March 29, 2016

5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents: Tip #2 It's Okay to Feel Overwhelmed

It's day 2 for our blog series, 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents, brought to you by the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Yesterday, I shared about Finding Time to Homeschool. Today I am going to go with a topic that sort of goes hand in glove with yesterday's post. Let's take a moment and talk about the pressure that homeschool parents face. We get it from all sides. Family. Friends. Society. Government. Ourselves. It can be seem to be so overwhelming. But you know what? It's okay to feel that way.

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Tip #2: It's Okay to Feel Overwhelmed

Let's face it. The moment you even began to consider the idea of homeschooling, the pressures began. Just removing the pressures of outside things--the enormous undertaking that is homeschooling can be crushing. Why? Because we are our own worst enemies. 

Doubt. Fear. Worry. Anxiety. Anger. Resentment. Depression. 
These are the pressures that we face as parents in general, but when you throw in the heavy load of bearing the full responsibility for our child's education? Yeah. Magnify those by a million. I DARE any homeschool parent to say that they have NEVER...NOT EVEN ONCE felt any of those feelings about homeschooling. 

Because it's real. It's true. We all face it. 

We constantly compare our situation to that of someone else. Another homeschooling family. Another public school family. Even though we homeschooled to keep our children from being educated as cookie cutters, we INSIST on comparing them to other children as if they are. Your children will NOT be learning at the same rate as someone else's. If they weren't in a school system, then they obviously won't be when homeschooled. Yet we will become overwhelmed with the guilt that maybe we are screwing something up. Maybe we made the wrong decision. And then we will feel guilty because we feel guilty. Which feeds that feeling of being overwhelmed.

Now--let's throw into the pot outside influences. How does your family react to your homeschooling? Totally supportive? That is awesome! You are one of the lucky ones. Most aren't quite so lucky. Many face cynicism. Others face constant criticism. They analyze your children as if they are under a biologist's microscope--waiting to dissect them to see if there is a fault somewhere. So yeah--let's throw that issue into our pot. 

Overwhelmed yet?

What about friends? How about friends with children in the public school system? Do things go well when you get together? Can you walk away without feeling like you were just judged and found wanting? Do your public school friends feel threatened because you homeschool--thus they think you are always judging them? Is it stressful to just hang out?!

How goes that overwhelmed feeling?

Let's talk government. Live in a state where you have to do portfolios or testing? Worried that you are going to forget something? What if they bomb the test? Will they demand proof I'm even doing it? What if my child fails? That means I obviously can't teach them!

And so it goes. 

But wait there is more.

How goes incorporating field trips? Co-op meetings? Karate? Piano lessons? Wait. My kid is supposed to be doing those things? Oh man! 

Eeeek! My house is a disaster. My laundry is behind by a week. Is that mold in my fridge? Why do these children keep wanting to eat? ARGH! I missed Susie's dentist appointment! Where is my checkbook? Is that bill due already?

How goes your feeling of being overwhelmed?

"Honey, I'm home!" What? Already? You want me to come spend time with you? But I need to catch up on the housework, pay the bills, cook dinner, grade Billy's test, lesson plan for tomorrow, reschedule Susie's appointment, print off this labook, and...and...I just can't do it all! 


Repeat after me. 
It's OKAY to feel overwhelmed. 

You have undertaken a major job. You are now more than a parent. A spouse. A friend. You are a teacher. Do you think public school teachers never feel overwhelmed? They have 20+ kids to worry about! Yes it's different, of course it is. Yet, they know what it's like to have to make time to lesson plan. To make time to grade papers. To make time to figure out art projects. To figure out how on earth they are going to work in a paper mache volcano for science. And if married with children, they to have to balance it all while THEY are a spouse and parent--just like you.

Being a teacher is exhausting. Being a teacher trying to swim upstream while everyone else is going downriver and throwing rocks in your path for you to deal with? Yeah that's hard. 

But you can do it. 
Give yourself grace to make mistakes. Give yourself grace to have those breakdowns. Give yourself grace to have to take a "teacher in-service" day because you desperately need to clean up your house. Give yourself grace to when you lose it on your child. Give yourself grace for feeding everyone PB&J and water because the cupboard is bare.

Let yourself know that it's okay to feel overwhelmed. And then move forward. Talk to God about it. Talk to your spouse and friends about it. Ask for help. (No that isn't an admission of failure.) Make changes. Be flexible in what you do. Remember WHY you chose to homeschool in the first place. Are you still meeting that vision? Bring yourself back into focus. Remember that you knew it was going to be hard, but chose to do it anyway. Surround yourself with homeschooling friends--or just super supporting ones. Eat some chocolate. Drink another cup of coffee. Cancel school for the day and go to the park. 

We all get overwhelmed about homeschooling. Or maybe we are overwhelmed because of everything ELSE that we have to do while we are homeschooling. 

You know what?
Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. 
It's going to be okay.

If you want a good read about trying to balance everything without being overwhelmed, I strongly recommend the book Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate. I reviewed Flourish a couple years ago and it was eye opening and shockingly revealing. She really addresses this feeling of being overwhelmed and gives you some GREAT advice about changes you can make to bring balance into your life.
This week's blog hop is brought to you by the team at Schoolhouse Review Crew! We have come together to give you a whole week of posts under the umbrella topic of Tips for Homeschool Parents. The door is wide open on what each blogger is going to share, so make sure you visit the anchor post to find who else is blogging! I'm sure you are going to find some awesome posts and I am looking forward to exploring them myself!

Here are a few of the bloggers participating in our blog hop this week--maybe you could start with them!

Dawn @ Double O Farms 

Want to read some of my previous years 5 Days Of series? Here they are for your viewing pleasure!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will continue to stop in throughout the course of the week as we continue to explore this great theme and learn new tips to help each other on the homeschool adventure we are on!
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