Everyone is overwhelmed by homeschooling at times. We’re responsible for the education of our children, and the kids refuse to learn. We’re trying to create a home and a loving atmosphere, and the kids keep making a mess.
Sometimes it’s just too much for one woman to handle.
What to do When You’re Overwhelmed
1. Tidy up the house
I don’t know about you, but I simply can’t think when the house is a mess. Chaos also overwhelms me to the point of tears. When the house gets out of control, I focus on home economics for a day and clean up.
One of the best techniques when you’re overwhelmed is to put an easy meal in the crock pot and clean the kitchen. How the kitchen goes, the house goes. It also takes care of the 5pm panic that arises when I have no dinner plans.
Next I tackle the bathroom and bedrooms before taking on the living area. These areas tend to be easier to clean, and the kids often camp out in the living room.
Don’t try to tackle the entire mess by yourself. Assign chores to the children and require them to help. Even preschool kids can act as runners and carry various items to different rooms for you.
Once the house is tidy enough for you to think, find a housekeeping system you can live with. If the house stays reasonably clean, you’ll never be overwhelmed by a mess again.
2. Reduce your subjects and simplify your curriculum
It’s one thing if being overwhelmed is a once in a blue moon occurrence, it’s another if you’re constantly drained by the endless to-do lists of your life.
If it’s the former, take the day off. If you’re always overwhelmed, take a good hard look at the subjects you’re teaching. There’s a tendency to keep adding subjects to the day until our 1st graders are doing 9 hour days.
Do you really need to be using two different math curricula? What about the literature, reading, phonics, spelling, writing, penmanship, grammar, and vocabulary programs? Can you condense the subjects?
Think about history and science? Can you combine your children so they’re studying the same period or the same science topics? Being able to complete one set of experiments or watch one documentary is much simpler than trying to fit in two or three different sets of experiments, movies, and documentaries.
Along with reducing your subjects, see if you can simplify your curriculum. I use Tapestry of Grace which combines all the children into one history program. It also includes literature, art, geography, writing, church history, governments, and philosophy.
If your Latin program is covering English derivatives, do you need a separate vocabulary curriculum? What about grammar?
We can’t do it all, so prioritize and reduce your subjects, then simplify your curriculum. You’ll make your life much easier.
3. Look outside the 9-3 school hours
When you’re overwhelmed, reduce your expectations for school hours. Instead consider options for folding education into your everyday life. It doesn’t just reduce your anxiety, it also encourages children to see education as scholé, restful learning, rather than a job.
Discuss history over the dinner table. Just think of the discussions and memories you’ll make as a family!
Chat about science while cleaning the kitchen with your kids. Use Saturday afternoons for a family outing to the local museum. Read literature at bedtime.
Download audio-files for textbooks and listen the them while driving around town. Enjoy classical music while running errands.
Encourage children to wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and just straight into their school day. Even high school kids can have most of their work done by noon if they start around 7am.
4. Take science outside and go on a nature walk
Fresh air clears the head, especially when you’re overwhelmed. Take the kids on a spontaneous nature walk and observe science in action.
Study rocks, clouds, and mountains as part of earth science. Check out the animals, plants, and fungi in the parks near your house.
Gather samples, write observations in notebooks, draw pictures of what you see, and enjoy your relaxing day outside.
Don’t worry about the mess at home. Don’t worry about what’s not getting done. Simply relax. Go home, eat dinner, enjoy your evening.
Tomorrow you can tackle the mess and decide what to do. Let your mind relax and come up with solutions. If needed, take another day off and look at your life. Consider what you’re doing and what needs to change.
Make a simple plan to change your life, one small area at a time.
When you’re overwhelmed, cut back for a day or two. Clean the house, take a walk, reduce subjects, or simply your curriculum. Enjoy education as a lifestyle. Don’t feel like you have to do it all and be everything to everyone.
Relax and spend time with your children.
What do you do when you’re overwhelmed?