Summertime is slowly winding down, because inevitably all good things must come to an end. Soon we will be back in the swing of reading, writing, and arithmetic. I was thinking about my homeschool this morning, and pondering how it has evolved over the last five years. Somewhere along the way we seem to have found our groove, and while the doubts still surface from time to time, they have become less in both frequency and intensity. I wondered what I would tell the me from 5 years ago, if I had it to do all over again. I think I would have one major piece of homeschooling advice.
Let It Go…….
No, I’m not channeling my inner Elsa, but maybe I should just a little. I certainly feel like the message needs to be belted loud enough to break ice. Then maybe I could stop some frantic new homeschooler from making my mistakes. See there are certain things in the homeschooling world that you just have to move past. Here are the top things that I would learn to let go.
1). Let go of the doubt
Doubt is a major player in the homeschool life. We have mom doubts, mixed with education doubts, all tied up with society’s doubts. Did I make the right education decision? Will my kids be massive weirdos because I fail to “socialize” them properly? Am I using the right math curriculum? Is there even a chance that my kids will get into college? I could go on and on and on. Just let them go. Analyze them, address them, but then move on. If not they will hover over you, and threaten to strangle you alive.
2). Let go of appearances
I don’t know what it is with moms, but we are all about the appearances. We have to “appear” to have it all together, all the time. I think the pressure on a homeschool mom is multiplied, mainly because of the microscope of society. Guess what though….no one has it all together. So let’s just stop pretending. See the mom with the children in the matching outfits? The ones with neatly pressed clothes, crawling out of the shiny, clean minivan. I bet she feeds her kids chicken nuggets for dinner. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.
See we all have the same amount of time in a day, we just chose our perfection. For homeschooling moms a large amount of time is spent on our children’s education, while everything else just gets the leftovers. Maybe it’s possible to have a constantly clean house; daily home cooked organic, grass-fed meals; a Charlotte Mason hands-on education; deep soul-wrenching relationships with both your children and your husband; all while maintaining the perfect diet & exercise program. If so, then I haven’t found that type of balance. My gut feeling is that it’s not reality. Pick what’s most important to you, and just learn to live with the rest. Who cares what everyone else thinks.
3). Let go of the clutter
Sometimes you just have to “clean it out,” both mentally and physically. Personally, I don’t function well in a cluttered mess. Curriculum is always a hot area this time of year. I have a hard time functioning with loads of unused curriculum staring at me from the shelf. At the very least, I store it in the attic. If I am never going to use it, I get rid of it. Toys are another big issue here. It’s much simpler to keep up a clean living area without stacks upon stacks of toys everywhere. Sometimes I rotate them in and out of the attic, and other times we donate them. Just let go of the clutter.
4). Let go of the comparisons
This is a BIG one, not only for homeschooling, but just for moms in general. We are constantly on the comparison train. My youngest daughter is going into the 2nd grade, but still REALLY struggles to read. Guess how that plays out when I start to compare? Not well. Sometimes I also feel like “less than” because I’m not the crafty, hands-on mom that I so often see. In the end, my second grader will be just fine. She will learn at HER pace, not someone else’s. My kids have learned to do crafts on their own, because they are creative. Realistically we only see a small fragment of other people’s lives, so more than likely it’s not even an exact comparison. Be who you are, and let everyone else be who they are.
5). Let go of the schedule
Sometimes days (or years) simply don’t go as planned. It’s not a deal breaker. Simply adjust and move on. Maybe a school day is ending in tears and disaster. Who cares what the schedule says, it’s time for a fun day. Maybe you have never, ever been able to complete an entire math curriculum. I would rather have a kid that “gets it” instead of just quickly moving along just to satisfy a schedule. A schedule is a great tool, but it’s just that, a tool. Don’t let it define your life.
So there you go……The top ways I have learned to “Let It Go.” How about you? What would you change if you could start over again? New and need tips to get started? Check out my top tips for new homeschoolers.