As we start another year of homeschooling, let’s talk about real life. There are going to be bad homeschool days, sooner rather than later, where you wonder what in the world is going on and why you ever thought this was a good idea. Anyway you dice it, raising kids, in general, and homeschooling them, in particular, is hard.
Remember, homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. You won’t win because someone else lost.
You’ll win because you just keep going. And going. And going.
Get back up every single time you think you cannot take it anymore.
Know you have at least one person in your corner who gave you this because He knows you can do it. God. If you don’t have Him, God help you.
I don’t have any magical formula for avoiding bad homeschool days, short of hypnotizing the kids or myself. It’s tempting, but not advisable.
I don’t have any sure-fire cure for bad attitudes, laziness, or brain farts. Sadly, they are unavoidable.
I don’t have a secret for painlessly teaching fractions, sentence structure, or spelling. Especially spelling. Everybody has their kryptonite.
I don’t have a perfect schedule that gets everything done in a day. My to-do list has a lot of past-dues on it.
I don’t have a crystal ball that sees into the future to tell me everything will be all peachy-keen tomorrow or the day after. There are no guarantees. If life is a rose garden, don’t forget there are thorns, too.
If one thing goes wrong, five more will follow. Not being fatalistic, just telling it like it happens.
After all that bad news, let me tell you a little good news.
It would not necessarily be any better if you did it differently. The grass might be greener on the other side because their sewer is leaking; they’re spending a fortune on yard maintenance; or they painted the dirt and planted plastic flowers.
Here is what I do know, in no particular order:
- Coffee helps. A lot.
- A good diet helps even more.
- Adequate sleep is more precious than gold.
- Exercise boosts the oxygen to your thick brain and theirs.
- Smoke breaks. Not the tobacco kind; the letting-off-steam kind.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Use it often and liberally.
- Change it if it’s broke.
- Leave it alone if it ain’t.
- Take the high road in conflicts. Then, lock yourself in the bathroom and cry, bang your head against the wall, text your husband, whatever helps.
- Prayer. Use it more often and more liberally than laughter. Rant and rave all you want. When you’re done; the kids won’t even know you were mad. Except for the dent in the wall.
- Deep breathing exercises aren’t just for childbirth.
- Smile when you feel like crying.
- Speak softly when you want to scream.
- Learn to count to 100, at least, before responding.
- Pick your friends and activities wisely. All open doors do not have welcome mats.
- Schedule down-time and know when to step back. Even God rested on the seventh day.
- Be grateful for what you do have. Stop whining about what you don’t. You’d be surprised how little you actually need when you shift your focus.
- Step outside your comfort zone. You’ll see how small your box was.
- Realize you’re not perfect, and no one else is, either.
- Do your best. Then do it again.
- Don’t get wrapped around the axle over everything. Let go.
- When you’re overwhelmed, schedule the important stuff, like showers and meals and a few basic subjects. Let the rest go for a day or two.
- Love your kids.
- Love your husband.
- Love God.
Come to think of it. This is good advice for just life. Remember, homeschooling is an extension of life. Not the other way around. Bad homeschool days are no worse than bad hair days. They happen from time to time, but they’re not fatal.