We all have bad days when homeschooling. Sometimes those bad days turn into weeks. Or months. We start to examine our curriculum. We make new routines. We wonder if we signed up for the wrong co-op or outside classes. We internally grumble that our spouses aren’t helping enough. We wonder if something is wrong with our kids. We wonder what’s gone wrong with our homeschool.
It’s us. The hardest truth about homeschooling is that as the teacher, it really is all about us.
Most of the bad days start with our own bad moods or by us being too busy or by us being impatient with our kids. If we are having a bad day, typically things will go sour. If we are having a good day, things may not be perfect but are much more likely to go smoothly.
As homeschooling parents we don’t need to beat ourselves up about this or feel terribly guilty. But we do need to realize it. I’ve found this the hardest part of homeschooling. I often joke that my days at work are easier than my days at home. It’s not a joke, it’s true. But I’ve learned that part of that is my own attitude. Because I look at work as a job and I respect my colleagues I act professionally even if I’m having a bad day. Because I’m being nice to them, my colleagues are nice to me, which makes my mood better, etc. Sadly, this is often not the case at home. If I’m grumpy, I’m more likely to be impatient or short with kids which makes them grumpy, which makes me grumpier, etc.
One solution is to realize that homeschooling is my job as much as being a pediatrician is my job. I need to approach that job with professionalism and treat my kids like I would treat my patients or colleagues. Colleagues I like to snuggle with, but colleagues all the same.
Another solution is realizing that if things are going badly, I need to start by examining myself and my own attitude before looking at curriculum or anywhere else. I need to get the log out of my own eye. Am I getting enough sleep? Am I getting some physical activity (always helpful to my own mental state)? Am I taking the time to exercise my mind by reading or having good conversations with interesting people?
This isn’t meant to be yet another ode to “me-time”. But the basics like sleep, eating well, and physical and mental exercise are more important than picking the perfect curriculum or the latest and greatest new thing everyone on the homeschooling message boards is using.
Bad days are bad days. We all have them. It’s ok every now and then. But the best fix is to start by looking in the mirror rather than anywhere else for a solution.