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What to Tell Yourself When You Want to Quit Homeschooling

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: 4 Things to Tell Yourself When You Want to Quit HomeschoolingIf it hasn’t happened yet, it will.

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That moment, in homeschooling, when you are sure you Can. Not. Do. This. Any. More.

Maybe it’s because of your kids’ poor attitudes. Maybe it’s because there is way much more need than there is you to go around. Maybe it’s because of your student’s learning disability or challenge. Maybe it’s because of financial pressures. Maybe it’s because your child has the attention span of a squirrel.

Whatever the reason, it’s highly likely that at some point in your homeschooling career, you’ll get to the place where you feel like you are done. When you look around and think, “Anyone could do a better job than I’m doing” or “Why, exactly, did I leave the comparatively piece-of-cake world of outside-the-home work for this?” or “My kids are never going to get a decent education if something doesn’t change” or “What is wrong with my children?” or “What is wrong with me?” or some other version of…

“This is totally freaking miserable”.

When you get there, just know – you are not alone. Lots of homeschoolers go through a period when they want to quit homeschooling.

That’s right, I challenge you to find a homeschooler who hasn’t felt that, at least to some degree, at some point along the way. And that’s because homeschooling is hard. It is fulfilling and exciting and gratifying and interesting, too, but it is also just really plain hard.

But the truth is, you signed up for hard when you had those kids to begin with. I’m going to give you the pep talk I give myself when I get there…at that place of being ready to throw in the towel. So take a few moments, have a mini pity party, and then get back on the horse by reminding yourself of the following:

1. “No matter how bad it feels right now, and how good other options look, those other options have just as many challenges (or more) as what I face now – just different ones.”

Sure, you could send your kids to public or private school. But the challenges you face don’t go away, they just change. Instead of battles over getting your kids to complete their school work efficiently and effectively during “school time”, you battle 2 hours of homework at night after the kids have been gone from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Instead of having to deal with poor attitudes about doing academics, you have to deal with curse words and disrespect learned from peers. Instead of having to suffer through managing a learning disability, you have to struggle with decisions about special education classes and your child feeling not-so-smart because he gets “behind” where the large-scale education standard says he should be. Instead of the financial strain of living on one income, you have the emotional strain of having to manage a household, juggle childcare, and simultaneously hold down a career. The truth is that there isn’t any easy way to well-adjusted, well-educated, responsible, skilled young adults. At least with homeschooling, you have more control over what the challenges are, and how you choose to face them.

2. “No one, regardless of how they are educated, makes it to adulthood knowing everything they should know, or being able to do everything they have the potential to be able to do.”

We all have gaps in our learning. Yep – no matter how we were educated, there are things we were never taught, forgot, missed, didn’t understand, or simply zoned out on. Public schooled, private schooled or homeschooled – you can’t escape the reality that there is no perfect educational option. The difference is that, in homeschooling, you get to decide the areas where you least want the gaps to be! Homeschooling, as opposed to other forms of education, gives you the opportunity to decide what is most important for your kids to learn, and the priority of their goals. If personal character is of utmost value to you, your can ensure that your efforts are not spared toward that end. If giving your kids a strong literary base, or musical instruction, are things you believe are critical for your child’s future, you are able to adjust your time and energies to be certain those areas get significant attention. Instead of someone else, with likely very different values and goals from yourself, determining the priorities for your child’s development – you are in charge of it, and of what areas don’t get missed!

3. “Even if other schooling options can provide more educational benefits for my kids than I believe I can, they cannot provide me”.

Homeschooling isn’t just about academics. Home education is a lifestyle of helping children develop into the persons they will be in adulthood – supporting them in gaining the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, relational, practical and, yes, intellectual skills they need to be successful in the world after they leave home. This process of guiding development is so much broader than simply school work – and there is simply no better person to be in charge of it than parents. Homeschooling allows you to be the most significant influence in your child’s life, not people who likely have very different goals, values, perspectives and approaches than you do. Those people around whom your child spends most of his or her time will be in the position to have the most impact on your child’s outlook and outcome – and in homeschooling, that person is you. No matter what educational benefits other schooling options may provide your child, they can never offer what homeschooling does when it comes to your ability to holistically guide your child for the future.

4. “Irrespective of how it may look right now, time goes by very, very quickly, and these ‘troubles’ will be forgotten, because my kids will be gone”.

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: What to tell yourself when you are ready to quit homeschoolingYou’ve heard the adage “The days pass slowly but the years pass quickly”? Well, you don’t realize it until you’ve been parenting for a few years, but it’s true – life is really short. And what seems to be interminable when you’re in the middle of it (colicky babies, anyone?) actually has flown by, when you look back a few years later. The same applies to homeschooling challenges. No matter how hard it is right now, it will pass. There will be a day when there are no more school work battles and no more struggles to get the kids to keep things organized. And when that day comes – the kids will be grown and gone. No matter how challenging homeschooling may be in this moment, one day in the future these troubles will be simply fond memories that we can never repeat. It’s worth making the most of the time we have while we have it, because it truly does pass by more quickly than we ever think it will when we’re in it.

