I’m taking a short Montessori course for parents who are homeschooling their elementary kids and sharing what I learn here in the blog. This is the sixth article in the series. You can start from the beginning here.
Perhaps more important than preparing your home, preparing yourself — setting expectations, getting into the right mindset, building in “preventive maintenance” activities to prevent burnout — is vital for homeschooling success.
- If you’re doing Montessori homeschooling, you will need to read up on the Montessori philosophy and approach.
- Participating in seminars and workshops would be ideal, but if there is no place for this in your schedule or budget, you can “homeschool yourself” by using online resources such as blogs and webinars.
- When we are dealing with children, it is really important to be emotionally stable. This can be a big thing to ask because we’re all dealing with our own lives, our own baggage. But we should at least try to:
- Continuously work on ourselves, and
- Be self-aware enough to realize if/when we need support.
- Homeschooling will be intense! Expect it will be tough so you aren’t caught unawares when the stress eventually catches up with you.
- Take care of yourself and seek help if necessary so that you can be your best self for your child.
The course doesn’t mention this but I would add that, as part of self-awareness, try to identify those things that put you into a less than ideal frame of mind. For example, if reading the hateful and stupid things people say on Facebook puts you in a bad mood, perhaps put off checking your news feed till the end of your homeschooling day. And stop reading comments sections!
- Practice self-care! (More on this below.)
- Model healthy eating.
- Take walks, run, do yoga together.
- Not only does this help keep us energized, when we take care of our health, we also serve as a good role model for our children.
- Perfection is not required. What is required is for us to show up — just show up, do our best, and try to do better every day.
- If, for example, you are a moody person, you have to be aware of that, and reflect on what you can do so you can be even-tempered when you are working with your child.
- Communicate with your children; for example, if you are having a bad day, or you are feeling frustrated, you can tell them about it, and assure them that your bad temper isn’t [necessarily] because of them.
- Develop a gratitude practice. Every day, take the time to make a list of things that you are thankful for. Try to instill the same habit in your kids as well.
Take care of yourself, because if your own needs are not met, you will be in survival mode — and even if you try to tamp that down, it could still seep out in the form of harsh words and actions, which nobody wants. Be intentional about doing at least one self-care activity per day.
Some basic ways to take care of yourself
- Get enough sleep!
- Find some alone time.
- Connect regularly with friends and family.
- Connect with parents who are in a similar situation — people who share your struggles and are always ready to celebrate your little victories with you.
DO say NO
- Don’t overcommit.
- Set realistic goals.
- Schedule in time for yourself.
Model making your well-being a priority — which doesn’t mean it’s the only priority, or even the most important priority, but definitely *a* priority — so that your children will learn that it’s important to take care of themselves and learn to honor others who are doing the same.