Over the past couple of years, I have encountered a number of moms who either quit homeschooling or were on the verge of quitting because they felt like they were failures. I think that this is a normal feeling because we place an extraordinary amount of stress on ourselves.
Most of us chose to homeschool because we recognized deficits in traditional schools and wanted to ensure that our kids had every opportunity to learn and be successful in life. Not only are we dealing with a great deal of internal stress but then we have external stressors that occur when friends, family and sometimes strangers question our ability to educate at home.
In order to prove ourselves and the world that we are capable of homeschooling, we become overachievers. We attempt perfection and that is a mighty task that very few will ever achieve. (I would say never achieve but there is that one person that always seems to excel at perfection so it does happen just very rarely). Simply attempting to achieve perfection is what does us in because we burn out and this proves our feelings of inadequacy.
My advice to homeschooling parents is to stop attempting perfection and accept imperfection. Simply adjust your focus instead of worrying about what the outside world thinks to focus on the ones that matter the most, your children. If your children are happy, functional, and progressing forward then you are not a failure. The goal of education is to teach children how to learn because once they are able to do this they can and will learn anything and everything that interests them. Take the pressure off of yourself and off of them and enjoy the learning process.
If you are feeling run down, burned out and on the verge of quitting recognize this as a sign that you need to change how you are doing things. Simple changes like when you homeschool during the day can be helpful. I have night owls and they school best in the evening hours so we start working around 4 pm. Another suggestion is to become more flexible because you never know when chaos will ensue. Several times we have canceled school work for the day and made up the work on Sunday because of illness or just life in general.
I am still working on accepting imperfection myself because there are still external stressors that derail me from time to time. I just maintain my focus on my children and keep plugging along. I know that I made the right choice to homeschool and it is evident in how well adjusted and intelligent my children are so that is good enough for me and it should be good enough for the world. I may not be SUPER MOM but my kids love me so that is the only thing that really matters. Remember on those hectic days when chaos is occurring around every corner that you are a good parent and your kids love you. It’s okay to be imperfect because, in the end, we are only human.