The first day of school is coming! I probably don’t need to remind you of that fact. School supplies have been on shelves for weeks now and some mornings already have the fall feel in the air. The topic also has probably come up in conversations with other mom friends, as I know many moms are counting down the days til school starts. Soon fall schedules will begin and many moms will be busy packing lunches, filling backpacks, making sure kids get on their bus on time, and then maybe enjoying a quiet house while kiddos are at school. But what about the moms who aren’t sending their kids off to school? What about the homeschool moms?
I fit into that category; I’m a homeschool mom. I’m not exactly a pro yet, since my oldest is just starting kindergarten and my middle daughter will be starting preschool. But even as a homeschool mom newbie I’ve been realizing that preparing for back to school looks very different for me than a lot of my mom friends. Of course there are certain things all parents find themselves doing to prepare for school, no matter what type of school your child is attending, like shopping for school supplies, fall clothes, and looking at changing schedules. Here are a few additional ways I’ve found myself getting ready for this upcoming homeschooling year as well.
Setting Reasonable Expectations
Since we are still in the early years of schooling I need to remind myself that simplicity can really be the best option. I’ve spent time looking at Pinterest and different Instagram accounts and it’s easy to feel like I’m already falling short. Sure, there is great inspiration in those places, but those pictures don’t capture the full reality of what’s going on. Our homeschool experience isn’t measured as successful if it looks good, perfect, or picture-worthy. It’s about my kids learning, growing, and achieving the goals we have set out for them this year. I don’t need to measure up to another person’s homeschool set up, curriculum choice, or daily routine. Reminding myself to keep my expectations in line is one of the best ways I’ve managed to prepare for this school year and keep my stress at a manageable level. I’m sure I will need to keep reminding myself of this often throughout the school year, because I’m only human and the trap of comparison is easy to fall into!
Don’t Over schedule
There are so many good things out there! Activities, sports, clubs, lessons, etc. One of the biggest perks to homeschooling is the flexibility. But in order to keep that flexibility you can’t over schedule yourself or your kids. I’ve been trying hard to be cautious about what I commit to for this upcoming year. Like I said, there are so many good options! But that doesn’t mean that they are all good for our family or our schedule right now. I want my kids to have experiences and to be involved in their areas of interest, especially as they grow up, but I also don’t want to burn them (or myself) out in the process. I’ve committed to 2-3 regular (weekly or bi-weekly) extra activities so far for this fall, and time will tell if that’s too much or not. Keeping an eye on our weekly and monthly calendar has been very helpful to keep my eagerness in check.
No matter what stage of motherhood you are in or whether you homeschool or not, I’ve found it so helpful to find like-minded moms who can be a support to you. For me that means I’ve found other homeschool moms who are in the same stage (or just a little ahead) as me and who can be a great support system. They “get it” and they can help answer my questions or calm my worries and fears. I can also be there to support them along the way as well. If you don’t feel like you have that kind of support, start looking! It isn’t always the easiest thing to find, but there are other moms out there who can be that support for you. It may take some extra effort to find it, but trust me, it’s worth it.
I’ve felt a lot of feelings already about this upcoming school year. Fear, worry, stress, and doubt can all creep in. But there is also excitement. I’m excited to watch my girls learn and grow this year! I’m excited for the experiences we will be able to share. I’m excited to see what all this year has in store. The more I embrace that excitement, the more the negative feelings fade away, and I can see my daughters’ excitement grow, too. As our shelves fill with school books and supplies, my soon-to-be-kindergartner can hardly contain her excitement. I’ve told her when we are having our first day, and she can’t wait for that day to arrive.
I still have a lot of unknowns about this upcoming year, but that’s okay. I am about as prepared as I can be and I’m ready to see what this school year brings!
If you are a homeschool mom, feel free to leave any of your own advice in the comments!