A Few Strategies for Coping as Home Educators
"How do you refresh yourself after being with all the kids all day, all week? How do you make yourself stronger and happier to cope better?"
After a very long time battling chronic ill health which included depression and unpredictable mood swings I settled on a fairly basic discipline which I describe in my Motivation booklet. Although aimed at helping understand children's seeming lack of motivation and what to do about it, it goes to the heart of what I think has happened when we become or feel overwhelmed.
For me, the number one thing I must do is adhere to early nights. Every night after 10pm progressively wears me down and leaves me vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed. Another thing I should do and am slowly putting into practice is giving me permission to 'do nothing', something the children taught me was essential and enhanced their capacity for learning but which I didn't think to apply to myself! Although in hindsight I recognise that in those early years of homeschooling ill health forced me into the position where I did nothing for hours or days on end - during which time my children miraculously continued to learn an amazing array of skills and knowledge!
'Doing nothing' time is misnamed - while 'doing nothing' we give ourselves time to relax. What we are not doing is being overtly productive... We might be playing a card or board game for fun, mucking about telling jokes or sharing imaginative 'what if' scenarios. We might be sitting on the garden swing or on the veranda or the couch, quietly thinking. Or flipping through a magazine, maybe even reading a chapter or two of our book. It's tiny to short segments of 'time out' where we do something that is relaxing.
Meditation, prayer, gentle stretching exercises, Tai Chi... anything that leaves you refreshed after doing it.
As home educators we gift ourselves an enormous amount of time to enjoy our children and family life. Instead of capitalising on this though we cram it full of busy work, both for ourselves and them. We are in such a hurry to achieve our goals and objectives, with one eye always looking over our shoulder to make sure other people are satisfied with our progress. Chill out! We have until our children become adults to set the foundations for life learning. Stop thinking about the enormous body of knowledge and skills those people over your shoulder say you have to instill in your children and think instead about the basic essential learning tools you can help them explore and learn how to use.
In my Natural Learning booklet I advise parents against creating a 'smorgasbord' approach to home education driven by the need to teach them 'everything they need to know' (as one home education officer from our state authority put it). Doing a little bit of this or dipping your toes into that subject is the way schools approach much of the curriculum. Children will happily immerse themselves for hours, days and sometimes weeks on end in projects that engage their attention and answer a fairly immediate need within them to know and understand. Why interrupt such active learning to expose them to a topic that someone who doesn't even know your child thinks should be learned - not only learned but in a particular way, using particular materials and a particular age? If there are things that you think the child should know, but all means teach those things, but don't try to teach everything.
And don't think that just because your children are not at school you have to be the only teaching resource in your home education program - make use of people in your local community that offer group activities, classes and lessons for children. These may be held after school, on the weekend or during the school holidays and can easily be built into your homeschool schedule. Quality textbooks and workbooks, the type that guide the learning process, can also lift some of the 'teaching' burden from your shoulders. As a home educating mum I found my main role was finding resources and activity ideas, recording my children's learning and subtly guiding it in the direction I felt was best for each child.
And finally (although I can and have written so much on this topic!), eat well and drink lots of water. Pretty basic stuff but it is easy to overlook. I indulge myself when I am feeling low and eat a lot of food that my body doesn't like and causes the symptoms of my illnesses to flare. So it is important that I interrupt the downward spiral as soon as I recognise it happening. I have a 'nurturing Beverley' plan that focuses on bringing balance into my life and regularly read through it as a reminder.
There are lots of articles with tips, etc on how to manage homeschool life on this website - look under Managing Homeschool Life on our Sitemap.
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's
individual learning needs?
Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?
Over 1000 reassuring and
informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent
You are invited to join Home Education Australia!
One well-organised space to find and share information,
resources links and
more to support all home educators
across Australia, including a directory of posts and threads , where you
can source all your needs related to home education and
find what others are seeking and finding within Australia.
Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie
"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since
my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!