Homeschooling is both fun (most of the time) and rewarding. I don’t know that there are very many things more fulfilling than watching your child develop not only a love of learning, but their own passions and interests. When you homeschool, you have the added pleasure of knowing that you played a major role in that.
However, homeschooling also comes with challenges – ones that are shared by many as well as some that are more unique. Having a few essential things can help to mitigate these challenges so that you can homeschool your children successfully.
10 Things Homeschool Moms Need to Succeed
A Support System of Homeschoolers
Having the support and encouragement of other homeschoolers (both ones who are at the same level as you and those who have been homeschooling for far longer) is invaluable. Being connected with people who know what you are going through (either because they are going through it as well OR have already survived it) is sometimes the one thing that keeps you going when the going gets tough. It’s also helpful to always have people to turn to who will be willing to give you advice and lead you to answers that you may otherwise not have found. If there is a local homeschool community, I highly recommend that you become involved. Join in on group playdates. Enroll in homeschool co-ops. The sooner you realize that we don’t have to do this alone, the better. As an introvert living in a rural area, I know this isn’t always easy. I’m fortunate to have found both local support and online support. The online support in particular has been invaluable to me!
Support from Family and Friends
I know that this may seem like it could have been lumped in with the first tip. However, think back to when a random person said they thought what you were doing was cool and then compare that to when a loved one said the exact same thing. More than likely, it felt more meaningful coming from family. As much as we may value and appreciate strangers expressing their positive opinions about us, we crave that from our family and friends. Having their support and encouragement can make all the difference in the world – especially if they become actively involved with helping. Keep an eye out for those loved ones who have an open mind and heart about your homeschool journey and cherish them.
I do think it’s important to note at this point — don’t base your decisions to homeschool on what others think. If you (and your spouse) have decided together that homeschooling is best for your family, don’t let friends and family stop you! You will be able to find support somewhere, even if it’s online as I mentioned earlier. I know it’s a bit more challenging when friends and family don’t understand your decision, but the important thing is to stand your ground.
A Willingness to Learn
Although homeschoolers don’t need to have any formal education to be successful, I don’t know a SINGLE successful homeschooler who didn’t pursue some type of education. Whether they learn from more experienced homeschoolers, read books, listen to podcasts, attend homeschool conferences, watch videos, or even take online courses, successful homeschoolers know that it’s important to learn. It would be sort of ironic if they didn’t, don’t you think? Our kids are not the only ones who learn during this process.
A Willingness to Experiment
In addition to a willingness to learn you need to be willing to experiment. If one teaching style is falling flat, try another one. If one routine is leading to burnout for everyone involved, come up with a new routine. If the curriculum you invested in this year isn’t the right fit, browse around until you find the one that does. Homeschooling, just like life, is largely a process of trial and error. I don’t think I know anyone who got it all right from the very beginning. We’ve all had to keep an open mind and try out a bunch of things before finding our groove.
As you can see from the previous two tips, you are going to need to practice your research skills. Whether you are looking up learning styles to determine how best to teach your children, trying to figure out which homeschool method will work best for your family or looking for a curriculum that will make the learning (and teaching) process enjoyable, knowing how to find information and resources is going to be an invaluable skill set.
A Willingness to Ask For (Or Accept) Help
I know that I’ve sort of beat you over the head with the idea that you should not feel like you are alone in your homeschool journey. But, you know what, I’m going to keep it going, because this is so important. Sometimes we believe that to FEEL successful in some pursuit (not just homeschooling), we should be 100% independent. Like a petulant toddler, we are determined that “I can do it myself!” While being resourceful and independent are great qualities, it’s also a great quality to know when getting a bit of help would be beneficial. There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about getting help. In fact, it can be SMART. Getting assistance from others can help you achieve your goals faster and more effectively. So, if there is someone who genuinely wants to help you (without taking over of course), my advice is to let them. If you want to set some ground rules for that “help,” feel free to do so, but don’t turn down something you really need just because you feel like you must go it alone.
The Ability to Say No
Another useful skill is being able to say no. If someone’s “help” feels like it will just be stressful, saying “no” isn’t the worst thing in the world. If someone asks you to become involved in something that you know is going to take up more time and energy than you can afford to spare, saying no is probably the best thing for your family. I quickly found that saying yes to everything is the fastest way to homeschool (or life) burnout. Manage the things on your plate by only saying yes to things that serve you positively or that you can take on without any negative consequences. The more you say no to the things you don’t want/need to do, the more you can yes to the things you do. And that is a good thing.
A Sense of Perspective
Sometimes, we all need to take a step back and see things from a different perspective. That can be the difference between thriving in a situation or completely crashing and burning. For example, if you are dead-set on doing things a certain way but sense that your children hate it, rather than just pushing through and hoping they eventually get on board, it can be helpful to look at the situation objectively. Removing your needs and desires from the picture can help you to see if maybe there is a better way to go about things. If you find it difficult to view things from an objective point of view, try asking someone whose opinion you value (who can be more objective) their take on the situation. You may find that they can give you a much-needed fresh look that helps you make a decision.
Finally, we all need a break! Homeschool burnout is real. But it is also avoidable. Take breaks…often. Have mini vacations. Skip school every now and then. Engage in regular self-care. Taking a break doesn’t mean you are failing. It means that you realize that everyone needs to recharge periodically. So, if you’re feeling tired and like you need to step back for a little bit – do it! The beauty of homeschooling is that our days don’t have to look the same each time. Take a break and come back better than ever!
I feel like these things have been invaluable in making our homeschool journey one filled with joy. Are there any things you feel should be added to the list? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. If you really need a dose of encouragement and inspiration in your homeschool right now, I highly recommend the Start Homeschooling Summit. There are 34 great online workshops to give you the ideas and motivation you need to succeed in your homeschooling adventure! By the way, it’s FREE from February 19-24, 2017!