I have a good friend who is homeschooling her daughter for the first time this year. Now that she’s a few months into the school year, the newness of homeschooling is beginning to wear off and she’s starting to feel overwhelmed with the task ahead of her.
I totally get it.
And it’s not just homeschool stress that makes me feel overwhelmed – sometimes it’s just life in general. Finances. Laundry. Appointments. Busyness. GAH.
When I was a brand spanking new homeschooling mom, it didn’t take me long to become influenced by the good intentions of more experienced homeschoolers. I heard so many comments like,
“You should try XYZ math curriculum.”
“THIS is the best program to use for phonics.”
“You should sign your kids up for these classes at the Y.”
It seemed like someone was offering advice every time I turned around. Don’t get me wrong – a lot of it was solid advice, offered with good intentions. But it didn’t take me long to become completely overwhelmed by all the information.
What I had to discern for myself and my kids was what would be good FOR US.
Every family is different. That’s why homeschooling is so great – we each have the freedom to do what’s best for our families, right? There’s no one-size-fits-all option when it comes to homeschooling.
So how do we sort through all the info and keep moving forward when we feel so overwhelmed?
Tips for the overwhelmed homeschool mom
1. DECIDE what’s most important and stick to it.
I learned early on that I needed a plan for our homeschool. What are our goals in homeschooling? What are the essentials and what can we go easy on?
I penciled it out. At our house, we want to raise kids who have strong faith and character, who are independent thinkers, and who grow up to be world changers.
So those goals are what I base our homeschool decisions on.
Having a clear vision for our home and homeschool gives me “permission” to pass on things that don’t jive with us.
2. TRUST YOUR GUT.
Listen. I love doing research. I love seeing what other homeschoolers are doing and what materials (and BOOKS!) they’re using. The problem comes when I try to fit what they’re doing (and spending) into our homeschooling (and budget). Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
And if I’m honest with myself, I can usually tell from the beginning if something will be a good fit for our family. I need to trust my instincts.
If you love a math program and feel in your gut that it’s the best fit for your kids, use it – even if your fellow homeschoolers tried it and didn’t like it. You know your peeps. You know what they need and how they think and what will work. Trust your gut in making those decisions. It’s ok to go against the flow.
3. HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH. OWN YOUR HOMESCHOOL CHOICES.
Here’s a secret no one told me when I began homeschooling:
Homeschool moms, we don’t have to justify or defend our choices.
Here’s how I handle conversations that cause me to feel as though I have to defend our educational decisions: I keep my answer simple and change the subject. For instance, if I’m being questioned about our homeschooling by a person I know is going to give unwanted advice, I simply say “Homeschooling is going well for us. Do you have vacation plans for the holidays?” Smile and move on.
Don’t get sucked in to conversations that aren’t productive. Those conversations have often left me second-guessing my decisions and leave me feeling unsure and discontent. Nobody needs that.
You know what you’re doing, mama. Own it!
4. PRAY FOR WISDOM.
Last year my outgoing daughter started experiencing some really intense emotions that were hard for her to manage. She started feeling very overwhelmed in social situations. I didn’t quite know how to help her.
As I was praying for wisdom in how to best guide her through this, I could feel the Holy Spirit telling me to just STOP. STOP going to co-op. STOP planning outings. STOP pushing her into social situations. Stay home and love on her every day. Help her learn to be secure in who she is, and make sure she knows that Jesus loves her even more than we do. Give her permission to withdraw and regroup.
That was hard for me. I felt pressure to keep going to co-op, because “that’s what homeschoolers are supposed to do.” I felt eliminating co-op would be a huge void in our lives.
But you know what? I decided to obey that still, small voice in my heart. We stopped going to co-op and we still haven’t returned. I haven’t felt led to go back yet, so for now we’re sitting it out.
Don’t kid yourself – some days I’m tempted to jump right back into all the social things. The fear of missing out is real, mamas.
The hard truth for me to admit is that I would have been wrong if I’d kept pushing our daughter to attend all the social things. Slowing down has been exactly what she needed.
So I’m trusting Him and His timing. God is showing me that He’ll guide us through this homeschool journey – IF I let go of control, ask for wisdom, and trust Him.
Philippians 4:5-7 New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we pray and follow His leading, we find peace.
Homeschool on, mama. You got this.
BOOKS FOR OVERWHELMED HOMESCHOOL MOMS:
If you’re looking for a good book to help with homeschool overwhelm, I can help with that! 🙂 I own both of these and read them at least once a year.
- Unhurried Homeschooler, Durenda Wilson
- Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace, Sarah MacKenzie
You can also check out my Recommended Reads for more great homeschooling books.