By Shari McMinn
Destressing Your Homeschool
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12–17 ESV)
Seven years ago this month, one of my homeschooled teen daughters with special needs joined her Savior Jesus in Heaven. She had made a series of dangerously poor choices. With little ability to discern, she trusted the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. She became a crime statistic just shy of her 19th birthday. Though she was a joyful beauty, fun-loving, and a creative genius, it was stressful raising her because of hidden disabilities that overshadowed her life from being abused, neglected, then adopted as a young child. Even more stressful was helping my other children navigate the death of their beloved sister.
God was gracious and saw me through. He saw our whole extended family and her loving friends through. However, I had to take some serious life-changing measures to destress my life. A widow of just three years, I was a single parent with a history of cardiac issues who needed to survive the coming years to finish homeschooling my three youngest children still at home. I would have to endure additional horrific stress during two years of court proceedings to bring my daughter’s murderers to justice. God showed me what to do, and I obediently followed His lead. Justice was served and we went on with our lives, heavily bruised but not broken.
Regardless of what is happening in your family, I suggest you consider these 10 essential destressors:
- Be thankful for everything, even when the worst happens.
- Breathe consciously and trust God with every breath.
- Do less physically; practice kindness and forgiveness more often.
- Dress comfortably and simply, putting on love and humility every day.
- Eat a balanced diet and allow for sleeping 9–12 hours/night.
- Laugh and sing wholeheartedly more than criticize harshly.
- Lower expectations of yourself and others.
- Pray frequently throughout the day for a harmonious home.
- Read God’s Word daily and put it into practice.
- Think before you speak to communicate graciously, simply, and wisely.
Nowhere on the above list is “schoolwork,” but it is all important lifelong learning for you and your family. I am here to testify that it helped me — even saved me from a heart attack — and I still practice all of it. Our enemy uses stress to side-track us from doing the will of our Father in Heaven. We must trust in Christ for our salvation alone (not works) and be filled with the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. This is the greatest school “work” you have to teach, and for your unique child to learn.
Are you looking forward to a less stressful summer? Vacationing with children who are unique learners, or families whose members need special accommodations, is often filled with pressure and anxiety. So, I hope you will check out the SPED Homeschool Family Camp, to be held August 21–28, 2023 in the beautiful woods of eastern Minnesota, and you will make plans to attend. Do yourself (and your family) a favor and de-stress your lives (and have some fun!) before the new school year begins in September. I plan to be there with one or more of my adult children to volunteer. (Can you say “epic family road trip”?) Have I mentioned that as of January 1, 2023, I am a member of SPED’s Board of Directors? It is quite an honor to help families like yours and mine on a nationwide basis!
As a wrap to this email, I hope you check out these helpful links:
- Watch this HSLDA podcast for parents of hearing impaired students.
- Read this SPEDHomeschool blog with 8 tips for homeschooling twice-exceptional (2E) students.
- Find lots of helpful resources at our CHEC.org webpage for Unique Learners.
My next blog, “Experiential Learning,” will post April 26, 2023 (the 4th Wednesday).
PS: If you have a topic I should write about, please email me with your suggestion(s). This blog is for you!
Shari McMinn, your trusted homeschooling friend