If you are a homeschooling parent, you know that homeschooling can be… well, emotional. I recently read about “The Emotional Cycle of Change” by psychologists Don Kelly and Daryl Connor, and the parallels to the emotional cycle of homeschooling were so amazing I had to share. So if you are a parent considering homeschooling or a parent already homeschooling, this is for you.
Kelley and Connor’s emotional cycle of change has 5 phases that I will parallel with the emotional cycle of homeschooling.
Phase 1: Uniformed Optimism – “Homeschooling is Going to Be Great”
This is the stage when you decide to homeschool. You don’t know what homeschooling is all about, but you can imagine all of the benefits you’re going to experience. More freedom, more learning, more field trips, more time with the family…. You can fill in the dots with what you imagined homeschooling to be. You haven’t done it yet, but you are optimistic!
Phase 2: Informed Pessimism – “So THIS is Homeschooling”
So you started homeschooling… or maybe you started researching about homeschooling, and then the reality of it all is finally hitting you. You start thinking, “So THIS is homeschooling!” Your amazing lesson plan is not going so amazing. The house is a mess. It appears the kids are not learning and you start to question if homeschooling is really worth all the effort! Maybe it would be better to just put them on the next school bus that rolls by, but it’s not so bad… yet.
Phase 3: Valley of Despair – “I Think I Can, I Think I Can’t”
As you continue to experience the throws of homeschooling, your pessimism starts to sink in deeper. You and your family are experiencing the emotions of change. It is unfamiliar. It is hard. Do you give up and send your kids back to school or do you push through? This is when having a strong vision is crucial. You might have heard other homeschoolers ask, “What is your vision for your homeschool?” You might have glossed over that step in the myriad of research that you did on homeschooling, but now, this is when the vision is important. Having a strong vision keeps you moving through the valley, knowing that there is a mountain on the other side.
My vision is to “Create 21st-century Christian leaders who will stand for right though the heavens fall”. I want to create children with an “Excellent spirit.” This vision helps me to evaluate the curriculum I choose, and on days that I don’t feel like pushing, I think of WHY I need to push. I push for my kids, I push for their future. This is also when I reach out for help and encouragement from fellow homeschoolers. We have all been in the valley of despair. The key is to not stay there or quit.
Phase 4: Informed Optimism – “I Can Do This”
Refueled with encouragement and the knowledge that it does get better, you press through. You start seeing your kids learning and all your hard work is finally bearing fruit. You CAN do this!
Phase 5: Success and Fulfillment – “Yes”
Then finally, you feel success and fulfillment. You’ve got your homeschool routine together and things that were once difficult and uncomfortable are now routine. Every day is not perfect, but you learn to celebrate the victories in your homeschool and you stop comparing it to others.
So there you have it!
Now that you know about the emotional cycle of homeschooling, I hope that you feel more prepared to continue and not let your emotions take you off track. The emotions you feel right now in your homeschool are normal. Homeschooling is hard but so rewarding. So now you know and as GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle!” Go forth and Homeschool to Success!