Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins
I am going to guess that this year has not been exactly what you expected, that it might not be your definition of a “simple homeschool.”
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you have a crystal ball, knew just what to expect, and are patiently waiting for the rest of us to catch up. But I’m guessing not.
I’m guessing you’ve had a million things to process and tons of extra decisions to make, on top of all the usual everyday stuff like figuring out what’s for breakfast and vacuuming the cat hair and teaching your kids table manners and times tables. That’s what I’m guessing.
It’s a lot.
The world is on fire, and we’re trying to keep on top of all that while also helping our kids to understand what’s going on, do their chores, have healthy sibling relationships, and master Algebra II.
Where do we even start?
When it all starts to feel like too much, this is what I want you to know:
You can do this.
This year will not look like any other year you’ve had yet, whether this is your first year homeschooling or your millionth year homeschooling.
But just like every other year, you will do what you can right where you are, you will make the best choices you can, and your will give yourself (and everyone else) grace when things fall through the cracks.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, worn out, or uncertain, you’re not the only one.
Here’s what helps me when everything starts to feel like it’s just too much:
1. Slow down.
You can do hard things, whether the hard thing is staying informed and engaged, or making difficult choices, or explaining why the square of a hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the sides. (I don’t know why it is, it just is.)
But you don’t need to do them all at once, and you don’t need to do them all immediately.
When there’s a lot to process, your mind and body and spirit need time to take it all in. Let yourself (and your kids) move more slowly, even if that means getting through fewer things. You’re still moving forward, and it’s still okay.
2. Don’t stay stuck feeling overwhelmed.
Life can be overwhelming, it’s true. But if we let ourselves get stuck in the overwhelm, we won’t ever make the changes we need to make, in our lives and in the world.
When I find myself feeling overwhelmed and knowing something needs to change, I follow the same process every time.
That process is longer than a blog post, so I put the whole thing together for you in The Get Out of Overwhelm Survival Kit. It’s a combination of paying attention to the right things and asking the right questions. You can get yours free here.
3. Do one thing.
On days when everything feels like too much, choose one thing to do.
Choose one thing that you can point to, and say: I did this. This is what I’m proud of today. This is the good I brought into the world. I can’t address everything today, but I did do this.
What one thing could you do? Read a book aloud to your kids. Call a friend. Write a letter. Take a shower. Go for a run. Make a donation. Tell someone how you’re feeling.
You decide. What would you feel good about having done? Do that, and let it be enough for today.
4. Take care of your well-being.
What’s most important for your well-being? Make a plan for that to happen.
Plan it into your days, whether we’re talking about a green smoothie or a nap or a time of prayer or a news sabbatical or a break from social media or a long walk or therapy.
Make it a priority, make it a plan, and hold firm about this one.
I bet you already pay attention to what your kids need, and plan for their well-being. That’s great. Don’t skip that.
But you are also part of your family. You’re part of the whole. Which means your whole family isn’t at its best unless your well-being is being taken care of.
This year is a lot.
There’s a lot going on, in our world and in our homes and in ourselves. But you can do this. You ARE doing this.
You’re doing a great job. Keep going.
What helps you when everything feels like too much?
What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!