You know that feeling? The one that hits before you really had time to process it and before you know it, you're in a funk of astronomical proportions. The one where you'd just as soon drop everything and go back to life before homeschooling. The one where you had a small amount of "me time" that happened after the kids got on the school bus. Or perhaps when they went to daycare so you could go to work. I mean, at least at work, you didn't have an infant attached at the breast, gnawing away at the very fibers of your being. That small little light, where If you played your cards right, you might get a hot lunch out of the deal, too. You could go to the bathroom and didn't worry about a tiny hand reaching under the door scaring the bejeezes out of you -- and if you did -- you'd report to HR as soon as you washed your hands, to tell on them!
Regardless of how you got here -- here you are, in all your "hot-mess homeschool glory", trying to keep a smile on your face when you really have a hard time just walking through what used to be your living room, but you've now dubbed "ground zero". Your hair hasn't seen a hot roller or hair dryer in a week and you are almost positive that if given the chance, you could sleep standing up and not fall over. And let's not forget the husband, you know, the man you fell in love with and promised to cherish - he's missing you and telling you all about it. He might even be putting negative thoughts into your mind such as "enroll them in public school" *GASP*!
I've been there. In fact, I just went through it. It started in late March. I brushed it off as end-of-the-year burn-out, knowing that I would push through and feel better when the school year ended. But then a rather dismal blanket of depression settled over me. I was no longer the semi-chipper person I used to be. I didn't worry if the house was tidy. I fought back tears every time I had to leave the house. I was suffering from some heavy emotions and I was certainly not prepared to deal with them. I talked to God, my husband, my friend, I'd journal or blog... Nothing. Nothing seemed to help. The closer it got to summer, the more confused I became. I couldn't understand why I wasn't perking up. After our last homeschool class, I vegged for an entire week. I didn't read anything, do anything, or go anywhere. I literally became a fixture in our home. My husband even began to worry about me, so much so, that he suggested I go to the doctor. But after that week, I began to feel a little lighter. Granted, i wasn't back to my old self yet, and as I posted previously, there is a changing season going on for me (and I don't like it, nope, not one bit). Said change is causing me to feel emotions I haven't felt in a while, and requiring much more sleep than I am accustom to. Truth be told, I'm nearly 40 and working my way through grad school - there isn't a nerve I've not frayed, nor a thought I haven't entertained about why in the devil I am doing all this.
Then it happened.
That faint little smile that happens every time I start to feel like I've been beat. That little lift at the corner of my mouth, whose voice I hear say, "yoo-hoo! Let's chat. You are better than this. You are brighter. You are made for this!". After a little meditation, a double espresso, and two Ghirardelli squares, I started to pen what would later become this post. I began to think about why we chose homeschooling. As I thought, I made notes. I'd reflect on those notes and make more notes. I'd ask myself questions - ponder them - and then find an answer I felt sure in. I'd like to say it was the coffee and chocolate that did it, but I'm sure they were just the fuel to get me thinking. You see, when you are truly born to do something, all it takes is getting your mind back on track to push away every cloud, rainstorm, burden, and worry that fills your mind.
Ditch Your Negative Homeschool Mood in 5 Easy Steps! They worked for me - go on, give them a try!
1. Step back. If you have a designated room in which you homeschool, just step out. Close the door and do not enter for at least 5 days. If you blog for income, take a vacation. It will be there when you return, and chances are, your getting stale and need a break anyway. However, you can't step away from work, at least take the computer to a different room. A change of scenery is vital in keeping you at your best. While I remained dormant and sedentary for an entire week, it would certainly have been healthier to go for an evening walk. Try to exercise if you can (Take it from me, your body will hate you if you don't do something).
2. Pamper yourself. I don't mean go spend tons of money to make yourself feel better for a short amount of time. I mean do the small things which mean the most. Send the kids to their grandparents/cousins/friends (seriously, find someone you trust for a few hours once or twice a week). Getting time away from them at least once a week is not only good for your mind and emotions - trust me - they are probably tired of being around you all day. I know mine were. Our solution: Daddy takes them out for a little bit to give me some much needed quiet-home time. Of course, this is a two-fold task. By you getting some self-attention for a little bit, you can focus on your husband that evening. He'll be happy to see you AND to have your attention.
3. Declutter with Small Tasks. Alright. You've given yourself 5 days and its time to enter the classroom. Before you do, create a list of simple things you can accomplish. It might be something as simple as filing away their recent school work, taking out the trash, clearing off your desk/desktop, or simply changing the wallpaper on your monitor. By making a list of small, very easily achievable tasks, you are: A.) setting small goals in which you can receive immediate satisfaction in completing, and B.) not setting yourself up for failure by diving right back in over your head, when you've only been breathing for minutes. Yes, you are supermom. But even supermom needs a lighter load every now and then. After you have done numerous small tasks (mine had over 50 and included things like sharpening pencils, tossing badly broken crayons, cleaning the white board, tossing old markers, etc.), you can begin to add slightly larger tasks, i.e., paper purging those files, storing away work that has been completed, scanning materials to their digital portfolio (to save storage space in your home), and even starting on those lesson plans for next year.
4. Revamp Your Website/Blog/Planner. When you are feeling the mundane lifestyle creeping in, make a change. Whether it's to your blog, your website, your homeschool planner, etc. Find a way to freshen up those graphics, add a new section to your site, or even design that homeschool planner you've always wanted. By doing this, you are taking back control of some of the elements in your life. With my changing season, I often felt like I had no say over anything. Between curricula telling me what to say, and hormone replacement therapy telling me how I feel, I became lost in a house full of people. Take care of your area - your zen, if you will - in which you spend a great deal of time. This website is the direct result of my mid-season crisis. I've taken some time to get it the way I like it, but not so much time that it is no longer fun. It's right on the border of perfect but flexible.
5. Remember Why. When all is said and done, you'll look back on your life before homeschooling. You'll remember why you chose it. Granted, it might not seem quite as heroic as it did when you first made the leap. But after you make a list of all the things you love about homeschooling and compare and contrast between public school, you'll soon find that little smile sneaking it's way into your life. There is nothing so grand as children. The only thing greater is teaching them.
Alright super mom's. You've had your pity party. You've devoured an entire line of Oreo's (or other deliciously sinful snack), if you are a wine drinker, I bet you've downed
a bottle or two in the last few weeks. Now it's time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and rock that homeschool teacher attitude that you fell in love with when you first started wearing that particular hat. I bet your kids fell in love with it, too. I know mine did.
Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and graduate student. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!