Real-talk goals for homeschool mamas

Today, we’re officially kicking off our 2019 homeschool year!

It’s an exciting one too!

Although Monster has to re-do Grade R because of his speech delay, we’re going with a new curriculum this year so he gets extra stimulation, and not being bored with doing the same stuff another year, as well as giving us more opportunities to work on improving his speech.

While his speech has improved a lot in the last two years (it’s amazing how much homeschooling has benefited him in that aspect), he isn’t ready to move to Grade One just yet. We decided to keep him back another year to give him the opportunity to work hard at his speech without being overwhelmed from being in a Grade he isn’t ready for. His Speech Therapist also advised us to keep him back a year to work on improvement so we know we made the right call.

It’s going to be a year filled with extra hard work for him. Extra time spent with him. Extra effort from his side as well.

He’s been talking about going to school for almost half a year now. Every time we drove past a school with kids walking around, he would comment about it being his school and him wanting to attend it. I think at this stage, it’s more the idea of all the kids being there that is attracting him. I don’t think he understands in full that it’s a school, kind of like ours. And that he’ll still have to do school work there apart from playing with friends.

Hubby Byren wants to move him to a school as soon as Monster is ready, while I have extremely strong mixed feelings about the whole idea.

Oh, and if you’re wondering which curriculum we’re going with this year, it’s Brainline. They have the study material available in Afrikaans and in English, and cover all the years up until Grade 12, which is fantastic because you know there’s a consistency in their study material from the beginning to the end.

Last year was a shaky one. We took a couple of breaks throughout the year because life happened.

Cay was born so those first couple of weeks were a nightmare trying to stick to our routine which was basically non-existent. The boys getting sick with tonsillitis and putting a stop to learning for a few days. Traveling to Durban unexpectedly to attend Hubby Byren’s granddads funeral. Gremlin getting bitten by a dog.

You get the picture. Life happened a lot. We still got through all the work we needed to, surprisingly. At the end of the day, you just have to put your head down and work a little harder to achieve those goals you set out for yourself and your kids at the beginning of the year.

I get that there’s lots of stress that a parent goes through when kids are at school. Are they getting the right attention? Education? Are they coping with it all?

Being a homeschool mama, the stress is real for us as well. Are we making the right decision? Are we using stimulating-enough study material? Are we doing the right thing homeschooling our kids? Am I doing a good job?

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all these thoughts. I think no matter how long you do this, you find yourself questioning your competence in teaching your own kids.

I also believe that we influence our own negative thoughts.

We’re already being judged by so many out there for choosing this route that we feel pressured to do more, as if to prove a point that homeschooling does work! And that is it a possible path of education for families.

I don’t think we really realize how much pressure we put ourselves under to please someone else, who doesn’t even have a clue what homeschooling is.

People are ignorant and exhausting ourselves for their sake is pointless.

It all comes down to the goals we set up for ourselves. Sure, we have goals for the year; what the kids need to learn, to know, finishing everything in time without rushing through the work, etc.

But what about the personal goals? Now I’m not talking about the personal goals that you set up for yourself for the year. I’m talking about the homeschool goals you set for yourself. The ones where you focus on your mental and emotional state concerning your homeschool journey.

What goals can you set that are manageable as well as realistic?Have patience

As I’m typing this, I’m letting out a big sigh. And you are too, most probably. Your kids might test your patience only a daily basis, now you need to take out extra patience to get through the school day. It’s not easy, I know. But the more impatient you get, the more your kids are going to fight against whatever they need to be doing. If you feel yourself losing your cool, take a break. Even for five minutes. Take a snack break or a walk outside and then try again.

Be present

I know it’s nice to take photos of all the work they are doing, but it’s better to take one or two and put your phone down. If you are distracted, your kids will follow your example. So if you’re busy with something else, you can’t lead by example and expect them to focus on what you have instructed them to do. Bottom line: one or two photos, and the rest of your attention is on your kid/s.

Don’t compare your homeschool

It’s so easy to feel discouraged when you look at another family who also homeschool, and see how perfect it looks or that their kids are ahead of yours. At the end of the day, it’s going to be different. And driving your crazy with worry will be a possibility if you keep comparing. Direct that focus on your homeschool journey and find ways to make it better on your own pace and ideas.

Take it a day at a time

Some days will go by with small and almost no hiccups. Other days will leave you questioning why you even do it. Sometimes when the day isn’t working out, move it to the next day. Fighting a battle with your kids that you’re not winning and frustrating yourself will not make your kids want to work. So take it a day at a time. If you see it’s going to a standoff and there’s no compromise, move it on to a fresh day.

Find joy in every day

I know the hours are long and you might feel there is little to celebrate about the day when your kids have been fighting against your instructions almost the whole of the time they were suppose to be working. It’s frustrating and you feel like a failure some days because nothing wanted to work in the way it was planned out to. But there is aways some joy to find in every situation. Be it your kids sitting still for a longer period of time than usual, or your kid having a break through with something they had been struggling with, there’s always something positive to find and feel joy about.

What are your real-talk goals for homeschool mamas? Share them with me!

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