Are your kids driving you crazy? Is the stress of dealing with multiple children and homeschooling getting to you? I understand what you are going through. But don’t give up quite yet. Let me share some thoughts and ideas that might help you keep going or help you reframe your thoughts.
When Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy, You are not alone!
I just want you to know that you are not alone if your kids are driving you crazy. It happens to all of us. There are certainly different levels of crazy – I’m sure you know what I mean.
There is the “ridiculous” crazy, the crazy when your kids are fidgety, not paying attention, bothering each other, silly, unfocused. And yes, that will drive anyone crazy. Fortunately, this type of crazy is short-lived, temporary.
And then there is the crazy that is on a deeper level, the crazy when we want just to run away and hide. Or give up on the entire homeschooling idea. This level of crazy is the “crazy” that brings us to tears, the crazy that we are afraid to admit to anyone else because it makes us look like failures. So, we pretend. We put on a brave face and hide what’s in our hearts and thoughts. And continue to feel miserable.
You are not alone; you are not the only one to ever face this! I want to encourage you and help you see that you can get through this. To help you see that there is hope. So, let’s look at why you might be facing these issues and what you can do about it.
Figure Out the Problem – Why Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy
Before you can find solutions to any issue, you need to find out the cause of the problem. Without seeing the source of the problem, all the answers you try will be like putting a bandage on a deep cut requiring multiple stitches – it just won’t be effective. So, what are some possible reasons why your kids are driving you crazy? Here are a few reasons:
Everyone is sick of winter, bad weather, gray days, and staying cooped up inside.
I don’t know about you, but multiple gray days in a row really start to bother me. Constant “gray” affects my mood and my outlook on life. And that could be the case with you and your children as well. Dreary days, the same old routine, never getting out to do anything “interesting” can affect our attitudes. And bad moods or bad attitudes are reflected in behavior and speech.
Too much pressure to achieve or excel can show up as behavior issues.
Sure, we all want our kids to excel in school, in life, in everything. But remember, all kids are not the same. Kids learn in different ways and at different speeds. Isn’t that one of the reasons we chose homeschooling in the first place, to let our children learn and grow at the pace that works best for them? Yes, we need to push them to work hard and do their best. But if we try to force them too much beyond their abilities, it will just frustrate them. And that frustration can turn into anger and resentment. Parenting is a balancing act. Add homeschooling to the mix, and sometimes it becomes a high-wire balancing act – with no instruction manual or practice runs!
Comparing ourselves or our kids to others is a treacherous practice.
Don’t fall into the comparison trap! Oh, I know it is so easy to look at others and see their successes and then compare that to ourselves. And what happens then? We feel like we are failing; we look at our kids and think they are not reaching their potential. STOP! You are not that person on Pinterest! Your kids are not the “perfect homeschool kids! You are unique; your family situation is different; your kids are themselves. Stop with the comparisons to others. Compare your kids to themselves. Have they made progress in anything? Are they doing better academically than they were a year ago? Are they becoming better people? Look for the positives. What about you? Have you grown as a person, a mom, an educator? You can look at others to get ideas, to gain knowledge and understanding about things, but not for comparisons!
Is a bad attitude affecting your relationship with your children?
It is far easier and way more comfortable to look at others to find problems than to look at ourselves. But we need to look to ourselves first. Are the problems with your kids and homeschooling because of your attitude? It’s not hard to become bitter and resentful about staying home with your kids all day every day, doing the same routine, working so hard for no visible rewards. Day after day, month after month, year after year, child after child. Did someone tell you this homeschooling thing was easy, that you would have fun being with your child every day, and that you would love every minute of it? If so, that person was not being completely honest with you!
There are always days that feel unrewarding, times you want to give up and quit. We look at people around us having fun, meeting friends for lunch or coffee, going shopping, and here we sit giving spelling tests, grading papers, cleaning up art projects. It’s easy to become resentful, even bitter. So, maybe our problems with our kids aren’t their fault. Perhaps our attitudes are to blame. Perhaps it’s time to clean up our own act.
Bad attitudes or discipline issues in our kids can drive us crazy!
Constantly dealing with bad attitudes in our kids can drive us crazy. I have found that those bad attitudes are contagious. They will spread from one person to another until everyone is affected. Allowing bad attitudes to continue will cause problems in your entire family. And in your homeschooling. You will become frustrated, feel like nothing is getting accomplished, that you are all just wasting your time and energy. Not only that, but bad attitudes will lead to behavior issues! So, we need to address bad attitudes promptly.
When your kids are driving you crazy, could it be the curriculum you are using?
If your kids are bored with what they are doing in school, they may react by driving you crazy. If you haven’t figured this out yet, kids do not like to be bored. I am not saying they need entertainment all the time or that your homeschooling needs to be like their favorite show. But it is hard to keep their focus or attention when they are bored all the time. School stuff is not always fun and exciting – I get that! And, it’s easy to get in a rut when it comes to teaching anything. So, maybe we need to find ways to “mix it up” a bit, add something more interesting, or present the material occasionally in a different way.
