How to Emotionally Prepare to Homeschool

One of the questions I get asked most often is how to emotionally prepare to homeschool. The start of the school year feels like an assault for many of us. An onslaught of back-to-school lists, schedule changes, organization and planning to-dos, and more. It’s no wonder that this time of year can bring so many mixed emotions to parents and kids alike, regardless of where you’re sending your kiddos to learn. For homeschooling parents, this season can be particularly stressful because, well, we’re it! We’re responsible for our children’s schedules, curriculum, lessons, learning, social outlet, future, etc.  It’s no wonder I often want to hide under the desk when August arrives.

The truth is, even though the curriculum may be in and prepped, your schedule all laid out, and the supplies and homeschool space ready and waiting, your heart may be lagging behind. If you’re wondering how to emotionally prepare to homeschool, you’re not alone. Here’s how I get my heart and mind prepared each year (OK, all year long!).

Devotional Time

Getting truly ready for the school year starts with your heart, and telling it the truth. I like to start preparing my heart to homeschool by choosing a good devotional for the year, just for me. We do Bible every day as a family and my husband also does morning devotions before leaving for work, but I need ME time in the Word. Choosing a devotional that is just for me gives me time to focus on my heart before the Lord and find the peace and calm I need before I start the day. If I can’t get to it right away (because my daughter is up before the birds!), I take some time after breakfast to enjoy my coffee or tea and a few moments with just Him and me.

A Morning Routine

Which brings us to another important way to prepare: having a morning routine that radiates calm. This is so key for many of us who have different ages and different demands on us all day long. From work and homeschooling to being a wife, mom, and teacher, there are so many voices screaming for your attention all day. It’s important to start your day with whatever activities will help you find balance and put your mind in a calm state. For me, it’s a cup of coffee or tea and worship music while I get ready, then a long walk with our puppy. I also find that quiet, classical music sets the tone for a more peaceful and productive day. For you, it may be a run, staying in bed while you sip your beverage, or a cuddle with your littlest one on the couch. Whatever you find that takes your mind and heart to a peaceful place, do that, first thing!

Keeping a Journal

I’m a list maker (list addict, more like it!). In learning how to emotionally prepare to homeschool, I have found that writing out my fears, worries, goals, and anticipations for the year help me to be less anxious or over-excited. Each August, I make a list of what I want to accomplish for each child and me, as well as a list of my concerns. I can then use this list to pray, to set goals, and to discuss concerns with my children about the year. Even better, I have them make their lists as well! Then, we all sit down and talk about them. Each person gets a chance to rate their “school readiness” on a scale of 1 to 10 and then share their feelings. Through lists, drawings, and stories that we talk about as a family, we are exploring our feelings about the upcoming year together, setting the tone of communication and togetherness while addressing issues that we may or may not even know exist. This has become one of the foundations for starting our year well emotionally.

Pursue Positivity

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I find that pursuing positivity and turning worries into challenges help me prepare to homeschool and find the bravery to jump into a new year. If you constantly dwell on the negative, your days will be negative. Turn your concerns into goals, your fears into challenges. Instead of “We fought so much last year! I just can’t take it again this year,” tell yourself, “We fought a lot last year. This year we are going to pursue fun and fellowship and learn to speak gently.” Rather than, “We barely made it through it all, how can I do it again?” say, “I’m going to take on less this year and really enjoy what we choose to pursue together.” Changing your negative thoughts into positive goals and challenges is a way to make your expectations more realistic while maintaining peace. This takes practice, but you’ll eventually get there! And the best part is that your kids will become more positive and goal-oriented as a result.

The school year is here, and while many of us are nervous and wondering how to prepare to homeschool, I’m not shaking in my fall flats, because I know that a positive attitude, peaceful mornings, and time with the Lord are just what my heart needs to approach this year with joy, peace, and readiness. Maybe that’s just what you need to get your calm back this year, too!

How do you find calm at the beginning of the school year? Tell us in a comment below.

Comments

  1. Stacy Faulkner says

    I really want this to be a great year, I am terrified of this on line school , how will I learn it all, how will I make sure I am doing my part!!!! Who will make sure I don’t fail Quyncie!! Very scared I will be over bearing an she and I will fight continually..
    I am a control freak an think she should know this or that my retired police attitude comes out I hate that about me been working on that a lot. Quyncie is a beautiful Gentile and kind child, extremely smart ( smarter then me) I want her to have the world.
    I luv this kid more then life, she is so sweet.
    I have opened up my scary truth to you and I have not done this before. At least you know the about the good an not so good in me!

    • says

      Hi Stacy,

      I completely understand your fear! We have all been there! Over-controlling, overdoing the homeschooling to make it feel just like school, and losing our cool when kids don’t want to do it our way. We learned a lot about ourselves when we became parents–get ready for that same uncomfortable reality now that you are a homeschooler.

      BUT, get ready too for an awesome year of discovery! You are going to learn that there are some things you are really good at–things you may never have noticed before. And you are going to see Quyncie shine in ways that will amaze you. Make a note of Quyncie’s strengths–tape to your bathroom mirror or to your computer screen so you remember to see them in her every day and then keep adding to it as you learn more about her. Point out those strengths as often as possible.

      Then, make a note of your own strengths–what do you do especially well? What are your biggest areas of interest? What gets you excited about learning? (These can help you decide where to take a detour and explore a topic more deeply because when you are excited, she will be too).

      You will have days where things go so well that you don’t ever want to quit and you will have days when you feel like you did everything wrong.

      So make a plan to combat those fears you mentioned–believe it or not, a simple plan such as “When I am feeling ready to explode, I will….” can make all the difference!

      I was an excellent student and structured my day to push through my studies so I could take the afternoon off. That is what I thought should be our norm when I started homeschooling. So when that wasn’t working, I just pushed harder. The kids were stressed, I was frustrated and we just weren’t having fun.

      Thankfully, I had a Mom who told me I needed to lighten up! So one of the “plans” I set up for myself went something like this–“When I am feeling the anger bubbling up out because we are not moving through our courses as quickly as I think we should, I will stop everything and we will get outside to have some fun.”

      Believe it or not, that one decision changed our world. We no longer moved right from one course to the next, nor did we push hard to get done by noon. And I stopped trying to speak louder when they didn’t understand something (can’t help shaking my head at myself every time I think of that one). Instead, we slowed down and took breaks when things got tough and ALWAYS before those subjects that were a struggle for any of them. Soon we were finishing earlier than we had when I was constantly pushing and we were enjoying ourselves so much more. I later learned through my study of the brain that this worked because we were taking the time to refuel the brain and get ready for more learning.

      You are going to be great! Just remember, you are homeschooling and with that you have the freedom to control or the freedom to lighten up and watch her start to take ownership of her learning. The less you control, the more she will step up and you will move her to a level of independence that she will need for college and for life. If you find yourself fighting, share your heart with her and respect her response. She needs to know that you support her and that you are willing to listen when she points out what she thinks you are doing wrong. When you are willing as a Mom to work together with your child (and give up some of that control) you will find a way to make things work.

      Keep us posted on how things are going and always reach out if you need help!

      Have an awesome year!

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