Let’s face it, homeschool discouragement is a real thing!
Homeschooling is a 24/7 job that never goes away. No breaks or holidays (your kids go with you! Aaargh!). And sometimes the challenges bring discouragement.
Before we dive into figuring out how to overcome discouragement in homeschooling, let’s talk about where it comes from:
This can be in the form of negative comments or criticism from family and friends, or from societal expectations and norms.
Sometimes people have very strong, very negative opinions on your choice to homeschool and it can be exhausting trying to counteract all that negatvitiy – especially when you may be doubting it all yourself. You start questioning your own decisions.
Let’s face it, even though more people are choosing to homeschool, it still goes against the norm. Swimming upstream can be hard and exhausting.
You recognise your own limitations, doubt your abilities, and fear you are just plain crazy or narrow or fanatical.
Recently, a friend shared with me her challenge with homeschooling:
“My biggest challenge is my perfectionism and accepting my own limitations and my fears – the voices in my head – what about friends? Are we closing doors for their future? Are we really just indoctrinating our kids? Am I just too afraid to have them contaminated by the world and am I holding them back?
I have been asking myself all these questions and tempted to quit because of the voices in my head telling me I am too narrow and fearful.”
Do you relate? I most certainly do!
Homeschooling is not for wimps! You’re carrying a heavy load of responsibility in choosing to educate your kids. You’re up against so much including discipline issues, sickness, learning disabilities and the fact that some days you just don’t feel like it!
There’s nothing like chaos to make you feel discouraged! A cluttered home will make you feel agitated, and having no plan for your day leaves your kids feeling insecure and boundary-less – making them harder to manage.
If your kids have bad attitudes and obedience issues you are bound to feel discouraged. I mean, how can you teach a child if he won’t sit still long enough to do writing practice?
Looking back, I think I experienced every one of these sources of discouragement – so I’m with you!
But let’s not stay in the valley of despair. Let’s move on to some solutions, shall we?
When you look at your circumstances or your own short-comings, you will get discouraged. Lift your eyes beyond the negatives and look at God and His power to help you do what you need to do.
Do as David did when he was distressed: “…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6
God’s word is full of encouragement. Galatians 6:9 became my constant companion:
“Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”
Spending time in prayer and reading God’s word will refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
Sometimes the problem is not discouragement but a lack of willingness to do this hard thing we chose to do, because it’s hard and tiring and thankless.
I learned to surrender my will and as I did this the discouragement lifted and I was able to continue.
Have you written down your reasons for homeschooling? Have you thought about it and got it solid in your head?
One section of the Homeschool Jumpstart Guide that I created will help you to figure out your why so you can resist discouragement when it comes.
Here’s what my friend said about the guide:
“Your HS guide was so helpful to clarify my why in positive terms and not the negative voices that have been swirling around at the periphery of my mind. Sitting down with concrete examples of my WHY has helped a lot.”
If you haven’t yet signed up, do that now and get started figuring out your how’s and why’s.
Stop listening to doubt and discouragement, and surround yourself with positive things.
Read inspirational books and blogs about homeschooling. Find someone to mentor you (I’d love to!). Join a Facebook group or two and get support and encouragement there.
You may be discouraged because you’re bored or tired. You may be focusing too much on academics. Change things up a bit and do something different for a day or a week. Do some hands-on activities or go on a field-trip.
Homeschooling is about educating the whole child – body, mind, and soul. Do an audit and see if your priorities have gotten out of whack.
Homeschooling is intense! Let’s be honest, while homeschooling is definitely worth it, it’s not an easy lifestyle.
Pushing through when you’re tired and discouraged is not always the productive thing to do. Sometimes taking a short break is just the thing to help you regain your focus and enthusiasm.
There’s nothing more discouraging than feeling swamped and pressured on a Monday morning because you’re trying to figure out lesson plans and activities but you should be doing school already!
Ask me, I know. I lived by the seat of my pants far too much and it made homeschooling so much harder! Planning made a huge difference.
Take the time to plan ahead – even if you have to skip school for one day just to do it. Once you’re ahead of yourself (as I call it) you will feel more in control.
Plan your lessons, activities, and meals. Organise your supplies and books. Create a schedule and stick to it.
If you don’t already do this, incorporate a quiet/resting time every day and then use it to rest yourself. This is one of my best tips for surviving homeschooling!
Take time to go outdoors for a few minutes every day – by yourself. If you’re an introvert like me, then this is ESSENTIAL!
Make your quiet time with God a priority. It’s here that you find strength, encouragement and renewal.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you’ve lost your joy it may be because you are comparing yourself to others and feeling like you don’t measure up.
God says, “…but they…comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
Jesus’ advice to Peter when he compared himself to John was, “…what is that to thee? follow thou me.” John 21:22
Seek God’s will for your family and do what He shows you to do.
You will feel what you believe. If you are telling yourself negative things about homeschooling, you will feel discouraged.
Instead of thinking:
One huge source of discouragement may be that your kids simply don’t listen to you, making everything you tackle so much harder!
Pull in the reigns and work on getting your kids to obey you promptly and a lot of stress and frustration will disappear. (Ask me, I know 😉 )
You may be feeling discouraged because you’re doing too much and not getting to all of it. Try cutting back for a while and focus on the basics. Once you have your basics under control add back a few things and see how that goes.
Cutting back on activities may also take the stress levels down a notch. The more you run around the harder it is for kids to settle when they are at home, making homeschooling just that much more challenging.
So, yes, homeschooling is hard and discouraging at times, but with a little planning, some variety, right thinking, support, and God’s help, the discouragement should disappear.
How do you overcome discouragement with being a homeschool parent? Which one of these do you need to implement?