It’s Ok to Panic; The journey to homeschooling is doableFor those of you who have made the decision to homeschool, wait for it: 3, 2, 1… PANIC! Yes, it’s very real and almost everyone that I know experienced it. It’s normal. The first step to alleviate the stress is to figure out why you’re panicking. Are you concerned about being with your kids ALL THE TIME? Is it the burden of having the sole responsibility for educating your child? How about the length of the commitment? 8th grade? 12th grade? What if you don’t like it?B R E A T H E B R E A T H E BreatheLet’s tackle each of these concerns independently and logically.Time – At the beginning of this chapter in my life, I felt overwhelmed about being “on” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until I realized that didn’t have to be my reality. I have several other interests that I didn’t want to sacrifice just because I wanted to homeschool. In addition to volunteering in multiple organizations, I wanted to be able to exercise, spend time with friends, have date nights, and have time alone. What happens when I’m sick? One day I realized that my husband has sick days. If I needed him to, he could take a day so I could recuperate. Oddly enough, once I figured out that I could take sick days, I rarely needed them, but knowing that they are there provides a safety net. Find a homeschool buddy with similar parenting philosophies that you can depend on and help each other.Spend early years focused on discipline! Start with little increments of sitting quietly at home so when it needs to be done in a doctor’s office, at a store, or church, it’s not a foreign concept. You can play quiet games, practice sign language, adding numbers, drawing letters or writing words on their back with your fingertip, or bringing a sketchbook EVERYWHERE. Toy cars with sound effects, snacks, or electronic devices aren’t always an option. Having a wide range of quiet activities can make life a lot easier.Swap time with other families. With a rotation of 3 other families, you can have a weekly day to yourself. Set clear boundaries, time limits, and group expectations to ensure that everyone’s needs are being met. Once your kids are old enough, you can have "office hours." Mom is off duty at 9 pm, unless there is an emergency. Don’t feel guilty about spending time out of the house. Pick an evening or two a week to leave. Meet up with friends, volunteer, sleep, read…pick an activity that recharges your battery. Self-care is important for your entire family. Remember, education is about more than academics! You are teaching your children how to treat you, and how to value you and your time. Let them know that everyone deserves time to recharge, so they don’t feel guilty about those needs as adults.Education – You don’t have to do it all yourself. There are a multitude of programs to choose from to accommodate almost every desire: Online, onsite, hybrid, drop off, tutor-based, teacher based… If you want to teach your children, pick a curriculum and teach them. If you want someone else to teach them, find a program that does the teaching and grading for you. If you want a mix, look for a hybrid program. If a program isn’t working, switch. You don’t have to continue doing something that isn’t working for you. That’s the beauty and flexibility of homeschooling. Keep in mind that you have to give it time to determine if it’s a good fit. However, if after an earnest try it’s not working, find something that does. There is no panacea. With everything, there are pros and cons, so you have to determine what you can and will accept and what you won’t and respond accordingly.Duration – Some families plan to homeschool through high school from the onset, while others take it year by year. There’s nothing wrong with either approach. If dedicating the next 15-25 years of your life to homeschooling causes heart palpitations, reassess on an annual basis. Keep in mind that if you intend to put your kids back in school at some point, that should influence the homeschool philosophy and curriculum you use to make the transition as easy as possible.If you find that you really don’t enjoy homeschooling, try to determine why. If I tried squeezing my size 7 ½ foot into the cutest pair of size 5’s, I wouldn’t like it either. Sometimes we try what our friends are doing because it's working for them. Consider the stage you are in. Are there infants, toddlers, teens, aging parents, spiritual fulfillment, physical or mental illness issues? All of these play a huge role in our level of satisfaction with life, and in decisions like whether to homeschool or how to homeschool in any given year. Let your friends do what works best for them, and you do what works best for you and your family.Hopefully, you feel better about your decision. It doesn’t mean you won’t panic again, it’s quite normal for stress to recur during different stages of homeschooling, but those are times to step back and reassess and look at the big picture. Remember that a positive attitude goes a long way. If you think you can’t, you can’t. If you think you can, you can.Enjoy the journey! by Ty Salvant.December 4, 2017.If you liked this blog, check out Ty's post, How the Homeschooling Journey Begins.