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If authentic engagement represents your homeschool philosophy, read more about how to engage your children in these posts from our contributor Living Education by Oak Meadow covering topics like nature-based learning, creativity, handwriting, homeschooling multiple grades, authentic engagement, and more.

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The truth? There is no easy way. Homeschooling is hard, yes, but so is every other path you could choose. Homeschooling is hard because parenting is hard – and home education is pretty much just parenting on steroids. So if this is a path you believe is best for your family, but you’re just at the end of your rope, hang on a little bit longer. Give yourself my pep talk, go find a homeschooling friend and rant a little, get a pedicure or a massage, and then go back at it, knowing you are doing the best you can for your children. Nobody does this parenting thing perfectly, and no schooling option you pick will be perfect, either. You will have bad days and you will make mistakes and your kids will not get everything you want them to…

but they will get so much from homeschooling that they cannot get any other way.

And, in the end, when there aren’t any kids at home to school anymore…that’s what will make it all worth it.

Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both Examiner.com and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity. In addition to reading her posts at TheHomeSchoolMom, you can follow her search for truth (and blunders along the way) in family, faith and culture by visiting her blog, seeluminosity.com.

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Comments

  1. Erin Johnson

    Thank you, thank you! Your message is the one I have needed to hear at various points on my home schooling path as well as many of my homeschooling friends. Sometimes we just need a good healthy dose of reality on those difficult days. It is so easy to see the grass as greener on the other side of that school fence but it isn’t , it’s just different grass! Thank you for putting words to the thoughts that I’ve been thinking but not knowing what to say to struggling friends.

  2. Nikki

    Thank you for a very timely message. As i see other kids around me sporting their graduation attire, my struggling/straggling senior is not among them and the guilt is piling on in me! But, I am gaining prospective and encouragement from your writings and I thank you so much for sharing your insight.

  3. Amy

    THANK YOU!!!!

  4. Tiffany

    Thank you a million times!!!!! I will post this where
    I can read often. I know it is the right thing to do…but some days! This is what I needed to read
    today.

  5. Barb

    Talk about divine intervention! Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear.

    Blessings!

  6. Beth

    So glad I found your blog.. I have had one of those frustrating days (especially with the Math) for my son a fifth grader. He has some focus issues, but nothing really serious to worry about. We are doing the online school environment and we just go take a break when we are both at our wits end. This is a first for both of us, but one I am sure I will never regret. Thank you so much.

  7. I just enrolled my son in public school kindergarten after homeschooling him for the first half of the year. I felt compelled to make this decision because he had a few acquaintances, but not any friends he saw on a daily basis. Driving 30-45 minutes to actives isn’t very practical either. It’s unfortunate that in public, most homeschoolers obsessively talk about how socialized their kids are. I’ve found that behind closed doors, many of them worry that their kids haven’t really made any close friends. Also, I felt it was unfair to say homeschooling was a better option than public school when my son had never been to public school. By trying out both options, one will likely emerge as better, and we can make a more educated decision about schooling options after he has actually tried them.

    • Thanks for your comment, Lisa. I think you’ll find Jeanne’s article about when it *is* time to quit homeschooling relevant to your situation. It’s important to recognize that sometimes public school is the best choice, and that it varies by child, family, and situation. Best wishes to your son as he attends school this year!

  8. Lena

    Thank you for this! I was just having a pity party about wanting to quit. I feel like there is not enough of me to go around to my 8,7,5 & 3 year old. Every day it’s a choice between school work or clean organized house. And no matter what I choose my kids want to do the opposite. I’m tired of the everyday battles to complete an assignment or clean a room. My 7 year old is just barely reading. I miss the satisfaction of bringing home a decent paycheck. I’m always worried if they’re even learning anything? Should we be doing more work? But I don’t want to put them in public school

  9. Tabitha

    Thank you! I really needed this!

  10. Iris Olvera

    This just put me to tears. This message came across me at perfect timing..God is good. Thank you so much for this msg ..i thought i just wasnt suited for this all that you said is exactly what im feeling. Ughhh what a relief to know im not the only one.. Its just a rough patch that ill overcome. You have put the hope and motivation back in me. Thank you again

  11. THANK YOU, Rebecca!! Yes, I too have been there. As a veteran homeschool mom for 16 + years (counting the preschool years), I’m here to tell you, you WILL survive, beautifully 🙂 Homeschooling is a herculean challenge on the best days, with the best attitudes, and with the best curriculum. However, we all know that life is not the best more often than it is. It’s OK to feel like there is something better out there–a better teacher, a better school environment, or a better curriculum. But, just like you so beautifully said, those other choices, cannot provide the mom. I love your honesty, Rebecca. I think too often, we homeschool moms think that so and so MUST be doing a better job at homeschooling her children than I am doing or could ever hope to do. SOOO NOT TRUE! We all have our strengths and weaknesses. And, we have one thing that all those other choices don’t have…LOVE. We love our children more than anyone else and they will feel that shining through the homeschool environment even when you feel as if you are failing. So, I say, keep on keepin’ on to every homeschool mom out there. This too shall pass! We’ve ALL been there. So, Great BIG Hugs to you all!

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