There are many wonderful things we do at our homeschool that I’m always eager to share. Now, it’s time to share what we don’t do that many moms think we probably should. Up until very recently, I used to do ALL these things as religiously as possible. These days, I’m becoming more aware of what works best for my family. That means doing away with some practices I’ve forced on our family for too long.
I’m not suggesting you stop doing the things I’m about to mention. My hope for this post is to inspire homeschool parents to get rid of what’s not working and do what suits their family instead. Here are eight things I no longer do now that I’m in my third year of homeschool.
1. Wake up before my kids:
That’s right. I no longer make it a priority to wake up before my kids. That’s not to say some days (like today) I don’t, but these days I refuse to punish myself for not living up to the unsaid expectations of stay-at-home moms. I’m a night owl by nature and often forced myself to turn-in early to awaken before sunrise. Not only is it extremely difficult to fall asleep before midnight, but late nights are often when I’m most productive. My body would rather work until 2am and awaken at eight in the morning than go to sleep at 11pm and awaken at five in the morning to get work done. I’m learning to accept it.
2. Morning devotionals:
Nope. I typically do my devotionals at night and my declarations in the morning. It just feels right. I like to do my declarations as soon as I open my eyes. This includes thanking God and declaring some truth over my life according to scripture. Declarations are not just a morning thing, they are something I speak whenever I start to fall into negative thinking patterns. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s becoming more of a habit with each day. Here are some examples:
I. Negative thought: Replaying failures in your mind.
Declarations: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). I will focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).
II. Negative thought: Comparing yourself to others.
Declarations: I will examine only myself and be proud of my own accomplishments without comparing myself to others (Gal. 6:4-5). I refuse to let envy destroy me, but I choose to have a peaceful heart that gives me life (1 Cor. 3:3).
III. Negative thought: Feeling angry or frustrated.
Declarations: Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
IV. Negative thought: Worry and fear.
Declarations: I refuse to worry about my life. I know that God will provide everything I need (Mat. 6:25-34). God did not give me the spirit of fear but His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).
3. Compare Myself to Other Homeschoolers:
I noticed the more I got involved in homeschool communities, the more I compared myself to those seemingly perfect veterans. I stopped making a habit of this. When I find myself falling into the negative thought-pattern of comparison, I arm myself with some of the declarations I mentioned in my second point. I’d like to remind you that your homeschool is unique to your family. You don’t have to do it like everyone else!
4. Mimic the traditional classroom:
My teaching method once very much mirrored that of the traditional classroom because that’s all I knew. These days, we learn side-by-side wherever we are comfortable. That can be the couch, dining room table, the library, or outdoors. We LOVE our classroom setup, but we aren’t bound by it. Truthfully, we get tired of being in there by the third quarter.
5. Plan enrichment activities:
I’m sorry for those of you who followed me for the awesome enrichment activities. I simply don’t plan them much because I don’t have to. These days, most enrichment activities we do are those our curriculum suggests. If I happen to think of something extra fun, I’ll execute that idea. Other than that, I simply can’t be bothered. I now have several side projects that consume the bulk of the free time I once administered to being crafty. In the end, I realized I was only creating more unnecessary work for myself.
6. Follow the curriculum verbatim:
I’m more interested in staying true to our homeschool vision than applying ineffective aspects of a curriculum. I’ve seen some moms suffer through a curriculum for the sake of completion. Not at our house. If it doesn’t work, I don’t force it. I recently had to do away with the entire third quarter of my son’s reading curriculum because they assigned reading he simply couldn’t relate to. Forcing him to understand medieval language became counter-productive. Instead, I assigned reading he could enjoy and required him to write summaries of the assigned chapters. Yes, there’ll be some things in his curriculum he MUST do, but I decided the originally assigned reading was not one of them.
7. Get dressed every day:
If we don’t have plans for the day, we don’t accumulate laundry. That’s that. I figured it was more important to be resourceful than picture-perfect. So yea, you may have noticed on Instagram that my kids are sometimes wearing pajamas or “house clothes” in the afternoon. I know there are tons of articles that make compelling cases for getting dressed even if you don’t go anywhere. However, I’m at a place in my life where, if I want to be super productive, my pajamas sure aren’t going to stop me. More importantly, my boys don’t seem any less productive than before. This is not to be confused with self-care, which they are most certainly required to do every day.
8. Uphold the perfect homeschool image:
I was trapped by expectations. Not so much on this blog (where I share my not-so-perfect moments), but in my daily life where other homeschool moms gave me a smug look if I mentioned using a free curriculum, not participating in expensive extra-curricular classes, or not vigorously training my then toddler how to read Shakespeare or multiply fractions (slight exaggeration, here). This blog felt like the ONLY place where I could speak freely about homeschooling on a narrow budget and in a way that works for ME.
These days, I endure smug looks for the sake of releasing another homeschool parent from the bondage of other people’s expectations. I can’t count how many times someone’s face lights up whenever I get candid about homeschooling. The look of relief on their face that they finally met a homeschool mom who Isn’t faking the funk. One mom actually said my honesty freed her from forcing a curriculum on her child that wasn’t working. I love that my honesty brings freedom to others.
Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Kudos to all the homeschool parents that do all of the things I mentioned and it works for YOU. This post is no way saying that these practices aren’t valuable. They just no longer serve our family. Let us know in the comments some things you’ve done away with in your homeschool. See you next week!