How to homeschool without losing your mind in 11 Steps

Straight up, there are a few reasons why a homeschool mama might feel like she’s losing her mind, but I’m going to discuss a topic that no one loves talking about, yet all homeschool mamas experience.

Anger. Their angry feelings.

When we learn to deal with our big emotions, like anger, impatience, and frustration, we can learn how to homeschool without losing our minds.

Here’s a discussion to help you consider and plan how to homeschool without losing your mind.

You can guarantee, since I’ve homeschooled my four kids (presently aged 14 to 21), I’ve experienced the gamut of mama-feelings.

I’m like every other mom.

I don’t like getting angry with my kids because it feels unloving.

But I also don’t like when my kids complain, sass, irritate each other, argue over inane stuff (or at least inane to me), waste time, or dawdle. And I don’t enjoy listening to whining either.

I have my triggers. You have yours.

While we may decrease our reactions to those triggers as life goes on, we do all feel angry at times.

It’s called being human. 

But as the particular human that I am, I have a complicated relationship with anger. (We all have complicated relationships with anger, and they’re likely complicated in unique ways).

My relationship with anger looks something like this:

I don’t like seeing myself angry at others and others’ anger provokes fear in me. Naturally, I have an interesting, lengthy, book-worthy (even film-worthy) story behind my relationship with anger and why it is what it is.

Join me in coaching on big emotions and you’ll learn more about my story and I can learn more about yours.

Here’s something about my relationship with anger: I don’t like seeing anger in me, because I don’t want to shame or disrespect another person. It feels shameful to shame someone else. (Though, straight up, I’ve done it).

I’m human so I get angry whether I like to or not: at times I get irritated, sometimes frustrated, and sometimes red hot tamale angry. 

Everyone has their triggers.

Sometimes after I feel angry, I determine I didn’t have a good reason.

  • Like getting upset when someone accidentally breaks something (refer to my complicated story above).
  • Or like expressing my irritations or edginess when I am premenstrual.
  • Or (when my kids were younger) they wouldn’t get into the car on time to get to THEIR extracurricular activity. (ps It’s me that’s late to the car now).
  • When they fought over a seat in the car (this happened one month ago).
  • Any time more than three kids are fighting.
  • When I’ve asked my child to do something repeatedly and yet they still haven’t done it. Again.
  • If someone wakes my husband from his sleep (he’s an overnight shift worker in the hospital emergency).
  • Now you insert your reasons here…
  • Together, we could make a very long list.

You may not identify with the reasons I shared, or you might add different reasons. 

Expecting not to get angry is unrealistic.
  • Should we feel angry with our children?
  • Why do we think we should never feel angry with our children?
Can we all be honest? We’re human. Anger is a human experience.

Yet, sometimes the reason we feel angry is that we attempt to control our children and it doesn’t work.

Though our child may have grown in our womb and we helped them live for the first five years, they’re still separate.

Our child may have grown up in our home for eighteen years, but that child was always a separate individual, separate from our partner and us.

This is a hard reality to accept: they are meant to be separate and we cannot control them. Darn it.

Each of our children was meant to be in our families, meant to learn from us, and intended for us to learn from them.

They are not calculations, products, or formulas as much as most parenting books might suggest.

Each of our children is a unique human too.

Children need our direction, our coaching, and our mentorship, but they cannot be controlled.

(FYI I did not understand this when my children were younger).

Some of our children’s behaviour is just childish (because they’re children).

But we still feel angry with their childishness at times…
  • When one child bashes their brother because he won’t return a Lego piece.
  • When we try to do something good for them, like get them to soccer practice on time, they complain and stomp their feet when they’re asked to find their shin pads and socks.
  • Or we feel angry when everyone has been asked to be quiet for their shift-worker dad, yet the moment dad’s head hits the pillow, someone slams a door or yells to her sister to meet him on the trampoline.
You experience childish behaviour, because your children are children.

