3 Tips to Overcome the End of Year Struggle

The struggle is REAL.

Do you ever feel as though you are not doing enough for your homeschooled kiddos?

Or you are not sure if what you are currently doing is the right thing? 

Do you ask yourself, “Am I ruining my kids for life?  Am I setting them up for failure?”

This time of year, which I call “the struggle is real” is rife with second guessing, dwelling on what never got done this year or what still needs to be done. Couple that with summer vacation and end of the school year fast approaching  and you have a recipe for disappointment and overwhelm.

homeschool mom struggle

Dear homeschool mom, this would happen to me every single year, both in the early days as well as my veteran homeschool days.

Why?

We all take our role as “Parent as Primary Teacher” very seriously.

We constantly give ourselves a non-stop performance review in our heads.  In other words, we let this really critical boss tell us we are not doing enough, that we could be doing more and that the kids would be better off in a different situation.

YES, even when our hearts are saying homeschooling is the best education for our precious kiddos!

Here are three tips I use to get that pesky, finger-pointing boss out of my head and begin to follow my heart!

Love always wins.

Jesus the source of LOVE. Replace that critical self-made boss immediately with the image of our Lord Jesus.  Visualize Him, and most importantly stop whatever you are doing and be present in His Love. If you can, go to Adoration, even for a quick visit. It literally changes everything.

I could not always get to daily Mass or Adoration when my children were little, so I made a spiritual communion, a desire in my heart to be one with Him.  Vinny Flynn in his book 7 Secrets of the Eucharist , in his last chapter, talks so beautifully about this tremendous gift, spiritual communion, Jesus is always available!

Make a List.

Writing things down always brings clarity. Period, end of sentence.  I know that it is so tempting to just let those self-defeating thoughts roll around in your head. Better yet it is super tempting to call a friend and complain. 

Now don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing to vent your frustrations to get the struggle out of your head. BUT writing down all those thoughts truly helps to put clarity into the big picture.

If you think you did not do enough this year, write down what you think you can reasonably finish in these last few weeks. It instantly makes you get outside your head and feeling productive. Forget the past, it is done and over with. Just move forward. Make a list.

Plan a celebration.

You are amazing and serve your family with your whole heart and soul. Please remember that!!

There is no doubt that even though you may feel your homeschooling came up short, there is without a doubt some wins!  Did one of your kids learn to read? Was there a sacrament received by one of your children this year? Did you learn more about one of your children’s interests/strengths?

Celebrate the good stuff that happened this year. There is sooooo much more to homeschooling than accomplishing the academic achievements.  It truly is about forming the people in our care in an environment of love and truth.  That is something to really celebrate!

Now it’s your turn, what do you do at the end of school year to finish up on the upswing?

Please comment and share, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Ready, Set, Go, Homeschool Mom!

I love this saying as it evokes a clear image for me!  It is the image of a runner at the starting line of a race. They have been preparing for months to run this race.  The runner is eager to begin and give their very best effort to run the race.

catholic homeschool mom

In my mind, I can see that this runner is different. She does not run for personal gain but for a higher reward.  This reward is priceless. This reward is satisfying on such a deep level that the runner draws strength, her energy and perseverance from the mere thought of obtaining it.

What does this have to do with homeschooling?

I see the runner as a mom who homeschools her children.

I work best visualizing images, making movies in my head of the life I want to lead. Being fed on a steady diet of old fashioned black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s, I was drawn to the messages told in a story. There was always the hero and his journey towards some good for himself or humanity. I find that the best books I cherish have strong hero stories!

It is no wonder that I was drawn to the ultimate story, the very best hero tale, when I was invited back home to the faith of my birth. This story is the one our Lord has told through His Word and through his Apostles and Saints, handed down through the ages.

This ultimate story is the center of my family’s homeschool journey.  It is the energy my family drawns upon to direct each day. 

It is all that matters in the end. 

Catholic Homeschool mom

A little while ago I wrote a guide called, Get Ready. This handy little guide I developed as a starting point for anyone who wants to begin their family journey towards an authentic and doable Catholic homeschool.  In it, I introduced the PRRR method, (a silly acronym, I know). Firstly you start with Prayer, then you go through the next steps of Read, Research, and Reflect. In addition, there are helpful suggestions and worksheets to guide you through this EASY process.

“Get Set, Go!”

Above all, what I learned after 25 years of homeschooling and consulting, is that you “Set” your life first, then layer in school. I know that seems unfamiliar and maybe even confusing at first, but think about it for a minute. The only way to find balance, to have enough time for all your roles, as wife, mom, and teacher is to SET LIFE and fit in school.

To do otherwise is a certain recipe for overwhelm.

Consider this…would you buy a car without thinking of who is going to drive it and be a passenger in it?  Would you make dinner by never looking at the ingredients you are adding to the dinner, let alone open the fridge?

In other words, when you choose to homeschool, to do something extraordinary, you have the opportunity to personalize and tailor the education of each and every child in your family.

However, can you possibly teach so many different levels with so many different personalities and learning styles?

It is possible! I have personally witnessed many, many families do this. Ordinary people with an extraordinary desire to challenge the status quo of education. You have already begun, when you decided to take on the primary role of educator.

How? You are a parent.

catholic homeschool mom

Two powerful passages come to mind that speak volumes:

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. (CCC 2223)

The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies. (CCC 2224)

Relax, over the next few weeks I will be introducing practical techniques that help you SET YOUR LIFE.

So, go ahead and spend time first in getting to know what is in your fridge BEFORE you make dinner….spend time this week getting to really know your kids interests and talents.

Comment below what you “found in your fridge”…