HS 197 Audioblog: Dear Exhausted Homeschool Mom, by Ana Willis
WENDY: Hey there, welcome to the Homeschool Solutions podcast. I’m your host, Wendy Speake. Here on the podcast, we start each week with a longer, more traditional podcast, most often with guests. But sometimes, we simply open the Word together and apply it directly to our homeschooling days.
On Thursdays, however, we share shorter episodes, that I like to call blogcasts, where one of our favorite homeschool bloggers simply encourages us with the content of one of their recent blog posts. I hope this message serves you and your family today.
As always, I’d like to thank our sponsor, Sonlight Curriculum. The wonderful people at Sonlight Curriculum offer complete homeschool curriculum that you are guaranteed to love. And now, let me introduce you to one of my friends.
ANA: Hello everyone. This is Ana Willis from They Called Me Blessed. And today I have a word of encouragement to the exhausted mom striving for homeschool perfection.
Dear ‘exhausted moms striving for homeschool perfection’. I have great news for you. News that you’ll find liberating. There’s no such a thing as homeschool perfection. There, I said it. It took me a long time to find this out, but I did. On my last drop of hope, I finally got it and gave up on homeschool perfection. I gave up on having the perfect homeschool room as well, that never gets used, and of buying curriculum other moms brag about it, but don’t work for my children and are not a perfect fit for us.
In fact, I had an epiphany and gave up perfection altogether. Perfection according to others, books, and magazines. Perfection that brings comparison. Perfection that makes me constantly dissatisfied, constantly upset because things did not go according to my big unrealistic plans I copied from somebody else. Yes, this kind of perfection sucks, and I’m done with being a perfectionist.
I’m not striving for perfection anymore. I’m striving for joy, for peace, and for memories in our homeschool. Good memories. Doing what is fit for us, at our own pace, within our own natural abilities. No pressure. No hurries. No comparisons.
Don’t be fooled by the homeschool perfection you see in pictures on social media of perfect homeschool moms doing the perfect activities with their perfect kids every day. That is simply not true. We all have our imperfect days, all of us. And they happen more often around here, I can guarantee you that. A picture is not worth a thousand words.
For instance, we just had a poetry teatime today and before I tell you the whole story, if you’ll look at the picture on my Instagram, you’ll probably think it was absolutely perfect. But here is the story not told by the picture.
I baked fresh gluten-free scopes made from scratch, that didn’t taste that good, set up a beautiful tea table for me and my children in our living room, that we had to clean before because it was a disaster. Took the perfect pictures to share on Instagram. And as soon as I finished reading the second book, my daughter dropped her beautiful teacup and smashed it on the floor. Immediately, the perfect teatime atmosphere was gone. My daughter was devastated. I was upset. And there went our perfect homeschool activity of the day. The end.
Homeschool perfection on Pinterest is not for me either. I gave up on trying to do all those amazing pins ideas we spend hours to find on Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Pinterest. I’m not that crafty, DIY type of mom, and just the thought of the mess will drive me crazy before I even start it. Yes, those moms are awesome, and I wish I was the kind of mom who was all about doing hands-on projects, arts and crafts, etc. But I’m not. And I found that trying to be someone I am not and doing the things that are not natural to me and to my family will not in any way make our homeschool days successful.
I need to be simply me and homeschool my kids out of my strengths, my gifts, and my talents. I love challenges and I do challenge myself, but I’ve learned that everything organic is better. Let nature takes its course in your homeschool, right?
So, this is my humble advice to you, dear ‘homeschool mom, striving for homeschool perfection’. Be simply you. You are good enough, gifted enough, and perfect enough to homeschool your children. Yes, you can Tweet that.
Ask yourself, what feels natural to you? Reading books? Going for nature walks? Playing board games that teach your kids? What do you and your children enjoy doing together? See, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my mom would always tell me, and so is perfection. Perfection is what is fit for you.
Think about it. What do you consider a perfect dress? Not small, not big. Not too long, not too short. The color or the pattern you like. One that makes you feel good and comfortably wearing, right? Oh, and one that you can afford buying too. It is exactly the same with homeschool. Homeschool perfection: it’s what fits you and your family, your personalities, your learning styles, your lifestyles.
Perfection is doing homeschool over the kitchen table if this is the most comfortable spot in the house for you and your family. The reality is you don’t need a homeschool room out of a magazine. Get rid of this perfectionism and exhaustion, will you?
Last year, I got very ill. For many months, I was in and out of the hospital, sometimes having to stay overnight. I had chronic stress, adrenal fatigue, Hashimoto's kicking full speed, and my body stopped absorbing iron. This is what hustling for years did to me. On days I couldn’t hold a glass of water in my hands, my kids brought their books to my bedroom and sat on my bed beside me to do school. I still get emotional remembering those days. I can’t help but cry while I’m typing this. It wasn’t the place where we were homeschooling that mattered to them, it was what we did together, what we loved, so much, that we did not want to miss a day doing.
Our life is short, and we never know when our last day will be. Make memories with your children today and make every day the best day of your life, despite the imperfect moments in it. I want to get to the end of my day thanking God for giving me those moments I’ll never forget, knowing that my kids love to learn, and I still love to teach them. To be sure that we have a beautiful, strong, and loving relationship is the most important thing to me.
What kind of memories do you want your kids to have from your homeschool days? I don’t want my kids to remember me as a sergeant who dictates the orders in the morning every day and pull out a huge to-do list as pile up books all over the table. Yes, that was exactly what I did in my first years of homeschooling. I’m so glad those days are over, and I bet my kids are too.
What do you picture as a perfect homeschool day within your natural abilities and your kids’ learning styles? Do you beat yourself up most of the time charging yourself with guilt and condemnation because you think you are not perfect? Please don’t do that to yourself. You are perfect if you don’t try to imitate anyone else or do the things that are not natural to you.
Now, close your eyes for a second. Take a deep breath. Imagine having the perfect homeschooling day where everyone is loving it and getting along too. They all have a big smile on their faces. What was it like? What were you doing? How were you learning? You are on this homeschool journey with your heart and soul because you love your children and you want the best for them.
I’ll tell you this. My kids still think the best thing for them is when mom is fully present, cuddling on the sofa, reading them stories, and talking about it afterwards. We have the best conversations after reading books together and draw many lessons from it.
So, ditch perfection altogether and trade it for your full presence being simply yourself. Maybe we just need to simplify our great ideals of a perfect homeschool and focus on seeing beauty in the ordinary moments of our days instead. After all, our children are learning and growing beautifully as we simply love on them. And you are making memories together. And that, dear homeschool mom, is just perfect.
WENDY: I hope that today’s blogcast equipped and encouraged you. Remember that next week, I’ll be back with another great conversation right here on the Homeschool Solutions podcast. My name is Wendy Speake, I’m your host, and I’m so glad that you tuned in today.
But before we sign off, I’d like to invite you to subscribe right now to the Homeschool Solutions podcast through Apple or Google Play. And speaking of invitations, won’t you join me at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions this year? These conventions are my favorite, offering dozens of wonderful speakers and hundreds of inspiring exhibitors. Go to www.greathomeschoolconventions.com and find one near you in 2020. This year, I will be at the Ohio, Texas, SC, and California conventions. Make sure to stop by and say hey if you’ll be at one of those events.
But in the meantime, we’ve got this podcast and Homeschooling.mom as other great resources to support you as you educate your kids in math and science and literature, yes, but also as you train them in Godliness and love.
Until next time, this is Wendy Speake. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful day.