut and are struggling to get out of it, take one day at a time and let each day just be. You can set aside a day for just staying in your jammies and reading books, or take a fun trip. Don’t stress yourself out by planning lots of things…just keep it simple one day at a time.
A Final Word…
As we said earlier, homeschooling can be really exhausting and difficult for the parents that have taken this road in educating their kids, but there can be so many rewards. Yes you will have your bad days, yes you will want to quit, but you can and will make it happen if you truly want it to. Despite some often negative comments on your choice, you will be able to personally watch your kids grow and know that you have played a massively important part in their educational journey. You can take pride in the work that you’ve done, no matter how hard it will and can be. Follow our advice and if you’ve ever wanted to quit homeschooling here’s how to keep going – follow your heart and be flexible and you will get there. Take a day or two or a week off or even a month and you’ll come fighting back for more, ready to take on the challenge once again.
Good luck in your homeschooling journey and don’t quit, unless you really feel that you need to, there is light at the end of the tunnel!