I’ve made no secret of the fact that being at home with the children is hard work. It can feel incredibly rewarding at times and at other times, it can feel really tough. There’s no getting away from it that it can be tedious at times going through the same things, ensuring that your child is secure in their knowledge and it can be draining thinking of new and exciting ways to impart a topic. I’m now moving into my third year of home educating and here are some of my tips for looking after your mental health as a home educating parent.
Find something for YOU
As a parent, it’s really easy to be all consumed by your role as mum or dad. But find something that is for you. For me, its fitness stuff. Last year I made a real effort at the gym and found it a really great way to clear my mind. Now my fitness is improved I am enjoying running and the challenges that that provides. It’s really important, for me, that I have something that is solely for me to focus on and it’s a selfish pursuit. So much of my time is spent doing things in the house or preparing things for the children that finding that bit of time in the day to head out for a run is really important for me.
Speak to other Home Educating Parents
Find those parents around you who you can be honest with. It can sometimes feel like when you’ve made this choice to home educate, that you’re not allowed to say (out loud) how hard it is! I have a couple of friends who can tell when I’m struggling and will check in with me. We sound off on those days when it’s really hard and we offer each other an understanding ear to listen.
Chat to a therapist
If speaking to others in the home education community isn’t your thing, then chatting with a therapist might be useful. Having that independent person to talk to, who isn’t embedded in your world can really help you work through any issues and help you work towards a resolution.
If you have older children and they’re struggling, I often see posts from parents of teens who have left the school system note that their child is struggling, they might also find it useful to talk to a therapist. It’s really easy to find a therapist and BetterHelp can match you or your teen to the right one.
Take a break
I’ve written in the past that sometimes, you just need a break! When things just aren’t going right there’s nothing wrong with just taking a break and hitting reset. In the same way that we take a holiday from work, and schooled children get half-term breaks, it’s important to build in breaks in home education too.
We have natural breaks in our home education, usually around when Damian has his annual leave from work. But also having the odd day here and there is really helpful. Just changing the plans around and heading off to do something different can really help to refocus and re-energise us