Summer is winding down.
A new school year is upon us.
You might be feeling a little nervous and a tad unsettled.
Or you might be full of excitement and possibility.
Also totally normal.
Perhaps your homeschooling supplies are neatly labeled. The crayons are still intact and markers haven’t yet lost their caps. A package of new math curriculum just arrived. The kids are signed up for a local art class.
You can just feel it in your bones; your kids are going to learn so much this year!
And they are.
But this doesn’t mean that the days will necessarily go as you’ve planned.
Your labeling system might not work like you’d hoped. The crayons will inevitably break and caps to the markers will go missing. The new math curriculum could end up being a dud. And that art class? Well turns out it might not be the best fit after all.
And while these scenarios aren’t exactly encouraging, I do have some good news.
This is completely normal.
This happens to all of us.
As homeschoolers, we all find ourselves knee deep in seasons of disappointment, overwhelm, frustration, and sometimes even regret.
And while there are plenty of things you can do to manage burnout and practice solid self-care, there is one other simple action you can take to help you through these not-so-fun homeschooling seasons.
So what is this simple action?
It’s Time to Write Yourself a Letter.
A letter about what, exactly?
Well, in a nutshell, a letter listing all of the reasons you made the decision to homeschool in the first place. A letter specifying all of the things you genuinely value and appreciate about homeschooling.
Now, I get that this might seem ridiculous to you. Contrived and completely unappealing.
What in the world could you possibly have to gain from spending time writing yourself a letter when you barely have time to make dinner!?!
I understand. I do.
But this one action has the power to lift you up when you’ve hit rock bottom. It has the ability to mentor and encourage you when you feel like giving up.
So pull out a piece of paper and a pen. Or grab your laptop and start typing.
It’s time to write yourself a letter.
Here are 8 questions I want you to address in your letter:
- How many years have you been homeschooling?
- When you think about homeschooling this year, what excites you the most?
- What excites your children the most?
- What is your “why” for homeschooling?
- What is ONE simple activity you do that brings you joy?
- What are THREE acts of daily self-care you currently engage in? (Examples: Drinking your morning coffee or tea, walking your dog, reading a book for pleasure, listening to music.)
- When you are feeling down, what is ONE thing you do that usually makes you feel a little bit better?
- Who is the person, or people you turn to for support?
Alright, now take a little extra time to add anything else that might be on your mind. If you’ve typed your letter, take the time to print it out.
Then fold your letter up and tuck it inside an envelope.
I want you to label the envelope, “Read when I’m feeling discouraged about homeschooling” and then tuck the letter away in a safe place. I keep my mine in the drawer of my nightstand.
When you find yourself discouraged or exhausted, ill-equipped or resentful, questioning why you ever thought it would be a good idea to homeschool in the first place, I want you to pull out your letter.
Take a deep breath. Open it up. Read the words you wrote way back when.
That woman who wrote down what she was excited about. That woman is you.
And when you identified your “why” for homeschooling, that “why” is your anchor. Your north star. The reason you decided to homeschool in the first place.
How about the ONE activity you identified that brings you joy? Have you done it recently? How about your THREE simple acts of daily self-care?
Chances are, you might be feeling a little down. Can you take some time to engage in doing ONE thing that usually makes you feel a little bit better?
And finally, it’s time to check in with your support person or people. The ones who encourage your homeschooling and who also want to see you at your happiest and healthiest.
I’ll bet that this letter you wrote is packed with hope, enthusiasm, and some practical solutions.
There is a lot of wisdom in that letter.
And considering that YOU are the one who wrote down all of that wisdom, well, my friend, that makes YOU one wise woman.
Now I get that I can’t force you to write a letter. And you may very well dismiss this as a dumb idea.
But this is something I’ve practiced repeatedly. And during some pretty discouraging times, it’s provided reminders of comfort, hope, and understanding.
Sometimes the best person to remind us of our deep wisdom and reserve of resources is ourselves.
So please consider this idea to write yourself a letter.
It might end up being just what you need to read when the going gets tough.