Homeschooling is a full-on, high-pressure experience – and you’re probably doing it while juggling umpteen other things. It’s no surprise that this can get stressful – and stress can do horrible things to both your mental and physical health.
So, how do you combat the sense of strain and anxiety that is becoming all too familiar to parents and guardians all over the world? The team members at Freedom Sports Medicine have some suggestions.
Set Achievable Goals
…and don’t beat yourself up if they’re not achieved in exactly the manner you wanted! Kids are used to their home being a relaxed, low-pressure environment, so it’s understandable if they struggle to focus in the same way as they might at school.
Why not include your “students” in the goal-setting process? You’ll be teaching them to take ownership of their work and imbuing them with a level of trust that will build their confidence.
Think about the goals you set yourself outside the “classroom” environment, too. Forgive yourself if the house isn’t always spotless, and try and set yourself a housework schedule that’s easy to follow and not too punishing. A clear routine can really take the pressure off.
Seek Advice and Support
Don’t be afraid to approach your kids’ teachers with any questions about the work they’re doing – and to ask about tried and tested techniques that will help them with discipline, concentration and the enjoyment of their tasks.
You should also try to socialise with friends to let off some steam. Chatting with other homeschooling parents is great – particularly as they might be able to share some tips – but you might occasionally want to take time away from the subject altogether.
Take a Break
You’re doing a job for which you’re not qualified and for which you’re not getting paid – and shifting between a parental and tutoring role can be emotionally and mentally taxing too!
It’s up to you to judge when things are getting too much. When that happens, try to have a stash of fun ideas up your sleeve that will help make teaching a little less “full on”.
Look for movies, games and educational kids’ shows connected to the subjects you’re teaching, take your youngsters on a nature walk or send them off to do a little independent work that you’ll check later. This will give you a chance to take a quick breather.
Your kids will probably need a break too, sometimes. They’re not seeing their friends, they’re cooped up indoors and their home has become a classroom.
Once in a while, why not give them the day off and encourage them to enjoy a little playtime and creativity? As long as you’re hitting the right milestones, there’s no need to be overly regimented.
Get Some Fresh Air and Exercise
Physical activity and spending time outdoors are great ways to get the endorphins flowing. Remove yourself from a stressful situation for a while by taking a wander, jog or bike ride.
If you can do this alone, even better. It will help you to enjoy time with your own thoughts for a while, allowing you to think everything through without any immediate pressure.
Take a long hot bath, get a massage if you can or have the occasional lie-in while your partner takes on the work (you might want to arrange a system that allows each of you to do this occasionally!).
Use this time to meditate and put all thoughts of homeschooling out of your head for the time being. It will help you to recover and effectively combat the physical and mental impact of stress – helping you to be healthier and more resilient in the long run.