I used to be a classroom teacher. I now teach professional educators seeking their Master's degree in Special Education. I know how to teach, right? Well, yes and no.
When I first started homeschooling, I set things up like I always had except for one thing: chairs. I don't know what I was thinking. I had a scheduled day with plans for when we would do each subject, how long we would do it, and all of my lesson plans ready to go. The one area I gave some flexibility to was chairs. My kids picked out these big, comfy cushioned chairs to use.
Within a few days, the schedule was gone, the chairs were on their way out, and my plans were thrown out the window. I'd learned two things very quickly. First, what works in a traditional classroom doesn't work at home. Second, what works with kids with learning challenges in public schools doesn't work with kids with mental health issues.
I knew almost right away that I had to make changes. I had to lighten up. But I had no idea how to do that. A good friend told me to go with the flow a bit more, to not let the structure overtake the learning. That made sense, but I still didn't know how to do it.
Eventually, I figured it out. I just had to suck it up and lighten up. It wasn't about a new strategy or a new curriculum. It wasn't about a new schedule or a new routine. I just had to lighten up. Now, my kids will tell you that I still need to lighten up more. My husband would probably say the same. And they're probably right. But one thing is for certain, our homeschool got much better when I learned to lighten up. When I sucked it up and realized that I didn't have to do things like a public school, I didn't have to teach or schedule like in a public school, and that I could give my children choices and boundaries at the same time.