Decreasing Stress in Home Education
Parenting can be stressful when dealing with your child’s learning at home. Decreasing stress in home education, whether this is homework or home schooling, allows you to identify the many and varied responsibilities that may be challenging. One parent likened it to needing the knowledge of Homer; the patience of Job; and the courage of a lion. Within a family we hope for love; understanding; cooperation; recognition of our strengths and weaknesses; forgiveness for our blunders; and praise when we do well.
The family is a small unit and communication, though sometimes ineffective, can always be salvaged at the dinner table with a captive audience. Decreasing stress in home education allows you to be more confident and relaxed, when teaching your children; communicating with teachers and other parents; making allowances for lack of resources and time; and admitting to the sheer energy required to get to your child’s learning; and doing it all with confidence and good cheer.
The 10 main stressors for parents in home education seems to be;
- Responsibility for the learning outcomes of your children. How well is my child doing?
- Retaining appropriate knowledge of what is to be taught. Do I know what I need to teach? Am I understanding this correctly?
- Understanding the curriculum and planning what you will teach and when. How will I fit all of this into my day?
- Maintaining some semblance of organisation when families are in a state of constant flux. Knowing when some days will be busy and knowing when there is need for ‘catch up’ lessons or time to complete homework.
- Finding appropriate resources that are relevant and interesting.
- Dealing with teachers or education bodies and their expectations.
- Keeping control of your children’s learning and their learning environment.
- Managing time effectively and being flexible when circumstances demand.
- Communicating with teachers and other parents.
- Decreasing stress in home education is a priority as stress can cause both physical and psychological problems for you.
If you are stressed then consider and ask yourself the following;
- How organised am I and where are my strengths and weaknesses in organising?
- Am I leaving enough time for planning and can my planning be used again, which will save time?
- Am I happy with my knowledge of curriculum?
- What rules do I have in place for my child’s behaviours?
- How consistent am I?
- Where are the boundaries of my flexibility?
How to Destress in Home Education
If you are stressed it is often because you start the year on a positive note and with the best of intentions. You then notice cracks in your plan to be the best teacher of your children possible and begin to panic about how to get back on track with homework or home education. The secret is to begin how you intend to go on but be flexible.
Make a few rules early and include your children in their construction. Don’t forget consequences. Be firm but flexible with a time for reassessing rules. It saves so much time when you can refer children to rules they were part of constructing, when they need to modify behaviour.
Let children know you are there to listen to what they have to say. If your listening is effective you will be able to put in place, quickly, solution to problems. Listening well can save a lot of time and verbal energy.
If you are a home educator know what you are going to teach and plan well. E-classes can be found on the internet and in publications. Search for these as they will save you a lot of time. They have been researched well and you can tailor them to fit your children’s learning.
Don’t be afraid to destress your home education responsibilities by enlisting the help of a tutor. This can allow you to pass on the teaching of some subject to a professional.
If you are a home educator join with other like -minded parents and organise workshops to cover some learning areas. You are not alone in your desire to home educate your children so seek out other home educators for support.
Find an outlet for your stress induced energy. Playing sport, joining an exercise class, handcrafts, or any activity that is about you and occupies your mind and body for a decent amount of time each week will allow you to re charge and be ready for the week to follow.
Plan, prioritise, destress in home education and enjoy your children. You are doing a great job!
Do you have any strategies for dealing with stress in home education. Leave your ideas in the comments box below. We would love to hear your ideas.
Heather Collins is an Early Childhood and Special Education Teacher who makes developmentally appropriate resources for teachers and parents to use with their children. She is author and co-author of poetry books and children’s books. She is a passionate collagist and has crafted beautiful finger puppets and story aprons suitable for early childhood education.
Her resources can be purchased on this website or she can be contacted at Create-Ed by emailing email@example.com. You can order an original apron for any favourite storybook.