Last week I shared about the transition I experienced in our homeschool and how it caused me to feel like I lost part of my identity.
In the fall I was tired and burnt out and feeling very lack-luster about this homeschool thing. I sat down with my husband and shared my struggles. Did I get a bunch of answers? Nope. He challenged me to reflect on the homeschool years with some thought-provoking questions that have helped me reshape and rebuild my homeschool identity.
Want to know what he asked me? Well, here are the questions he asked me, and I think they are worth answering for every homeschool mom. So go ahead, evaluate your homeschool. You just might come away with a changed perspective.
5 Questions All Homeschoolers Must Answer
How much time do you have?
I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting this question. The answer seemed obvious: I have twenty-four hours in a day just like everyone else. However, the point was to discover what I was cramming into each day, as well as find ways in which I waste time (I’m looking at you social media)! My husband wanted me to write out a realistic analysis of my time.
I went through a breakdown of my homeschool day, and that’s when I realized that I would need about 72 hours to complete the things on my list. My list might have been about two miles long. Goodness! I don’t have time for that!
I realized that I would have to slowly let go of some of my expectations and redefine my priorities. And this revelation led me to realize that I’d been looking at everything the wrong way.
Are you answering the right question?
I wasn’t quite sure where we were headed with this one. My husband wanted to know the common homeschool question. What is that one question that everyone is encouraged to answer as they begin homeschooling? It’s the “Why homeschool” question.
I had answered that years ago and while my answers have changed slightly over the years, the basic premise was the same: I wanted to provide my children a solid educational foundation by teaching them how to learn while keeping the focus on building Christ-like character. I answered the question and it sounded quite impressive to my ears.
That’s when my husband told me that I had answered the wrong question. My answer wasn’t complete. I needed to answer the question: “How do you homeschool?”
Ok, so how do I homeschool? I follow my curriculum and my schedules. I teach my kids. I try to prayerfully disciple them.
Yes, but how? At that moment I realized that I didn’t have a process in place to achieve my goals. I hadn’t prioritized well. All the things I did throughout the day were not all pointed at a singular goal. I had lost focus.
What are your fears?
So, I was already feeling a little panicked after our questions thus far. Then he hit me with this question. It’s the kind of question that brings you to your knees. You want me to tell you my fears about homeschooling? Well, how long do you have?
I was already feeling lost after realizing that I had been answering the wrong question about my homeschool. As soon as I realized that I didn’t truly have an answer to that question, I felt like a massive failure. And when I more deeply analyzed my fears, I realized that I had been feeling fearful all along. No matter how many plans I had made or how much curriculum lined my shelves, I was operating from a place of fear.
Do you have balance?
After answering the above questions, the answer to this question was a resounding no. While I may have originally thought that I had achieved balance in homeschooling and the other areas in my life, I realized that I was far from balanced. Homeschooling consumed my day, my time, and my thoughts. I often felt like I was somehow “missing out” on other things because I homeschooled.
I am a wife, a mother, and a home educator. But when I look at how my time is spent, I wear the hat of home educator for most of my day. I felt like my other roles were being pushed aside in favor of pushing for homeschool success.
And what about me? What about the things that my soul needs? I was feeling worn, frazzled, tired, and empty. The saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” rang true for me, except that I had pushed past the point of empty sometime in that last year. I wasn’t sure how I could recover.
What does success look like?
This was my husband’s way of asking if I knew what homeschooling success would look like. Did I truly know my end goal? Did I feel content with our current progress toward those goals?
After some deep soul-searching, I realized that I was beginning to feel resentment and discouragement. I was trapped inside a box of my own homeschool expectations. My vision for my own homeschool wasn’t realistic. My goals were not truly being met because my priorities were not aligned to those goals. I was operating out of a place of fear, causing me to feel off balance.
Overall, this time of questioning was a humbling experience. I realized that no matter how successful or well-run my homeschool might appear to myself and to others, I could always use a bit of a reality-check.
I know that I can’t be the only one. Do you, homeschool mom, need to re-evaluate this year?
Here’s homeschool secret number 4:
P.S. – If you missed the last secret, you can hop right over here to find it.
Out of the introspection and the greater self-awareness, I’ve discovered some new things about this homeschool journey and about myself. I hope you’ll join with me as I share some insightful secrets to authentic homeschooling.
What’s next on Lextin Eclectic?
Now that you’ve reflected on your homeschool, I’ll be sharing the common traps that can snare unsuspecting homeschool moms. I bet you’ve fallen into one or two of them. A little transparency here – I’ve been ensnared by all of them a time or two.
Then I’m going to dive a little deeper into my homeschool evaluation and break down some of these steps into bite-sized pieces.
Come back every Monday I continue the Homeschool Identity series. And stop by on Thursdays for curriculum reviews, homeschool tips, or homeschool anecdotes.
Before you head out, leave a comment and tell me which question was most insightful. What did your answers reveal about your homeschool identity?
Don’t miss any of the posts in my Homeschool Evaluation Series!
If you need some additional encouragement and a renewed homeschool perspective, check out these books!