There are so many moving pieces and parts for homeschoolers to consider. We can get lost in a sea of swirling ideas.
That’s why over the years, I’ve developed mantras to help me remember what’s most important.
And today, I want to share with you a dozen of my favorite mantras for homeschooling parents.
The work you are doing is helping to make the world a better place. So think about what you need to hear right now wherever you are on your journey.
Then pick the mantras that resonate with you and repeat them to yourself often.
Twelve Powerful Mantras for Homeschooling Mamas
#1: Go Deep, Not Wide
As an educator, I find it helpful to make comparisons between teaching methods at times. So when people ask me to describe main lesson block learning and the Waldorf-inspired approach, I like to say that main lesson blocks are similar to unit studies. Only different.
A unit study is a collection of activities around a theme that incorporates many different subjects. Broadly, a main lesson block could also be described this way.
But the way most homeschoolers and even teachers plan and execute unit studies is to pull in as many related subjects as they can to cover as much information as possible. An approach that is both broad and wide.
A main lesson block, on the other hand, delves deeply into one topic. Yes, this can be interdisciplinary, combining subjects like language arts, history, social studies, and geography. But the topic is very specific, like local geography for example, or Norse mythology. The Waldorf approach is built on the premise that it’s better to explore one small piece of a topic really thoroughly rather than to skim the surface on a variety of subjects. Go deep, not wide.
#2: It’s the Doing that Counts
We all do it! We keep searching and searching for the perfect story or poem or picture idea. The Waldorf approach is full of so much activity. There are the stories and the lively arts, handwork and rhythm and inner work to consider.
And in this day and age, we have 24/7 access through technology to so much information, including seeing or hearing about how others handle a particular block or aspect of the main lessons.
But at some point, we have to stop searching and just jump in. Because it’s the doing that counts more than the searching, considering, or thinking about how we’ll do our lessons.
#3: Confidence Comes from Taking Action
A related mantra is that confidence comes from taking action.
So often when I talk to new homeschoolers in my mentor sessions or inside the Inspired at Home membership, I hear questions about how to gain confidence as a new homeschooler. And while we’d like to think that making the perfect plan or purchasing the perfect curriculum will bring us confidence, the truth is that we only gain confidence by doing the thing! By taking action and then saying “I did it!” and then taking action again the next day. So go take some action, my friend!
#4: Scale Back Until It Works and Then Add From There
This is an absolute favorite mantra of mine for homeschoolers ~ scale back until it works and then add from there.
What important words to heed! Because so many of us have the tendency to keep piling on more and more and more. Just last week in a coaching call, one mom asked, “Why do I keep thinking we can get seven things done in a morning when realistically, it’s really on three?”
Of course, it depends on lots of other factors. And sometimes, we can get more done. But then inevitably, life happens and our plan for the day or week begins to unravel. So rather than thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” I want to encourage you to remember this mantra: Scale back until it works and then add from there.
#5: Who You Are is More Important Than What You Teach
Even more important than the doing, is the being! How we bring the lessons to our children is what matters most. Our relationship with our children is of the utmost priority.
In his lectures to the first Waldorf teachers, Rudolf Steiner said, “You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are.”
This translates into good self-care and inner work! Because in order to be fully present with our children, and maintain a strong bond throughout our days, we need to feel centered and present. The practice of inner work can help with this.
Want some guidance? Start with this verse, Inner Quiet.
#6: You Are the One Your Children Need
Whether you believe that your children picked you to be their parent or not, you are exactly who they need to guide them into adulthood.
After all, that’s our job. To help our children discover their gifts and then go out into the world to share them. And YOU are the person perfectly suited to do that! If you are having doubts, it’s time to find a community of other homeschoolers who believe in you so you can encourage each other along your journeys.
#7: Stories & Books Make Wonderful Teachers
Stories form the foundation of the Waldorf approach. As Steiner said, “Stories are communication from soul to soul.”
In the Waldorf approach, stories are the vehicle for presenting new material and content because the stories help us to make a heart-to-heart connection with our children. You can read the stories or memorize them (both are perfectly acceptable!). Just remember to treat them as sacred. Choose wisely and share generously.
#8: Make It as Lively as Possible
After the foundation of stories comes the lively arts. Steiner developed the Waldorf method to combat abstract teaching. And he believed that the arts bring us joy and help to make the learning memorable.
#9: Beware the “It’s Time to Get Serious” Trap
This mantra is for you when you have children at big milestones along the homeschooling journey.
We tend to fall into the trap of “it’s time to get serious now” when our children enter first grade. Or when they start middle school, or reach 8th grade, or begin high school, or any number of other times. We feel like our homeschooling has to suddenly get more rigorous, more serious, more academic.
My advice from homeschooling three children through every one of these milestones is to beware of this feeling! It’s often a trap that sends us down the road of becoming a taskmaster who’s rigid and demanding.
We fall into this trap out of fear. We’re afraid we haven’t done enough, that they aren’t prepared, that others will see our failings as a homeschooler.
Is your self-worth tied to your children’s performance? Believe me, no good ever comes of thinking this way!
Instead, we want to think of ourselves as partnering with our children. And gradually weaning them over many years’ time so that they can become independent learners. And discover their unique gifts. Because that is the goal!
#10: Hold Tight Loosely
Remember to hold tight loosely. I love this mantra for parenting in general. We want to be there, to be involved, and to stay steady. But we don’t want to get too attached to outcomes. After all, our children are going to blossom into who they are meant to be. And that is not up to us. So hold tight loosely!
#11 Think in 3s, Pick One
This mantra can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed ~ think in 3s, pick one. It’s a great mantra to keep in mind no matter what you’re trying to decide. So if you’re trying to choose resources for your next block, or looking at math books for your 12 year old, or even trying to decide what your priorities will be tomorrow, I encourage you to think of three possibilities, and then pick the most important one and start there.
#12: Pressure is Not Motivating, But Progress Is
And lastly, here’s a newer mantra that I’ve created from talking to so many homeschooling parents: pressure is not motivating but progress is.
We all feel pressure at times to get all the lessons in. And then we tend to pass that pressure along to our children. Funny thing is that most human beings don’t really do well or learn well under pressure. But progress, on the other hand, can be very motivating. So I encourage you to design your day for progress so you can let the pressure go.
Homeschooling Mantras to Support & Inspire You
I hope that these 12 powerful mantras for homeschooling support and inspire you.
And I encourage you to choose a few that you feel you need right now and commit them to memory. Maybe even write a few on post-it notes so you can remember them in the midst of your homeschooling days. Say them to yourself often as you navigate the wonderful journey that is homeschooling.
I’d love to know which of these mantras resonate with you the most.💜
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