Unshackle Homeschool Mom Frustration: Unleash for Growth in 5 Ways

Want to deal with homeschool mom frustration? I share 5 ways to move into personal growth and away from frustration and overwhelm.

For so many years, I resisted personal growth, not because I was intentional about that, but because I wasn’t equipped to do it; instead, I invested much of my emotional energy being frustrated with life circumstances not being as I wanted them to be and I reacted (mostly out of fear), not responding to life circumstances with autonomy.

It’s what we do when we don’t like what’s going on: we worry (thinking we’ll anticipate all the possibilities, which rarely happen), we fuss with others (as though that conversation will influence our scenario), we get angry (as though attempting to control will shift the trajectory), we feel perpetually overwhelmed (because we’re trying to do all these things in the hamster wheel of our minds), we feel like we’re losing our minds (because it really is too much for us to hold), we get sick (because the body keeps the score and internalizes that emotion aka energy in motion), and we, therefore, feel inevitably unhappy.

Let’s chat about homeschool mom frustration & overwhelm and hopefully, by the end of this episode, you’ll have a few tools to address that frustration & overwhelm and move toward growth.

Does homeschool mom frustration resonate with you?

So, if I could leave you with five quick thoughts, I’d say this:
  1. You can’t control people, not even your little people.
  2. You can’t control yourself either. If you grow in understanding of yourself, you’ll find more helpful ways to approach your moments of frustration and your season of overwhelm.
  3. You can only do what you know to do now, that’s why you’re doing it, so, in the words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
  4. Accept your (& your kids’) humanness: you aren’t perfect, you’re never going to be, you won’t mother perfectly, and your kids won’t kid perfectly either.
  5. But definitely plan for your moments (or seasons) of frustration & overwhelm, because you will surely have them. So accept your human reality: frustration & overwhelm are part of this human journey.
If you resonate with this discussion, or you experienced these feelings in your homeschool days, today I’m going to share with you 5 things to do to address overwhelm & frustration and move toward a growth mindset.

Before I share the 5 approaches to embracing frustration & overwhelm to choose growth as a homeschool mom, I want to ask you five questions. So grab your journal!

Five questions to ask yourself when you’d like to overcome overwhelm & frustration (or at least have a plan for it) and choose a growth mindset in your homeschool life:
Question 1:

How do you typically handle feelings of frustration and overwhelm in your homeschool journey?

Question 2:

Are you breaking down your homeschool mom goals into manageable steps to address that frustration and overwhelm?

Question 3:

How often do you practice self-compassionate self-talk, such as using morning affirmations, expressing gratitude, and reframing negative thoughts?

Question 4:

Are you willing to let go of educational approaches or activities that aren’t working for your child or you, even though on paper (or on someone’s Instagram feed), they look amazing?

Question 5:

What specific ways do you celebrate small wins and achievements in your homeschooling journey?

woman frustrated about her daughter using mobile phone during breakfast: homeschool mom frustration

This is a typical conversation I have with a frustrated homeschool mom.

Mom has begun to recognize that despite shifting from one homeschool method to another (both of those methods are beautiful in theory, of course), the method isn’t working for her or for all of her kids.

When trying to homeschool a handful of kids, she tries to cluster her efforts, of course.

But some kids just don’t allow for that. Perhaps the approach really isn’t a useful approach for them:
  • there’s too much stimulation,
  • there are too many kids around (even in your home: ps if you think you can get overwhelmed, your kids can too),
  • there’s too much noise,
  • or the topic is super disengaging to them.
However, when you have a brilliant plan…

…because you will have moments where you discover the most beautiful learning idea ever, the most interesting approach to learning yet, a delightful resource, or a gorgeous readaloud you HAVE to read with the kids, then of course, bring that beautiful plan to your homeschool kids.

But recognize that when your plan isn’t hitting the right chords with your kids, and they’re shifting in their seats, or complaining incessantly, you might need to reassess your intentions. Sometimes we need to learn to flow at the rhythm of our kids and recognize that our well-intentioned plans don’t have to be enacted.

But that’s frustrating you say? Sometimes, yeah, I get it, it really is.

What might be other reasons you’re frustrated or overwhelmed?

