Homeschool of Shame

Homeschool of Shame | 8 Things I No Longer Do

There are many wonderful things we do at our homeschool that I’m always eager to share. Now, it’s time to share what we don’t do that many moms think we probably should. Up until very recently, I used to do ALL these things as religiously as possible. These days, I’m becoming more aware of what works best for my family. That means doing away with some practices I’ve forced on our family for so long.

I’m not suggesting you stop doing the things I’m about to mention. My hope for this post is to inspire homeschool parents to get rid of what’s not working and do what suits their family instead. Here are eight things I no longer do now that I’m in my third year of homeschool.

 

1. Wake up before my kids:

That’s right. I no longer make it a priority to wake up before my kids. That’s not to say some days (like today) I don’t, but these days I refuse to punish myself for not living up to the unsaid expectations of stay-at-home moms. I’m a night owl by nature and often forced myself to turn-in early to awaken before sunrise. Not only is it extremely difficult to fall asleep before midnight, but late nights are often when I’m most productive. My body would rather work until 2am and awaken at eight in the morning than go to sleep at 11pm and awaken at five in the morning to get work done. I’m learning to accept it.

 

2. Morning devotionals:

Nope. I typically do my devotionals at night and my declarations in the morning. It just feels right. I like to do my declarations as soon as I open my eyes. This includes thanking God and declaring some truth over my life according to scripture. Declarations are not just a morning thing, they are something I speak whenever I start to fall into negative thinking. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s becoming more of a habit with each day. Here are some examples:

I. Negative thought: Replaying failures in your mind.

Declarations: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). I will focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

II. Negative thought: Comparing yourself to others.

Declarations: I will examine only myself and be proud of my own accomplishments without comparing myself to others (Gal. 6:4-5). I refuse to let envy destroy me, but I choose to have a peaceful heart that gives me life (1 Cor. 3:3).

III. Negative thought: Feeling angry or frustrated.

Declarations: Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

IV. Negative thought: Worry and fear.

Declarations: I refuse to worry about my life. I know that God will provide everything I need (Mat. 6:25-34). God did not give me the spirit of fear but His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

 

3. Read about homeschool:

I noticed the more I read about homeschool, the more I compared myself to those seemingly perfect veterans. I stopped making a habit of this. I guard myself by limiting my exposure to any triggers. When I find myself falling back into the negative thought-pattern of comparison, I arm myself with some of the declarations I mentioned in my second point. I’d like to remind you that your homeschool is unique to your family. You don’t have to do it like everyone else!

 

4. Mimic the traditional classroom:

My teaching method once very much mirrored that of the traditional classroom because that’s all I knew. These days, we learn side-by-side wherever we are comfortable. That can be the couch, dining room table, the library, or outdoors. We LOVE our classroom setup, but we aren’t bound by it. Truthfully, we get tired of being in there by the third quarter.

 

5. Plan enrichment activities:

I’m sorry for those of you who followed me for the awesome enrichment activities. I simply don’t plan them much because I don’t have to. These days, most enrichment activities we do are those our curriculum suggests. If I happen to think of something extra fun, I’ll execute that idea. Other than that, I simply can’t be bothered. I now have several side projects that consume the bulk of the free time I once administered to being crafty. In the end, I realized I was only creating more unnecessary work for myself.

 

6. Follow the curriculum verbatim:

I’m more interested in staying true to our homeschool vision than applying ineffective aspects of a curriculum. I’ve seen some moms suffer through a curriculum for the sake of completion. Not at our house. If it doesn’t work, I don’t force it. I recently had to do away with the entire third quarter of my son’s reading curriculum because they assigned reading he simply couldn’t relate to. Forcing him to understand medieval language became counter-productive. Instead, I assigned reading he could enjoy and required him to write summaries of the assigned chapters. Yes, there’ll be some things in his curriculum he MUST do, but I decided the originally assigned reading was not one of them.

 

7. Get dressed every day:

If we don’t have plans for the day, we don’t accumulate laundry. That’s that. I figured it was more important to be resourceful than picture-perfect. So yea, you may have noticed on Instagram that my kids are sometimes wearing pajamas or “house clothes” in the afternoon. I know there are tons of articles that make compelling cases for getting dressed even if you don’t go anywhere. However, I’m at a place in my life where, if I want to be super productive, my pajamas sure aren’t going to stop me. More importantly, my boys don’t seem any less productive than before. This is not to be confused with self-care, which they are most certainly required to do every day.

