Do You Feel As Anxiety-Crazed About Your Homeschooling Approach As I Do?

Do other homeschooling parents feel a constant sense of worry that they’re not doing the right thing, that they aren’t doing enough? I worry every day that I should be doing some book learning with the kids, especially Edward. I worry that we should be getting out the Maths books at least, this despite the fact that I consciously decided to focus on the kids spending time outside to make the most of the very limited nice weather which left little time for book learning when you factor in supermarket shopping, playdates and all the other necessities of life.

I have been feeling so tired recently. I kept thinking I must go have some blood tests or something. But then we had some visitors and I dropped all thought of book learning to spend some time with them and the aforementioned necessities. I woke up this morning and felt so much better and I realized that it’s because I haven’t been worrying about what to do each day. I haven’t been feeling afraid that I’m doing the wrong thing, on a daily basis. I have just been enjoying our time. Obviously we can’t go through life just hanging out with friends or playing in the park but I have to at least be at peace with whatever decision I make! It is very, very tiring to keep doubting oneself, to keep worrying and re-evaluating the decisions I make.

I realized that the other things that have been getting me down are the parenting/homeschooling books I’ve been reading. Although I must continue to read them, I must somehow grow a thicker skin to not feel so inadequate whilst I do! These books make me feel bad! It’s not their fault. It’s mine.

For instance, I stopped reading ‘Peaceful Parenting, Happy Kids’ by Dr. Laura Markham at p66. I found it exhausting; everything was MY fault and how to change felt like a mountain to climb. I found it exhausting just thinking about the fact that I have to start parenting in such a different way, let alone actually doing it. I felt so bad that saying to my kids, ‘If you do that, then this will happen’ is setting them up for some sort of total failure as adults. She says that avoiding punishment, “…is the most important thing you can do to raise children who are responsible and considerate.” I certainly don’t believe in corporal punishment and I would LOVE to avoid punishment altogether but ‘Go up to your room, now!’ is the only way to avoid it sometimes, when I am SO angry! I have read that you should go to your own room instead, to simmer down, but that doesn’t feel right somehow! Markham also says, “All misbehavior comes from basic needs that aren’t met.” Oh no, when they’re misbehaving, that’s my fault too then! And it’s my fault when I do a less than admirable job because I don’t have the most important parenting skill of all which is, according to Markham, managing myself. She says, “Keep your cup full…Remember that your child will do every single thing you do, whether that’s yelling or…” Looking after myself is a real challenge given that hubbie works 90 hour weeks and nobody else other than either of us looks after the children.

 

So tonight I’m going to research some angles on learning that isn’t book related. I’ll keep you posted!

 

IF YOU’RE NEW TO HOMESCHOOLING MIDDLE EAST, welcome! If you are interested in reading about our homeschooling adventure, I recommend that you start reading from ‘Day 1’. Why I recommend starting at Day 1 is because this adventure into homeschooling has been a rollercoaster; philosophically and emotionally, which you might learn, seek solace from or even be thoroughly entertained by. It started in Bahrain on 22 February 2012 and continues in Dubai. My kids are Edward aged 8 and Petra aged 4. For you to get the full intellectual and dramatic impact, it’s best to start at the beginning. You might be contemplating home educating and wonder what those early nail-biting days feel like or you might enjoy reading somebody else’s take on an experience we share, or you might be more generally interested in my thoughts and feelings on education and parenting. Whatever the reason you’re reading, I’m really humbled that you’re taking your valuable time to do so and I really hope I can be some kind of hope or inspiration for you. Thank you! 

 

The fastest way to access ‘Day 1’ is to look for ‘Archives’ on the right hand side of the home page, click on ‘February 2012’ and scroll down to the bottom of the page that opens. If you want a quick first visit, you could type a term e.g. ‘socialization’ or ‘university’, into the ‘Search’ box or of course you could just read my latest posts without doing anything!

 

AFTERWORD: If you would like to make life easier (who doesn’t?!) scroll down the right hand side of the page and click the ‘Follow’ button. Posts will be delivered to your email inbox until such time you may not want them anymore.

