Dear Homeschooling Mom Who Wants to Quit,
When you made the decision to homeschool your children your heart was full of hopes and dreams for their future, and you were confident that THIS is what you wanted for them. But here you are a few months/years later second guessing everything you thought you knew. You had plans of teaching three languages, detailed character and bible studies, and more field trips than any child could ever hope for. Instead, you’re not sure how to navigate the local homeschool groups, the co-op you signed up for is more demanding than you bargained for, you haven’t attended a field trip in months, and your child just ate a hot dog for breakfast… a hot dog?
Is this really what you signed up for? No.
Do you want to quit? Go ahead! Quit! Quit the co-op you’re struggling with, quit the homeschool group, quit the curriculum your child cries over. Quit all of it. A friend of mine came to me a few years ago and asked about sending her children back to public school, I told her to quit everything that isn’t working first, because sending homeschooled children back to public school is rarely the answer. These are the five things I told her to do instead:
Go exploring outside, or to the park, every day. Going outside daily can seem like the hardest thing you will ever do, but you will quickly reap the benefits, I promise! Hiking, biking, walking down the street, or playing at the park isn’t just important for your children, but it is also vital for your own survival. Everyone in your family needs to go outside every single day. The best time to do this is going to vary from family to family. If mornings are a struggle, go for a walk in the morning. If your kids become too rambunctious in the afternoons, go for a bike ride in the afternoon. Use outside time as a tool to reset their minds, get a little extra energy out, and exercise.
Read aloud with your children daily. The most educational thing you can do with your children is to read aloud with them daily! I know, you’re thinking, I have four/seven/ten kids, how will I have time to read aloud to every single child? Read together all at one time; look to classic chapter books and stories that appeal to everyone. If you struggle to find a moment in the middle of the day to read together, try setting aside time before bed. We still do read alouds as a family and my children are now early in their teen years.
Frequent the library as often as you can. Take your children to the library as often as you can get there, but a word of caution for those who have computers/tablets at home already, don’t allow them to get on the library computers. Once you give in to that, it will become the only thing they want to do while they are there. Don’t do it! That’s not what the library is for. The library is for exploring books, meeting friends to do group activities, and creative play. The more often you visit your local library, the more you will see the benefits.
Set limits on electronics. My husband used to think I was the meanest mom ever for not allowing my children to be on their computer, tablets, phones, or tv until after 4 p.m. every day, but it works! I’m telling you! IT WORKS! I started with the usual “no gaming/tv until after you finish your school work” thing, but quickly found the kids would just rush through their work without care so they could go do whatever they wanted sooner. Setting a specific hour of the day for free-time gives the kids the opportunity to get their schooling done, complete their chores, and maybe even be bored enough to create something on their own. We also really like utilizing the screen time BINGO game. You can find it here.
Journal! My journal is my way of proving to myself that what we are doing in our home matters and is making a difference. Write down EVERYTHING that your children do that is educational. Reading, building an igloo with marshmallows, using a calculator at the store, cooking dinner for the family on their own, learning how to repair the lawn mower, watching an educational show, or whatever it is, write it down! Soon after you start writing all of these educational moments down, you will realize how much your children are learning, even when there seems to be no structure.
If you step away for a bit and do these five things every single day, it will give you the time and space to recharge and reflect. You’re likely to fall in love with homeschooling all over again. This is also a great time to review your homeschool mission statement. It will help you to remember your reason for homeschooling in the very beginning and it will also allow you to ensure that everything that is happening in your homeschool right now meshes well with your mission statement. Maybe the mission statement needs an update, or maybe you simply need to go back to the beginning to renew your passion and desire for homeschooling your children. Don’t have a written out homeschool mission statement? You need one! Find out more about homeschool mission statements here.