Hello homeschool mamas!
Welcome to the Homeschool Mama Self-Care Show!
I’m Teresa Wiedrick from Capturing the Charmed Life.com
Homeschool mama self-care is for homeschool mamas looking for a self-care strategy, or a few, so we can tackle our homeschool challenges and turn them into our charms.
In this inaugural episode, I’m going to introduce you to me, why I homeschool, and why I think self-care practices are a necessity for the homeschool mama.
My name is Teresa. I’m a homeschool mama of four for the past eleven years in British Columbia, Canada. Presently my eldest daughter is in her first year University, I’ve got a seventeen and fourteen year old daughter, and an eleven year old son.
I had the notion to homeschool when I picked up a book on a lark during a vacation. I chose that book to get my arguments against homeschooling. It seemed to me everyone around me was doing it and I wanted to find my reasons not to do it. Sounded like a lot of work. And I’m not a trained teacher, I’m a degree-trained nurse. How am I going to provide them all the academics they need? And what about kids’ socialization? Oooy. Yes I asked that. Sounds like an off-grid thing to do and I’m a mainstream kinda gal.
By the end of that book, I determined homeschool would be an excellent lifestyle. This would be a great way to educate the kids, there would be a whole lot of freedom for their education, our potential for travel, and their socialization would be packaged as real-life socializing instead of classroom-focussed socialization. Both my husband and I were sold by the end of that book.
So we planned to homeschool a year and a half later, alongside a provincial move we made from Alberta to British Columbia. Before we moved, we added a son to our family of three girls. That’s when we started our homeschool lifestyle, July of 2009, in Kamloops BC.
I had a vision about homeschooling back in those days: they included three little girls in white frilly dresses, running out to the garden to chase butterflies and play in the sun. They would flit back in the afternoon for reading of fairies and gardens and beautiful things on our white sofa.
I learned that little girls in white dresses grow up to not want to wear dresses at all; they prefer American Eagle and LuLus. And white sofas are a bad idea for any family. But homeschooling? I have not regretted the choice of homeschooling.
However, the reasons why I homeschool have shifted time and again and are as different a reason as my initial intentions to become a parent. Oh the early idealism of parenting! Oh the early idealism of homeschooling!
My reasons for homeschooling have shifted at least a half dozen times along the way. I had a different idea of what homeschooling would be like, just as I had a different idea of parenting.
As homeschoolers, we will arise at 7 o’clock where I will provide a hot meal, then we’ll tidy the kitchen, then meet at the sofa to begin the day with morning circle time. Lovely readalouds with fresh drawing pencils and art books. Then we will enjoy each others presence at all times of the day, no bickering, no complaining, no discord of any sort. We will enjoy the cursive book, no matter our age or competence. We will recite the sing-songy grammar poems in Susan Weise Bauer’s First Language lessons. Then open our cursive books, our spelling books, our dictation books, our narration books. We’ll practice French and Latin and Italian and French, and we’ll dabble in Swahili. I’ll have separate math lesson times for each of the girls, aged 8, 6, and 4. And the 8-month-old baby will happily skootch across the floor and eventually sit in a high-chair joyfully with age-appropriate toys.
And I, I won’t need anything. Just the joy of all these charmed moments will take away my breath every morning. And I will be fueled for two decades of utopia.
Until I wasn’t.
If you’ve been homeschooling for more than a few weeks, you know, there are days of utopia. And they are delightful. They are the days we point random curious people toward. And you also know, they are not on repeat every single day.
I won’t share the reality of the not-so-perfect days, because you already know those. You only have to turn off this podcast and wait to discover the real homeschool narrative, that isn’t Instagram-perfect. (And if you want me to balance my discussion of utopia homeschool days, I direct you to turn this podcast and lock yourself in a bathroom—the kids always know when you’re in there, and something unexpected always happens when you’re behind locked doors.)
I’ve been homeschooling long enough that I’ve had reconsider my reasons for homeschooling, over and over and over.
Tell me why you’re homeschooling. I’d love to hear your reasons, who you are and who you homeschool.
There was one element of the homeschool lifestyle that def creates a challenge for most homeschool parents? Want to guess?
It’s the title of this podcast and the book I’ve written: Homeschool mama Self-Care: thrive, not just survive.
This challenge is probably why most curious bystanders drop their jaws in awe of your homeschool profession and declare, “I could never homeschool” – they know intuitively what takes some of us a few weeks into homeschooling to discover: homeschooling can be challenging.
Within a few weeks, we discover that kids don’t like prescribed “sit down, schooly activities” (well some of them, some of them do). Within a few weeks, we realize that even I don’t want to meet at 8 sharp and trying to coral little people’s energy, to not fight over which seat they wanted to sit in, or get the baby to stop pulling things off the table.
Impatience and overwhelm and heated tempers were easy to find. Questioning whether what we were doing was enough, how to fit in just one more thing, and trying to check off every box, read every passage, write every grammar wrong my poor nine and seven-year-old made.
Give it a few months and I was lonely too. I was at home with three young kids and a baby, in a city I didn’t know well, with no family, we travelled almost half our time.
Every Wednesday evening, I took my overwhelm to Starbucks. A pumpkin spice late, a scone, a journal and a pen were my therapy and entertainment and creative outlet. I wrote about our homeschool experience. (And by the way, I have a post on my blog about how I saw homeschooling when I started and how I see it now.)
Two things I can say categorically: homeschooling is no utopia, but it is a deeply gratifying family lifestyle.
When I hit the wall of doubt and frustration, which was probably was a January or February, in the slump month season, I asked “what am I doing? I don’t want to do this anymore. I had quite enough of kid conflict, I had enough of the push and pull of the beginning adolescent year, I didn’t like me for being frustrated and impatient. I really was ready to put the kids on the bus and said so with passion. I had to find a different reason for homeschooling and I had to do things differently.
A friend shared a TedTalk of Brene Brown. In the days of Brene’s book, “Daring Greatly”. What struck me most significantly was that I wasn’t accounting for ME in our homeschool. I wasn’t looking after myself and consider what I need. That was the moment I began to think about how to gear our homeschool lifestyle to what I needed as well as what my children needed.
I would love to hear about who you are, you as a homeschool parent, who your kids are, what part of the world you’re in. I would love to hear why you chose to listen to a podcast on homeschool mama self-care and what you’d like to get out of this podcast.
My goal in this podcast is to equip you with self-care strategies that will help you turn your challenges into your charms.
I will share regular interviews with someone we love or someone we need to get to know that will help us facilitate our self-care strategies.
A simple self-care strategy for this week is to get outside. It’s the slump month season when the skies are overcast and grey, the routine that we were excited about the month before studies started has lost its enthusiasm, the kids are tired of their activities and want to get out of routine as much as we do.
When you feel the energy is low, maintain that daily outing, get outside and do something. There’s something about that sunshine Vitamin D infusion and something about being in the natural world, absorbing its pace and energy that brings calm. Just fifteen minutes: sled, walk a dog, hike, cross country ski, do physics experiments on the playground, play at the beach (and invite me). This is your simple self-care strategy for this episode.
Thank you for joining me today. If you want to learn more about me, head to www.capturingthecharmedlife.com. The show notes will be there, you’ll find a preview of my book homeschool mama self-care: thrive, not just survive and a free fifteen-minute coaching session about the most important self-care strategy: a thought self-care strategy.
Next episode, you’ll get to hear from our very first guest for this season of the Homeschool Mama Self-Care podcast.
Until next week, let’s turn our challenges into our charms.