What if You Don’t Feel Like It?

379 (3) 378 (3) 306 (3) 479 240“What do you do when you don’t feel like homeschooling?” This was a question one of my friends brought up during breakfast while we were meeting for a Bible Study. Well, first of all, it’s a reasonable question. It’s normal NOT to be super excited about homeschooling every single day. I don’t know any homeschooling mom who is 100% on fire about homeschooling every morning. She doesn’t exist.

There are good days and not-so-good days when you homeschool. Sometimes you are tired. Sometimes you want a break from the kids. Sometimes you feel the urge to go shopping instead of reading about Zoology.

I’ll be honest. The past two weeks we haven’t had any regular sort of homeschooling. We were traveling for 7 days and before that I had all kinds of commitments to attend to. The kids had it pretty easy. This next week, however, we will finish up the last few subjects that haven’t gotten done – mainly Science, Social Studies, History, and Filipino. We started in September so I still have some time to turn in portfolios, but I want to get everything accomplished before I give birth.

I will say here what I told the moms that morning. Homeschooling is your job. If you were in the corporate world, you wouldn’t say to your boss, “I don’t feel like showing up today so I won’t be coming in.” You can get away with that a few times (if your boss is cool) but you can’t make it a habit. I think of homeschooling the same way. Just show up. Be there in the morning even if you don’t feel like it and let God lead and direct the day. Unless you are on a family vacation or have an engagement that you must absolutely attend, your homeschooling schedule should be a priority. This is when the commitment part has to kick in and God’s grace will compensate for what you lack in enthusiasm.

When I’m not in the mood to homeschool, I still go to our study room and prepare the kids’ books anyway. I believe in the principle “motion before emotion.” I have to be faithful even when I don’t feel like teaching my kids, and I ask God to supply the energy, creativity, positivity, and wisdom I need for that day. And he does!

Of course, I know how to give myself breaks, too. I homeschool on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings. Tuesdays, my kids have Music, Art, and PE classes. Having one day off makes a big difference! It allows me to meet with ladies I disciple, write, pursue hobbies, or do errands. In the afternoons of most days, the kids get to play and I get to rest because we accomplish the major part of the work in the mornings. This helps, too.

I also mix up our daily activities so it doesn’t feel so monotonous for me or the kids. Sometimes, I will do art the whole day with the kids and it is such a treat for them and good therapy for me. On some days we just read a lot of Science and History. I keep academic goals in mind but the journey to that point doesn’t have to be a straight line all the time.

One of my friends shared about how she baked with her daughter and incorporated math. That counts as homeschooling…learning while having fun…both teacher and student!

Not everyone is comfortable with a relaxed approach, primarily because we tend to compare what our kids are doing at home to what other kids would be doing at a conventional school. This is a mindset we have to weed out of ourselves. It’s so ingrained in us to believe that the educational system has the best methods, teachers, and learning environment for children. So if we can copy what they are doing at school and bring it into our homeschooling, our children will be the better for it. But this isn’t necessarily true!

There are some pros to conventional schooling but I prefer the pros of homeschooling. Homeschooling gives kids a customized education. This is very difficult to do in school. Homeschooling also allows children to develop and grow without the pressures of standards and labels. They learn in a very natural setting that encourages the love for learning. Gaps are addressed and given attention. Children’s learning styles are accommodated so they absorb and retain content more effectively. And most importantly, character, values, and spiritual growth are a main focus.

So don’t worry if your homeschooling seems a lot more relaxed than the conventional school setting. For as long as you are accomplishing your goals – character, love for the Lord, physical, emotional, and social development, and equipping your kids with the tools for learning then praise God! You are doing just fine!

I’m sharing this because if I were to imitate the conventional school system in our home, I would burn out. I would be pulling my hair out! So I don’t pressure myself with thoughts such as, If my kids were at school, they would be doing this and that, and if they aren’t, there is something wrong with my homeschooling or my kids. Whenever I start to compare, I take the joy out of teaching and impose my stress on my kids.

Every homeschooling parent has to develop a system that works for them and their kids and provides the optimum setting for learning. My kids happen to do just fine with a more laid-back approach to learning and we get all the work done by the end of each year. As Elijah and Edan get older, they sit at a desk more often. But with the younger kids, the floor, bed or couch are more conducive to their learning style so I don’t make a big deal about them sitting on chairs. They can ease into that as they grow up.

During the morning discussion I had with the moms, we also talked about how homeschooling is a character education not just for our children but for us, too!

As I teach my kids the Lord teaches me about patience, understanding, sensitivity, discipline, commitment, unconditional love and acceptance, open communication, the importance of modeling the right values and principles, being spirit-filled and the list goes on and on.

A few hours ago, my second son, Edan, started to act up about writing his memory cards for history. I was tempted to be annoyed and reactive. Instead, I started scratching his back and hugging him. This made him perk up and he was more motivated. Minutes later however, he was distracted again and delaying his work. So I had to talk with him and ask him to work in another room. He felt sad and started to cry but I reminded him gently but firmly that he needs to learn to get his work done before playing. When he realized this, he finished everything I asked him to. I gave him a 15 minute break and then we moved on to another task. It’s 1:30 PM and he can now go down to our neighbor’s house to play and enjoy himself because he got his work done.

Initially, my carnal self would wanted to get angry because I was experiencing a blocked goal as his educator. But, God often uses situations like this to help me grow as a mom, as a teacher. This is one of the reasons why I know that homeschooling is beneficial even for me. When I don’t feel like teaching, I think to myself, I need to do this for my sake, too.

