Homeschooling is not always easy. Homeschooling when you are depressed can be completely overwhelming. I’ve been receiving treatment for depression for over a year now and I still have an occasional bad day. I’m learning how to cope with homeschooling on the days when I just don’t feel like it and I have found a few things that work for me.
Be open with your children about your struggles.
Chances are your children already know something is up. Depression makes me angry and my kids knew something was wrong when I started yelling (a lot). Keep your talk age appropriate but let them know that some days mommy may not feel like playing or reading out loud or doing much of anything. Let them know that it isn’t their fault if mommy seems sad. Let them know that some days are just bad days but you are going to try your best to meet their needs.
Accept that bad days are going to happen and have a game plan for when they do.
I usually know from the minute that I open my eyes if it’s going to be one of those days and I take time to pray for strength just to get through the day. When I’m having a difficult day I encourage my kids to play games together, to play educational games online, or to watch Netflix documentaries. Some days we will watch a movie that fits whatever we are studying (last week we were studying France and we watched Ratatouille).
Ask for help.
If you have an understanding friend or family member close by, ask for help. Maybe someone can take your kids for awhile to give you a break. I’m thankful that my parents are close by and that my youngest daughter loves to spend the night with them. Even having one less child gives me a nice break and some peace and quiet once in awhile.
Get out of the house.
Field trips! Some days sitting in the house just makes me more depressed. A trip to the library, eating lunch out or just taking a walk to the park can do wonders for my mental state. When I’m having a particularly bad spell I plan a big field trip. It gives us something to look forward to and the girls’ excitement motivates me to get out of bed.
Focus on what you ARE doing and not what you ARE NOT doing.
A little bit of schoolwork is better than no schoolwork. When you’re having a difficult time try focusing on the subjects that you enjoy and that are easier for you to teach. Find a curriculum that is open and go–the less you have to plan the better. Try doing Unit Studies–they are shorter and you (and your kids) will feel a sense of accomplishment each time you finish one. I love the Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. They are easy to follow and easy on the pocketbook yet thorough enough that you feel your kids have really learned something.
If your depression is affecting your life and your family’s life please seek treatment. Depression is not something to be ashamed of. Trust me when I say that you are not alone. You deserve better. Your family deserves better.