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Take The Stress Out Of Your Homeschool

Parental stress can damage your well-being and your child’s development. And as a homeschooling parent, you might feel overwhelmed and stressed when you think about all the things you need to accomplish in a day. So, what are some ways to cope with and overcome the stress you may feel? How can you take the stress out of your homeschool?

The negative impact stress has on your child.

Your child feeds off of how you’re feeling. When you’re feeling stress, nine times out of ten, they will also be feeling some level of stress. Homeschooling has provided many children with the break they desperately need from a stressful school environment. However, when we place more stress on them at home, we reverse the positive impacts homeschooling can have on your child.

Unhealthy and ongoing stress can weaken the architecture of your child’s developing brain, leading to lifelong problems in learning. Homeschooling is a huge commitment, and it can be stressful, but unfortunately, too many homeschooling parents make it even more stressful than it should be. When we are always bringing the stress to the homeschool, our children will begin to associate this negativity and stress with learning and, in extreme cases you.

Three ways you might be bringing unintentional stress to your homeschool.

  1. Expecting perfection. When expecting perfection from your child or yourself, you place unnecessary and unhealthy stress on your child and yourself. If you’re transitioning your child from public school to homeschool or just starting Kindergarten with your child, remember that this transition takes time for both you and your child.
  2. Comparing yourself to others, or comparing your children to other children. It can be extremely easy to compare your homeschool to another parent’s homeschool. Or worse, comparing your child to another child. But see, the issue with comparison is that we will always compare our very worst to someone’s very best.
  3. Trying to finish every book. Do you become obsessed with finishing different subject books before the end of the year? Are you constantly attempting to have your child complete every assignment, every day, without any room for breaks? It’s okay if you don’t finish the entire book, especially if the subject is a reflection of previously-learned concepts like math. There’s a huge chance that when your child begins the next level, the beginning lessons will be a review of what they should’ve learned in the previous level.

Please don’t feel guilty; we all seem to bring unintentional stress to our homeschool from time to time.

Nora has three children and decided to start homeschooling the two older ones during the beginning of the pandemic, but she quickly found that stress was taking over. “I wanted to keep my grade one and Kindergartener safe at home; I thought it would be a piece of cake. But I started struggling right from the get-go. I wanted to be this amazing homeschooling teacher and balance it all. But I found that I was short with my kids when they weren’t doing their homework. Then the baby would start fussing. And the situation turned bad quickly.”

What did Nora do to ease the stress in her homeschool?

“I decided to take it day by day. I stopped trying to get it all done, so when my son, who was in grade one, started to lose focus, we would stop for the day or move to an activity to shift his focus onto something else. I put a lot of pressure on myself at the beginning because I didn’t want to mess up my kid’s education. But I found that I was quickly pulling us all down in my efforts to make our homeschool-like school.”

What can you do to take the stress out of your homeschool?

Find great resources.

There are so many options available to homeschooling families now, so it’s up to you to find the best resources for your family. Most, if not all, homeschooling curriculum providers have free samples available either on their website or upon request. This means that you don’t need to purchase a curriculum and hope for the best blindly. Instead, you can use these samples to see which works best with your family’s homeschool vibe.

Don’t be afraid to switch resources when something isn’t working anymore.

Additionally, don’t forget that switching your learning materials up is ok. You don’t have to commit to one homeschool curriculum from grades 1 to 8. One curriculum that might have been an excellent match for your family one year might not be the best option for your family the next. It’s ok to use other resources, you don’t have to stick to the same one forever.

Allow your homeschool to evolve.

Just like you might find that your family grows out of a specific curriculum, your family may also evolve through different homeschooling styles. And that’s ok! If you started homeschooling with the school at home style but have found that unschooling is more your vibe. It’s ok to evolve, again and again, to meet your family’s learning needs. As our children grow, they’re constantly changing. Finding the best way of learning for them throughout these changes is essential.

Figure out your family’s learning routine.

You don’t have to stick to a specific routine like a traditional school. Your children and family are unique; why should your homeschooling routine not be? A good routine will help keep your homeschool less stressful.

Remember that homeschooling doesn’t take as long as a traditional school.

This is an important thing to remember when taking the stress out of your homeschool. Children in traditional schools spend around six hours each day in school. That doesn’t mean you have to mirror that time commitment because homeschooling is entirely different from conventional school and doesn’t take as long to complete. Children in traditional schools have assemblies, circle time, recess, lunch, breaks and must wait while the teacher attempts to teach a class of 20+ children. Homeschooling is one-on-one, which takes away a considerable chunk of time.

Teach critical social-emotional skills with your core subjects.

Emotional skills are often left out of education; how can a holistic education be without these skills being taught? Our children experience big feelings, and they might not be able to communicate them very well, so it comes out as bad behaviour. If your child is melting down over things that seem small to you, they might be flooding with emotions. First, respond with empathy towards your child, and help them get to a calm place. Then be sure to make learning social-emotional skills a priority.

Check out this Thoughts & Feelings Special Interest Unit for excellent lessons on learning to manage how we think and feel.

Avoid pressuring your child.

We all know that homeschooling isn’t always sunshine and roses, some days, your child might feel stressed from a particular concept they are learning. If you sense that your child feels that stress, don’t pressure them to complete it. Take a break and revisit it another day. While being sure to implement fun activities and give them breaks to process.

Start with what they’re interested in.

Do you usually start your homeschool day with the least favourite subject in an attempt to get it out of the way? Don’t do that! Begin the homeschool day with what your child is highly interested in. This will help take the stress out of your homeschool by setting up a healthy love for learning.

Outsource when needed.

If you’re struggling to teach a particular subject to your child, then consider outsourcing the teaching of this subject through an online class or tutoring platform like Schoolio After-School.

Take care of yourself.

You are doing all the things. Homeschooling, cleaning, cooking and probably working a job also. Doing all of these things can place you at a higher risk of burnout, so make self-care a priority. Schedule it, take time just for yourself, do something you love. And be patient with yourself, because just like your child is learning – so are you.

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