The reasons why I was homeschooling out of negligence at this point are clear now, however at the time I just felt burnt out. If you feel this way, there is hope!
The day seemed long. I felt drained and it was only 11 am. School had been pushed back to due deadlines with work. My boy was whining so I did what I knew would work, turned on some educational TV. I sent the girls to the table to work on History. Throughout the half hour I checked my phone at least 4 times. I was waiting on an important email. It was project day, but my energy level was nonexistent, not to mention it was time to start lunch. I sent the kids outside to play, and sat on the couch.
What had happened to our homeschool? Why was this no longer fun? And what in the world was wrong with me?
This is the mood I was in when I headed off to the Great Homeschool Convention. This was how our days had been for at least a month or two. I don’t know about you, but to me, this is not okay. We were way behind in homeschool and I knew I was drowning, but the way to fix our problems with homeschooling was unclear.
Until I realized, that I was homeschooling out of negligence.
Sarah Mackenzie from Read a Loud Revival shared the meaning behind this in a workshop at GHC. Here is a brief summary that can help you determine if you are:
- Using screens too much (CHECK)
- Lacking consistency (CHECK)
- Longtime between books or projects (CHECK)
The reasons why I was homeschooling out of negligence at this point are clear to me now, however at the time I just felt burnt out. I felt out of control and like I had no idea how to fix it. Luckily Sarah had tips for this as well. I am going to share two, and I encourage you if these stand out to you to check out her blog and podcast. She knocked my socks off. Seriously!
Planning is Guessing
I had NEVER looked at it like this before. I have shared before that I am not much of a planner; however, I am a little OCD when it comes to our school schedule. So, when life happens (like an unexpected work deadline, sickness, doctor appointments, etc) it threw off my whole routine. I immediately would then feel behind, and like we needed to make the work up. I also had a plan for my whole work week. Each blog scheduled perfectly. I made no account for sick kids. Or bottle fed goats (really-who knew?!), or internet problems. When life messed with my plan, I got grumpy, I got negligent, and that affected our homeschool.
In reality, life happens. It messes with our plans, and we as moms need to realize that a schedule does NOT control us. Our people, they are bigger than any plan that we may have. And for me, right now, my people need me. More than I have realized, and more than I had planned. So, some of my work needs to be put on the back burner, and that is OK! Because (as Sarah shared) “whatever makes your plan mess up, is God’s way of saying no”
Curriculum is a Tool
I shared last week about our homeschool disaster and how I had I ditched our curriculum. All of it (pretty much). Why? Because the tool (homeschooling programs) just wasn’t working in this season of life. Now, many of you have messaged me and asked why, and seem worried that because Heart of Dakota isn’t working for me, that it won’t work for you. PLEASE don’t think that.
A curriculum is a tool, and that means that it will work for different people in different ways. A hammer won’t work for a screw. Why? It’s the wrong tool. Does that mean the hammer is bad? No, it is the perfect tool for a nail. Unfortunately for us at this time, HOD is a hammer and my kids are the screws 😉
The key here is to remember that when the tool isn’t working, you may need a new one. When you try to work with the wrong tool, you may become negligent. That is where we were. I wanted it to work so BAD, but it just wasn’t. Chances are you will be there at some point too. And, you know what? That is okay! God designed each of our kids differently, and we need to consider THEIR truth and what THEY need. When we do that, we will find the perfect tool that was created just for them <3
So, moms if you are realizing that you are struggling with homeschooling can I encourage you today that you are not alone? I have been there. At some time in your homeschooling journey, you may be there too. But, there is hope.
We can dig our way out of it. We can find the right tools for our life, and we can find joy in the unexpected moments that wreck our plans.
We can overcome homeschooling out of negligence, and we can overcome the fears and failures we face while homeschooling (I have a whole series on homeschool failure stories) Also, head here to find out how do you start homeschooling.
For more from Sarah Mackenzie check out her book 🙂 I truly believe it is the ONE book every homeschool mom should read.
PS: Does homeschooling sometimes scare you? Do you ever fear failure? I get it! That is why I created this t-shirt. A tangible reminder that fear does not own us! It was never meant to be a part of our story.
