How to Feel Better as a Homeschooling Parent
I’ve talked with hundreds of you over the years about how to feel better as a homeschooling parent.
We all have one thing in common, including myself. Do you know what that is?
Feelings of inadequacy. Wondering if we’re doing enough. Wondering if we are enough.
Most of us are familiar with how these feelings can creep up on us and how the self-doubt can creep in.
This is such an important topic! We want to FEEL better about this incredibly important work that we are doing in the world as homeschooling parents.
So, I have some tried-and-true, well-researched strategies I want to share about how to feel better as a homeschooling parent.
Feel Good, Grounded, & Confident on the Homeschooling Journey
We all deserve to feel good each and every day. And it starts with recognizing that however we’re feeling right now is okay.
We can reframe those uncomfortable feelings by first accepting them, and then deciding to shift our thoughts and mindset.
Let’s dive in! Here are my seven strategies from episode 38 of the Art of Homeschooling Podcast.
How to Feel Better as a Homeschooling Parent
#1: Be more kind and gentle with ourselves. We’re all humans having a human experience. And being kind and gentle is a good idea. Especially being kind and gentle with ourselves. Raising little humans is a big job, it’s a constant job, and so let’s honor ourselves for stepping up and taking this on!
#2: Give equal airtime for the positive thoughts as the negative ones: Our brains are wired to scan the environment for trouble. It’s a survival mechanism – one that kept our ancestors alive long ago!
But these days, there are no giant beasts that we need to watch out for, to run away from. Except our brains are still wired for this. And, here’s something fascinating that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – our brains can’t tell the difference between physical pain and emotional pain.
So the end result is that we’re often stuck in negative thought loops. Worrying, worrying, worrying. What if we also gave space in our heads for positive thoughts, too. Giving equal air time for positive thought takes some conscious intention on our part, but can make a world of difference in how we feel about our homeschool.
What if this is exactly where we’re supposed to be?
#3: Accept our circumstances & stop resisting. Respond with love and acceptance. When we resist certain feelings, like frustration, fatigue, or fear, rather than going away, those feelings actually grow.
But if we can accept the feelings, all the feelings, and trace them back to our thoughts, thoughts which are usually related to how we think things SHOULD be… then we can begin to accept.
Here’s an example. Have you ever felt frustrated or even defeated because your child whines and complains when you ask them to write a summary of an event or story? And you think, “Ugh, why does this always happen?”
The truth is that when we do that, we’re just over and over again accumulating evidence that this situation is frustrating. That it’s always going to be frustrating.
But instead, what if we accepted that our child is going to respond this way sometimes. What if we accepted our feelings around the situation and responded with love and gentleness for ourselves and our child. What might we say then?
Try out a thought like this, “Well, sure, eight year old boys do this sometimes” or “How very normal of them!”
And see if a different thought, this more gentle and accepting thought, can help you make some more room for a creative, flexible response when things get sticky in your homeschool.
#4: Get to know our feelings about our kids, ourselves, our partners, and homeschooling…and just be curious about that rather than judging so harshly.
Recognize that we have feelings and that it’s not our job to try to be positive all the time.
Here’s all this requires: being totally honest with ourselves. And being willing to accept all emotions, all thoughts and feelings that come our way rather than resisting them or pushing them away. Let’s get to know ourselves better!
#5: Recognize that our children benefit from seeing us striving. We don’t have to get it right 100% of the time. We’re learning too, along with our children. It’s all about the journey of lifelong learning.
#6: Know that we cannot control others. Only our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. So let’s do our own work, the inner work of looking at our thoughts and feelings that then inform our actions. Because that’s really all we can do anyway!
#7: Accept that our children are on their own path and we’re here to walk alongside them, to guide them and then launch them into the world.
I remember when our oldest was getting ready to plan for college, and I just couldn’t believe that this was how parenting was supposed to work. That we sacrifice and serve and strive for so many years, and then they leave!
But that is the plan. And each of our children is on their own path. I often say that one of the things I love so much about holistic homeschooling is that we get to help our children discover their unique gifts and that they can then go out and share with the world. That’s truly our goal.
You can feel your best as a homeschooling parent!
This poem is a beautiful reminder that we’re ALL on a journey:
On Children by Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you
And please remember this: let’s be more kind to ourselves so we can feel better while on the homeschooling journey!
More Homeschooling Inspiration
In our Homeschool with Waldorf membership community, we explore these mindset approaches further with lots of conversation and support for homeschooling parents. Live coaching calls will give you an opportunity to ask questions and get advice from me and other homeschooling parents. Membership includes over 20 masterclasses to help you learn about specific homeschooling strategies for different subjects and topics, as well as how to nourish yourself and your children as you go. It’s a wonderful resource for support, training, and inspiration on your homeschooling journey!
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