Beat the home ed blue-bugs!!
by Vanessa, Chrysalis Island
Lately a lot of home ed mothers, new and old alike, have confessed that they are plagued by the home ed blues, loss of confidence or niggling doubts about what they're doing. It seems to be part of the learning process, leading to change in practice or perspective.
Whilst many days look unimpressive to an outsider, home ed. success is best measured in monthly or termly summaries, when growth and change are more apparent. WE know our days are rich in learning and personal development, and some of it is easy to verbalise. But a lot of it is hard to convey in a brief chat. Store up handy anecdotes so that when the question is asked, you're primed to share the little victories that really matter.
Our best efforts ARE enough. Our 'survival mode' efforts can usually still be offered in love, with patience and personalised attention. There may be circumstances which call for change, but generally, we ARE better equipped to nurture our children than the lucky-dip teacher our children may have at school (until the day parents can hand-pick each teacher, and guarantee that the best teacher is going to have a wonderful year, free of disasters and trials).
To put a bad day, or season, in perspective, just look at how stressed your children are that you haven't had the energy to implement all your wonderful plans. Are they? If they're like mine ... not a care in the world! I'm fortunate to have had the energy to feed them most days, or direct them towards something they can prepare. They have a captive audience, time and ideas galore. They have enough toys and books to sink a ship (though a big cardboard box would trump them all)! My 'bad day' is their opportunity to shine. Hmm ... I'll have to think of a better reason to feel inadequate.
Our kids WILL miss out on some things. There are many things we'll be grateful they missed. But they will also have opportunities that the kids in the pasture next door don't have (like TIME to pursue their interests). They WILL meet exceptional people, of all ages and various talents, and thankfully they'll have more freedom to enjoy special moments with peers and mentors, unhindered by bell times.
True, there may be a better resource. There always will be. It may claim to teach something faster or more thoroughly or with more fun. There's no harm buying excellent resources. But what REALLY matters is the way we use what we have ... the very reason we chose to homeschool in the first place ... personalised, relationship based, flexible and responsive guidance. Don't get caught in the trap of spending more time planning, preparing and comparing than doing, playing, loving and being.
There are many tools which help me defeat the little beasties with a good dose of positivity ... (mostly guaranteed to change the pace and mood of the day, if it's been a dull or doubtful one)
And here are a few of my favourite online remedies:
This HAS been a wordy post, sorry! I wrote it to help myself out of a pit. And thankfully it helped. If you've read to the end, I'd love to know what helps you fight off the homeschool blues. What's your favourite way to get back into the swing of things, to iron out the bugs and get on with the joyful business of raising happy seedlings? Reply by leaving a comment on my blog: Chrysalis Island.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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