All or Nothing?
Most of us could be qualified as “All or Nothing” homeschoolers. We ride hard in whatever lane we’ve assigned ourselves and worry constantly about not living up to standard we have set for ourselves.
Most of us could also assign ourselves a few other labels, as well.
For example, I am the queen of “Extra Fancy.”
What does this mean, you ask? Girl. If you are “Extra Fancy,” you know exactly what it means.
You might be Extra Fancy if you can’t settle for serving a plain PB&J on a paper plate with a few carrot sticks. An Extra Fancy girl will cut up her PB&J into the letter of the week. Carrot sticks will turn into a crudité platter with dip.
You might be Extra Fancy if when reading the Little House books to your children you decide to turn your living room into a covered wagon, churn your own butter, and search the interwebs for “sorghum molasses.”
Why study Medieval history if you can’t make your own suit of armor or hold a tournament in your backyard?
I am growing increasingly excited the more I think about that tournament. I wonder if our little town would frown upon homemade cannons?
The problem with Extra Fancy homeschooling is that you begin to Wear. Plumb. Out. Ask me how I know this.
Maybe you aren’t one of those Extra Fancy homeschoolers. Maybe you are the Overachieving Homeschooler. Your kiddos are in more activities than there is time for. You constantly worry that you are missing something. Instead of dialing back when overwhelmed, you simply sign them up for another activity. Maybe you can sneak Taekwondo into that slot you have free right before piano lessons on Wednesdays.
Most of us struggle to find the balance of homeschooling freedom. We are in. All or nothing.
The difficulty with this mindset is that it is the surest way to burnout, no matter what kind of homeschooler you consider yourself to be.
It can be really tempting to try and do everything. I can’t tell you how many years I started out eagerly making plans and creating lessons for ALL THE THINGS. Only to find out that “all the things” was sucking the joy and the energy out of our home.
There has to be a balance. There also has to be an understanding that nothing good happens in an instant. There is room for exploring a passion. Like the many months my son studied meteorology. Or creating new experiences to study history. Building models of the Mayflower on the dining room table. And then just simply doing the daily disciple of tedious copywork. Does one really need to copy out the entire works of Robert Louis Stevenson? But think of the rewards.
Homeschooling freedom means that if you need a day to snuggle up with Caddie Woodlawn, you can take that day free from guilt. Homeschooling freedom means that if you need a day to romp through the woods with a sketch pad and a sense of adventure that is perfectly wonderful.
Homeschooling freedom means you can take time to allow your kids to create. Create art, forts, or a meal.
Homeschooling freedom means that you can take the extra minutes, hours, and day persevering through a hard lesson or concept. There is wisdom in repeating that lesson on integers if needed.
You don’t have to do all the things today. Or even tomorrow.
Rebekah Teague is the homeschooling mama to one busy and beautiful boy. She is married to The Muffin who is a pastor and a really great guy. In her spare time she can be found with a book and a cup of tea. She blogs at There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining.