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3 Ways to Remove Stress from Homeschooling

From the Parent Cue by Jon Acuff
The recession in 2008 was stressful for my family, but you know what didn’t happen?
The recession didn’t say to me: “Guess what? In addition to losing your job and most of the value of your house, you also have to home school your kids. That’s right, starting today, you’re a teacher. Good luck with all of that!”

That’s what’s unique about this season. It’s been like a snowball rolling down hill gathering up parts of our lives. It started so slowly with “wash your hands more often” and then picked up speed. It grabbed up your job. It closed your favorite restaurant and then it turned you into a homeschooler.

That last one was a real curve ball. But fear not, I have three things you can do today to reduce the stress of homeschooling.

1. Remember you’re not supposed to be good at it.
You know why homeschooling seems hard and awkward? Because doing new things always is.
You know why you don’t feel like an expert? Because you’re not an expert.
You know why you keep making mistakes and arguing with your kids? Because you’ve never done this before.

You should suck at homeschooling. It’s hard to understand that when you’ve got elementary school students, and you still think you can wing Social Studies, but this principle becomes real clear when you’ve got high-schoolers.

I know I can’t help my oldest daughter with Algebra 2. There’s no part of me that’s surprised I’m not good at that. “Alright, let’s see. Something I haven’t thought about in 30 years. How do you even turn on this graphing calculator?”
Stop beating yourself up. You can get better over time, but you’re not supposed to be instantly amazing at homeschooling.

2. Stop looking at other parents online.
Part of the reason you think you should be amazing at homeschooling is that it often seems like every other parent is. You’ve got these moms out here on Instagram who make it look so easy.

  • “We ran out of paper but we decided it would be more fun to make it ourselves anyway. So, we shaved a tree down and made organic paper.”
  • “My son Arlo spent the morning learning Mandarin. I think this afternoon my toddler, Beatrix, is going to focus on calculus.”

That’s not how it is at the Acuff house. Every few days, I ask my kids to read a word on a street sign to make sure they aren’t already illiterate. “How many fingers am I still holding up? Eight? Good. You still know your numbers.”
Stop looking at perfect parents online. It’s not helping.

3. Build a bridge, not a school.
This isn’t forever. This is just a bridge between the grade they are in and the grade they are going into. There are thousands and thousands of teachers around the world who are so excited to recap what your kid didn’t get to learn this spring next fall.
They’re working so hard to get ready. There’s not a teacher on the planet who is going to say on the first day of school this fall, “I assume everyone had a normal spring and is completely caught up on everything? Good, because we will not be doing a review of anything from last year.”

Unless you decide to permanently home school your kids, this is temporary. You’re not opening up a new charter school in your kitchen. You’re building the best bridge between this spring and next fall. That’s all. Take the pressure off.
Homeschooling isn’t easy. I have the utmost respect for parents who are great at it.
Teaching kids isn’t easy. I have the utmost respect for teachers who are great at it.
Don’t let stress win the day.

Keep these three things in mind:
1. Remember you’re not supposed to be good at it.
2. Stop looking at other parents online.
3. Build a bridge not a school.
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