In fact, I suffered an episode, just this week.
Yep, that's right - I had a homeschool breakdown. Me, the person who ends all of her blog posts with a cheery, and optimistic, "It's great to be a homeschooler!" Me, veteran homeschool mother of nine years. Me, the child loving mother, who adores spending days on end with her children.
For those of you new to homeschooling, or outside the homeschooling world, let me explain. A homeschool breakdown is usually marked by periods of extreme self-doubt, discouragement, depression, and frustration. It is often accompanied by short bursts of crying, yelling, or mass ordering of new text books. The symptoms are usually short in duration, but can occur without warning, which can be quite frightening, or disorientating to the uninitiated.
In my case, this week, it involved the immediate ordering, and administering of the 1970's version of the California Achievement Test, from Christian Liberty Press, for my oldest four children. I chose Christian Liberty Press, because they not only allow you to take the tests online, they email you, as soon as the tests are complete, with the results.
It also involved a good deal of whining, lecturing, and threatening on my part, but the Man of the House suggests I not go into that, for fear of setting off a similar, but separate set of panic attacks in our parents. Suffice it to say, I'm better now :)
For those of you currently suffering from UPD, or any of its sister disorders CHPD (Classical Homeschool Panic Disorder), EHPD (Eclectic Homeschool Panic Disorder), or the more general HPD ( Homeschool Panic Disorder), first and foremost, in the words of Douglas Adams, "Don't Panic!" It will pass. Barring any real problem (which is rare), feelings of self-doubt, and discouragement will diminish over time. Knowing that:
- Do not rush down to your local school registration office, to sign your children up for next week's classes.
- Do not make calls to the doctor to verify your children's immunization records are up to date. This is not a bad thing to do on a normal day, just not when you're in a state of panic.
- Do not call your mother, to unload all of your worries, concerns, and fears - unless you want your self-doubt confirmed, by well meaning, pro-school suggestions (except in the case of second generation homeschoolers - then dial away).
- Do not order a completely new curriculum, or sign up for online classes. Again, these might be alright things to do, but not in a state of panic. If you must have a set of all new books, to make you feel momentarily reassured, that things will be okay - visit your library catalog.
- Do not declare a one month holiday from school, because you just can't face another day. If you are already feeling behind, doing absolutely nothing, will not help you to feel more on top things.
- Do give yourself time to breath, and think. Take an evening out, take a bubble bath, take a nap!
- For Christians - spend time in prayer, and reboot through the Word.
- For non-Christians - click over to Billy Graham's Five Steps to Peace, follow the steps, then return here, and follow the advice in the point above.
- Honestly look at what you've accomplished with your children for the year.
- Lift your head, and look around for external forces which might have brought your condition on. Did you just hear a glowing report from your best friend, about her children's report cards? Did Johnny, next door, receive a "young genius" award for his work in his school's robotics program? Did you catch sight of your child's Sunday School paper, or letter to a friend, and realize every other word was misspelled? Or, have you been cooped up all winter in the house, and spring fever is setting in? Then, deal with those forces appropriately.
- Leave a comment on almost any homeschool bulletin board. You will receive overwhelming assurance what you're going through is perfectly normal, and most likely, not grounded in any type of reality whatsoever.
It's great to be a homeschooler!