Oh let’s see why homeschool mom frustration…
  • Your kiddo is having big emotions & it just doesn’t make sense to you.
  • You don’t have time to think or do anything for yourself.
  • Or you don’t understand why they’re not learning or getting something that seems so easy to the rest of the kids.
  • Your child isn’t acting like the rest of the kids at your forest school, co-op, or homeschool field trip: they’re THAT kid and you don’t know what to do about it.
  • Despite your efforts at being friendly and trying to overlook the differences you and your family have about a discussion on homeschooling, they’re just not behind you, always assuming that you’re disadvantaging your kids.
  • You’re juggling more roles than most homeschool moms as you’re also working inside (or outside) the home and still trying to homeschool.
  • You’re not seeing a child progress like other kids in the local homeschool community and it’s embarrassing and you don’t know what to do with her.
  • Somebody is sick in your home and requires a lot of your attention, or YOU have a chronic illness, and doing all this homeschool thing feels as fast as molasses being poured after it’s sat in the fridge for a few months.
  • You know that something is up with your kiddo, but you don’t know what is up, and you don’t know if it’s “up” enough to get assessed.
What I’ve learned…
  1. I’ve learned I can’t control people, but I can have my feelings and needs listened to, though not necessarily listened to by my kids.
  2. And I can’t control myself either. Yet, if I grow in understanding of myself, I’ll find more helpful ways to approach my moments of frustration and occasional seasons of overwhelm.
  3. I can only do what I know to do now, and that’s why I’m doing it now, so, in the words of Maya Angelou, “I’ll do the best you can until I know better. Then when I know better, I’ll do better.”
  4. Accept my (& my kids’) humanness: I’m not perfect, I’m never going to be, I won’t mother perfectly, and my kids won’t kid perfectly either.
  5. But I definitely have a plan for my moments (or seasons) of frustration & overwhelm, because I will surely still have them, even after 23 years of mothering. So I will accept my human reality: frustration & overwhelm are part of my human journey.

black boy screaming in room homeschool mom frustrated and doesn't know what to do
Sometimes we don’t know how to deal with our kids’ big emotions.

If you want to overcome homeschool mom frustration & overwhelm (or at least create a plan for them), here are 5 approaches to do that.

1. Acknowledge Emotions as Signals: 

Recognize that feelings of frustration and overwhelm are natural responses when stepping into a new homeschooling journey or when things don’t feel like they’re happening the way they should be. Consider these emotions as signals to take a step back, reevaluate your approach, and make necessary adjustments.

a. What do you do with those emotional signals?

I suggest feeling into them. Not running away from them. Not numbing yourself. But ask yourself where you’re feeling and what you’re feeling.

b. Notice your child’s experience.

Ask them. But not in the moment. Learn from the ongoing narrative. What are their feelings? What are their needs?

c. Collect before you direct.

Your relationship is directly impacting their ability to engage you academically. Gordon Neufeld explains it this way: “Again, we begin with the basics: we collect the child first in order to be able to work from within the relationship. It is very much like the mother goose with goslings; getting the offspring into line before bringing the behavior into line.

d. What story have you told yourself about your frustration or overwhelm?

We are telling ourselves stories all the time. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, first introduced me to a series of questions that help put all uncomfortable feelings in perspective.

  1. First question: “Is what I’m thinking true?” Usually, I’d answer, “Yes of course,” to that question. “Of course it’s true, why else would I be thinking the thought?”
  2. Second question: “Can I, with one hundred percent certainty, know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my thought is true? What if I had a different perspective?” There is always a different perspective. I would know because I’m married. You too? A useful benefit to being partnered long-term: understand that the world does not think identically to you. Hmmm, maybe that would change the outcome of my response to that original thought.
  3. And the third question is the clincher. “What if there is a different way of thinking about things? How would a different thought affect how I approach my situation? And how might that affect the outcome?”
  4. ps You can access my Thought Care Checklist for Homeschool Mamas here.
e. Can you reach the point of “no return” where you’re forever doomed to frustration & overwhelm?

I’m going to surprise you here because I’m going to say YES if you don’t do something different. Because just like fleece picks up every last strand of cat or dog fur, you are going to pick up on every last moment of experience of overwhelm and frustration until you determine to “Do BETTER, or do differently”. So if you want to turn things around, you’re going to have to do something different.

We need to view our emotions as signals for reflection and adjustment.

2. Break Down Goals: 

Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps. This approach not only makes the process less overwhelming but also allows for a clearer focus toward incremental progress.

Therefore, get clear about your homeschool mom frustration & ask yourself:

a. What experience do you want to tackle?

b. Who are the main characters in that scenario?

c. What are the repeat stories around that scenario?

d. In what ways could you tackle that challenge differently?

e. Do you need to learn to practice a pause, find someone to talk to, leave the house for separate space each day, or use your journal every morning as an accountability partner?

