OCTOBER 28, 2020

Are You Battling the Homeschool Blues?


Sponsored by Time4Learning.

Getting discouraged during the homeschool year is like running into a red light when you’re in a rush. It’s inevitable. I should know, I’ve been there. I almost pulled my hair out because my son wouldn’t listen and shouted into a pillow because things weren’t working out as I had planned. And oh did I plan. It was my second year of homeschooling and I felt like I was in control with a whole year under my belt!

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was crushed, but something good came out of my misery: I learned valuable lessons while battling the homeschool blues. For one thing, you never know what’s coming and you can’t always control it. I was a control freak and couldn’t understand that fact. But kids get sick, I get sick, some programs don’t work, some children are stubborn, goals aren’t always reached, and the list goes on.

So, if you’re battling the homeschool blues, here are a few thoughts that may give you some hope and encouragement to know that you can do it!   

You’re in Good Company

I’m friends with a lot of great homeschoolers. They are experienced, thoughtful, patient and diligent. Yet, they too have thrown their hands up in the air or slammed their bedroom door and sat in the dark fighting with their frustrations. Every homeschooler does at some point. You’re not alone. Don’t ever forget that. Instead, take strength in knowing that they persevered, adjusted and kept going, enjoying the good days and filing away the bad days for future reference.   

You Have the Tool Kit to Fix Many Things

You might be wondering why I said “filing away the bad days for future reference” in the comment above. It’s something I learned from a veteran homeschooler during my challenging second year. She told me that when she suffered through the bad times, she always took notes in a journal. She wrote about the challenges and problems she faced, and then the things she did to fix the issues.  

She could pore through 12 years of valuable notes and come up with solutions to new problems. Afterall, you may forget all the challenges you faced during your homeschooling experiences. That journal became her tool kit, and she’d take from it what she needed to fix a problem. If she didn’t have the tools, she adjusted and moved on. 

It’s True, You’re Not Superhuman

Homeschoolers wear many hats: they work, homeschool, cook, clean, run errands and are on call 24/7. Sounds overwhelming, right? Well honestly, it is overwhelming at times. You can suffer burn out or become depressed. This is not unnatural. And it’s not unnatural to take a break, step away from the grind for a day or two, or perhaps change up your schedule.

There’s nothing heroic about shouldering the whole burden. I refused to believe that for a time — it was my job after all. I wanted my kids homeschooled and I planned on giving them everything I had to give. That lasted about four months. I became an emotional wreck. That’s when I finally got help. We joined a homeschool group, and I loosened the reins a bit. My kids loved the new me!       

You Can Ask for Help Too

You might not be as stubborn as I was, but asking for help is not a crime — or a signal of failure like I thought. As I said, I joined a homeschool group but also went on playdates, visited the library where they offered free activities, and started using more technology.    

Technology became a blessing for me. Instead of being so hands-on, we started using an online curriculum. It invited interaction and taught complicated concepts in a fun and exciting environment. My kids mostly worked independently and at their own pace on the computer. As a bonus, the program’s automated system graded lessons, tracked their progress and kept reports for my children’s portfolios. I still use it today!    

I know other homeschoolers who join co-ops, take turns homeschooling their children with friends, have their spouses take a day or two during the week, or occasionally hire tutors. There are many options available. Take advantage and lower your stress levels. Believe me, your kids will become more relaxed and happy.  

Your Way is the Right Way

The way people homeschool varies. Some people stick with a traditional school schedule, others use more flexible scheduling. Curriculum choices also differ. They range from using books, videos, online programs, and so many other options I couldn’t list them all. But all homeschoolers eventually find what works best for them. 

Once you find your personal concoction of scheduling, curriculum, teaching methods and other resources, then stick with it until it needs adjusting. Just because your “way” is different from other homeschoolers doesn’t make it wrong. We all have our own recipes for making the best homeschool experience for our family. When it works, your way is the right way. 

Battling the homeschool blues makes you feel like you can’t do anything right sometimes. But that’s not true. You can do things right, it’s just that things go wrong sometimes, and you must adjust. That takes time and a few deep breaths. Then, you’ll be back up and running, enjoying the good days and filing away the bad ones for a successful future!