For much of April and May (perhaps even longer), I was struggling with burnout. I am tempted to say even mild depression, yet I didn’t ever consult a physician and I certainly do not want to minimize the struggle of those who do. I just was not myself.
I was not inspired to blog. I was barely teaching any formal lessons. So much of what I had enjoyed in the past – running, swimming, teaching, blogging – was lost to me. I couldn’t find the desire to do the things I desperately wanted to do. Rather than get up early as I generally would two years ago, I would sleep in and wake only when the sun’s rays shining through the blinds in my bedroom forced me out of bed. In comparison to my ‘old self‘, I was lazy.
To make matters worse, the kids and I just couldn’t see eye-to-eye. Sitting down to do lessons was a daily battle. I was not into it and they knew it. This further aggravated the situation.
My mom came down in mid-May to spend the week with us … to see #1s first play … to see the kids compete in a swim meet (#2’s first) … and to celebrate our birthdays. The kids and I were very excited to spend quality time with her. We planned a few outings and Grandma tagged along to some of our routine activities (Mandarin, swim team, & music lessons). Though it wasn’t planned, her presence turned out to be a major blessing. She stepped in a few times to reprimand #2 and made a few suggestions to me on how I might change my own approach.
After she returned home – I spent some time reevaluating things. I knew in my heart that homeschooling was the right choice for us. That was never in question. What I discovered though was that I was still approaching it as I would if I were in a formal classroom. I thought I needed to plan activities to engage them that would also demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter – lapbooks, interactive maps, elaborate projects, etc.
My kiddos were never very excited to do these and balked whenever I would ask them to do so. One day, I asked them to simply write out what they knew about the Revolutionary War (our current focus in history). I was amazed at how much they recalled … just from reading aloud Story of the World, watching Liberty’s Kids, and talking. It suddenly became clear to me that a lapbook (or other tangible) was not critical to their success. I discovered that we are much more “Unschoolers” than I anticipated.
I also came to realize that I missed blogging. I do not have many followers and for a while, I was bummed to see the accolades and recognition that some of the other homeschool bloggers were receiving. Pinterest didn’t help. I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others. Judging myself against all that others were doing. To be honest, I was jealous and I let this interfere with why I started blogging and homeschooling in the first place.
A homeschool blogger friend recently posted a link on Facebook to a blog post by another homeschool blogger, why blogging matters, and it really hit home. Blogging or writing helps me to process things. If I can write about it, I’ve learned it. If I can write about it, I can let it go. It is my creative outlet of expression. Writing also motivates me – knowing that what I am doing, even what I am struggling with may help someone else.
These past few days, I have been aggressively playing a little catchup. Composing blog posts to celebrate our successes and to share our adventures. It is a fun way to reflect and relive these moments. I am rediscovering me.