Is homeschooling a large family really even possible?
Without losing your mind? Without becoming "that homeschool mom" that people bolt at the first sight of?
Yeah, it is.
I have many friends that homeschool their first two kids, love it, or get overwhelmed, and then when the third one is old enough for school they bail come August.
That's sad. Not only is it sad, but it's unnecessary.
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If you are thinking about not homeschooling anymore because of the size of your family, just give me 5 days to show you another option.
5 Days. For 5 Days you'll get a countdown of my top tips, and things that I have used and am using for my own family. In case you are wondering, I have 5 children. I know some things.
I'm working my way from great to awesome. I'm saving my top tips for last. You've got to build up to the goodness. That doesn't mean you skip 10 - 6 because they're no good. False. They are good. It was really hard to put them in order of impact/importance; there are quite a few that I think are equal.
It's the final countdown!!!!
Many large Homeschooling families feel alone, overwhelmed, and stressed. They don't know how to banish these damaging and discouraging feelings and often turn to the wrong sources. Use the free tools that are right next to you, but you may not see them as a tool and thus, dismiss them.
Learn to laugh at yourself and use humor to diffuse any negative feelings in your home and in your heart.
Using humor robs these negative feelings of their power over you.
When the kids' science experiment goes all sorts of wrong find something that you can laugh about; find something that you learned through this colossal gaffe and make it part of the learning process with your children. Breathe.
"Blue skies in, gray skies out." -McKenna (American Girl movie)
Start and end your day with sincere, earnest, and specific prayers for you, your spouse, your children, and your homeschool.
Pray for the clarity, energy, and focus you need. Pray for the support you need from your spouse, pray for each thing each of your children need. If they are struggling with writing a paper, pray for help to guide them, to encourage them, and for that child to understand, to persist, and to whatever else they need.
Do not isolate yourself or become a martyr. Reach out to your spouse, or anyone else to create a support system that fits you.
This is a hard one for me. I'm a mega introvert and love being alone. It's hard for me to ask for help, but I'm learning that things go so much better when I reach out for help and I make connections with other Homeschooling Mamas doing the same thing I am.
As a Homeschooling mom of a large family it often feels like we're herding cats. Stray, wild, feral cats.
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Getting everything and everyone to operate without any major kinks is necessary to avoid burn-out and stress overload. Work together and share the responsibilities to lighten your load.
Sit down and work out what needs to be done in your home, your family, and your school each day, each week, and each month. Gather the family together to discuss these items and then delegate these duties to every person in the family (except the newborn, of course).
You are a family, which means you are a team. The job of keeping the family going is everyone's.
I don't like to just have ambiguous ideas thrown at me. I like directions, I like steps, I love examples.
There are a few resources I want to point out to you that you can use to help you accomplish tips #10 and #9.
Hope For The Heart of The Homeschool Mom by Jamerrill Stewart
It has the most beautiful cover, don't you think? There are more than just pretty words in here, but actionable, helpful ideas, guidance, and encouragement specifically for those days when you question your sanity and know those angel children of yours are morphing into wild cats.
Mindset For Moms by Jamie Martin
I've followed Jamie since the beginning of time (when I started Homeschooling). This is a wonderful book that lays out a new way of thinking, acting, being for 30 days.
There are 3 MP3 that you will enjoy listening to. The titles alone grabbed me, never mind that they're excellent.
Letting Go of Mommy Anger -- I know, right!
Discover the Joy in Letting God Lead Your Homeschool -- perfect to go along with your daily prayers.
You Are Not Alone: Collaborate Homeschool -- now you can figure out exactly how to create that support system you need.
You can purchase each of these separately and you will be on your way to mastering the skills, the stress, the overwhelm and doubt that you have. Don't mistake, there's no shame in feeling any of these. The important part is you don't let them beat you; you don't let them win.
Come back tomorrow for tips #8 and #7: they're gonna be awesome!!