Choosing to educate your children at home can be a rewarding yet daunting and challenging experience. Homeschooling is not easy, but it IS worth it. Are you a homeschooling momma (or papa) who feels stuck in a rut? Maybe you’re kids are feeling bored. Perhaps you feel worried, stressed or overwhelmed. Have life circumstances sparked unexpected but necessary changes in your daily schoolwork routine? Are you thinking ahead to next year’s homeschooling ideas, but instead of feeling joy and excitement, you feel STUCK?
First, I’m here to tell you that you’re definitely not alone in your struggle. I promise. Next, I also want to remind you that most challenges, problems and crises are temporary. It’s not uncommon to get stuck in a rut along the way in your homeschooling journey. Think of it sort of like writer’s block. Whether you’re new to the homeschooling lifestyle or have been at it for decades, there are several things you can do to re-energize your spirit when the going gets tough.
Make self-care part of your homeschooling ideas
Homeschooling is, indeed, a lifestyle. As a mother (or father) who educates children at home, you understand that your kids are always learning. It’s not just about textbooks or quizzes and assignments. Homeschooling is about life. Setting structured schoolwork aside to take a break when you feel stuck in a rut is FINE. In fact, your kids would still be okay if you took a week off or a month or a YEAR! Trust me when I say that it is perfectly alright for you to set aside a day for so me time alone.
Perhaps you have a family member or trusted friend who can stay with your children while take a ‘self-care day’ alone. It’s up to you how to spend that time. You might want to think about homeschooling ideas and work through all the issues that have been swirling around in your mind. Then again, you might want to make a pact with yourself, promising NOT to thing about homeschooling on your self-care day. Either way is perfect, as long as it’s what you want. Just take time to clear your head, nurture your mind, body and soul, and step away from the rigors of learning for a little while.
Create a random adventure jar for fun homeschooling ideas
There’s no such thing as a job or vocation that doesn’t have its own downsides or challenges. Why are homeschooling mommas always beating themselves up if they feel stuck in a rut? It’s part of the journey! A fun way to re-energize your spirit is to brainstorm with your kids for ideas to fill up a “random adventure day” jar. You can either set an expense limit and include things that cost money or make it a rule that activity ideas in the jar have to be free. When you feel down in the dumps, overwhelmed or stressed, call it a “random adventure jar” day. Let someone draw out a slip of paper and, instead of doing school lessons that day, do whatever’s on the paper!
Examples of ideas you might put in your random adventure day jar are things like:
- Build a tent in the backyard the old-fashioned way and spend the day in it playing games, reading stories and taking naps.
- Take a walking tour or your community. (Pack a picnic lunch to eat along the way!)
- Move all the furniture out of the way, make homemade pizzas and have a dance party! (Invite friends if you like!)
- Build impromptu obstacle course outside and have a family workout day!
- Play interactive games using cool cell phone apps like “heads up”.
- Spend a day looking at old photos and school time to memories to remind yourself just how much you’ve accomplished and shared.
Get creative and fill your random adventure day jar with lots of ideas that you can keep on hand to change pace and rejuvenate your spirit, as needed!
Have a family homeschooling meeting and GET REAL
Sometimes, there’s a specific issue or problem that is causing you to be stuck in a rut. It’s not always easy to admit there’s a problem. It is especially not always easy to admit when we’ve dropped the ball, but it’s necessary. However, it’s really necessary to be honest about what’s working well and what’s NOT working in your homeschooling journey.
When you feel a need to re-energize your spirit, it’s helpful to set aside time for a fameily meeting. Make it a special time, perhaps with festive snacks or a meal. You can also have your meeting at a park or in your own yard so that everyone feels relaxed and comfortable. The purpose of the meeting is to share ideas and discuss what is or isn’t working in an open, honest manner. emr
Life is a series of changing events. Every family member has unique needs and a unique personality. It’s OKAY if you need to make changes, whether it’s with curriculum, style of learning or another family issue, such as chores or extra curricular activities. Also, what works well for one family member might not work at all for another. Therefore, there needs to be a balance in your daily life so that each person’s needs are met. It’s part of the beauty of homescooling that you can adapt your learning and lifestyle as needed, so that every child has an opportunity to achieve his or her full potential. A family meeting gives every person a voice to share homeschooling ideas. You might just find that making a subtle change here or there is all you need to get out of a rut and re-energize your spirit.
Pray in a specific way for homeschooling joy and success
As a Christian, my own homeschooling journey is always formed from this perspective. If God has called you to homeschool your children, He will provide all the grace, mercy and assistance you need to succeed! One of my favorite quotes from an anonymous author is this: God doesn’t call the qualified but rather, qualifies those He calls.
I believe this with all my heart, especially with regard to the homeschooling lifestyle!
If you feel stuck in a rut, talk to God about it. Let it all out. Lay your burdens at His feet. When you’re mindful of God’s presence in your family life, the very act of homeschooling becomes a prayer. Does that mean you’ll never have a bad day, week, month or year? Absolutely not, but having a bad day doesn’t make you a bad parent and doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be homeschooling your children!
Key takeaways to re-engergize your spirit when you’re stuck in a homeschooling rut
There’s no secret, perfect solution to help you get out of a rut when you’ve lost your homeschooling joy. Keeping these tips in mind, however, might be enough to help you forge ahead and raise your spirits when you’re feeling down:
- Make time for self-care.
- Enjoy lots of play time with your kids.
- Be honest about what’s working and what isn’t.
- Talk about problem issues and possible ways to help improve a difficult situation.
- Reach out for support as needed!
- Pray in a very specific, intentional way.
- Set school work aside and take a break when you feel overwhelmed.
- Don’t be afraid of change, whether it’s curriculum, learning style, daily schedule, family life, etc. Change whatever you need to change to help restore joy.
As you think of ways to get out of rut, keep in mind that the people you associate with have a significant impact and influence on your homeschooling journey. Do you spend time with other homeschooling moms who are joyful in their vocation or are you surrounded by mommas who complain a lot? Do you have friends who are not homeschooling parents? This can be helpful because you can learn from and be inspired by each others’ experiences.
What advice would you give to a homeschooling momma (or dad) who is stuck in a rut?