There are few things more hopeful than a beautiful sunrise, Daffodils in spring…or a homeschool mom with new curriculum.But like daffodils in an April blizzard – that shiny curriculum can get buried under screeches of protests by the intended curriculum recipients.
In my home, it took about 10 minutes.
Hi, my name’s Theresa and I’m a homeschool mom failure.
I’ve made every mistake in the book when it comes to homeschooling and I’ve had the health issues to prove it.
Now, my three kids are grown and well, and maybe I wasn’t too much of a failure. They are happy, well-adjusted young adults who are ever learning.
In my 12 plus years of homeschooling, I learned what works – and what doesn’t. And while what works for every family is different, I think the “what doesn’t work” has universal application.
And that’s what I’d like to share with you. It may even save you from reaching for a glass of wine at 10:00 in the morning. Or from developing chronic pain. That’s the route I took.
Rejecting the well worn cow path of compulsory education isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of pressure.
And I’m going to take a wild guess. Given the amount of migraine afflicted home educators I’ve met over the years, you are probably unaware of just how much pressure we’re talking.
But your body knows. And it’s been trying to give you the memo via that headache/backache/insomnia/irritable bowel thing. (This is assuming you’ve ruled out any serious medical issues with your doctor.)
Homeschool moms are a special breed. Not only would we walk over a bed of burning coals for our children, we would do it happily while making gluten-free bread and delivering a unit lesson about coal combustion.
And you know what? That’s just f’in crazy. But because of the high demands we place on ourselves, we rarely can admit this truth. And that, my friend, is what the headache is trying to tell you. If Rosetta Stone offered a “health issues” language course this is how it might interpret that migraine:
- Quit trying to do it all – except for this one thing. Your kids don’t need to know algebra at 12, play three instruments (or even one for that matter) or start a soup kitchen. If they’re so inclined – have at it. Just don’t try to do it all. Stay focused on one thing and don’t beat yourself up. There are many, many opportunities to learn and your child will not fail life because they weren’t exposed to quantum physics before age nine.
But be sure to do this.
When you have delight-directed learning taking place: Get out of the way.
Let your children lead. Let them explore and discover at their own pace, in their own way. Keep up the delight over the discipline. Our goal is to foster that genuine love of learning, not for this to become a dreaded task.
- Take care of yourself. There are no bonus points for being Super Mom. LISTEN to your body and heed its wisdom. Nurture yourself. Indulge your creativity. Laugh with friends. And yes, take a break from the kids.
- Stop comparing. Comparison is not only the thief of joy, it’ll damage relationships. Just stop it, kay?
Know that Unschooling WORKS. When homeschool neophytes began teaching their kids back in the seventies, they were walking into unknown territory. (And possibly into a jail cell but that’s another story.) Those parents grew up in a time when compulsory education had already been well established. Folks like John Taylor Gatto, John Holt and the Late Dr. Raymond Moore challenged the system and were trailblazers for home educators. It must have felt like a terrorizing experiment.
Well guess what? Not only is neuroscience confirming the wisdom of a life style of learning, there is a whole generation of adults – smart adults – who were unschooled. Unschooling works!
Tired, wonderful, homeschool mama, I know who you are. I was there once. And when I say you are stronger than you realize – that isn’t a challenge to soldier on under an unrealistic load.
You have what you need already. And you are more brilliant and creative than you understand. Your kids are going to turn out fine. You will know what you need to do if you quiet yourself long enough to hear. Find rest in that truth.
And if it helps, go ahead with that wine…after the kids are in bed.