I've been thinking a lot lately about the “not-good-enough” home school syndrome. You know the symptoms: insomnia brought on by your son’s spelling abilities, tightness in the chest when your daughter’s friend starts spouting off facts about ancient China, despair when you see your homeschool friend’s clean house. For a homeschool mom the opportunities to feel like you are not doing “enough” seem almost limitless.
I have a friend who has let her two elementary aged sons fill their room with reptiles and amphibians, the boys now volunteer at a local pet store and are starting their own reptile show. I have another friend whose children know more about ancient history than any adult I’ve ever met. There’s a mom in my support group whose son won the National Geography Bee. Then there are the stories about home schoolers who graduate from high school when they’re 14 or better yet, the families who tour the globe in a sailboat. All that can be rather hard to stomach when all I've gotten done today is the laundry and a trip to the library!
So what’s a wanna-be super homeschool mom to do? Here are a few ways I've found to beat the syndrome.
- Give credit where credit is due. I am often so busy noticing all the things we aren’t doing, I forget to note all the things we are doing. My husband is really good at reminding me of the many, many things we do get done every day. He points out all the little things I do: the time I spend reading with the kids, the discussions about everything from politics to science, the service rendered to friends and neighbors, and the time spent teaching my children to clean, cook, and garden. These teaching moments really do add up, even if they aren’t grand or eye-catching.
- Write it down. I am an eclectic homeschooler, so I usually don’t have workbook pages to show for the work we’ve done. That makes it especially important to write things down. I don’t record our activities every day, but I try to make an entry in my blog when we do something special and at least once a month I jot down a whole day’s activities. When I feel like I’m not accomplishing anything, I can look back through those entries and realize just how much we have done.
- Acknowledge our circumstances. One of my children has severe learning disabilities, so I often feel like our progress is non-existent. Sometimes it helps to take a step back and realize that although his advancement is slower than most, he is learning and growing in so many ways. Whether it’s a new baby, a move, or illness I have to take these special factors into consideration when I look at how much “school” we are getting done.
- Pray. One of the wonderful things about home schooling is its boundless opportunities. There are so many things to be involved in and so many paths to follow. No two families’ journeys are going to look the same. So rather than stress myself out about all the amazing things that other families are dong, I have to pray to know what path our family should take. I have to have faith that the Lord has a plan for us. When I strive each day to live that plan, I can be confident that I really am “doing enough”.
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