Feeling a bit burnt out? Overwhelmed? Tired? We all go through the ups and downs - It's a part of our rhythm - and it's very healthy and normal. Some days we all feel like pulling out our hair or running and locking ourselves in a room. Don't worry you're not going crazy, you're not going to lose your mind and tomorrow is a brand new day. Fix yourself a cup of tea and savor some of the experiences other home schooling moms and parents have had.
I am so glad I have friends who shared their experiences/thoughts with me. Here are some of them.
Why am I even home schooling?
Sit down and make a quick list of the primary reasons you want to home school. Is it because of academics, desire to nurture a greater creativity than is possible in a public school setting, bullying, inappropriate peer influence, desire to be with your child during all those precious hours and weeks of his youth, desire to have your family be his primary influence when it comes to values, morals, religious faith? Maybe it's one of these, maybe all of them. Maybe you have others. These are all reasons why we decided to home school while my first child was still in the womb.
I know a lovely woman who lives with her two youngest children in a travel trailer in Maine. She is working as a midwife's apprentice and has very little money and certainly less than grand housing. She home schools. She is so determined to raise her children with a well-rounded sense of the world and creativity and self-expression are very important to her, two things that are all too often squashed in public schools. If you can clear a space to sit down and go over materials with your child, if you have a place for him to play and explore with even very basic arts materials and toys and found objects (things from nature), if you have a heartfelt commitment to seeing him grow without the pressures of public academia, then you CAN home school him. But I think that desire must be there. Don't do it because everyone else does it. Home schooling is NOT the best choice for every family.
As for worries about social invalidism, this will happen only if you never expose your children to other children in, for example, home school co-op settings, "extracurriculars" like art classes, dance, music, sports, Scouting, faith-based youth groups, summer camp, or if you keep them locked inside your house all day every day with no exposure to other people period. You're not likely to do that, are you? :o)
No home schooler I know of or have written about (I freelance for a newspaper) has ever been socially retarded. The kids I know have friends, home schooled and other, know their neighbors, clergy, interact in stores and business environments, attend library activities, sports, other types of team or group activities. Many of these are not expensive or are downright free. Their folks haven't a lot of money but the socialization DOES happen.
And for extra support, read everything you can about the success of homeschoolers from all walks of life. There are good magazines out there, some are faith based but a really good one, "Home Education Magazine" is not (if you are not into religion) and has numerous articles about all kinds of families and how they teach their one or many children. It's not expensive and can be ordered online. I just renewed my own subscription.
These publications and books will bolster your courage, at least they do this for me, and the more you read and ask questions, the clearer your path will become. ~Diana
I too have been riding a huge learning curve lately - take the simple realization of "personal rhythms" for example! Most of what I am finding circles back to the celebrations and acknowledgment of the Wheel of the Year. Winter is typically the time Earth rests, and folks stayed inside their homes. Whether this turning in was for evaluation of the past year's efforts and planning for the next year's planting, or the more inward look at personal highs and lows, it was as accepted as the more "productive" times.
There are many wonderful books out there. I got most of mine from Amazon or Ebay.
I've also found other wonderful resources, both online and books. As far as assimilating your family responsibilities into your own rhythms - don't forget to make room for their own particular growth mode. One of our favorite reasons to home school is the ability to adjust to the season, the weather, our passions, opportunity, and our mood. I think it's valid that your children learn respect for each member of the family - let them know how you are feeling and why you think it might be so.
As my home schoolers both have birthdays near the New Year, our school year is January to January. We spend the end of the year in a bit of a "review". Checking where we are, what we learned, if we met goals set out the previous year. The holidays are such a perfectly natural time for us to concentrate on family and community that we give a lot of room to non-academic activities - just spending time with friends and family, volunteering, etc. In current society, it's easy to get into the 24/7 way of doing things. Nature has its ups and downs and we do too! It feels good to honor them. ~Samantha
Taking time to help improve your health
When I am feeling blue, I go back to the list my therapist gave me two years ago. When I'm doing all the things on it, I'm doing OK. It's a self-nurturing list:
1. Get 8-10 hours of sleep a night for at least a week.
2. Drink 8 glasses of water a day.
3. Do yoga or meditate daily.
4. Journal daily, even if it's only, "Today was exhausting!"
I know other people who make two lists: 10 things that they love to do and always feel good doing, and 10 things they may not like while doing it, but feel good about themselves afterwards. Every day, they do at least one item on each list to care for themselves.
Find your center. Care for yourself as much as you care for the rest of your family. Be gentle with yourself. The sun is coming back. Blessings ~Katie