I spent yesterday afternoon with some homeschool moms. It was nice. I enjoy commiserating with like-minded people. We were all feeling a bit extra tired yesterday. One mom mentioned that another mom just up and put her kids in school. Just couldn’t handle it, she said. Sighs of shock and probably jealousy passed through the group.
I tried to lighten things up a bit. I said, “Oh, that is my fantasy. Some days I want to run after the big, yellow bus and beg it to take three more.” This brought a few chuckles. I was trying to be real. I think that I am old lady homeschool at this group, and sometimes I feel that reality needs to be brought into these discussions. I don’t care if I am the new girl. I want to be encouraging. Homeschooling is hard, and I think it is important for moms to be able to say that out-loud without feeling as if they are a failure. We don’t need one more checklist of perfection thrust upon us. So I try to make sure that I am real.
But I noticed some of the things that the moms were saying. Some of the things that they say to their kids when they are extra tired. I did not speak up during this time, but it has been burning in my brain since yesterday and what better place to put these thoughts than here?
What not to say to your kids on a rough day
– “If you were in school.”
First of all, they aren’t in school. If your kids have never been to school they aren’t going to have any idea what you are talking about. If they have been in school, they already know and harping on it isn’t going to change the level of tension or frustration you are feeling. We are homeschooling to get away from what happens at school, so why bring it up? We say this in desperation because we want them to realize how good they have it, but if we say this in frustration they aren’t feeling anything good about it. I know we mean well when we say it, but don’t. Walk away and grab a chocolate bar instead.
– “Maybe you should go to school.”
I have said this one. Never, ever say this one unless you really mean it. Your child may surprise you and say yes, I would like that. When we say this, we want our child to say “No, I love being homeschooled!” But when we say this, it isn’t because we are having a banner day. It is highly unlikely our child will say what we want to hear. They may not say anything at all, but they are feeling like you are giving up. Ask me how I know.
-“You are going to school.”
Same as the last. Only say this if you have been to the school and registered your kids. If you don’t mean it, it only becomes and idle threat. They know this. Your kids will figure out that you have lost control of the day and try to take advantage of you. Ask me how I know.
-“I hate (insert your least favorite subject)”.
There is nothing productive about this comment. I hate Geometry. I am also not a big fan history. My kids have heard me say this. All I have succeeded in doing is giving them a pass to hate it too. It doesn’t matter that they are pretty good at Geometry. I have established a precedent that it is OK in Mom’s book to hate it and complain about it as often as possible. I regret this one most of all. Say it to your friend, you husband, or your Twitter, but try very hard not to say it to the kids.
These are all things that I have said to my kids. They are sayings that have put little chips in our homeschool. Over the years I realized that they are not helpful. So now, I say them to my mom friends when the kids are not around. We all feel this way. It isn’t wrong to feel like this. In fact, I feel like this most days. Yet, here we are because deep in my gut I know that we can do better than the school. Homeschooling is hard. Let’s always support each other.