You must likely started out on your homeschool journey all gung-ho and ready to hit the ground running. Though you were a bit nervous and had a hint of uncertainty lingering in the back of your head, you had high hopes and expectations as you began this new season.
After much thought and consideration, you purchased just the right curriculum and eagerly awaited its arrival. The infamous ‘box day’ was like Christmas morning for you; you dove right in and started to strategically lay out your plans for the upcoming year.
The first day of school started off well; everyone was excited about this new adventure. By mid-week though, you weren’t so sure your teaching style complemented your son’s learning style, and your daughter’s strong-willed nature was shining bright! Doubt began to creep in, and that lingering uncertainty that was in the back of your head was now front and center!
You begin to wonder what you got yourself into and whether or not you can actually do this. But this is just the beginning, and you persevere, realizing that it will take some time for everyone to adjust. After several weeks you finally find your groove…….. or maybe you don’t, but you press on anyway because you feel whole-heartedly that homeschooling is the best decision for your family.
You experienced a lot of growing pains throughout that first year – a lot of trial and error takes place, several curriculum changes happen, and many tears are shed.
When that first year finally came to an end, you felt such relief and a sense of accomplishment. But unfortunately it was very short lived. The doubt began to creep in again (although it had never been completely gone), and as you looked back and began to assess the past year, you wonder if you’ve done enough, if you should have done things different, if you are failing your kids.
You vow that next year will be different, will be better.
The following year you hit the ground running, once again with high hopes, expectations, and grand plans. You are still trying to find your homeschool rhythm. You persevere through the year, and through more adjustments, changes, and yes, more tears.
You begin to wonder how all of the other homeschool moms seem to have it all together and manage to get it all done. You start comparing yourself to others and come to the conclusion that you must be doing something wrong.
Another year ends and all those grand school plans you worked so diligently to lay out didn’t come to fruition. You didn’t even crack open that art curriculum you just had to have; the literature studies you pined for were nonexistent; and Latin……… oh, you forgot? Yes, you planned on teaching Latin that year.
The next school year approaches, and the next, and the next…… and you aren’t as gung-ho anymore. You feel inadequate and even contemplate public or private school. You are striving for this perfection that doesn’t exist, which is only leaving you frustrated and feeling defeated. The tension you feel on a daily basis and the overwhelming feeling of always needing to do more and to do better has left you exhausted, full of guilt, and feeling like you are alone.
Can anyone out there relate to this?
Because this is me! And that isn’t very easy for me to say; this is My Joy-Filled Life after all!
We are going on our 9th year of homeschooling and I have lost all my joy. It’s not fun anymore – for me or my kids. We are just going through the motions. And that just makes me sad.
Don’t get me wrong, we do have good days and we do have fun in our homeschool. My kids are learning and growing and do just fine when tested, but all of that easily gets overshadowed by the bad days, the frustration, and the doubt.
Throughout our homeschool journey, we have moved 3 times and have had 4 babies. These life changes have made it necessary to make frequent changes to our schedules, curricula, and plans. Having to make changes often has made me think that I just can’t get it right – can’t we just make a plan and stick to it, darn it!!? Doesn’t making a plan and checking off all the boxes equal success? I need to teach this, this, and this, and cover this, this, and this in order for my kids to thrive and succeed. And I must be a failing my kid if most math lessons end in tears (either mine or his).
ALL LIES! And even though I know they are lies, it’s hard to see the truth sometimes. The continual feeling of having the weight of the world on our shoulders can be a real joy-stealer.
I want my JOY back!
And here are some books and resources I’m using to do that –
bloom: A Journey to Joy (and Sanity) for Homeschool Moms Online Course (registration is currently closed and will reopen in 2016)
Called Home: Finding Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool by Karen DeBeus
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms by Mary Jo Tate
Read Encouraging & Inspirational Homeschool blog posts