It’s okay to feel tired and worn-out when homeschooling. Believe me! Teaching four kids can get exhausting. But how sweet it is to receive the grace of God to keep going, keep smiling, and keep enjoying my children and the many adventures that our homeschooling lifestyle brings our way. The Bible says, “When we are weak, he is strong.” If I am not committed to show up at my “job” when I don’t feel like it, then I miss out on experiencing God’s faithfulness to get through that day. And amazingly, more often than not, these days turn into the best sort of days because they are fueled by his power!

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hi Joy!

    I have been reading this blog for quite some time and I absolutely love it! You are an inspiration, and your family gives me hope that marriage is still a beautiful journey that should be respected and valued. 🙂 I am still in the process of being molded by the Lord, but I do hope someday my God’s Best will come! 🙂

  2. Thanks Joy, this inspired me to do better in my current job. I pray that God will bless my heart’s desire to homeschool my own children someday. 😀 i’m still single and now i realize that if i want to be a homeschooling mother, i have to prepare my heart for it:D you and your family are such a blessing:) God bless you always:)

  3. Thanks for this post. I am most interested in your “relaxed” and “laidback approach” to HSing. have been wondering all along how you implement TMA’s system. I want to unschool as much as I can but feel I can’t mostly because of requirements (which I quite understand because TMA is Deped-accredited) like tests for example and the portfolio.

    Like for Social Studies, my 4th grader simply was not interested in internalizing what was in the OCOP textbook which was needed for the tests (I use the chapter reviews, don’t want to create anymore). We looked at the tourist spots for the regions, watched the “Tara Na, Byahe tayo” videos, I even asked him to research on the products of one region (Region 4 because that’s where we come from), and I always tie them up with comments like “Tita so–and-so comes from there.” In the end, I just made him color some blank outline maps and asked him to identify them (for the test) because the more I thought about it, there was no need to memorize anything but the places and where they were on the map! So many days, I feel like I’ve brought school home …

    Could you elaborate more on how you combine unschooling with the need to test your children? especially when it comes to Filipino testing and making portfolios. I am sure I’m not the only HSing mother who’d love to see your children’s portfolios (isn’t it a pity so few people see our children’s portfolios?!!) Sorry this is so long

    • Joy T Mendoza says:

      Oh my, I’m such a bad example when it comes to teaching Filipino! It’s my struggle…waaaah. As to your question about how to be relaxed when there are requirements…I get curriculum that allows me more flexibility with teaching. Since TMA allows you to choose and put together what will work for your family, I don’t get too many work-text based materials. Science, History, Bible/Character are more about interaction between my kids and I. I do get the Science notebook for Apologia. And with History, we do the memory cards and quizzes/tests, and I pick projects that the kids will have fun doing. For Bible, I ask my kids to have daily quiet time. Edric does a once a week bible study/character study. I make them keep a character journal where they write out definitions of the character trait they learn, write down their memory verse and how they intend to apply what they learned. For One Country/One People, I go through the text and create projects for my kids to reinforce what they learn (kind of like what you did for your son). Last year, with Filipino I used those bi-lingual books and integrated Elijah’s lessons to make sure I covered the content that was required of his level. For Language Arts and Math, I’m a little more structured. We usually do these subjects daily or more often than the rest. As for quizzing and testing, I make my own or use what is in the books but sometimes I do it orally. When calculating grades, I think of what they ought to get instead of computing by going through each activity and test that they did. And then I give a grade that i think is fair as their teacher and let the consultants verify by looking at the work they have done in their portfolios. 🙂

      • Thank you for being honest about this Joy. Sometimes, most moms will just hide how tired they feel when it comes to being mothers (homeschooling or not) because it makes them feel guilty, as if it is not proper and it sounds selfish. And I am guilty of this too sometimes. I appreciate how you say it truthfully and still be encouraging about it. Praise God for your gift of encouragement.

        On the homeschooling side…I would like to ask how old should a child be to formally start homeschool. My husband and I were supposed to attend the TMA orientation last June 14 to get more answers to our homeschooling questions, but then our toddler got sick. When is the next orientation happening? Thanks in advance! 🙂

        • Joy T Mendoza says:

          Hi Normi. I think of homeschooling as a lifestyle so I would say when they are born I start homeschooling them :). However, if you are talking about required accreditation, DepEd requires children to have records starting Kindergarten (the level right before Grade 1). To prepare my kids for that transition, I work with their reading and premath skills as early as 3 but don’t make the lessons very long. Tiana is turning 3 so I will start doing more with her but I still keep it easy. By five, my goal is usually to get them to be reading at least 3 to 5 letter words so that I a not rushing them or pressuring them at the Kindergarten level. When they are 6, my kids are reading pretty comfortably and ready for Grade 1. Hope this helps 🙂

          • Very helpful indeed. My son is just 14 months and reading is one of the activities we do everyday. Under close supervision, I let him scribble on a kraft paper with crayons (cos he would still sometimes try to eat them) every now and then. These are just some of the “educational” things we do that he enjoys. Please do share more learning activities for this stage. 🙂

  4. Thank you for the verse and post Joy. I’ve been dragging myself to work and feeling bad for a couple of months now then this morning I just remembered to visit your blog. Thank you for the reminder, I think I will paste a copy of the verse on my monitor so that I will be reminded of God’s grace and power during my weakest moments.

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