Recently I went to a neighborhood Halloween party and I was not in costume. A friend said to me that she was looking forward to see what fun costume I would come up with. She was surprised that a “Super Mom” like me was not dressed up. It made me laugh… me a “Super Mom”. Then I started thinking…we all look at others and see their strengths and compare them to our weaknesses. When I read certain blogs, or look at Pinterest, I begin to feel this need to do more and be better. As a homeschool mom it can really be a challenge. So, I thought I would share a little of the reality today. I am not a Super Mom. I am a very regular mom, who likes to make her life look pretty on a blog! Homeschooling is not always easy. I can’t claim perfection in any area of my life.
Myth #1 My house is always picture perfect and spotless.
Reality: When I take pictures for my blog, I am often clearing the clutter in the background to make it look better. The house suffers a lot because we homeschool. We spend a good chunk of our day learning together, doing experiments, art projects, and various messy things. I am usually embarrassed when someone stops by unannounced because of the state my house is in during our school time. I have an almost two-year-old who loves to dump everything out.
How I take some of the burden off of ME: The kids are in charge of certain areas of the house. They have regular chores that they do each day before they are allowed to play. We do most of these in the afternoon. They help with lots of the chores, and this takes some of the burden off of me. Kids need to be taught how to do chores correctly, and need reminders, but they can be good workers. They are still fairly young, but I think teaching them to work at a young age is important. Chores my kids do- clean their room, clean their toys and books, unload the dishwasher, wipe the bathroom sink, vaccum, make beds, help with little brother, clean windows and mirrors, dust, wash dishes, help make dinner, set table, put away laundry.
Myth #2 We do amazing crafts, projects, and experiments every day.
Reality: We don’t. really. I just document the ones we do to show you guys so that I have something to write about. My daughter begs to do an art project every day- most of the time I say not now. I do enjoy doing these kinds of things with my kids, but they take work and preparation. I do enjoy these kinds of activities, though. So I try to include projects, but they are not every day occurances, at all. I get ideas from all over the place- I am not really as creative as people seem to think. I read parenting magazines and other blogs. I also get ideas from Pinterest. Sometimes I do a project with my kids just for the sake of having something to blog about.
Myth #3 Our homeschool runs smoothly without any problems. My kids are always happy homeschoolers.
Reality: Most days are your typical average day. We get through most of our regular subjects- with lots of interruptions- and survive to tell about it with only a few battles. But, I have to say, there are HARD days in our homeschool. There are days I wonder why in the world I chose this life. There are days I am ready to drop them at the busstop and say goodbye for the day, so I can clean my hosue- or go somewhere alone. There are days when I get frustrated. There are days when my kids get frustrated. There are days when we are all sick or tired or lazy or whatever. But… it is during those times that I evaluate why we are doing it and why I made the choice I did for my family. I remember the good times and the precious moments I get with my children. I remember the joy it gives me when I see their eyes light up because they learned something new. I didn’t make this choice lightly. It came after intense study an prayer.
How we survive the hard days: Don’t try to do it all! Take a day to unwind. There are so many great educational activities that can be done without mom being the center of it all. Read together, or put on an audio book for the kids. Watch educational videos. There are so many high-quality movies that kids can learn from. We like to go to Brain Pop and watch the little movies there. Online learning games or educational apps are great for times like these. Take a field trip. Do something completely different from the norm. It is always a nice break!
Myth #4 We have an endless homeschool budget to try all the latest and greatest things.
Reality: This year I became part of a review crew that gives me homeschool products to review on a regular basis. As an established blogger, people contact you often to review their products. There are so many things I have been given the opportunity to review for free. I do not have an endless budget, and I cannot buy tons of great new and exciting things all the time. There are an incredible amount of free resources online that you can use to homeschool your kids. Don’t feel pressure to buy, buy, buy. It can be difficult and overwhelming when you see all that is available. My goal in reviewing proucts here is to help others in making choices for their family, but not to pressure anyone into buying anything. Find as much as you can at the library and for free online first.
Myth #5 This mom can do it all
Reality: Nobody can.
Here are a few tips that make my life run smoothly:
- Do something you love- not something just for the kids, but for you once in a while. I love to sing, so I am a part of a choir that performs around the state. It is something I love and that gets me out once in a while.
- Go on dates, alone, with your husband (or with friends). It is important to have some grown-up conversation in your life!
- Early to bed and early to rise. If I keep a regular healthy schedule, I feel better. I get up ahead of my kids so I have some time alone to read and study.
- Have quiet time in the afternoon. Once we are done with school and chores are done, the kids have their “game time”. The youngest is napping, so they have to be quiet. They can have one hour to play computer/video games, watch a movie, or play on the ipad. They like having this time to unwind from their day, and I like it, too. This is when I get a lot of things done~ or just a nap sometimes.
- Make sure you are not doing everything- enlist the help of your kids! They can do more than you think they can.
- Stop by to see what others on the Schoolhouse Review Crew are saying. This week’s theme is “Taking Care of the Homeschool Mom”.