Encouragement Homeschool

6 Tips to Conquer Feeling Overwhelmed

You’ve had them. I’ve had them. We’ve all had them. Them? Those hard, the kids are dumping out all the color-coded toy boxes, the phone is ringing, my inbox is full, we can’t find the math answer book, the baby is crying, and there’s no coffee type of days. You know, those homeschool days where things don’t seem to go right? When it’s 9:05 in the morning and you’re ready for it to be 9:05 at night?

 

Overwhelm.

It creeps into the day. But, here’s the deal – it doesn’t need to last.  But, in order to kick overwhelm to the door there needs to be a plan — an exit route — so that the day can be reclaimed.  Here are 6 tips to conquer feeling overwhelmed.

 

1 –  Pray for peace.

And, maybe just a little bit of wisdom, because who doesn’t need wisdom? I often pray that the overwhelm that fills me would be replaced with peace {and that, oh so needed, wisdom}. More often than not, those little prayers are uttered throughout the day and in crazy spots. While folding the laundry, or explaining how to find the predicate nominative {again}, or as I’m picking up all the books that I had just put away. It’s a constant and incredibly necessary.

2 – Let it go.

Let go of the morning and all the labels that go along with your day so far. It’s easy to start defining the day as a bad day, isn’t it? But, here’s the deal if we start thinking about it as a bad/hard/overwhelming/throw-in-the-towel day then that’s just where it will stay. So what that you didn’t get all the math done — what did you do? Did you read? Or listen as your seven year old tells you about his lego creation? Those things matter. Start your day over. At 9:08.

 

3 – Don’t compare.

Maybe you read about how this homeschooling family decided to recreate the Pilgrim feast along with incredible hand-dyed textiles and an authentic outdoor setting – that’s them, not you. Or you think about how your third grader is struggling with multiplication facts while her best friend is starting long division. All the comparison only produces discontent. And discontent can create anxiety. And, yep, you guessed it anxiety can lead to overwhelm.  Don’t let comparison taint your day. Your family is unique — embrace it.

 

4 – Do one thing.

This is my motto. I’ve got a to-do list that can easily fill several pages. I cannot look at the list all it once. So I choose to do one thing. When your homeschool morning crumbles into chaos it simply cannot be fixed by grabbing the entire to-do list and tackling it all at once. I know. I’ve tried. Instead, do one thing. Only one thing, and do it well. If the milk spilled, grab the towel, wipe the milk, and shine that section of the floor. If your six year old is running around in circles pull out a craft, get him busy, and then move onto the next thing. One thing. One thing. You can do one thing.

 

5 – Be the change.

If I’m stressed, then the family’s stressed. If I want peace in my home, then it has to start with me. Which is why number one is critical. If the kids are loud, then I whisper. If the kitchen needs to be cleaned then I start and help out. If there’s too much excessive energy in the home then it’s time for me to go out back and do a little PE time. And start laughing, enjoying those moments with those kids at home.

6 – Know your target.

No, not the store Target because I’ve already got that one aced, but rather your family’s target. Now, do not attempt to define your target while in the midst of one of those crazy and completely overwhelming days. This is a project for those quiet moments of life. Which, if you’re like me, either happen late at night or very early in the morning. When we define our family’s target – mission statement – it helps redirect our days when they veer off course.  What’s the priorities? What matters most? What does our family agree to do when we hit these overwhelming moments? Determining answers before will help direct you out when those days come.

 

I’ve homeschooled for eleven years. Let me tell you, there will be days like that — they’re inevitable. What matters is not that the day happened, but rather what you do with it. Breathe deep. Grab that history reader. Gather up the kids. You can do it. I know it.

You can read more from Rachel at Finding Joy as well as on facebook.

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18 Comments

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  • Beautifully written, insightful blog. I think I have been having those days consistently for the last two weeks. :o) Homeschooling is hard work but I have been amazed at how much I enjoy it (not all the time but most). This is my first year homeschooling my 5 year old and I couldn’t be happier at my decision. I am truly inspried by your bio too. If you can do it anyone can!

    • Elizabeth, thanks for your super sweet words. I remember those early years of homeschooling very well. It is hard work, but very rewarding . It’s so good to hear about how you enjoy it! Remember those moments and look back on them when the days get hard — they’re inspiring.

      Blessings to you.

      Rachel

    • You’re welcome Wendy. A friend of mine reminds me that the Lord knew that I was to be the mother to my kids and to rest in that truth. It really helps me when I’m feeling discouraged to know that I’m the exact mother those beautiful kids of mine need.

      Rachel

  • This is awesome. I am reading it to my kids. We sometimes get off track and forget what all we have accomplished. Thank you so much for this great article.

    • I think it’s so easy to look at everything left to do on our list and forget what we’ve done. I’ve seen my older kids implement some of these ideas on their own. So I think it would be great to read it to your kids — it’s the first part in making “the plan” for those type of days, you know?

      Blessings to you!

  • Rachel, so so true! I think it’s a hard line to walk, encouraging others in the midst of chaos sometimes…seeing that other people seem to have it all together because that is all they share, or they tell you how to do something. I like your encouraging words…and appreciate them. I’m still new…and on those days, I truly have to NOT listen to the ‘voice’ telling me my kids will never learn and who am I to think I can do this…and instead, turn to the one who can…through prayer, who has this in mind for us and brought us here….Thank you!!

  • Such calming, grounded advice. Thanks, Rachel. Moms of many obviously are tested to the limits so that they MUST learn these lessons for dealing with OVERWHELM. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Love that prayer is first.

  • Great tips to help when we get overwhelmed or maybe even see it coming and not get so overwhelmed. With our 3 special needs girls it helps me to have a to-do list. I can check things off and see we are getting things done. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Tomorrow is a new day. Starting off with a Mission Statement for our family. Right now this is the direction we need to succeed. Can’t wait to begin.

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