Written by Misha Thompson of The Offense of Joy
Anyone who has taken on, or is considering, the unique role of home educator knows all too well the giants of homeschooling.
Insecurity. Comparison. Fear.
Have you ever felt discouraged by one of those? Have you ever laid awake and worried about who is doing what in their homeschool and if you should or shouldn’t be, too?
All of us have. It’s human nature.
But there is an effective response to criticism and fears, however.
Not grit-your-teeth-and-fake-it smiles, but “real” knowing who you are and who your family is–and living in the enjoyment of that.
Confidence and joy are easier said than done, though.
So what creates them? And how do we get them?
Here is a hands-on list of seven everyday ways to slay those inner giants and embrace contagious enjoyment.
Reaction and isolation may tempt us whenever we encounter any (inner or outer) criticism. But a defensive posture only leaves us lonely and unsupported.
You cannot do this job alone. Having community is vital. Make cultivating friends to support you a top priority if you are homeschooling.
2. Loving Ourselves
Give up the battle of self-criticism. Choose to take care of you–because love for others flows out of love for yourself.
Most of us don’t have a “pedicure and spa budget,” but finding what refreshes you makes a world of difference. (Here are some ideas that I enjoy.)
3. Exercise and Sleep
I have found that, without exception, every parent who emanates confidence and joy takes the time to exercise and sleep well.
Tsh wrote an excellent article on incorporating these into our daily lives.
For me, the tug of war between sleep and getting up early to run may never be won permanently before my kids go to college. But I believe it’s worth fighting for. I am a completely different person when I take care of my body.
I have a good friend who says that she never takes for granted that her marriage will last.
At first this sounded horrifying to me. But then I realized that the parents I admire cultivate friendship with their partners and treat those relationships as a valuable investment.
A quality marriage is part of our children’s education, too.
5. Spiritual Time
Taking the time to invest in our own spirits is vital.
For me that overlaps with running. This is when I connect to my spiritual side and to the God I believe in. Being outdoors, silence, beauty–they all renew my spirit.
Whatever connects you to the bigger picture–to truth, to worship, to transcending the bickering babies and temporary stages–that is worth investing in.
On difficult and dreary days, I may just light a candle and choose uplifting music–but being intentional about my spiritual life makes all the difference.
6. Good Food
What I teach my kids has less to do with what we do together and more to do with who I am as their mama.
That is hard for me to face. It’s easier to teach than to be.
So we can teach less sugar, more broccoli–but unless we are personally reaping the rewards of it, too, it won’t help.
Water, greens and less sugar are daily (ugh) choices for me, but ones that I see almost instant rewards from in patience, energy and enjoyment.
7. Knowing Ourselves
And as they say in the business world–“Staff your weaknesses.”
Know your own personality type.
We spend countless hours as home educators trying to know and understand our children, but knowing how we are wired is also pretty crucial.
Any employer worth their salt expects you to be aware of your strengths and weakness. Finding those out and prioritizing our contributions will be catalytic in our children knowing themselves, too. (Check out this great article for further information.)
Insecurity, comparison and fear may be common emotions that we experience while homeschooling.
But confident daily, practical choices will slay them every time.
Which items on this list resonate with you? What daily choices help you embrace confidence and enjoyment as a homeschooler?
“We should all do in the long run what gives us joy. Even if it is only picking grapes or sorting laundry.” ~ EB White