Hi. Don't know if this is the best place to post, but figure it's where I'd find the most homeschoolers... mods, wondering if you may think it's better off in a more 'personal growth' forum.
Anyway, I love home educating (here in the UK we tend to call it home ed rather than home school, as it's not necessarily about replicating a school environment), we've had some roadbumps lately related to DS's (5 year old) behaviour and to my really low energy levels, but these issues have been improving and i feel re-dedicated to home educating. We've been doing it since last September, and my son is definitely much happier than when he was at nursery school. Anyway, the issue is more about me - how to cope as a Highly Sensitive Person. Elaine N. Aron's book, 'The Highly Sensitive Person' is something I read a while ago and really identified with. Basically, it's about people whose nervous systems are just more sensitive than most of the population - it's about 2 % of people. This means that we reach an upper threshold of stimulation much quicker than others. So, we could be in a shopping mall and after an hour of crowds, noise and lots of stimulation have had enough and start feeling increasingly stressed and overwhelmed (in whatever ways this manifests for you), whereas someone who's not an HSP could last 5 hours.
I find home education dramatically increases my stimulation levels. First of all, as an HSP i need copious amounts of alone time to keep balanced and not get irritable. If i don't, I feel overwhelmed and just can't take in what's happening from about 4 in the afternoon. Being with my son constantly is that exact situation - not only being with someone constantly, but with someone who is constantly asking me questions, talking to me, showing me stuff, and needing stimulation from me. He is also, I think, a highly sensitive and is prone to getting upset about many issues throughout the day, all of which are highly stimulating to me and result in feeling drained by the evening as it requires so much emotional containment from me. Also, being in home ed groups or playdates (which we do two or three of a week) with other children, tantrums, noise, chaos, lots of things going on at once, is a highly stimulating situation for me, and typically after a few hours of that I feel I need to lie down in a dark room - but I can't, I have to carry on being with my son. Lately I do sometimes put on an educational game or program for him and go lie down when I feel I absolutely have to. But mostly I struggle on and it feels hard.
I'd love to hear from other home educating parents who feel they are HSP's too and how they cope with this. It is the number one reason that I feel burned out at times and feel I might have to give up H.E. even though I so believe in it, see the benefits to my son, and want to do it, and enjoy many aspects of it. Just to add that I am not a martyr and I do get breaks - my son goes to a childminder once a week while I work (my work also involves often being with people - teaching adults, pretty high stimulation, so afterwards I need downtime but don't get it as am back with my son again, who is usually tantrum-y due to the transition), and he goes to his dad one night a week and every second weekend (I am working most of those times too). We also follow an unstructured approach, loosely unschooling, although we do do some workbooks and online reading programmes that he is willing to do, though I never push anything ( I mainly do this stuff because I have tremendous pressure and opposition from his dad and his dad's family who threaten to take me to court for home ed'ing *although it's legal here*, so I feel I do need DS to have some evidence of learning in case it comes to that).