How to deal with homeschool guilt

The beginning of the school year can be such a rush of excitement, with choosing curriculum, gathering supplies, and getting into a homeschool rhythm. But the second or third months of homeschooling are often marked by another emotion: guilt. 

Maybe you’re worried that your child (or you!) isn’t getting into a groove as quickly as you thought. Maybe you’re realizing where there are gaps in their understanding that you didn’t see before. Maybe this is a whole new way of homeschooling for you—and you’re not sure if you’re doing it right.

The biggest guilt-causing culprit is a lack of confidence. You may not really believe in your ability to homeschool your child—in your ability to teach them the big stuff, like math and reading—but we do! We are here to tell you, you can do this! So how do you become a confident homeschooler?

Stay close to a community that reminds you that you can do this. The purpose of a community is not to compare yourself to others—it’s to feel connections with other parents who are having the same struggles and joys. Use your community to get advice, to ask questions, and to share your own tips. The L+L social media pages are great ways to connect with other grownups who are also using our unit studies. 

Journal about your successes to focus on what you are doing right. Our weekly trackers are a wonderful way to record your homeschool lessons and to see all you’ve accomplished. There is space for you to write about your favorite moments and the life skills that you are working on with your child, so use these sections to reflect and document the memories that will remind you how far you and your child have come.

Focus on making connections with your child. This will never steer you wrong! Whether or not they learn the academics of your lesson, if you focus on connections you will always have a win (and you’ll create a pattern of joyful learning that will help you hit those academic milestones in the future). 

Inconsistency causes guilt. The best way to remain consistent? Keep your routine simple. Prepare well and don’t overschedule. If you only have an hour or two to do your homeschool lessons, don’t try to cram in too much. Choose activities that you both enjoy, and focus on making connections with your child as you read and play and learn. Setting small goals and working towards them together will help you and your child feel confident, which will help you be more consistent over time. 

Don’t compare yourself or your child to others. Every homeschool family is different and can do it their way. That’s why we encourage you to view our unit studies, not as a prescription, but as a framework and make them your own.We are not intended to be a print-and-go or a scripted program because that leaves no room for personalizations—we are a springboard that models different methods, styles, and ideas that let you take control of your homeschool and make it work for you. Why? Because you know your kids. You know your life. And you are the boss of your homeschool. 

Sometimes guilt comes from losing our cool. Trust that it happens to all of us! Use these moments as a teaching opportunity by demonstrating humility—you can apologize to your child and use the conversation as a jumping off point to discuss big feelings and how you can both work on managing them. Next, address why you lost your cool. Are you comparing your child’s ability with others (or your daily rhythm with how you perceive another family’s to be)? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the standards you have in your head based on what you think you should be doing? When the “comparison voices” start to creep in, that’s a great time to review your values and goals for your homeschool to see if you’re really off track.

Managing guilt is an almost unavoidable part of homeschooling (and raising children), but strengthening your confidence as an educator can help prevent it from consuming your joy. Need more reminders? Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for weekly tips on how to feel like the boss of your homeschool.

Published by learnandliveletter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-11.

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