Years ago someone tried to teach me to juggle. I’m just about the least coordinated person on earth so I was completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t keep those balls in the air for longer than it took them to hit the ground! That’s exactly what homeschooling feels like sometimes, isn’t it? Like we’re trying to juggle it all, but the balls just keep falling all around us! It’s what I refer to as Overwhelmed Homeschool Mom Syndrome. There are 3 key steps to curing it.
- Don’t try to teach everything.
- Stop trying to keep a perfect home.
- Protect your time.
You Don’t Have To Check All The Boxes
Finding a good curriculum can be both wonderful and terrible. It’s great to find what helps your kids. It’s also far too easy to let a good curriculum take control. Here’s another way of looking at it. Are you the master of your curriculum, or a slave to it?
When we become a slave to our curriculum we feel the need to check all the boxes. To do ‘all the things’, even when they don’t work for us. Our first few years we were using a great curriculum, but I became completely overwhelmed trying to make sure we did every activity for every lesson. It made us all miserable.
What’s worse was that I pushed us to do school when we shouldn’t have. We struggled to do lessons at Christmas when we were busy and just wanted to enjoy ourselves. I made us push through lessons when we were sick so we didn’t ‘fall behind’. I even gave into the pressure to cover every single subject possible so my kids wouldn’t have ‘gaps’ in their education. I was the furthest thing from ‘flexible’. Don’t fall for this. It’s a trap!
Take Back Control!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s time to create a much more flexible and relaxed homeschool plan. Stop trying to do everything for school. Take back control and become the master of your curriculum! Choose which subjects and activities are important to YOU. Pro tip- they can’t all be important subjects to cover. Otherwise you’ll be right back to feeling overwhelmed. You’re going to have to pick and choose carefully. Choose THREE subjects that are most important to you . Everything else is extra that you fit in when and how you can.
If you want some extra help making a new plan, buy the Relaxed Homeschool Planning Guide.
Perfection Is An Illusion
Have you ever had one of those moments where you did the mad dash, panicked, snapping-at-your-family cleaning before someone came over? I know I’m not alone in this. Why do we do it? I’ll tell you why! It’s because we believe that we should be able to do it all, and do it perfectly. After all, we’re home all day so everyone expects us to have a perfectly tidy home at all times. So, we expect ourselves to live up to other people’s pictures of the perfect wife and mom.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you just can’t seem to get your act together, I have one question for you. Are you trying to meet your standards or someone else’s? If your goal is to keep a perfect home because you’re afraid of what people will think of you, you’re living for someone else. STOP! Those are the lies Satan whispers to steal your joy.
Time To Be Real
Reality check: perfection is not something we can achieve as humans. I don’t mean that you can’t do it but other amazing people can. None of us can. Not one. Perfectionism is about trying to win the approval of others and that’s never a good plan.
Galatians 1: 10 makes it clear that isn’t what God wants for us. Paul says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” The good news is that God’s love for us isn’t based on how clean our houses are. We can choose to let go of that burden.
Since we can’t do anything perfectly it’s time to start setting priorities. Remember, you only have so much time and energy in your day. I’m not saying to let your house turn into a toxic waste dump or anything. Just be realistic about what you can manage. Choose the three things that are most important to YOU. If you’re not sure, pray and ask God for guidance. Maybe you’re in the middle of caring for a lot of little ones and your top 3 priorities are to keep everyone fed and in clean clothes and diapers. Those are great goals! Down the road you may be able to do more, but for now, respect the season you are in.
Buy the Relaxed Homeschool Planning Guide and I’ll walk you through all the steps to easing your load.
Protect Your Time
Want to know the fastest way to become overwhelmed? Overcrowd your calendar. Seriously. Trying to juggle a million appointments and activities on top of school and house work will leave you just hoping to keep your head above water. Ask me how I know! Our time is valuable. We need to treat it that way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s time to clear some things off your schedule.
Here’s how we’re going to start. I want you to write down every commitment you have outside of school and house work. Consider ‘school’ to be only the work that is one of your top 3 priorities. Any activities you do outside of your top priorities (even if they are educational) go on the list. Church, sports, lessons, etc. Write them all down.
Now cross some stuff off. I know it’s all important. The thing is, it CAN’T all be important. Not if you want to stop feeling overwhelmed! You need to be realistic here. There is only so much you can do. We need to protect our time as homeschool moms.
While we’re talking about things we need to do, let me point out another one. You need to take a break. I’m not talking about a week in Aruba (though that would be great). I mean you need to put a break time into your schedule each day. Find a time for it. There is a reason that employers are required to give their staff breaks during the day. You deserve (and NEED) the same!
Buy the full Relaxed Homeschool Planning Guide to help yourself feel less overwhelmed.
You Don’t Have To Be Overwhelmed!
Trying to live up to the expectations of others is a recipe for disaster. It will leave you feeling overwhelmed and burdened. I promise you here and now that if what you are doing leaves you feeling burdened and overwhelmed, it’s not from God.
Matthew 11: 28-30 says, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light.” Did you catch that? God’s burden is light, not heavy. So ask God what He wants you to focus on and stop worrying about the rest. God wants you to have peace, so let go of the burdens that are overwhelming you. Embrace what works for YOUR family. Everything else is just the cherry on the sundae.
Don’t forget to buy your own Relaxed Homeschool Planning Guide.