Written by Kara S. Anderson
My kids and I recently decided to have an impromptu Bob Ross Day.
We had been watching a lot of Bob Ross on Netflix, because it is calming and peaceful, and sidenote: if you are a person with insomnia, it will put you to sleep faster than warm milk and a Benedryl.
But it’s also super satisfying. In 30 minutes, Bob finishes an entire painting. And he makes it look easy.
“We need to do that,” we decided one day at Michaels, because there was a sale and we had coupons and sometimes, you just get really excited about something.
I happen to think that joy and delight are two very necessary ingredients in homeschooling, and before you think I am just talking about delighting your children constantly like a circus performer, tossing out candy and singing the state capitals at them, I am talking about your own joy and delight too.
“Never fill your schedule too full that there isn’t room for a little joy and delight,” I said recently on Instagram, surprising myself.
But here’s the thing – joy and delight aren’t easy for every homeschool mom. And how much is too much?
Let’s chat about that:
A joy and delight how-to
If joy and delight don’t come easily to you, I get it. As homeschool moms, we have a LOT to do every day. It’s hard to make room for fun when the dog just vomited on a library book (true story – it was a picture book about platypuses) and the toddler is eating crayons.
But here’s the thing about joy and delight – they sneak up on you. You’ll be reading a book together where the characters eat ice cream and all of a sudden …
“Mama, can we get ice cream?” your child will ask, and you’ll think – no – we need to finish this chapter.
Or no – it will ruin your dinner.
But what if you say yes?
What if you put down the book and said, “absolutely”?
It might be hard at first to pull yourself away from a “should.” You might be worried about “falling behind,” if you let kids explore an interest instead of staying on track.
And if you are a rule-follower at heart, it might be hard to let go enough to let yourself break the rules.
But these moments make the best memories!
And what is the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t finish their dinner that night? It takes you an extra day to complete a book?
These things are not a big deal when we look at the big picture.
How much joy is too much?
But maybe you are more like me, and you are quick to abandon the plan, and love nothing more than throwing down the books and heading to get donuts.
How do we reign ourselves in and keep from raising hooligans who ignore rules and demand delicious fried treats every day?
I don’t know. But let me just say this:
I have enjoyed seat-of-my-pants, delight-driven parenting for 14 years now, and so far, I still like homeschooling and I really, really, really like my kids.
So I would say just comply with all state and local laws, and you’ll be fine.
Following your own joy
I said above that it’s important for you, as a homeschooling parent, to experience joy and delight too.
So how can you work that in when you are juggling All The Things?
One way I did it a few years ago was to explore history in a new way. I had been listening to a lot of history podcasts, and kept hearing about interesting things I hadn’t learned much (or anything) about in school.
So I collected all of them and created a unit study for us to do together. Everybody won – we still got to do history, plus I brought my excitement to the topic, which is a sure way to get things done.
Another way to make room for your own joy and delight is to teach your kids your hobbies.
My daughter and I both enjoy knitting. My son and I like watching documentaries.
So we do those things side-by-side, and then we talk – we ask each other questions, and we learn together.
If you want more joy and delight in your world, open yourself up to learning with your kids.
I think you’ll be amazed at how much fun you can have together, while still accomplishing a lot.
What has brought joy and delight to your homeschool recently?