Are you a chronic homeschool overachiever? That’s what I call myself. It’s the positive spin of a type A homeschool mama who always wants to do it all maybe? Every year I want to do all the things. ALL the things. The idea of unschooling is offensive to my personal sensibilities (no offense to unschoolers, I just can’t see it ever working for me). I need a plan, I need lists, I need to check them all off. All of those things help me feel accomplished. They make me feel like I have things under control. I need it to feel like I am not failing my kid.
Well Meaning, But Misguided?
But can you fail your kid by doing too much? Oh this is the thing that eats at the back of my mind. Am I pushing too hard? Do I listen to him enough…to his desires and the things he wants to learn. Am I identifying his passions? Do I foster his interests? If I am trying to do all the things every year, is there margin left to go down occasional bunny trails. Is the plan too rigid?
I keep these things in mind and try to find the right balance. But it’s hard. It’s hard when you have a strong-willed, type A child who needs the structure. Knowing when to let go of the plan is wisdom that only comes from experience. It’s hard when you yourself were an overachiever in school. If you were excited about learning and want to pass that excitement for learning on to your child you tend to be overeager.
But in being overeager you can overwhelm your child and even yourself trying to keep up and do all the things! I go to the homeschool convention and have to tamper my enthusiasm when I see new curricula. It all looks so good and I want to try it all and teach it all, but that’s not practical. And it’s not healthy, for me or my son. Trying to do it all every year is setting yourself up for failure and it took me a while to recognize that.
Words of Wisdom
So what has this chronic homeschool overachiever learned? Well I learned is that there is nothing wrong with wanting to do it all every year. There’s nothing wrong with having high standards for yourself and for your children. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to plan out the perfect year.
But there’s also nothing wrong with realizing you don’t HAVE to do it all every year. You are not going to fail your children if you don’t teach 8-10 subjects each year… starting at age 6. In fact, overwhelming you and your children can do more harm than good, especially in the early years. You don’t want to burn yourself out or kill your child’s desire to learn. Balance is what it is all about.
So this coming year, do the things that matter…for this year. Find the things your child is interested in…this year. Spend some time fostering your child’s interests, passions and inquisitiveness. Spend the time to go down the bunny trails and remind yourself that all learning does not happen on paper that you can check off a list. #ificouldwritealettertomeThanks for reading!