Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
Today is Pajama Day at our homeschool.
(That just means that we’re eating lunch in our P.J.s, you understand.)
There won’t be any assemblies or pajama-related relay races. We needed a day of rest and reading in loungewear, so we took one.
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that we’re free to build a lifestyle that fits our family. From the ways we homeschool to the whys behind our homeschool, we get to choose.
But sometimes I kind of forget. I forget that I’m not required to homeschool in any certain way. I forget that our days are not just a series of events to trudge through, on the way from breakfast to bedtime.
It’s easy to slip into thinking of ourselves as being required to do a bunch of homeschooling tasks—but I want to homeschool from a place of inspiration.
Just like we want to inspire not require our kids to learn, I want to be inspired-not-required as a homeschooling parent.
Here’s how I try to bump the inspiration level up a notch when I’m not feeling it.
Remember your reasons.
What inspired you to homeschool originally? Reread the books that set you off on this path. Check in with your favorite blogs or websites. Be refreshed by the ideas that fired you up in the first place.
I love the idea of rereading my favorite homeschooling books every year. (I haven’t done it! But I love the idea.)
Make a love list.
What do you love about homeschooling? Write it all down, to bring your focus back to the good stuff.
My list would include things like fostering the relationships in our family, seeing my kids dive into projects and come out with new interests and new skills, watching them become more self-directed as they grow, and being able to choose to live at a slowed-down pace. Yes!
Switch up your routines.
If you’re worn out from the same-old same-old, try planning an event to look forward to. (Poetry night! History fair! Music fest! Invite a few families to show off their skills. It doesn’t have to be fancy.)
Or if you’re exhausted from zipping between classes and park day and play group and library activities, clear the schedule. Plan some time of just being at home, nothing but the essentials.
Stop whatever has you burned out or bummed out, and try something different.
Reboot your environment.
I give lots of thought to creating an inspiring environment for my kids, but my environment needs to inspire me, too.
Sometimes that means seasonal changes of the candles-and-decorations kind, and sometimes it means my own work space needs attention.
Do you need to create a dedicated place for your own projects? Should something be organized, rearranged, or moved, to be more useful? Will you be more inspired if you can see all your supplies, or if you put them out of sight? Experiment to see what works best.
Start a project.
Starting something new fires up your creativity and gets you moving.
If I’m in an inspiration slump, I know it might be time to start a new project of my own. Maybe you want to pick up those knitting needles, or plan next year’s garden, or take a photography class, or start a blog?
We can model engagement for our kids, while also feeding our own interests. Win-win.
Mentoring might be the answer.
Find a homeschool parent farther along the path than you, and ask them to mentor you. Find someone with less experience, and offer to mentor them. Relationships focused on intentional growth can be inspiring.
Or hang out with some brand-new homeschooling parents, and ask them why they’ve decided to try this lifestyle. Their answers might just inspire you all over again.
Inspire each other.
Sometimes the best inspiration is shared inspiration.
Gather a group of homeschooling friends, and swap stories of the things you love about homeschooling.
If meeting in person is difficult, start a private group on Facebook or Voxer or over email. Share inspiring stories, articles, news, and ideas that way.
We can help each other remember that we’re not required to homeschool in any particular way. We can each choose a lifestyle of learning that best matches our family’s personalities and strengths. My homeschool is not required to look like yours, and yours is not required to look like mine. We can each be inspired to put our own educational values into practice.
I want my kids to be inspired to learn, and I want to be inspired to lead them. Mamas need inspiration, too!
What are some ways you inspire-not-require yourself, as a homeschooling parent?