I’m amazed by marathon runners. They train in a way that addresses more than just their physical abilities. To run that long of a race, they have to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally. As homeschooling moms, we have to do the same because the decision to homeschool means we have to build endurance. Homeschooling is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. So how can you train in such a way that helps you finish strong?
1. Consider How You Want to Teach
We often hear about individualizing our children’s education. It’s one of the benefits of homeschooling. At times that takes sacrificing what we want for what is best for them, but if we don’t find a balance we will burn out. For the most part, you have to find a way to homeschool that works for both you and your children.
To do that, it might take some trial and error. You’ll probably buy some resources that you never use, but you can consider that an investment in your education. One thing for sure though, try some different methods, even ones that don’t draw you immediately, so you can find the best fit for your entire family, including you.
2. Take Teacher Workdays
There’s a reason schools have teacher workdays! An occasional teacher in service day will give you the chance to take some time to catch up, plan, and do a little dreaming. You’re kids can either have a day off or have their own catch-up day. If they do take the day off, be sure to have some fun activities they can do without your direct involvement so you can truly use the time to benefit your homeschool.
Public school teachers usually spend their workdays doing some sort of training. You can do the same by investing in books on homeschooling and education. And from experience, I can tell you that I learned far more from these types of books than I did in my years as a public school teacher.
3. Have Fun with Your Kids
Education doesn’t need to be boring for you or your kids. Mix it up to keep interest high by playing board games, cooking, watching great videos, going on field trips, doing experiments, and making some hands-on projects. Many times there is as much value in the experience as there is in the actual project. And there’s an added bonus in these types of activities. You’ll find that you are building strong family relationships as you learn, laugh, and have fun together.
4. Get into modeling.
Nope…not the kind where you spend a lot of time in front of a camera. Often we don’t consider the impact modeling a desired behavior has on our children. When they see you learning, then they are more likely to value it too. When they see you pick up a book to read for fun, they are more likely to do the same. When they see you…well you get the idea. And the best part: living out those things you desire to teach them means you get the benefit from those habits too.It’s about being a life-long learner, the very thing we desire for our children. And one of the things you’ll want to model for your children is to do something you love.
5. Do something you love.
You can’t neglect yourself if you are going to run the homeschooling marathon. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you continue to grow personally—whether it’s learning a hobby, developing a skill, or building a side business. Your kids will benefit (see #4) as they see you pursue your own interests. You’ll understand your children’s struggle as they engage in learning new things as well.
And you never know how developing those interests and skills will be a part of your future. It was during our years homeschooling that I began to write…something I would have never considered doing. Though homeschooling is a marathon, the race does eventually end, and you may want to start a different kind of one.