As a parent, worry, fear, and guilt are common emotions. Their intensity can sometimes be downright frightening. As a homeschooling parent, you may find you’ve exchanged the fears of what your child endures at school, for fears of screwing up your child at home all by yourself. Forgive yourself, dear homeschooling parent.
Heads-up: you’re normal (even if you don’t feel that way).
Whatever your parenting journey looks like, whether you’ve had your child in and out of homeschooling, unschooled for a year, repeated work over a longer time than you expected, you’ll probably come across some things you’ll need to forgive yourself for.
Top 10 things to forgive yourself for as a homeschooling parent:
- Not doing enough (tip: don’t base your expectations on someone else’s life! You are not them. Do what works for YOUR family).
- Not homeschooling sooner.
- Feeling utterly clueless about your child’s obsession with maths, science, chemistry or some other subject that may as well be Greek to you (including real Greek!).
- Not being the parent you want to be – as in, not being patient, calm, cool and collected at all times. (Who does that anyway?)
- Not always being successful at connecting with your child the way you hoped. (Sometimes, all you need to do is give it time, give it a break, and try something else. You are still the most important part of your child’s world, whether they know it or not.)
- Losing the plot some days (even if it may be a tad often) and feeling overwhelmed. You may want to read the post on coping tips here.
- Feeling totally inept. You’re NOT. You’re just having a moment, okay? Everyone’s allowed to have a moment here and there. Just don’t stay there.
- Occasionally feeling like you don’t want to be with your family at all for a few days, even if they’re totally awesome and you love them to bits. EVERYONE has days like this and it doesn’t make you a terrible person, parent or homeschooler. Tip: Give your kids a quiet box, put on a movie, set your kids up in the bath with toys, and get some PEACE and QUIET. Even an hour of it is worth a million bucks to any parent I know. (Am I right, or am I right?)
- Those days where your kids find you crying on the floor. Let them hug you. Kids need to know parents are not superhuman either and they can be more understanding than you think. There’s nothing like a comforting little squeeze from the tiny humans we do all this homeschooling and parenting efforts for. We all need each other.
- For all the things (goals, places, projects, clubs, classes, you name it) you wanted to do and couldn’t get to, pay for, arrange, finish, see, visit, or experience. Adjust your planning, cut things way down. Simplify. Do what you need to do to make it work. Yes, you’ll be disappointed that you can do far less than you thought. So is everyone else, eventually. Screw super productivity. As the gurus say, do less, be more. (Ugh, so darn cheesy but still true!)
Why this is important (cue pep talk)
You’re not perfect. And that’s okay.
Your child learns from your example – how you recover from disappointment, overwhelm, burnout and stress, just as much as they learn from what you do well. Forgive yourself for your weaknesses, as much as you celebrate your strengths.
No point carrying the load of impossible expectations on your back, because they will filter through in your homeschooling relationship with your child – not good.
Forgiving yourself for the things you realise you can’t manage sets you free to figure out what you can manage and how to do that. Nothing like a positive family planning session to reset the picture for everyone involved.
You’re doing better than you think. Don’t evaluate yourself by society’s or social media’s standards of parenting and homeschooling. It doesn’t work that way. You are not other people. Your family’s circumstances and dynamics create something unique and special and while certain common principles apply to everyone, how you work them out may look different.
Give yourself a little break. Put your self-forgiveness in a cup of tea or a bath with Epsom salt, or a nap, even if it’s just a short one. SO many things look better after a nap (the same way your child becomes MUCH better behaved after napping!).
Parents today are facing huge challenges that previous parents never did, and it’s tough. You love your child and you’re doing something incredible, important and valuable.
Call a friend, get some perspective. You’re not alone.
Forgive yourself, dear homeschooling parent. It’s okay. Check out these 10 Probables and take a deep breath:
How do you pick yourself up when you feel frustrated with how you’re handling homeschooling?