Don’t feel shy! Please always feel free to email me (pjmontford@hotmail.com) or ideally post comments* on any of the days you read, however old they are. Commenting helps others who may well like to have more ideas or suggestions about the topic concerned or you can ask me a question that you think others might also like answers to.

If you’re too busy to comment that day, but enjoyed what you read, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. Again, you have to have clicked on the title of the post to get the ‘Like’ button option at the end of the post. Commenting, ‘Liking’ and Following is much appreciated as it encourages more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! Take care. Have a great day and thank you for visiting.

*How to make a comment  If you are reading posts on the homepage, you will see at the bottom of the post, in tiny grey writing either e.g. ’7 comments’ or ‘Leave a comment’. Click on this to add yours. If you’ve clicked on the title of the post, you can see any comments that have been left already, and space for your own, right at the bottom of the page. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate.

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About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is pjmontford@hotmail.com. I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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8 Responses to Do You Feel As Anxiety-Crazed About Your Homeschooling Approach As I Do?

  1. Dad says:

    Penny,
    It is my guess that you are approaching your children’s education very constructively. I would have thought one of the challenges is the syllabus. But ‘learning to learn’ , meaning ‘learning to remember’ must be one of the most important things. Do you check if yesterday’s lessons were understood and remembered,before moving forward? I expect you do!

    Dad.

  2. Jane says:

    mmm very easy to worry so much. The best advice is to not worry, but that is very trite and hard to just do!!
    Things that have helped me have been saying to myself that it does not take 13 years of school (or schooling) to learn those academic subjects. When they are ready the kids will very quickly learn to write, do maths, etc. Also look at why they are learning something, if it is just to please an adult then is that true learning? And what does that actually teach them.
    Having a 14 and 12 year who have been unschooled, I can see how they change when they hit puberty – their needs and their view of the world/their own lives change. They want to go to university/join the army or whatever so are beginning to take steps that will help them reach their goals. When they are self motivated they will learn quickly and deeply. I am totally convinced it is best to let young children play, do their thing until they are ready to move on. Childhood is so short, so precious and such a rich time of learning. Trust, is is a hard thing but when you get it and can do it with your children and their learning it is total freedom and it enlivens you , not tires you.
    Good luck. 🙂

    • Jane, thank you SO much for your comment. Your ‘trust yourself’ and Dottie’s ‘Respect Yourself’ advice means so much to be because you are both seasoned homeschoolers. You have been there. The kids really do learn what they need to learn, when they need to learn it. It’s not just some false hope written in books that happened miraculously to one family. That is the fear in the back of my mind I think! I feel so inadequate when I read unschooling stories like the Colfax’s and yet, who knows, maybe they felt the same until the results spoke for themselves. And I don’t have such a lofty aim as getting 4 kids into Harvard! I would be delighted to have a son as articulate, happy, healthy and motivated as Logan LaPlante (the hackschooler at the TED conference).

      I want to enjoy this journey. I want to enjoy this time with my kids. I want to be enlivened! I hope today signals the turning over of a new leaf. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you and Dottie for taking the time to comment to enable this to be the case for us!

  3. Dottie says:

    I know I haven’t commented in a while but this post needede a response.

    First, we all tend to feel anxiety about out homeschooling decisions for the first couple years at least I think. I know I have and most blogs I have read and parents I have talked to have said the same thing.

    Second, that DR whatshername is a hack and probably a dangerous one at that. Kids are people and sometimes they misbehave and it is NOT your fault unless you fail to correct their behaviour (usually punishment in some fashion possibly followed by a conversation about the better choice). Letting a kid run wild and not giving them any boundaries are just a possibly cause kids to grow into adults that think their parents just didn’t give a flip (some experience here). If a book makes you feel inadequate then move on from it as clearly it isn’t a helpful thing.

    Thirdly, you do not HAVE to read parenting and homeschooling books. You can do it your way. Make a couple mommy friends that seem to share your outlook and talk about parenting with them. The writer of these books can only write from their experience which is likely nothing like your own and since they know nothing of your children/family they are no where near as good a resource as reasonably like minded friends.

    You seem like a great mom that does everything to raise well educated, loving and confident children. Respect yourself.

