Removing children from regular school and homeschooling can be a tough road. It can depend on whether the children are keen to homeschool or whether it’s all mum and dad’s idea. Even the children who are on board with the change can struggle with it at times. It’s a big shift for everyone and I think it’s important to realise that there will be some uphill stretches. When you encounter a rough patch, it doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision or that you are doing anything wrong. It’s just part and parcel of the change. Perhaps the best thing to do to help with the transition is to expect to deal with emotional upheavals here and there. You’ll hear all sorts of complaints:
“My teacher never did it this way”
“I miss my friends”
Homeschooling is going to be so different for them and it’s going to take time for them to adjust. It’s perfectly normal. So be ready to forgive yourself plenty of times and spread the grace to the kids when they act out too.
While you are finding your groove, you could keep a few distractions up your sleeve for difficult periods.
*Have some excursion ideas the kids might like, to get you out of the house a bit during the early weeks and months.
*Make sure to have plenty of social opportunities. School children who are now homeschooling feel the loss of all the people around them during the day pretty acutely.
*Plan some activities they particularly enjoy – art, science, reading…whatever it happens to be.
*Little things like new art supplies, notebooks or a spiffy pen can even be a pleasant distraction for the day.
*Maybe a reward for the end of the school day
Whatever appeals to your children and releases a little tension and keeps you moving forward.
You could also include your children in some of the decision making and planning. Ask them if there’s something they’d like to study. Allow them to choose the order of things to study. Offer some choices of curriculum that you are tossing up between and allow them choose. Let them be involved and allow them to have some ownership of the new journey.
Sometimes you might just need to take the day off and go to the park or the shops or whatever recharges your batteries. Obviously school work still has to get done but a day here and isn’t a big drama. Your emotional health is just as important as academics.
Also make sure you find some local homeschooling contacts. A support system and homeschooling friends are really important for mum and the kids. Just having people to chat and vent with is sometimes all the boost you need to get you through another week. Plus they can remind you that those bad days are as normal as the good days.
Don’t let me paint too gloomy a picture for you though. Homeschooling is the best thing since sliced bread. Of course I could be biased. 🙂 However, I just think it’s important to be realistic and prepared. When homeschoolers make everything out to be just peachy and ideal, it makes newcomers, who experience a normal bad homeschooling day, feel so dejected. But if you are prepared for the bumps in the road, then I think you’ll be more easily about to spot the days when your cruising and hitting the highs. Make sure to notice and appreciate those moments and days. They are the real gems that will keep you moving forward on this new and wonderful journey.
Remember – All the best things are worth working for and none of them come without trials and hiccups.