you are doing fine

52 Weeks of Happier Homeschooling Week 23: Pat Yourself on the Back

52 Weeks of Happier Homeschooling Week 23: Pat Yourself on the Back

Here is the thing about homeschooling: Most of the time, it is a one-person job. Even if you rely on tutors, outside classes, and other resources that don’t require you to be hands-on every minute, you’re probably still the one coordinating all that activity. It’s usually still your responsibility. You are your own boss and your own employee—and in that space, it’s often all to easy to focus on all the things you are doing wrong.

Maybe you were short-tempered during math—which obviously means that your son will be permanently traumatized, never grasp fractions, fail to get into college, and end up living under a bridge, resenting you forever. Maybe you were burned out on small talk and decided to skip your kid’s favorite park day—which, of course, will prevent your child from being properly socialized and turn her into the stereotype of the awkward homeschooler and ensure that she never makes any friends and lives the rest of her life in bleak and lonely isolation. Maybe you just realized that your nine-year-old doesn’t know the days of the week—which, of course, means that this is just the tip of the iceberg and you’ve utterly failed him academically and who knows what other embarrassing and life-limiting gaps you’ve left lying around in his education? When you’re the one responsible for such a big undertaking, it’s way too easy to jump to the worst case scenario.

But the truth is, most of us are actually doing a pretty darn good job. Sure, we mess up. Definitely, we’re not perfect. But mostly and most of the time, we’re better than just good enough. If we had bosses, they’d give us glowing reviews and be impressed by just how much we actually get done every single week, all year long. (Because even when you take a break, you’re still a homeschooling parent.) Homeschooling is not an easy job, even when it’s a wonderful one—it requires a balancing act of intellectual curiosity, academic knowledge, heroic patience, gentle guidance, and intelligent problem-solving. And we do it! Sometimes, OK, we do it better than others, but we do it. And we should give ourselves more credit for that.

Your challenge this week: When you catch yourself spiraling into negative self-talk (“I should have done that,” or “How could I skip a whole week of science again?”), instead of dwelling on your shortcomings, force yourself to focus on one great thing you did. (“I picked such a great readaloud this week” or “I really handled that handwriting meltdown so well.”) Skip the caveats and second-guessing, and just pause to appreciate a place where you did a great job.