Whether you’re new to homeschooling, or you’ve been doing it for years, it can be overwhelming. Overseeing our child’s education when we’re used to someone else taking on that role can feel like a lot of pressure. This is normal! You’re taking on a whole new set of responsibilities. Learning how to deal with this pressure is just as important as learning how to properly educate your children. Northgate Academy has created a short guide for parents dealing with the stress that comes from homeschooling.
It’s OK to Make Mistakes
You may be starting your homeschool experience as a beginner: overwhelmed and wondering if you can do it. Ensuring that you’re teaching your kids everything they need to learn can be challenging, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. Try to remind yourself, “Even experienced homeschoolers who have been doing this for years don’t have all the answers.” No matter how long you’ve been homeschooling, you’ll encounter bumps in the road and obstacles to overcome.
Don’t Shoot for A Full Day Schedule
If your children are doing their classes from home, it would make sense to maintain the same schedule they had in school, right? Not necessarily. Keep in mind, in school, your child was one of two or more dozen children being taught simultaneously. When you homeschool, your child is going to get way more one on one attention than if they were in a traditional school setting.
On top of that, a lot of time at school is spent doing things unrelated to academics. Things like recess, lunch breaks, and time between classes reduce how much time is actually spent learning. School schedules are not efficient because managing a large number of students inevitably creates complications.
When you homeschool, you can set the schedule up in a way that works for you and your child. In fact, with more quality time spent actually learning, it’s likely that you’ll be able to cut down significantly on how long your children spend “in school”. Some families might find that two straight hours of concentrated, supervised work and then an hour of independent work first thing in the morning can work best. Others may find that they prefer to do an hour of work in the morning and then two hours after lunch. Figure out what kind of schedule works best for you and your children!
It’s Ok to Make Changes
Learning to balance your child’s education, along with the rest of your life can be challenging. It may be a bit of a balancing act, in the beginning, to figure out what works best for everyone. Even if you do figure it out, things sometimes change, and it’s ok for your educational routine to change as well. This is one area where you don’t have to be so rigid with your expectations or schedule. Flexibility is one of the biggest benefits of choosing to homeschool.
If it feels like you’re fighting an uphill battle or your children just won’t settle down, try something new. Many children find that they don’t have as much trouble sitting still after they’ve done some physical activity. Try an hour at the park or a family walk before sitting down for schoolwork, and you might see a big difference!
Your Best Is Good Enough
Above, we talked about finding balance. Sometimes, however, there simply isn’t a right answer. For example, if you must work a full day on top of teaching your children, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. Accepting that your best is good enough will go a long way towards helping reduce your stress levels. Teaching your children on a non-traditional schedule is OK if that’s all that the situation allows.
Destress Together & Alone
Finding ways to relieve and reduce your stress is essential. Days spent teaching your children subjects that you may not fully understand can be exhausting, especially when you have to play parent and teacher at the same time—finding ways to destress as a family is more important than ever when you’re homeschooling. Ride bikes, go to the park or enjoy a family movie night to reconnect after a challenging day.
Lastly, don’t forget about yourself! Parenting is hard, and so is being a teacher. Combining the two can be a headache. Take a break once in a while and do something nice for yourself to make sure the stress doesn’t get to you. This can be as simple as giving yourself 30 minutes after dinner to read a book or listen to music. Whatever you do, it’s important to make sure you find ways to effectively manage your stress levels.