As I am heading in to a brand new school year, I am sitting down to think about our goals and priorities for the upcoming year. Part of creating goals and a vision for my homeschool that will work, is to look back at past years and assess where things went well, and where they did not. This means facing down my biggest homeschooling regret.
Looking Back With Rose-Coloured Glasses
It’s easy to look back at years gone by and only see the good. The joyful, lazy happy days where we learn and live and laugh and all is well.
However, if we only ever say “it’s ALL GOOD, you did NOTHING wrong, everything is a learning experience”, we are not doing ourselves any favours. We definitely don’t need a reason to beat ourselves up anymore than we already do, amirite? But, it’s healthy to look back and see a mistake you have made. That’s how we grow, and do better.
Sometimes we do have to look at the bad decisions we’ve made in the past, and face our regrets. Once we can see our mistakes, face them down, look at them closely – we can dial in to our values. We can use those regrets in a way that is productive and moves us forward, intentionally, towards the homeschool we want.
My Biggest Homeschooling Regret
When we started homeschooling, our days were full of joy. I mean, not every day was easy or smooth, but they were joyful. We appreciated this new pace of life. We were grateful for the ability to go out in the world and do whatever we wanted to do that day. We did some school work, we did some homeschool group activities, and we were loving it.
Looking back, my homeschool felt sunny. Warm. Relaxed.
Somewhere along the way, I got it into my head that I needed to prepare for their future choices. One of my homeschool values, from the beginning and right through today, is that my kids will leave my homeschool prepared. Whatever their next step will be after my homeschool, I want them to be prepared.
While this is GOOD advice, I let it derail me. I let it turn me into a fun-sucking worry monster. I started to fret a lot more, and worry a lot more. I started to parent and homeschool from a place of fear and anxiety. I already homeschool while living with anxiety disorder, so it can be very easy for me to let my own fears take hold.
My biggest homeschooling regret is that I spent so much time worrying about their futures, I forgot to make today joyful.
I stopped showing them how great this life is, and how much fun we can have together RIGHT NOW.
I put my anxieties on to my children. In turn, they became anxious about school. They became so serious and started to forget how amazingly blessed we are to have this life together.
Homeschooling Regrets Don’t Mean Failure
Okay, so this is the important part: having a homeschooling regret does not mean you failed. It does not mean you shouldn’t do this homeschool thing. It does not mean your children are scarred for life for whatever it is you regret doing.
Owning our mistakes, facing our homeschooling regret, seeing the bad as well as the good? Those things are a healthy part of assessing your homeschool. Planning for today and every day after, means we have to see our homeschool clearly and honestly.
Use Your Homeschooling Regret to Create a Better Present
It is very easy for me to get stuck in the regret phase, the worry phase, the “oh my goodness, I’ve totally ruined my children” phase. We, home educating parents, are very good at beating ourselves up when we don’t meet some expectations we think we ought to meet.
If you find yourself sitting in that space, regretting choices you’ve made or not made – it’s okay. Just don’t hang out there for very long. Dig in deep, take a big breath, say “I see what I did and why I did it at that time”.
Then make a plan to change that habit, or choice, or whatever it is that you’re regretting.
For me, this particular regret helped me dial right in to a couple of my personal homeschool values that I had stopped honouring. I value academic goals and preparedness. I also value my children living a comfortable, peaceful, and joyful life while at home. I have to make these two things work, because they are equally important.
The changes for me going forward will look like this:
- I will use present terms when talking about our homeschool. Not “if you want to go to x university, you need to do a, b, and c at the high school level, which means we need to study this and that RIGHT NOW to get you there”. Instead, “we are learning these things now, we will go enjoy these opportunities now, today I am so grateful to be home with the both of you”.
- I will make room for the joy in the present. I will say yes to the things that will make us happy right now without worry for the future.
- I will speak goodness, and gratefulness, onto my children.
- I will speak kindness onto myself and onto my homeschool.
- I will lighten.the.heck.up! Laugh more, worry less. Hug my kids, smile at them, make sure they are good before we launch into our school days. It’s shocking to me how little of this I have been doing lately.
None of these changes are curriculum-based, or focused on a particular style of education. These are reminders to myself of what is truly important, as a parent and a home educator. I will not beat myself up for things already done. I will move into today and every day forward, with intention and clarity.
Do you have something you regret or wish you’d done differently? How are you using that to reshape your homeschool in the present? Share down below, or reach out to me via social media or email.