The beginning of a new homeschool year can be both exhilarating and terrifying, especially if you are a new or relatively new homeschool mom. You’re probably excited to be starting this journey, and on the verge of a panic attack that won’t quit. Never fear homeschool mom… you’re going to be ok. I like to think the fact I’m freaking out shows how much I care. 😀
The back to school freakouts (as apposed to the myriad of other through the year freakouts ~ sorry… it’s gonna happen) seem to fall into 3 categories and I’ll cover each one in detail, as well as share strategies that helped me overcome each one… no mama, it’s not just you. <3
The Freakout: Public School Just Started
Your facebook feed is filled with smiling pictures of all your friends’ kids dressed in their best “back to school clothes”, holding cute little chalkboards, stating the grade they’re going into. Instead of feeling excited you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to herd them into a bus or the car to get to school, you feel sad.
Someone asked about this in a homeschool group I’m in. She got a few different replies from “Are you crazy?!” to “I totally understand, it happens to me too!”.
Here’s my take on this one. It’s not really that you want your kids to go to public school. It’s more about mourning the possibility that is no more. Last year I found myself getting teary over all the back to school pictures on facebook. It wasn’t because I wasn’t happy we were homeschooling. It was about me letting go of all the “dreams” that come with public school. The Prom. Homecoming (which is HUUUUGE here… parade and everything). My kiddo missing her friends. Those “dreams” are deeply ingrained in us from the beginning… and now they are gone… in the way we’ve dreamed them. There are always ways to create new versions of those dreams.
Antidote to this freakout:
If school has started in your area, pick something you’d never be able to do if your kiddo was in school and go do it!
Last year we took a week long fishing/camping trip the first week public school started. We took a guided fishing trip, and used our camper for the first time. We had a blast. We created new memories. Caught gigantic fish. AND… it got me away from Facebook just enough I wasn’t quite so overwhelmed by all the back to school pictures.
You don’t have to take a whole week… go to a movie, go to a water park, an amusement park. Whatever it is you wished you’d gotten to do during the summer, but never quite got to it. Start your own memories and traditions.
One other fun thing… get your kiddo a new pair of pajamas and take “first day of school” pics in bed, in those new pjs with a big basket of books! <3
The Freakout: You Hate Everything You’ve Chosen for School
Oh believe me, this happens. In fact, it only took me to day 3 for this to happen to me last year. 🙂 That’s why I always suggest starting before making any huge decisions about curriculum, especially your first year. It’s difficult to know, when you’ve never done something like this, just how it’s going to work. It’s hard to know what you’re kiddo’s going to like, and be happily willing to do.
I KNEW we’d be a unit study family. Just knew it. HA. Not so much. I had purchased many, many unit studies over the summer while I was planning (we’ll get to that next). When we sat down to start homeschooling, the kiddo was like, um. no way.
The Antidote for this freakout:
Call a friend. If you have no homeschooling friends, go to your favorite homeschool group and tell them what’s going on. They’ll be supportive, and probably give you these options.
- Stick with it. See if it’s just a transition thing.
- Throw it out the window. Pick something else. Just eat the money you’ve spent.
- Try something else, but keep what you’ve got to try again later.
These are the three basic fixes for the I hate all my stuff freakout. I can’t tell you what will work for you, deep inside you already know. Trust yourself.
We put all the unit studies away. I still have them though, hoping someday to use them. LOL. (Or maybe take bits and pieces from them and stick them in what we’re doing so I didn’t waste all the money.)
The Freakout: It’s only been a week and I’m already behind!!!
You’ve spent all summer putting together this delicious plan. You’ve got gorgeous planning pages. You’ve got goals and you know exactly how and when you’re going to hit them.
Then a surprise invitation to ride horses and play with friends comes up for a Wednesday afternoon. You’ve got 4 things already planned for that afternoon… but isn’t this what homeschool is all about?! Freedom?! You take your friend up on their offer, and internally freak out about all the things you’re not doing today that you “should” be doing, and wondering how you’re ever going to “make it up”.
The antidote for this freakout:
Create a routine instead of a schedule. (What kind of solution did you expect? I am a relaxed eclectic homeschooler. <3) A routine gives you some structure, but it also gives you freedom, and an easy way to move things if something comes up. This is a LONG video… but I tell you, it changed everything for me, when it comes to this freakout. Get a cup of whatever and give it a watch.
If you’re having a freakout that I haven’t covered… it’s ok. <3 They happen (frequently if you’re me lol). You’re not alone. We’ve got almost 600 secular, relaxed-eclectic moms of older kids ready and willing to help you overcome your freakout… come talk to us about it! You’ll even get to see the one I had last weekend. 😀