8 years ago my homeschool journey began with a 4 year old and a 1 year old in the house. I was full of ideas, pre-conceived notions, and massive dreams for my kids. I also swore I would homeschool them all the way through. Life has changed a lot in the 8 years and we are heading into a season where both children will be in school starting in the fall. So what do you do when homeschooling is over? How do you start this next phase of your life?
When Homeschooling Is Over
Maybe you’re at the end of your homeschool journey. Whether that is because of a graduate, a move to a traditional school, or other reasons, it still is a change of seasons for you. It’s a new beginning and a departure from what you once were. While this can be a beautiful season, it can also be a hard adjustment for the homeschool mom. I wanted to share some tips and encouragement if you are reaching the end of your homeschool season.
Own your truth
In this season it can be hard to balance all of the emotions you might be walking thru. You can be feeling insecurity, regret, relief, joy, anger, or a plethora of other emotions. Before doing anything else, take some time to do a self-evaluation. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself.
What feeling is most noticeable for me right now?
Feelings come in groups. Think of the movie Inside Out. Now imagine they’re all taking turns pushing buttons and some are pushing them at the same time. Before you can move much further, it’s important to take a few minutes and look at which feeling is leading the crowd so to speak. Is it anger, fear, insecurity, sadness?
Why am I feeling this?
Sometimes a feeling needs a why. You need to understand the why behind anger. I have been told many times anger is a secondary emotion and you have to deal with the root fear or hurt behind it. What are you really afraid of? Are you afraid they won’t succeed? Are you afraid you weren’t enough? Are you grieving the loss of the way it was? Taking the time to identify the why of the feelings can help you to move forward.
Is there truth in my feelings?
Sometimes feelings come from a place of fear but some things come from a place of truth. If there is truth in it, you have to be willing to own that truth. Only by owning that truth and accepting the reality of the situation, can you move forward. So often we feel big hurts and then we bury them and move forward to be the good mom we think we need to be. Can I challenge you? To be the mom you need to be, you have to be real and honest about your feelings.
What do I need to let go?
The hardest part of owning the truth behind feelings is deciding on what you need to let go. Take some time to look at the feelings on your list and the truths behind them. Then decide what you can let go of. Not everything that is in your life is meant to stay there for good. If you are fighting fear or insecurity, it may be time to identify your identity and learn who you are apart from homeschool and apart from these feelings.
Celebrate the wins!
When you are adjusting to a new normal it can be so hard to see the wins. If I could challenge you to do anything right now, I would challenge you to make a list of the wins from this school year or from your homeschool journey. What are the things that brought you joy, made you proud, and will live in your memories forever? Write the list. Make a record of all of these things.
Sometimes taking the time to celebrate the wins can help you to feel prepared to conquer a new adventure. This new adventure could be a public school, charter school, or even college. Seeing the wins and the successes can help you to see just how ready you both are for this new adventure.
Forgive yourself for the losses!
We are our own worst critics. We can’t help but criticize ourselves and see our weaknesses. Make another list of the losses. These don’t have to be anyone else’s losses. These are yours. What areas of your homeschool leave you feeling like you dropped the ball? Once you make this list, I want you to take some time to be gentle on yourself and forgive yourself. You can’t go back and undo the areas where you feel you dropped the ball. You can only choose how you will carry losses into tomorrow.
Have an honest conversation with your kids.
Once you have done the above, take some time to talk to your kids. Find out what they consider wins and losses. What does this process feel like for them? Where are their fears, insecurities, and excitements at in this process? It may surprise you to hear from them and hear that things aren’t where you think they are.
3 Questions to ask your kids
- What do you think I could have done better homeschooling you?
- What do you think I did the best homeschooling you?
- What is your favorite memory from our homeschool journey?
By giving them the opportunity to answer these questions you are giving them the chance to share their heart with you. It can be very healing to hear how our kids see us and where we have blessed them when we thought we failed.
Find something that brings you joy!
In this new season it can be hard to look at the positives when you are grieving or processing what was. Find those things that bring you joy away from homeschooling. Do you love reading with the kids? That doesn’t have to stop because of school. Do you enjoy spending time with friends? Plan something. Don’t let the schooling choice you made take away your joy.
Find what brings you joy and invest some time there.
I’ve made you a special printable journal for this process.
I didn’t want to just give you the steps. I wanted to give you ample space to work thru some of these emotions and put them in writing. If there’s in anything in the world I could wish for you as you move into this new adventure, it’s that you would be able to move forward in joy and be ready for what’s coming!
So how do I feel now that it’s over?
I thought I would feel an extreme sense of loss when it came to an end. I was sure that losing this part of me would be hard but I am at peace with it. I think that this is the season for my son to thrive on his own two feet. I believe he is ready and I believe I am as well.
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