Note to self:
  1. You can’t tackle everything all at once, that’s even more overwhelming.
  2. You have to get really really specific. What is the thing you’re most overwhelmed or frustrated by? Perhaps you need to talk to me about it to clarify the challenge, or show up at the same time every day to your journal and write about that scenario or that experience of frustration or overwhelm every day. It will become clearer as you sit with it.

Breaking down homeschooling goals into smaller, manageable steps helps reduce overwhelm and provides a clearer focus on making gradual progress.

If you want to learn how to create happiness in our homeschools.

3. Practice Self-Compassion: 

Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer to a friend. Once upon a time, I met myself in a mirror. Remember that growth comes from facing difficulties and learning from them.

a. Self-awareness strategies. Journaling, mirror work, mindful moments, meditation, prayer, and knowing where the emotions are in your body.

b. Create a support network. Friends on text, talk to an objective bystander who doesn’t have any skin in the game (that could be me) or join me in the Homeschool Mom Room.

c. Practic self-compassionate talk. AKA homeschool mama daily affirmations, gratitude, mirror work, and reframing. ps I created a Self-Compassion for Homeschool Mamas course so you can learn new tools to include in your wellness routine.

d. Ask yourself if you’re addressing your real needs. Because if you’re not, of course, you’re going to be overwhelmed and frustrated. You have to create routines to do it more than once, but rather, routinely. Your real needs need to be addressed as often as the kids ask for snacks.

e. Assess your homeschool expectations, your routine, your kids, and yourself.

  • Why did you choose your routine,
  • what’s behind your expectations,
  • why do they exist,
  • are they working for you,
  • which ones are and which ones aren’t,
  • what do your kids think?
  • Is this homeschool life satisfying? Why or why not?
  • On a scale from 1-10, how much fun are you having?
Self-compassion is the key to growth and resilience in your homeschooling journey.

person holding a green plant: homeschool moms want to transform frustration and overwhelm and move toward a growth trajectory

4. Cultivate Flexibility: 

Embrace the idea that growth and adapting are at the heart of the mothering journey.

Flexibility is key, and though it is, by far, my least strong character trait, flexibility allows us to pivot when things don’t go as planned and when we need to discover creative solutions that suit our child’s unique needs.

So a few quick ways to consider cultivating flexibility…

a. Stop doing something if it isn’t working. Be a learner. (You’ll be happier when you do. Like creating margins around your time. Remember that I shared about how I engage my time, without enough margin? When I put a hard stop on my time, clarifying when I needed to BE in the car, I recognized that I had a peaceful trip to town, no one was frustrated with me, and I could enjoy that extra time in the car chit chatting with my teen (fyi the car transport thing is a lotta work, but it’s also a great place to have chit chats with the kids).

b. Remember that doing things that are hard can benefit you and grow you.

c. Build a predictable routine, but know that it won’t always happen.

d. The benefit of just 15 minutes: create emotional bandwidth for you each day, do something you love each day, just 15 minutes.

e. Different kids, different methodology: they’re not the same, so don’t treat them the same. Lean into child-led learning.

f. Remember to notice the kid in front of you. Collaborate: ask them.

h. Assess your expectations regularly. So schedule that time in your daytimer.

Cultivating flexibility in motherhood means embracing change, adapting to your child’s needs, and regularly reassessing your expectations.

5. Celebrate Small Wins: 

Instead of fixating on what might not be going perfectly, celebrate the small wins and progress you and your children are making. Every breakthrough, no matter how modest, is a step toward growth and a testament to your dedication.

  1. Celebrate on Fun Friday.
  2. Mention your progress when you’re having dinner. Honour your own growth and they will honour theirs.
  3. Use a special coloured pen in your schedule/daytimer and write in the small win.
  4. Join me in the Patreon Support Group where we celebrate Small Wins on Fridays.
  5. Reflect on Full or New Moons: they are opportunities to consider what’s been working and what hasn’t.
  6. Honour the seasons, just as they shift, you shift.
By adopting these strategies and nurturing a growth mindset, you’ll be better equipped to navigate moments of homeschool mom frustration and overwhelm while fostering a positive and resilient homeschooling environment.

little girl studying online on computer

Remember, you can’t control everything, but you can choose how you respond and continue to learn and grow along the way.

Join me in the Patreon Homeschool Mama Support Group & drop in weekly to the Homeschool Mom Room to discuss all these things.

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Teresa Wiedrick

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

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