I’m a Hot Mess Homeschooler. And if you’re reading this, you at least think you might be as well.
It’s not something I admit freely often – although I do have plenty of friends who feel they fit in the same category.
But we do often discuss how we don’t start school at 9, haven’t done a hands-on science project in months, and our library card went missing.
And then in the fall, like magic, we all have our planners ready, school room meticulously cleaned, curriculum planned, pencil boxes loaded and ready to go, etc.
Just for it to fall apart by August 15.
That is the cycle of the Hot Mess Homeschooler.
I’ve spent a lot of our homeschooling years making sure I’m keeping up with the Joneses. Not that we buy #AllTheThings
But I’ve worried about not doing enough, not teaching the right subjects, not covering the right topics…
And I’ve especially worried that our relaxed way of homeschooling is just too messy to be effective.
At one point I decided that no, being a Hot Mess Homeschooler is fine. Maybe even better than fine!
And here’s why.
You have plenty of time
You might not finish all of your lesson plans for the day.
Maybe you don’t even have lesson plans anymore because you planned 6 months ago and it fell apart instantly.
But it’s really okay because you have plenty of time. Even if your kid is in high school.
Even if you’ve been very relaxed in your schooling for years.
Motivated kids can learn very quickly and teaching your kids at home doesn’t take as long as public school.
So if you (or your kids) decide tomorrow that you want to do more, you have time.
I once read that you can teach a 6th grader all of elementary math in 2 weeks. It would be a strenuous 2 weeks, but not impossible.
Another time I overheard a high school language arts teacher claim that they could cover all of the grammar and mechanics in writing in 6 weeks.
It’s not that math and language arts in elementary school are useless…but if we don’t cover commas in grade 2, they’re not forever behind.
Kids learn all the time
You may think you’re not ‘doing school’ but kids are always learning.
They might not be learning everything you had planned – but that’s okay. As I said you have plenty of time.
You never know when and where a child is going to pick up a new skill or learn new information. My kids often pick up trivia from ads, out of all places.
Kids are observant and curious and they will learn whether you want them to or not.
Try taking moments in your day to watch what your kids are doing and recognize the skills they’re using.
My 3 worked recently worked together to use medium-sized boxes to build a life-size Minecraft scene. They were having a blast and I was thrilled they weren’t complaining about boredom.
But then I started watching closer. There were some obstacles to overcome like how to prevent the trees from toppling over. They had to work out how to position the boxes so the weight on one side wasn’t more than the other.
There was a discussion on if the boxes were the correct size. Apparently, the blocks in Minecraft would equal about 1 cubic meter. They measured the boxes, converted to metric, and decided the boxes were much smaller than a Minecraft block. Medium-sized boxes are about 18 inches in width, which is less than half a meter.
Plus, they were all working together as a group. There were many times when one needed to hold a box while another maneuvered something else around. Teamwork is a huge skill – and teamwork with siblings is not always easy.
We didn’t have metric conversions on our list of things to do. However, I’m betting their ‘lesson’ on the metric system was much more memorable than if I had sat them down to learn it.
The Joneses Aren’t Real
No matter what, this is always true.
The Joneses aren’t real.
So many people around us are trying to keep up with a figment of their imagination or a picture in their head of what they think everyone else actually is.
The Joneses are what we assume other people are managing to do while we while away our time.
But the people that you think are actually doing it all are probably thinking the same about you. They are trying to keep up with you.
The Joneses aren’t real. No one is doing it all. And appearances are deceiving.
Talk to the people around you about reality and how they homeschool. I bet you find most people aren’t “on it” every single day. Or that their kids often refuse to do their work or would prefer to draw all day rather than read history.
I don’t think most people are intentionally trying to deceive others into thinking they’re perfect and have it all together.
I think our society makes us afraid to be real and to be honest about what we do and don’t do.
The Joneses don’t exist and stop trying to keep up with them.
Are you actually a hot mess?
Here’s the real thing – You’re probably not even a hot mess.
Things may feel chaotic in your house. You might wish you could stick to your plan better.
Maybe you wish your kids were more willing to stick the plan better.
But are you really a hot mess?
I bet your kids are learning everything they need. And your house might not be spotless but it’s not as disgusting as you think.
Cut yourself some slack. You’re not a hot mess, you’re a human.
A human who is doing an amazing job.
So what do we do?
I hate leaving posts like this without something helpful to go on.
But I also think there is nothing wrong with being a Hot Mess Homeschooler. There’s nothing to fix.
So if you’re like me and you’re happy where you are – don’t change! Keep being you and know you’re doing the best for your kids.
But perhaps you’re not satisfied with being a Hot Mess Homeschooler – and that’s okay, too. In fact, it’s great to want to better yourself.
Think about what you want to change and get it done. It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other and not stepping.
Choose something to change right now (and keep it simple).
Maybe you want a cleaner homeschool space. Start today (or tomorrow if it’s late) and spend 10 minutes cleaning it up.
Then spend 10 minutes the next day and the next. Make this 10 minutes a habit.
Don’t try to fix anything else until this one becomes a habit. Just stick with it until you realize you have a clean schoolroom.
This system isn’t the fast and easy way out. It’s the long and hard way. But it’s also the way that works. There are no shortcuts to creating new habits.