by Danielle Poorman
When I first embarked on the journey of homeschooling, I eagerly anticipated the same cozy environment that many other new homeschooling moms likely envision. My days would consist of quiet read-alouds, tea-time, giggles, and fun-filled lessons where everyone understood the concepts and relished the time until the next one. While such days are not unattainable, they are very few.
The reality is: dealing with stress is inevitable. Teaching in a classroom setting brought different challenges than I face at home, and even after five years of homeschooling my children, I still encounter stressful situations. Homeschooling without stress is not impossible, but it’s important to shift our perceptions regarding stress and how we handle our calling as homeschooling parents. Every parent and child will have shortcomings during the homeschool season, however brief it may seem. What we do with our time and how we shape our children in virtue is what matters more than the other surrounding elements, as stress pulls us off the path.
There is always hope for our homeschool days. We have the ability to shift our schedules and transform our mindsets toward a culture of learning unfueled by stress.
Crafting a Vision for Homeschool Life
Charlotte Mason wrote that “education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” I often consider this when I’m feeling stressed about the piles of laundry, cluttered kitchen, and too many events crowding the calendar. The reality is that all these things are part of life. Rather than allow them to cultivate an anxious heart, I can use them as tools of virtue training for my children. Homeschooling with a vision for life includes training children to multi-task, contribute to the family, read good books, and learn math facts. There is no separation of learning when it comes to homeschool life. Crafting a vision for homeschool life can reduce stressful situations when we use this vision as our starting point.
Intentionally Planning the Vision
If the Lord has called you to homeschool, take heart! He understands you will encounter rough and stressful times in this good calling, and He will help you accomplish this wonderful work (Philippians 1:6). Although homeschooling may sometimes feel hopeless and stressful, this work of training our children for the Kingdom is a good work. But how can we keep doing this work with the frequent interruptions that occur daily?
Intentionally planning baby steps to move toward your educational vision is key. Even if you’re not the quintessential planner you see on social media, intentional planning can help cultivate an atmosphere of learning, and develop the culture of your home. Planning can help you flesh out your vision on paper and begin living it out in your home.
Pivoting within the Plan
There is no perfect plan when it comes to educating our children within the walls of our home. The parent who carefully crafts the vision and works out the schedule to the minute may experience stress when the dog destroys the neighbor’s yard, the toddler paints a permanent marker “masterpiece” on the new flooring, or the stomach bug hits the house and takes mom down with it. These moments will happen in homeschool life because we are living life together. We can reduce the stress when we pivot within the plan and accomplish the goal a different way.
Having a homeschool vision is an important roadmap in the education of your children. Pivoting within the plan is essential to seeing the vision come to fruition.
Rest Is Essential
Depending on the season of life, rest may feel harder to attain. However, it’s not impossible. In fact, rest is an essential part of reducing stress in your homeschool. When we prioritize rest, we are teaching our children what true rest looks like. We are showing them how to work well and enjoy the fruits of our labor as we rest well. This will look different in every family. Perhaps resting means gathering once a week to eat snacks and play games or enjoy a nightly read-a-loud together. Maybe resting for your family looks like packing the car and heading to the beach to play together.
This idea is often referred to as “scholē,” the Greek word meaning “leisure.” Rest, or leisure, is an essential part of life, and therefore, should feel present in our homeschools. Learning the balance of working well and resting well will help us homeschool with reduced stress and help us develop a posture of loving learning in all areas of life.
Formerly a classroom teacher, Danielle Poorman now homeschools two children with her husband, Chad, in northwest Florida. Also a writer and speaker, Danielle encourages other moms to slow down and renew motherhood and homeschooling at daniellehope.com.
Copyright 2022, The Old Schoolhouse®. Used with permission. All rights reserved by the Author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade publication for homeschool moms. Read The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com, or download the free reader apps at www.TOSApps.com for mobile devices. Read the STORY of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and how it came to be.