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Mom or Teacher? How Do You Separate When Homeschooling?

by David Engle | Jul 07, 2020 | 3 min read

A mother wears so many hats and holds so many different jobs. Caretaker. Provider. Encourager. Therapist. Chef. Chauffeur. Supporter. Doctor. And if you’re homeschooling your child, you can add one more job to your resume–teacher.

If you haven’t homeschooled before, you’ll soon find out that the role of teacher is not an easy one or one to take lightly. It demands a great deal of your time and energy, and it will test your patience. That said, it might be the most rewarding job you’ll ever have, knowing you’re responsible for your child’s education–that you’re the one teaching your student the lessons and skills they’ll need in life.

But how do you separate your “mom responsibilities” from your “teacher responsibilities”? Or your “mom life” from your “teacher life”?

I’m not a mom (shocking, right?), so I can’t pretend to know or understand all of the responsibilities that a mother deals with on a daily basis. But I am a dad, which is kinda close, right? Sort of? Either way, I do know this–you’re a mom first and foremost, just like I’m a dad first and foremost. And while teaching your child is a huge responsibility, being a parent takes precedence. School can wait a day if necessary…life doesn’t and won’t.

With that established, here are a few ways to separate being Mom from being…Ms. Mom.

  • Be patient. As a parent, you probably have certain expectations of your child and what he or she is capable of learning. If they’re not learning as quickly or easily as you think they should, that’s going to cause a lot of angst and frustration for you, which is easily noticed by your child. Forget all preconceived notions and remember–your child is learning this stuff for the first time, and he or she may not take to it as effortlessly as you think they should. And that’s ok. That’s what you’re there for–to teach the information in a way that you know your child best absorbs it. And if that takes a little longer than you planned, just roll with it. The end game here is for your child to learn–not for your child to learn in a designated amount of time. Keep calm and stay positive.
  • Stay focused on the task at hand. Before you begin the homeschool adventure, you may need to have a family discussion and lay down some ground rules in order to level-set expectations. During the school portion of the day, teaching is your focus. Obviously, you can work breaks into the day as often as you’d like. But your spouse or partner needs to hold up their end of the bargain as well. It’s unrealistic and unfair to expect you to teach throughout the day and then take on all of your mom duties afterward. The whole family needs to pick up the slack by helping out around the house so you’re able to focus on school.
  • Give yourself a break. By allowing yourself some “vacation days” or even breaks throughout the day, you’ll still have time to catch up on some of your mom tasks or–gasp!–maybe even a hobby or rest! If your spouse or partner is particularly skilled in a certain subject or two, say “here you go!” and share the teaching responsibilities. Schedule a handful of field trip days, where you and your child get a break from the classroom while still learning in a different and entertaining way. Take a spontaneous day off here and there to recharge your batteries and enjoy a fun activity. Regardless of how you do it, it’s important to stay refreshed. Remember, homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.

Mom and homeschool teacher are both priceless jobs. And while it’s ideal to separate them during the school day, it’s ok if the lines blur a little bit. After all, you’re a parent 100% of the time and a teacher for just a fraction of that.

How do you separate your parental role from your teacher role? Share in the comments.

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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