Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your homeschool? (Okay, you can stop laughing now-silly question, right?) If you are like most, if not all homeschoolers, then this post on dealing with homeschool overwhelm is for you!
The sense of feeling overwhelmed is indeed a true struggle for many homeschoolers. When you take a close look at a homeschooler's day, it is easy to see why. Typical home management tasks are compounded with the responsibility of educating children-and often with no break! (Am I the only homeschooler who sometimes dreams of having a commute so I could chill and jam to my favorite tunes?)
Let's first take a gander at common causes or reactions to feeling overwhelmed in homeschool. Many of these causes and reactions are struggles themselves and will be addressed in future posts. We will also look at helpful tips and tricks for eliminating overwhelm for homeschoolers.
Causes For Feeling Overwhelmed In Your Homeschool
- Responsibility--Homeschoolers take on a tremendous amount of responsibility. To-do lists seem to spawn new to-do lists. Appointments and activities are mixed in with making sure our kids receive the education that they need.
- Stress--Homeschooling is such a blessing, but it is taxing! We can quickly become drained mentally, physically, and psychologically.
- Anxiety--We question if we are doing the right thing. We worry about our abilities to properly educate our own children. We fret over if our kids are getting all that they should academically and socially.
- Anger--Believe it or not, homeschoolers are not all as patient as saints! We snap at our kids. We get frustrated when we watch our perfectly planned lessons flop. We even raise our voices (yes, yell!) at our children. For a variety of reasons, we get angry from (or leading to) feeling overwhelmed.
- Depression--Loneliness might creep in. As much as we love our children and can feel like someone is constantly touching us or within 2 inches, we may still feel lonely. Or perhaps we had different thoughts about how our life was going to be and feel disenchanted? Maybe we are disappointed in ourselves as teachers or our kids as students?
- Multiple Children--Teaching a few kids at a time can be rewarding for all, yet quite challenging to balance. Tending to toddlers while teaching teens can feel like you are in a tailspin.
- Time Management--Homeschooling rocks because it can be flexible. Sometimes too flexible! It is easy to say, "Oh, we will have plenty of time for that later-or tomorrow-or next year!" Also, schedules or routines are often recommended but hard to establish-or not a good fit for a family.
- Financial--Curriculum and supplies often come with pesky price tags. Many homeschool families live on one income and feel its strain.
There are many other potential reasons for, or reactions to, the sense of overwhelm in homeschool. Please do not think that just because your overwhelm is due to something else (like teaching a special needs child) that it is not really there or justifiable.
Jumping on my psychology soapbox for a minute: YOUR feeling or thought about a situation, person, or event is just that-YOURS. You have every right to YOUR reaction. Do not for one second feel bad or upset that your reaction is what it is. You are an accumulation of genetic plus experiences that combine to make you. It is important to recognize, accept, and act.
An issue may arise, however, when you do not accept nor approve your reaction. A whole whirlwind of thoughts and feelings may ensue and it's off to the races of homeschool struggles!
What To Do When Feeling Overwhelmed In Your Homeschool
- Take A Break-Allow yourself 5 minutes, an hour, a day, or a week. Give yourself permission to rest and rejuvenate. Use this down time to take care of your overall health-and think about ways to reduce your overwhelm. (This can be so hard for many of us homeschoolers to do! If it helps, I give you permission!)
- Refocus--It may be time for your homeschool to shift gears. Using a boxed curriculum? Consider taking a lighter approach for a bit-or even working outside of the box. Maybe a specific subject just feels like too much? Drop it for a bit or do a much lighter version. Everyone will be okay and still learn all that they need to-I promise!
- Fun--Tell a joke. Laugh. Get out a board game or puzzle. Go outside and play. Put on a puppet show. The list of fun ideas is endless. Julie Bogart of Brave Writer has some excellent tips on her site and in her scopes on creative ways to have learning fun.
- Pray--Pause and take time to ask God for help. Turn it all over to Him. Pray for love, guidance, and support.
- Ask For Help--It is okay to ask for help. You are not weak. You are not incapable. You are merely a human being doing there very best. No one person can do it all. Talk to friends, families, and professionals (like homeschool mentors or consultants).
- Seek Support--Look for and join local homeschool co-ops. Discuss your sense of overwhelm in your homeschool.
- Look At Your Approach; How are you looking at the situation or person? What are you telling yourself? If your approach is unhealthy or negative, what can you change about it to help?
It is okay if you are feeling overwhelmed in your homeschool. In fact, it is very normal. The important thing is recognizing this overwhelm and taking steps to overcome it.
Let's continue to uplift and support each other in our homeschool adventures!
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Other posts in this series include: