So I know since I write a blog about homeschooling I should't know anything about being an overwhelmed homeschool mom. The truth is I write because I have often found myself engulfed by my current circumstances and discouraged by the journey that is before me. See proof below (And no...I did not stage this table for the sake of this post!):
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Take heart mama! You're not alone. Even the most put together looking homeschooler you know has had days when they didn't know how they'd make it to bedtime even if they won't admit it. They always say that the best defense is a good offence so homeschool mama:A homeschool mom needs a strategy to fight off becoming completely overwhelmed with her job!Click To Tweet
Where to Start when Your Overwhelmed
It's important to isolate what exactly is causing the stress. Is it household chores? How about finances? Have you lost your vision? Have you disconnected from your source of purpose? Once you've identified the problem, you can use the appropriate weapon to fight off discouragement!
If you have kids that are old enough to go to the bathroom on their own, they are so capable to help around the house. The key is not their ability, but your direction. Show your kids how to do simple chores, delegate the jobs off, and then have heaps of grace when the job doesn't get completed like you would do it! It's a start. Without a leader, there will be chaos. God put you in a position to lead, so don't be afraid to take charge.
- The Happy Housewife offers printables for age appropriate chores
There is a season for everything in life. If you were a gourmet cook before kids, maybe you have the skill set to make those kinds of meals happen with kids. You love it, so you don't mind spending the time. For the rest of us, if it didn't come naturally before, don't beat yourself up for not having seven course meals every night for dinner. Get your kids cooking in the kitchen and pull out your crock pot. Take advantage of some easy meals so that you don't have to stress when meal time rolls around and you have nothing planned. Here are some of our family favorites:
Get Help When You Need It
At a recent conference, I found out about an amazing group called the Home School Foundation. Their mission is to help homeschooling families who are experiencing hard times get the resources they need to continue homeschooling. Here are some ways they help:
- assistance for special needs children - helping with supporting therapies, equipment, testing, and specialized materials
- emergency relief to families impacted by temporary financial crisis or natural disasters
- assistance with legal challenges of homeschooling internationally
- financial assistance for widows or single parents
Sometimes you have the dishes, laundry, and house up to speed, but homeschooling still overwhelms you. Here's a couple of things to try:
Do a Vision Check
Vision is vital to health in your homeschool. If you don't know where you're going, your kids will sniff it out and freak out! Sit down with your spouse and come up with a vision for your homeschool. Here are some great articles to read if you feel like you have no idea what your vision is!Where there is no vision, the people perish Proverbs 29:18aClick To Tweet
Teach From Rest
Sometimes your vision is solid, but you've just added too many things to your homeschooling "to-do" that it is impossible to ever not be an overwhelmed homeschool mom. Sarah Mackenzie's book Teaching From Rest has been one of my favorite reads on this subject. When you have a clear direction, and you simplify things to the defined goal, rest will come. My favorite quote from this book is: "Whose well done are you working for?"
Go to a One Room Schoolhouse Model
One way Classical Conversations has helped me not feel so overwhelmed is streamlining my family's education with a one room schoolhouse model. This means I am teaching multiple students the same subject at different levels. Our family does spelling, grammar, geography, read alouds, and Latin together in the early years. I learned this idea from one of my local CC moms, and she's made a great video to demonstrate this concept.
This is really the place where you need to start. If your soul is satisfied, the rest falls into perspective.
There is nothing more overwhelming than trying to do something that God has called you to do in your own strength. The men of the Bible understood this and time and time again they mentioned seeking God early in the morning. Jesus gave us this same example in his life. He sought God early in the morning. There are several great apps that give morning refreshment if you only have a couple of minutes:
Pray for Your Children
God has set you over your little flock as a shepherd. Kids will be unruly, stubborn, and frustrating, but our job is to tend to them with compassion, firmness, and patience. The only way to express fruit that is of the Spirit is to be in close communication with the Spirit. You'll find that praying for your children gives you a glimpse into how God views these little people He's put in your life. When you start to see them as God sees them, and understand that He's still working on all of us, you might feel the lightness of the burden He's placed upon you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)
Phone a Friend
We are called to live in community. When you pick up the phone to call a friend when you're overwhelmed, make sure it is someone who will point you to truth. It's so easy to just commiserate and then when you get off the phone you sometimes feel worse than you did before. Find someone who is quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19).
Take a Walk
Sometimes a simple change of scenery can be enough to put you back on track. I'm amazed at how long I find myself sitting in the same place working through school with my kids. Sometimes you all just need a quick break to breathe in God's grace, run off some extra energy, and be revitalized by nature. It's raining? Take a walk in the rain! Try letting go a little more instead of tightening your grip of control. Just leave your phone at home!
Eat some chocolate!
Sometimes that overwhelming comes simply from how your day plays out. Other times it can be just a bad day of the month. Eat some chocolate, regroup and get back in the game. Maybe you need a weekend with no lesson plans, grading papers, listening to new readers, or making plaster volcanoes. You might love every one of those things, after all you are a homeschooler, but it's okay to rest every now and then.
It is so easy to become an overwhelmed homeschool mom. I've learned to check my symptoms when that feeling arises. Most often it is because I have decided I can do a job only God can do.
What helps you when you start to feel overwhelmed?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.