Dealing with Post-Homeschooling Parental Guilt ~
Written by Lusi Austin
I’ve finished homeschooling three of my five kiddos.
Something that caught me off guard when we’d finished was parental-guilt about the things I just didn’t get around to doing.
I started thinking about the read-aloud books I’d always promised but never read. Ideas I’d had for art projects that we never got around to trying would pop into my mind. And I’d often catch myself thinking about field trips I’d thought we would take that never happened.
And that’s when the guilt kicked in – hard!
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As my eldest three left for their workplaces one morning, the tears came and spilled over into my coffee. The house was quiet. Regret suddenly overwhelmed me. And there was something else – the feeling that until that moment, I hadn’t realized how quickly time had gone by!
In the thick of our homeschooling days, I felt like there would always be time. No end date for the needs and the wants, and the always-something-to-do’s of our very busy life, until it all ended.
I still have two younger children that I’m homeschooling. In a way, I get to learn a few lessons that will benefit these two (like remembering how quickly the time actually goes!). I’d love to share my reflections with you.
Dealing with Post-Homeschooling Parental Guilt – 5 Tips:
1. Treat yourself gently.
Remember that you did your best with the knowledge you had. For every single thing you didn’t get around to doing, there are many, many things that you did even though you never planned to.
Get out the photos and videos and look back with joy over the memories you did create together.
2. Learning is for life.
Learning doesn’t stop at the end of homeschooling! Your kiddos can still borrow that book (if they want to). You might still do that field trip (except as adult friends!) that you had planned.
Because you sought to encourage your child to love learning and how to access information, they’ll forever be able to fill in any gaps that might pop up along the way.
3. Guilt and shame are never helpful.
We can’t turn back the hands of time, and living in guilt-and-shame land is not fun! Forgive yourself and move forward into the next part of the journey of relationship with your child. Releasing yourself of guilt and shame is freeing.
By doing this you can encourage others in their journey rather than looking back on yours as one of regret and resentment.
4. Make time for the best things.
One of the most valuable lessons for me has been that I now realize just how quickly time flies! I can really see how valuable it is to make time and space not just for good things, but for the BEST things.
Sometimes this means I now say ‘no’ to things that tax my time and ‘yes’ to things that I know are important long-term.
5. Ask them for their thoughts.
Asking our children to reflect back on their journey of learning with us can be a great encouragement. I interviewed each of my kiddos and asked them some questions about their homeschool experience. I was so encouraged when we took the time to do this because it helped to ease my fears that I had somehow failed them in the things we didn’t do.
Instead, they told me what stood out for them, which has helped me see just how much they learned and experienced along the way.
If you’re curious, the things that stood out to them were the read alouds, the places we visited, the edible science lessons we had, and the time they had to develop their interests. You can read their full responses here.
So if you have kiddos that have ‘graduated’ from your homeschool this is for you. I know you are worried about all the things you didn’t get to, allowing the impending parental guilt to take hold.
May I encourage you that life is for learning? You did your best with the tools you had at the time. Well done, you.
If you are still traveling the homeschooling path, may I encourage you to set aside time to reflect upon your original vision for homeschooling and for your family?
Continue to invest in meeting your children’s needs. By creating those strong relationships and giving your child a love of learning you really can’t go wrong.
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