 

8. Uphold the perfect homeschool image:

I was trapped by expectations. Not so much on this blog (where I share my not-so-perfect moments), but in my daily life where other homeschool moms gave me a smug look if I mentioned using a free curriculum, not participating in expensive extra-curricular classes, or not vigorously training my then toddler how to read Shakespeare or multiply fractions (slight exaggeration, here). This blog felt like the ONLY place where I could speak freely about homeschooling on a narrow budget and in a way that works for ME. These days, I endure smug looks for the sake of releasing another homeschool parent from the bondage of other people’s expectations.


 

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Kudos to all the homeschool parents that do all of the things I mentioned and it works for YOU. This post is no way saying that these practices aren’t valuable. They just no longer serve our family. Let us know in the comments some things you’ve done away with in your homeschool. See you next week!

Dear Homeschool Mom | You’re Doing Better Than You Think

I looked my fellow homeschool mom in the eye. In the midst of ongoing side conversations, the words she’d just spoken suddenly quieted the room enough for me to reflect on them.

“You’re doing better than you think you are.”

It was her response to my first verbal confession of the doubt that consumed me. Like most homeschool parents, at times I’d wondered if I was doing enough—if I was doing a good job teaching my children. I glanced around the room at all the smiling parents attending the first homeschool meeting of the school year and wondered if their smiles masked similar insecurities. Or were they like me, attending this homeschool meeting hoping that what they learn will make them “better”—more adequate to take on the full responsibility of their child’s education.

“You’re doing better than you think you are.”

The comforting words of my peer followed me all the way home. I pondered on them, letting them marinate, hoping that one day I could receive confirmation that they were true. And then something happened…


“It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure.”


The following morning, my alarm clock rang like it always did. Rather than jumping out of bed I hit the snooze button and lay there. After thanking God for allowing me to see another day, I prayed for strength. I knew by the way that I was feeling that I would need it. It was at this moment that I already felt like a failure. Why didn’t I just jump out of bed with a Mary Poppins attitude and greet the day singing gleefully about my favorite things?

The morning was rather jumbled and I remember stressing out because we didn’t start our first homeschool class on time. After our morning devotional, I found myself trying to read The Tale of Jolly Robin to my children while scarfing down scrambled eggs and lukewarm coffee.

When it was time for my first grader to work on his writing journal, my three-year-old begged me to pull out all of his Ninja Turtle puzzles. Feeling defeated, I walked to the closet and pulled out all seven puzzles from the top shelf before running downstairs to rewarm my coffee. When I saw that both children were occupied, I gave myself a minute to sit down with my cup of coffee and regroup. “Today will be a good day,” I told myself.

I returned to the classroom and my three-year-old begged me to help him put his puzzles together. Still feeling defeated, I sat at the table and began helping him. My first grader saw all the fun we were having and tried to join us. Still freaking out about being behind schedule, I told him he could join us after he finished his journal. He did just that.

The next thing I knew, an hour came and went. My boys and I were so busy enjoying each other’s company that we hadn’t noticed the time. I was tempted to demand that we all get back to work, but my heart told me to “just be.” It was then that I decided to relax.

When we completed our very last puzzle, I relished in the delightful way my boys clapped their little hands and shouted “yay!” I loved how we’d all worked together, the patience they exhibited with one another as they took turns, and the way in which my eldest son taught his little brother how to work the perimeter of the puzzle first.

And then my first grader said this: “Mommy, you’re the best mommy that daddy ever chose. He could’ve chosen any mommy, but he chose you. I’m so glad.”  His sentiments most certainly confirmed for me that I was doing better than I thought I was.


“Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.”


You see, my boys didn’t care that I awakened on the wrong side of the bed that morning. They didn’t care that school didn’t start on time. They didn’t care that we fell behind schedule. And they certainly didn’t care that I wasn’t living up to my expectations of the perfect homeschool mom. Simply hanging out with my children—without an agenda—made me the best mommy ever in their eyes.

It became very clear to me that day that I was “doing better than I thought I was” because my children don’t hold me to the same standards that I hold myself to. That day, my boys learned lessons they won’t find in textbooks; lessons like how important it is to balance work and play, the joy of spending quality time with family, and that schedules are great but it’s okay to be spontaneous.

Of course, we carried on with our curriculum for the remainder of the day, but the atmosphere had shifted. Since I had given my children my undivided attention, they didn’t hesitate to give me theirs. The day was full of laughter and silliness, but also loads of learning. I was then reminded of something else; my goal was to encourage my children to love learning and I was doing just that. Regardless of how they “ranked” next to their peers or how I ranked next to mine, my goal was reached each time my boys exhibited how much fun they were having.

“I was doing better than I thought was.”

I want to pay it forward and pass on the encouragement that my fellow homeschool mom blessed me with—you’re doing better than you think you are. It’s easy to compare ourselves to our ideal mom, but to your children you’re irreplaceable. Rest in that!

What’s the greatest encouragement you’ve ever received? Let us know down below!