What’s for breakfast?
What's for lunch?
What should I wear today?
Where is my shampoo?
Where are my shoes?
What should we do today?
Can you add this to the grocery list?
Do you want to sign up for Dance Team Mom?
What are we getting the kids for Christmas?
What's for dinner?
Decision fatigue is a real thing. When you consider that we moms get the above questions 100 times per day, there’s no debate that our brains are tapped out, and we just cannot make another decision. As they say, "I literally can’t even."
What is decision fatigue?
It’s that feeling when the waiter at a restaurant asks us if we would like more water, and we freeze because we have no idea. I’m going to venture a guess that you probably have this because you’re probably a mom and you probably homeschool.
With all that is in us, we cannot answer a simple yes or no questions. Our brain is stressed out. If anyone asks us to make one more decision, we are may actually curl into a ball and hide in the closet.
Why decision fatigue leads to bad curriculum choices
Our homeschool days are affected by the decisions we make. Unfortunately when we are overwhelmed, we make hasty decisions that are often end up being poor ones.
When we choose a curriculum, there is so much to think about:
what style or approach does it take
how time consuming will it be to complete each day
how much prep time does it require
how much does it cost
what other people will think about it
If you have multiple kids, take all those decisions and multiply them times the number of kids you have. So we throw in the towel and use all the same tired curriculum that we’ve always used even if it’s not working for our children because changing just seems too overwhelming.
We sometimes make an impetuous decision, seeing a curriculum with a pretty cover and not even realize what we’ve just bought. Please tell me I’m not the only one that’s gotten a box of curriculum that I didn’t even really remember ordering! I just knew we needed spelling books so I clicked one.
How to avoid bad curriculum choices
It’s true there are just so many choices when it come to the curriculum out there, and most of them are truly amazing products. We need to be smart about the choices we make and think about how we spend our money. Here are a few ways we can do this.
Stick with the tried and trues.
As the saying goes if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? Always be open-minded, but if something is working really really well for you and especially your kids, stick with it. Don’t get swayed by the next best thing in the homeschool world. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
Let your children help you make decisions.
The beautiful thing about homeschooling where we live at least is we don’t need approval from a school board. That’s awesome! So sometimes it’s nice to have a little back and forth with your kids about the curriculum that you’re using everyday. If they are absolutely hating something, you might need to follow their lead and find something new. If there is something they love you may need to supplement in order to go more in depth for the area of interest. Have a meeting and talk about options and take note of their opinions and interests.
Limit your choices.
Stick with companies you know and trust to limit the amount of choices you'll have to make. Ask friends and support groups for ideas to help narrow down choices. Don’t feel like you’re stuck with only these choices though, be sure to broaden your search if you’re not finding what you like.
Take your time.
You are the homeschool mom and teacher you make the decisions. Don’t let a calendar or the public school system or what you see other homeschoolers are doing make you feel hurried. Take your time in picking what curriculum you'll use for your family. Hasty decisions often lead to a waste of time and money.
Ditch all curriculum for a while.
When you have younger kids it’s ok to just do your own thing for a while. Skip the math books altogether and just print fact sheets off the internet for a while or have your kids play store and practice makeing change as their lessons. It’s especially ok to do this for a while if you just need a breather from your current curriculum or if you need more time to choose.
Other ways to save your brain
Choosing curriculum is just one of the many things we have to make decisions about. Our meals, what we wear, how to prioritize each day--these are all happening every day! But there are some easy ways we can save our brain power for more important choices.
Have a streamlined menu.
Have Crock Pot meals on Mondays, Tacos on Tuesdays, Pizza on Wednesdays, etc. to help you not have to make extra decisions. Use a weekend day to plan and prep as a family. Your menu is then already planned for you.
Choose your outfits a week at a time.
On Sunday nights, set out clothes for each day of the week for yourself and kids. This will save you and them time standing in front of the closet wondering what to wear. Also it puts an end to the constant questions about where particular articles of clothing are.
Have one errand day.
Try to do all your running around on one day. Gather what you’ll need in your car during the week, like library books and things to return and you’ll be all ready to go on errand day. If you can join a delivery service. Walmart in my area delivers unlimited orders for one flat rate per year. If not several grocery stores offer curbside pickup. Make that your last stop save yourself an hour and let someone else have the tedious job of shopping.
Have an evening checklist that you follow religiously.
Each night, make your coffee for the next morning, set out your clothes, set out the breakfast dishes, and make your to do list. You’ll wake up feeling like your personal assistant got everything ready for your morning.
When people say they have mom brain, decision fatigue is a huge part of what they mean. They’re overloaded with having to make decisions. Don’t let brain drain have a negative effect on your homeschool. Take your time, don’t freak out, simplify where you can, and choose wisely.
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