1. Don’t give up. Often times, the first few months of homeschooling are tough because we don’t know how to conduct ourselves without the filter of school. It takes time to adjust to each other’s needs, and get used to the new living situation. Most problems early on have nothing to do with homeschooling, and everything to do with learning to live together.
2. Give up. That’s right, you heard me – give up. When you aren’t getting your way, and things seem to be going horribly wrong, give up the fight. Turn your attention to something else and let it fall apart. When we begin homeschooling our kids, we think we need something, because we don’t know any other way. But if we let go, and let the thing we need slip away for a while, we might find that we don’t really need it at all. Or that we were working too hard to keep up the status quo instead of creating new habits.
3. Do something for yourself. When you start to deschool, it’s not just about giving your kids space to get used to not having to go to school, but it’s for you too! And part of that adjustment is to know that you still have you to take care of. If you did a good job taking care of yourself before, keep up that routine. If you didn’t, now’s the time to add that to your schedule. If you don’t take care of yourself, who will? Plus, it will be a great time to distance yourself from the newbie homeschooler stress.
4. Get your kids involved. Invite your children to help you schedule your day. Do they want to take it easy or explore the world? Do they want to play with friends or go to the book store or a movie? What do they want to make for dinner? Spread the freedom to choose through the whole family, so it’s not just mom who takes care of everything. The school model is to have a top-down, teacher takes care of things, student follows approach. Homeschooling is a group effort, where mom and dad are Socrates and Einstein – smart people who hang out with their kids and share their knowledge because they like to, and of course, love their family.
5. Go crazy. Feeling stressed out? Go parasailing! Feeling like school work is taking over your day? Go strawberry picking! Sitting around the house watching your kid play video games? Build a catapult in your back yard! Feel like you want to get away from it all? Go to the beach and sit around all day doing nothing, listening to the beauty of the waves (how many people actually get a chance to slow down long enough to listen to nature?) This is your chance to do what you don’t normally do and have fun or relax. If you feel like you’re going crazy, go with it! Feel crazy! And prove you’re going crazy to the world around you by breaking the unlivable expectations of what you are “supposed” to be doing.