Sure! It did link to it, but it looks like she has a redirect set up where she changed her site. Here is a link to her podcast: https://amongstlovelythings.com/podcast-series/
This post though is in reference to me hearing her speak at a conference. So, I don’t have a direct link to that speech.
I haven’t finished reading but need to. My question is can you do a direct link to the pod cast? It just takes you to the site notvthd actual pod cast. I’d love to listen while I prep my day.
Let's Homeschool High School says
And for us as the parents! Sometimes a certain tool may work so well for other parents, but just cause heartache and stress for us. It’s not a bad thing, just not the right thing. 🙂
Exactly! Each child is different. We need to find the right tool for them 🙂
Let's Homeschool High School says
I love your illustration of a hammer being the wrong tool for screws, and that it’s not a bad tool, just the wrong one. Oftentimes, certain curricula or “tools” work so well for other people that we think something must just be wrong with us or the kids when it’s not working for us. And it’s helpful to remember…it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all because kids are individuals!
Awe thank you Mara! Praying for you and your homeschool 🙂
Mara Kunkel says
Thank you so much for this! The past 2 months or so I have been honestly thinking of sending them back to public because it has been just miserable. I will definitely look at what is working and what isn’t. So glad I came across your site!
Yes! I need that break for myself as well. I’m actually talking about that on the blog next week.
Thank you for stopping by!
These are such wonderful reminders. On days when I feel like quitting (or slowing down a LOT) I’m reminded that I can keep going…I can do this. Usually my short break gives me time to seek God and He shows me things that will make our home life easier (I’m type A!). Thanks for this post
Prayers to you Kelly as you decide what is the best decision for your son. Keep me updated and let me know if I can help in anyway!
You are so welcome! Most of us do exactly what you described. It is in those moments I believe when God is telling us to LET GO! Like you said, embrace the No’s and just let it be. Those are the moments that really matter. Thank you for sharing your thoughts <3
Misty-This post made me take a deep breath. And just sit and think about how when I am holding on to the plans, clutching them, that is when it seems to fall apart. When I hold on loosely, that is when things seem to work themselves out. It is easy to grasp and direct when the plan falls apart, isn’t it so much better to accept the “no” and let it be (and usually move to the couch to snuggle and read–at least that’s what we do to rescue a day). Thank you for this!
This article is timely for me. We are strongly considering putting my son into public or private school next year. He’ll be going into 3rd grade, but after two years of homeschooling, it feels like things are just too much and juse nit working. I have two younger children ages 1 and 3, but it seems that so much of my time is spent teaching him and so little time is spent enjoying them…the balace is off. Most days there seems to be so much school work to do that we don’t get to enjoy outings. Diaper changes, nursing, naps, eating, cleaning up between lessons, sibling arguments, takes up so much time that it just leaves me feeling overwhelmed that we’ll either be behind or that we’re going to fast and he won’t retain the information. We started homeschooling because my son is advanced in math and we were able to find an accredited homeschool curriculum which would allow him to work at a higher level. If we put him in public school/private, there will be tears that it’s too easy. We are of course concerned about the other negative things that could come with a public school education. Thank you for your post and mentioning the Cathy Duffy book. I will check that out to see if there’s a learning method that will work better for all of us.
Pat Fenner says
Love your blog…and this is EXACTLY how I’m homeschooling these days… Guess that’s His way of telling me I need to address something 😉
Keep on keepin’ on…and thanks so much for sharing your message!!
Thank you dear friend for being on this journey with me 🙂 <3
Davonne @ The Tidy Mom says
I love Sarah Mackenzie’s stuff! I just started running again and her podcasts make the time enjoyable instead of grueling 😊 Her book club videos on You Tube are also incredible.
I love what you said here, “Whatever makes your plans mess up is God’s way of saying, ‘No.'” My family has had over a solid year of almost every single plan we made being changed due to an unavoidable work emergency at the last second, sudden sickness in our home, or something unexpected arising for the person we were making plans with. It’s been a growing and learning experience to say the least, but has also showed us that God is in ultimately the One in control of our schedules and when we surrender our days to him, even the unexpected challenges and disappointments can become beautiful.
Lovely article my friend, and great food for thought. I’m so glad you’ve found curriculum that’s going to be a great fit for your family in your current season of life!