I have been homeschooling for over 6 years and it has been quite an amazing adventure. I have taught them to read, write, and identify colors. We have gone on countless journies through the covers of great books. We have laughed and joked and played and experimented. It has been a beautiful journey. However, homeschool isn’t working anymore.
What to do when homeschool isn’t working out
Last week my daughter informed me she wanted to go to school. I was terrified. I won’t lie. I ugly cried about it. Suddenly, all of my insecurities and fears reared their ugly heads. I was worried I failed her. I was scared about her dyslexia in a traditional classroom. I was scared she would get bullied. I was so wrapped up in my fears I didn’t stop at first to hear why she wanted to go back to school. Once I got over myself and sat and talked with her the truth came out.
She didn’t want to go to school but homeschool just wasn’t working the way we were doing it. Last year my husband changed jobs. It was a very needed decision that I am extremely thankful for. However, it brought a lot of change to our house. He was making less which meant I had to work more. I have worked most of her life from home but I wasn’t pulling the hours I pull now.
That’s when I realized I failed..
You see, when I added to my hours I changed everything. I found the most independent learning-focused curriculum I could and let them do their school work completely on their own. It seemed great to me. I could let them work and I could get my work done. Then the rest of the day was free for whatever we wanted to do. That’s what I sold myself but that wasn’t the reality.
My daughter informed me that she was feeling ignored and overwhelmed. She felt like she was bothering me because I was so focused on work. She knew my job was important but she needed to feel important too.
So we talked..
R and I sat down and had a long talk. We made a pros and cons list Gilmore Girl style. We listed out pros and cons of school vs homeschool. When we did this we found that it wasn’t that she wanted to go to school. She wanted her homeschool back. She wanted a mom who wasn’t just making her unit studies, but one who did them with her. Once I really heard her heart on this it changed everything. The schooling atmosphere and her temperament have changed drastically.
So what changed?
I have set business hours for myself.
These are unmoving. I know what times I have assigned to work and I stick to them. This has helped them to respect work time because there is an end in sight. It won’t be “let me hop on and just work on this one thing.” When work is over, it’s over.
We set a family schedule.
With my husband working an erratic schedule and my lack of consistency things were getting chaotic. R asked if we could have a schedule. Even better, she sat with me and helped me to figure out what the schedule would look like each day. Because of this schedule, I have more freedom in certain areas while offering more structure in others. It has been really good for our family.
I scheduled in alone time.
R was getting fed up with her little brother. What kid doesn’t? She asked for alone time separate from her daily quiet time when she had the freedom to tell him she didn’t want to play with him or talk to him. We put this time on the schedule for lunch and dinner prep times and it has made a world of difference. She hasn’t even used it much. It was more about having the freedom to say it is she wanted than actually saying it.
I’m teaching the way they learn best.
For a time I was really surviving with the best I knew to do. It wasn’t easy or pretty or perfect. I got away from the most important thing. I forgot to teach them the way they learn. Since going back to some of the basics of homeschooling things have improved considerably.
Are you feeling like homeschooling isn’t working anymore?
Don’t throw in the towel yet. Maybe it’s time to look at how you are handling things and have an honest conversation with your kids. Your homeschool may just be like mine and need a bit of tweaking for it to be the best possible homeschool for your family.