On the other hand, maybe they aren’t bored with their schoolwork; perhaps they feel as though they are way over their heads, totally lost. Ask! Frustrated kids will drive you crazy. Always try to understand the problem before reacting. I guarantee this is a better option!
Sometimes, just the chaos and mess of homeschooling is enough to drive everyone crazy!
Homeschooling can be chaotic; in fact, it feels like it often is. Trying to teach algebra to one kid, writing processes to another, and keep the toddler from destroying everything, all at the same time, is an accurate definition of chaos. I know, I’ve been there. Throw in a couple of clowns and sibling arguments, and it’s enough to drive anyone crazy.
And, in case you hadn’t noticed, homeschooling is often messy. If you are fortunate enough to have a separate room (with a door that closes) for homeschooling – way to go! If not, then you are dealing with homeschooling stuff everywhere. Piles of papers to grade, incomplete projects, books everywhere – you know what I mean. Chaos and mess often lead to crazy.
Of course, these are not all the reasons your kids could be driving you crazy, but I think these are some of the primary issues. So, what to do about them? Keep reading.
What Can You Do When Your Kids Are Driving You Crazy?
Solutions. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there were simple, easy, immediate solutions for all of life’s problems? Or even just for all of your homeschooling problems? Well, since that idea lives in the same fantasy world as my dreams of a magazine-worthy home, I will not make any promises or guarantees. But I will suggest what you can do when your kids are driving you crazy. Something might work, at least enough for a brief reprieve to develop a better, more permanent plan.
When your kids are driving you crazy, take a break.
Sometimes taking a break helps everyone and everything. Before everyone goes completely crazy, before you do or say something you might regret, before things get out of hand, just stop. Take a break. Do something different and completely unexpected. Can you imagine what your kids will say if, in the middle of the school day, you tell them just to stop whatever they are doing, pack it all up, put it all away, and do something completely different? What can you do on this break? Here are some ideas:
- Go to the library.
- Play some games.
- Go for a nature walk.
- Go to the park.
- Send everyone for a nap.
- Assign everyone quiet time or alone time.
- Read books.
You get the idea – just take a break! Your break can be for a couple of hours, all day, even a week, if that’s what you need.
Clean and Organize
If your kids are driving you crazy and you think it’s because of mess and chaos, then take some time to clean/sort/reorganize. It’s surprising how much better we feel about life when our space is in order. We all have different tolerance levels for disorder and disorganization, but most of us function better and feel better when our place is clean. And that goes for our kids as well. So, bring some order to your physical space.
But, what about our “mental space” and our “planning space?” It’s a good idea to get those in order as well. And that is hard to do when you are surrounded by kids all day long! Being a mom is hard work. Being a homeschooling mom is even more challenging. Find a way to organize your thoughts and planning. You will benefit from this, I promise!
Deal with attitude or behavioral issues promptly.
Although dealing with these issues does not qualify as fun, it is necessary to handle this promptly! Attitude and behavior issues affect your child’s character. Instilling good character and the right attitudes will benefit your child for life! So, address these issues right away.
Mix up or add to your curriculum.
Make schoolwork more interesting by introducing something out of the ordinary. Throw in some brain teasers for your kids. Introduce a “gaming” element to your school day. Add a silly video to make a point or reinforce something they are learning. Assign one of your kids to teach the history lesson for the next day.
Mix up your day.
Try reverse order for a school day. If you always do math and science last, try doing it first for a day. Serve dinner for breakfast, start a meal with dessert. Do school in pajamas. Whatever! Do something that they don’t expect and mix up the routine!
Throw in some surprises during your school day.
Do something unexpected! Make them laugh and giggle. Have an indoor snowball fight. (Not with real snow!) Throw in a nerf gun battle. Have a picnic lunch. Read a silly story together. Surprise them!
Reassess or readjust if necessary.
If you see that some element of your homeschooling isn’t working, re-evaluate. What can you change to make it work better? Do you need to move a couple of kids away from each other so they can both focus better? Is a particular book just not working for a child? Find something that will work better. No law requires you to finish a textbook before looking for something else. Don’t continue to frustrate yourself or your kids with something that isn’t working. Be flexible and find materials that will work better for you.
If your kids are driving you crazy, try doing school in a different setting.
Take your schoolwork outside. Or, take it to the park. Sure, there may be distractions, but kids find distractions everywhere, don’t they? Move your schooling to a different room in the house for a day. Do school at the library. Play “musical chairs” as they work: finish a subject and move to a different seat. Do school on the floor. Try a different setting for the school day and see what happens!
Everyone has times when their kids are driving them crazy; it’s not just you! Don’t get trapped into the idea that you just can’t do this homeschooling thing, that you just aren’t good enough. None of us have this thing perfected. I’ve always thought it would be great if not only did kids come with instruction manuals, but if the kids read them as well, so they knew what they were supposed to do. Too bad life doesn’t work like that. But, with some effort, understanding, creative thinking, flexibility, and adaptability, you can get past these challenges.
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