Of course, you feel angry still, even if you wished you weren’t angry and even if you acknowledge that they’re children.

Anger is an uncomfortable emotion that takes the wind out of our sails. It can trigger a boatload of trouble, resentment, and counterreactivity.

Anger can dissolve a day into tears and it just feels uncomfortable. 

I wish I had known earlier that anger is just a feeling and that feelings can pass more quickly than clouds in the sky. 

We don’t want to live in a state of anger with our kids, so we have to decide what we’re going to do about it when we experience it.

What to do about homeschool mom’s anger so she doesn’t lose her mind?

  • Get curious about your anger. Determine to get curious. Why does someone’s reaction trigger a feeling in me? 
  • Observe yourself. Lay on a yoga mat or your bed, wait till the angry heat passes, ask for understanding, and listen to yourself. 
  • Go away. Specifically, somewhere where your kids are not. Sometimes you are just in a state of overwhelm and it takes less stimuli to irritate you. So practice the pause and take a break.
  • Accept that angry outbursts will interrupt your homeschool days. These kids are learning to manage their emotions as we are, too (they have less experience). Homeschool mom reality: anger happens spontaneously and usually interrupts important stuff. Yes, even in the middle of a lesson. Expect angry, annoying interruptions to occur in the middle of homeschool days. 
  • Breathe, breathe, breathe. Breathe deeply and breathe slowly. 
  • Write down your thoughts. Writing facilitates understanding yourself. What got you exasperated? Okay, now that you have written that it annoyed you to watch your kid drawing in the corner of her math book instead of doing the math, ask yourself, “Why did you feel angry?” Write your answer, such as: “She doesn’t care about the lesson I planned. Does she never do what I ask?” In a cooler moment, you can consider why you need her to care about those lessons. 
  • Recognize underlying concerns. What’s underneath those thoughts? Do you need to know if she’ll get the math concept and not grow up unable to apply to a university program? Are you afraid you’re incapable of teaching her? Are you rushed to do another activity and don’t want to invest in this one? Consider your underlying concerns.
  • Sometimes doing nothing is the best option when you’re feeling angry. You can take a break from most of the kids’ behaviours until a time when you’re no longer in a triggered place. Then you can determine what you will do. Most scenarios don’t worsen by doing anything. 
  • Determine how you want to engage your child. Do you want them to cool down so they can try again to speak respectfully? Do you want them to have another chore in place of the one they were asked to do but didn’t do? Do they need a hug and need to be heard? The goal: plan before you act.
  • Expect you won’t hit the sweet spot every time. If anger is a challenge for you like it has been for me, remind yourself that you’re learning right alongside your children. Be as gracious with yourself as you are with them. 
Remember you’re teaching your children how to deal with anger by modeling how to engage your own anger.

And when you’ve created a plan for your anger, you will no longer be losing your mind!

close up shot of a pen on a notebook: daily affirmations for the Homeschool mama

These affirmations can be helpful in speaking the right thoughts to yourself and soothing your homeschool mama mind.

  • I will stay calm in frustrating situations.
  • I must learn to manage my anger.
  • Controlling my anger is natural to me.
  • I always speak my mind, rather than let frustrations build.
  • I control my anger by expressing myself in a firm yet positive manner. 
  • I am in control of myself.
  • Being calm, relaxed, and in control is normal for me. 
  • I have the power to regulate my emotions. 
  • Managing anger will help to repair and strengthen my bonds with my friends and family. 
  • I owe it to myself to manage my anger. 
  • I can channel my anger in a more productive way.
  • I am calm, focused, and relaxed.

Most importantly, be gracious with yourself as you learn to grapple with your anger and theirs. 

“The best answer to your anger is silence.”

Marcus Aurelius

Of course, there are other reasons why a homeschool mama might be losing her mind:

Teresa Wiedrick, your Homeschool Life Coach to help you NOT lose your mind in your homeschool

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Teresa Wiedrick
Teresa Wiedrick

I help homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.