    • Oh thank you, Dottie. “Respect yourself”. I really need to listen to that. All of us working so hard to do the right thing for our kids needs to listen to that.

      The saddest part of my almost debilitating anxiety is that my intuition is so strong on this. I feel so strongly that I should just let them play, be with other kids and explore the world (constrained as we are in some respects in this country). My son is thrilled with the new challenges he’s been able to try the last few weeks – indoor rock climbing, fencing and the new friends he’s making, the parks and beaches we can play in for the first time (neither was available in Bahrain). I just want to let the kids BE.

      But I find it so hard to stop myself projecting the decisions I make that are appropriate for this time and place, into the future, as if our life wouldn’t change from now until the kids are 21! Yes, if this is ‘all’ we did for the rest of his childhood, they may not be ready for the kind of future they’d want (or in fact they might be!) But I have to tell myself that what FEELS right now is not forever, maybe not even for more than a few months. I appreciated Jane’s comment too because she’s a seasoned unschooler and the idea of ‘delayed academics’ is something that I have learned about, do believe makes perfect sense, but still am afraid it won’t apply to us: That my kids (especially my son) will just want to play forever! Honestly I despair about myself but then instead, you are right, I should just respect myself, which means listening to my inner voice, and ENJOYING the journey! This is precious time with my kids and I am spoiling it for myself with my doubts and worries. Thank you again, Dottie!!

  4. aishaaarshad says:

    Penny, like you, I too find comfort in Jane and Dottie’s words: “trust yourself” and “respect yourself”. If I could master just these two qualities I am sure my life would be easier, more effective and more enjoyable. Having a 14 and 11 year old of my own, Jane’s story about her 14 and 12 year olds really encouraged me. Knowing that the kids started getting serious about learning because they had their own goals to meet, not because Mommy or a teacher told them to, gave me hope. And your words, to let the girls follow their “natural rhythms” gave me confidence that maybe allowing them some freedom is ok and will not result in them being total failures. In fact, as I pondered your response (to my post on the Duneha blog), I realized my fears were largely unfounded. When I think back to my goals when we started this journey, all I wanted was to trust the girls to take responsibility for their studies, and to offer them in a variety of outside activities including Islamic classes, team sports, and volunteering. I have done all of these, and despite getting very behind in their classes, the girls pulled through and got everything done, all on their own. So really for me the question is not, “what’s wrong with us”, it is,”now that we’ve accomplished what I had set out to do, it’s time to set new goals, to take our homeschooling to the next level”.

    Here’s what I am considering:
    I shared with you how I was concerned about my nagging, how I knew it was not helping anyone but I couldn’t seem to peel myself away it. I think my nagging comes from lack of trust and respect, in myself and in my children. So I am going to start trusting and respecting them and myself more. Let them make their own choices. Work on my own anxiety by committing to my yoga practice, and daily walking, both of which feel great. And, like the blogger whose post (http://simplycharlottemason.com/2013/01/09/keeping-your-balance-your-weekly-schedule/) I wrote about, try to create a rough schedule — for *myself* not my kids — to be a role model of someone who lives a “well-balanced, meaning-filled, intentional life”.

    In the past I’ve had no luck trying to establish routines for myself, but I think I know why. It was always coming from a place of inadequacy: “I am not doing enough, so I need to get organized. I am a mess, so I need to straighten up and follow a schedule”. This time it will be different. I will go into it from a place of love not inadequacy; from a place where I am already worthy, and am striving to make changes simply because I dare to. I think that pushing ourselves to new levels is not oppressive as long as we do it from a place of love.

    • I love this, Aisha. You sound in great shape! I am so happy – caring mumma! You deserve it! This debate about balance has been really interesting. Everything done from love works out so well – self-love and respect as well as love and respect of others, inc. our kids. I am back to the ‘Peaceful Parenting’ book by Markham and it does emphasize that, it talks about constantly trying to deal with your kids in a supportive, loving way inc their most challenging behaviour. If I find it covers nagging, I’ll let you know! Let me know how your new ‘routine’ works out. I’d love the encouragement!! Best wishes, Penny

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