A Parents guide on how to manage the stress of Homeschool
Stress in our life is something we all experience. This is especially so for parents that are dealing with the stresses of homeschooling their kids.
Ultimately, part of the reason parents have chosen to homeschool their kids is to create a learning environment that is secure and harmonious. A place where our kids feel safe, nurtured and accepted.
But the reality is we all get stressed at some point and so do our kids. When we get overwhelmed with stresses, that harmonious home can turn into hell as quick as our mood swings.
So if you are finding yourself having mini meltdowns, yelling at the kids, the dog and the dishwasher its probably due to stress. Sometimes you may even think you are not stressed but perhaps you are.
Stress symptoms to be mindful of may include:
- Anxiety or over-thinking and excessive worrying
- Poor concentration and easily distracted
- Depression or negative thinking
- Yelling and rapid mood swings
- Not enjoying usual things that make you feel happy normally
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Under/over eating
- drug or alcohol misuse
- Communicating less
How To Manage Stress When Homeschooling?
The important question is how do we manage that stress?. As a homeschool parent with many years of experience and plenty of stress in my time. I use 5 strategies that help me cope that I hope will be beneficial to you also.
1. Lower Expectations
Basically if you put too many demands on yourself and your time you are more prone to failing to meet those expectations. Simplifying your everyday life and accepting that you are not super human.
Accepting that you cant physically do everything, nor do it perfectly, everytime. This acceptance of expectations is a way to relieve the pressure that you have put on yourself. Its like slowly releasing a high pressure valve that was once ready to explode.
This also applies to lowering expectations that you have of others including the kids that you are homeschooling.
2. Emotional Daily Checkpoints
If you feel any of the stress symptoms building up or find yourself wanting to scream and pull your hair out this is the time to give yourself a break before things escalate. Its important to set aside a few moments to get emotions in check.
Remove yourself from the current environment, (perhaps go to another room, go outside, sit on the toilet ) and acknowledge what you are feeling and what has made you feel this way at that moment.
This is also important to do even when the day has run smoothly. Perhaps every few hours take a mini break, sit down, enjoy a cuppa, have a snack and reflect on the past hour or two and make a mental note as to how your feeling and why.
If it feels good do it again, if it feels bad what can you do to make it feel better.
3. Reward Yourself
This is my favourite thing to do but it is also the hardest to learn to do.
As a homeschool parent it important to remind yourself of just what an amazing job you are undertaking for your kids. This is an unpaid job with very little acknowledgement.
So you need to be the person that rewards yourself for all the hard work that you are doing and the great things you have accomplished. Forget all the things that maybe you could have done better or the mini meltdown you had hours before.
Give yourself some praise, brag to your friends about the great things you have done, go and reward yourself with some retail therapy or have that extra glass of bubbly on Friday night. This is an extremely important exercise that you need to do for yourself and your mental health and wellbeing.
You need to speak nice to yourself everyday and then give yourself a reward that might be weekly or monthly. Once you are accepting and kind to yourself it becomes easier and easier to reward yourself without the guilt.
I guarantee it will have a positive effect on your emotional state and the harmony in the household.
4. Structure & Routine
If you are wanting to minimise the daily stresses its important to create a little routine in your day. This is nothing that is too strict. It needs to be just a simple bit of structure to your day. Its a mini planner to create and manage your time.
It helps to eliminate over-scheduling, minimise unrealistic expectations and ensures that the high priority stuff gets done. This structure can help minimise stress and meltdowns by avoiding distractions from little things that tend to consume our time and waste our energy
I like to think of it as an invisible set of boxes that we put high priority stuff to do in. I have 4 boxes that work for me. The before school box (6am to 9am) the school box (9am to 2pm), the afterschool box ( 2pm to 7pm) and finally the lost and found box.
The stuff we add to this box needs to be the must do or have the highest priority only.
Each box is filled with tasks that need to get done in that particular time frame. Then anything that you wanted to do but couldn’t for whatever reason goes into the lost and found box that can be done at another time during that day or on another day entirely.
Also it gives the freedom to complete the little stuff that you would like to get done should there be time leftover in the box.
I think we can all agree that expressing gratitude is a trait that we would all want to or need a little more of. Everyone talks about how to do it and the importance of doing it but in reality most of us need to practice it a bit more.
Not only can expressing gratitude lower cortisol levels in your body but it also helps maintain a more positive frame of mind that will positively effect your physical wellbeing. It can make people feel happier, contented and more satisfied in daily life.
You can start by just being thankful for the opportunity to spend extra quality time with your kids. Be greatful that you have the opportunity and the means to educate your children the way you want.
Appreciate the freedom that homeschooling allows your family and lifestyle. This in turn will be appreciated by your kids and family and hopefully will encourage them to express gratitude also.
Related: How to De-Stress and Re-asses
Last Words On Homeschool Stress
Hopefully one of these strategies will be beneficial in reducing your homeschool stress.
If not it is important to find some external support that can help you either from family, friends or a health professional. Homeschooling your kids is stressful with out any doubt and there is a lot of parents doing it.
So never think that you are alone or that you are failing when you are experiencing stressful times. The truth is that we are all doing the best we can and that we are all super homeschool hero’s doing an amazing job.
With love and kindness
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How to Homeschool – The Good the Bad and the Ugly Realities of Doing it Successfully
This is the book I wrote my younger self about doing it successfully. Take it from some one who has been there.
It is everything I have learnt from my 18 years as a full time educator, mum and housewife.
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About The Author
My name is Ursula Boston. I’ve been educating my daughters as a proud homeschool mum for nearly 20 years. Alongside managing our household and small business from home.
If you want to learn how to do this from someone who has actually done it. Twice! I will show you HOW.