Homeschooling through Bad Mom Syndrome

The education of our children is the most important part of our homeschool. Yes, we are Christians, but that is more of a heart matter, not an education matter so I’m not going to write about that part of it so much. I learned something recently that I wanted to share with you all. Right now I am spending a lot of time reading Charlotte Mason’s life’s work, again. Only this time I am studying for personal growth, rather than to learn about a method. What an amazing theory, that a child will understand and love to learn about the world around them. What a beautiful thing to see a child seek out knowledge because they are so hungry and thirsty for it, but I can’t give it to them fast enough. It’s great, and I am so happy that we have found this groove within our home. I have learned that although wonderful, bad mom syndrome has stolen so many of those moments from me. Bad mom syndrome happens when crisis arises, when middle of the year or end of the year burn-out occurs, or when someone’s kid graduates homeschool at 13.

In the beginning I found it very difficult to stop comparing myself to others. In the beginning I found it very hard to read all the books that I felt we needed to be reading, especially with 2 toddlers at the time. In the beginning I tried to be “super-mom” because I had something to prove. With no teaching degree how could I possibly educate my children properly? So I dove head into the Charlotte Mason was of homeschooling without ever cutting myself some slack. The thing is, no day ever goes perfectly so I always felt like a failure. There have been days, sometimes weeks when I have had to resort to workbooks for most subjects just so the kids wouldn’t lose ground while I faced depression. And it’s okay.

A few years ago we used a curriculum called Sonlight, it is a Charlotte Mason literature based curriculum. We used it for 2 years. I credit that curriculum with giving my children a love for learning. We read for the bulk of our school day. At times I thought maybe it wasn’t enough, but I am learning now that if there is only one thing I can do a day with my children, it should be read. Reading to them teaches them reading, writing, logic, and a lot of times science and history depending on the books read. Narration and copywork from that reading teaches them spelling and vocabulary. Just like you can tell where a person came from by their accent and the language they speak, you can tell what a child’s been reading by the vocabulary they speak in everyday life. The Charlotte Mason philosophy is that children learn to read and write by reading good books and then copying great works of literature. That’s called copywork and it’s used in place of workbooks. There’s a little more to it, but that’s the nuts and bolts of it.

So what does that have to do with bad mom syndrome? When the foundation of my children’s education has been in quality living books and habits were formed by learning in a way good for my family, they will stick with the children during workbook weeks. I’ve come downstairs and delighted in my kids laying on the living room floor with books pulled off the shelves and sprawled all over while they look up a species or a time period that excites them. This is the cure for bad mom syndrome. 

Every homeschooling family has a strong belief or conviction in something. All of my friends and acquaintances that have laid down their lives in this area have one thing in common… they are doing an amazing job and they all have doubts sometimes. I met with a friend yesterday who is a teacher. She said that a classroom teacher will have the same feelings. We don’t want our kids to have gaps due to our failure to teach them how to learn. If you are just starting out or if you are a seasoned homeschooling family, there is one thing all educators agree on. Reading aloud to them is one of the single most important things you can do for your children. The books read are a matter of personal taste as they range from twaddle to the classics, like Oliver Twist(the unabridged version). If you read from the higher end of the quality ladder you knock out having to deal with other problems later, but any book is better than no book. And if a child chooses reading, that’s just beautiful in itself. 

So, don’t be surprised homeschooling mom when you begin to feel like a failure and burn out. There has to be a fire burning in order to burn out – I got that one from C Levison: A Charlotte Mason Education. If you are giving you child an education there will be times when it won’t look like what you intended for it to look like. Remember during the good times that you are laying the foundation. And during the times when you are burned out, facing crisis, or any other reason you feel like a bad mom, you will be able to count on that foundation to carry you through.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Love,

Jackie

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