Self-Compassion for a Healthier Mindset | A Conversation with Michelle Brownell

The best part of homeschooling can be found in the tiny moments—the laughter shared over an interesting problem or the excitement of a new discovery. These make up the tapestry of educational and emotional growth. 

But sometimes, amidst lesson plans and life lessons, we must pause and acknowledge that the path of homeschooling is as much about the parent’s growth as it is about the child’s.

Beyond Academics: The Social and Emotional Landscape

Our roles as homeschooling parents often require us to wear multiple hats, blending educator, mentor, and caregiver into a harmonious symphony. However, the results of our diligent efforts might not always be immediately visible. 

Trust is crucial. 

It reminds us that with each day’s commitment, the fruits will bear out in time. When the strains of responsibility grow heavy, it’s okay to reach out for support, find comfort in community, or even recite a personal mantra of reassurance as needed.

Building Bridges, Not Barriers

We live in a world eager to showcase perfection, especially on social media platforms. It’s easy to feel isolated in our homeschooling journey, wondering if the highlight reels we see are the complete story. But, truly, we’re all navigating similar waters. Whether it’s forgetting an important event or feeling overwhelmed, these are universally shared struggles—we are not alone.

Self-Care: The Foundation of Teaching

Just as we encourage our learners to explore and understand the world around them, it’s equally important for us to turn inward. Investing time in self-care practices such as journaling, gratitude, or simply processing our emotions provides the balance needed to thrive.

Movement and breathing exercises are vital as they help process emotions and maintain the window of tolerance, keeping the reactive or shutdown modes at bay.

Taking the Pressure Off

On some days, the best-laid plans unravel. It’s essential to give ourselves the grace to take the path of least resistance. Using shortcuts like convenience foods or paper products during overwhelming periods isn’t just acceptable—it’s necessary.

An emphasis on hands-on activities, field trips, or integrating playful learning can alleviate the stress and brighten our spirits. Outsourcing in the form of co-op classes, online programs, or mentors for the kids help us when we need time to step back as parents to take care of ourselves.

A Breath of Relief: Simple Techniques

Breathing techniques serve as more than just a pause; they are a reset button for our minds. Engaging in exercises like six-seven-eight breathing or box breathing can greatly enhance relaxation and bring much-needed clarity in frazzled times.

We often forget the importance of nurturing ourselves with the same compassion we offer our children. The inner monologue of criticism that can loop endlessly needs interruption.

Reframing negative thoughts with kindness towards oneself forms the foundation for a healthier mindset. That, coupled with breathing exercises, mindfulness strategies, or taking up a hobby can help us dig in to find the energy to homeschool for the long haul.

Family Fun: The Power of Play

Play should not be reserved for young children alone. It’s a powerful, binding language between parents and kids. Simple things, such as sharing meals, indulging in family traditions like “family date nights,” or popping popcorn together become the building blocks of strong familial ties.

These activities allow conversations to flow more freely and the space for everyone to be seen and heard.

Touch: The Silent Communicator

In the moments when words fail us, touch speaks volumes. A hug or a casual pat can send waves of oxytocin coursing through our bodies, emanating a sense of calm and connection. Remember to enjoy these small gestures—they can be the balm during challenging times.

The Role of Positive Emotions

During tough days, it becomes even more critical to find and savor the good. By concentrating on positive emotions and achievements, we build resilience against adversity. It’s about shifting the focus from what’s going wrong to what’s going right.

The Ever-changing Face of Play

As our children grow, the shape and nature of play evolve. As homeschooling parents, we have the privilege of witnessing these changes and leading by example. Showing our kids that adulthood doesn’t equate to the end of play can inspire them to keep curiosity and joy alive throughout their lives.

The homeschooling journey is an intricately woven dance of academics, emotional intelligence, and self-growth. It zeroes in on the heart of education—the nurturing of lifelong learners, not just in our children, but within ourselves as well.

Every lesson, every hug, every breath is a step toward understanding and compassion for our children and a step toward personal evolution as we embrace the enriching world of homeschooling.

It’s important to cherish these days of togetherness, of learning, and of gentle self-compassion, for these are the days from which the joy of discovery is born. And with the laughter of our children echoing in our ears, let us continue this beautiful journey, this privilege of teaching and learning, knowing that each moment—even the difficult ones—is precious and propelling us forward on this unique path of raising lifelong learners.

RLL #233: Self-Compassion for a Healthier Mindset | A Conversation with Michelle Brownell

This week’s episode continues last week’s conversation with Michelle Brownell. Join us as we dive deeper into the emotional landscape of parenting and homeschooling.

Michelle shares her personal journey of connecting with her children through the highs and lows, her strategies for cultivating a nurturing environment, and the power of self-compassion in the process.

Three Key Takeaways:

  • The Eight C’s of Connection: Michelle introduces the ‘Eight C’s’ as a robust framework for staying grounded and compassionate, especially vital for parents navigating intense emotional landscapes with high-needs children.
  • Self-Care as Crucial Care: Learn why prioritizing your emotional well-being isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential—for both you and your children. From breathing techniques to the magical moments of everyday touch, we explore practical methods to foster resilience.
  • Play Isn’t Just for Kids: Rediscover the joys of play as an adult. It’s not only stress-relieving, but it also fortifies the bonds with our children, and Michelle’s family traditions offer ample inspiration.

Tune in to this incredible episode filled with both vulnerability and humor, touching on everything from dealing with teenage appetites to the power of six-seven-eight breathing.

Whether you’re a parent, an educator, or simply on a journey of lifelong learning, there are invaluable nuggets of wisdom awaiting.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

Connect with Michelle Brownell
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Michelle’s website:
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