Whether you are just starting to consider homeschooling, or are in the midst of your homeschooling journey, it’s important to stop and take in all of the information, so you can manage your expectations.
When we set out to take on a new challenge, we often tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. When we look at the experiences of other homeschooling families, we may only be looking at their highlights or what they choose to project on social media, their blog, their books, etc. We don’t always see the challenges, frustrations, and difficulties – so when they happen for us, it can be easy to count ourselves out or let discouragement set in.
This post is not meant to keep you from homeschooling – but rather to let you see the whole truth. We definitely have magical days. I get to see breakthroughs, realizations, and watch my kids embrace new ideas. I have a closer relationship with them. But, we have bad days too – lock myself in the bathroom with Oreos kind of days…..and I think it’s important for anyone considering homeschooling to know that!
If you are struggling, you’re not alone! Homeschooling is a tough but worthwhile endeavor – and you CAN do this! But, let me help you manage your expectations so that when your son throws his math book or you find yourself wondering, “Why did I do this?!” you’ll be able to keep going.It happens to all of us.
It’s Not Easy
I recently had a friend tell me that I make homeschooling look so easy. Here’s the thing – we can make anything look like anything. I post about our homeschooling highlights. I show pics of our field trips, talk about what we’re learning, share breakthroughs the kids have had, etc. I like being positive.
However, you can’t appreciate the highs without the lows – and trust me, EVERY homeschooler has them! There are days where we have to push (and push!) our kids to do their work. There are days where we battle attitude, frustration, tears, boredom, fighting, etc. My kids don’t skip happily to the table and cheer when assignments are given. We have good days – but we WORK for them.
Your Time Changes
When you become a homeschooler, you need to learn to use your time in a more effective way. You’ll have your kids with you 24/7 now, so you’ll need to learn to make time for not only teaching/overseeing assignments, but for housework, cooking, outside activities, and time for the things you like to do.
Learn to use the time first thing in the morning well. Start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher, take your shower, work-out, do your devotions, check your emails, etc. Utilize recess. I tend to use two recesses for working and one for relaxing.
I originally thought that giving up any and all “alone time” would be a lot harder than it is. While I don’t get to binge-watch Netflix anymore and don’t craft nearly as much as I used to, I still find that I have time to blog, read, bake, and do the hobbies and activities I truly love. You’ll just need to PRIORITIZE your time once you become a homeschooler.
Bottom line – some things will have to go. You’ll watch less tv. Your house will be less perfect. Silence will be elusive. But, you’ll adapt…..maybe slowly and over time, but you’ll get it.
You Won’t Always Feel Like Doing It
There are days where I do NOT want to do school with the kids. Once you become a homeschooler, you don’t magically turn into Mary Poppins and have a cheery disposition and a zest for life and learning day in and day out. You’ll still be human. You’ll still get distracted. You’ll still have days where you feel down personally and it will be a struggle to do school.
Chalk it up to your humanity and don’t let it defeat you. You’re going to learn as much about responsibility and perseverance as your kids will!
There are a LOT of Moving Parts
When you are homeschooling more than one student, things get more complicated. I jumped into homeschooling with four different grade levels – and it’s a lot of different plates to keep spinning. If you feel overwhelmed or like you have a lot to keep up with – it’s okay – what you’re doing is TOUGH! Teaching ONE grade level is hard, so adding additional curriculums and attempting to meet different needs simultaneously can be tough to manage.
This has been the biggest challenge for me, and you’ll likely need to play around with your schedule AND work to help your kids become independent. Figure out what subjects and activities you can do whole group. See what areas your older kids can do more independently. Figure out activities that younger kids can do while you’re working with older kids. The key is to keep your kids engaged and to cut yourself some slack as you figure it all out. (It might take time, so be gentle with yourself!)
You’ll Doubt Yourself
You will go through periods of great self-doubt. You’ll find yourself questioning, “Am I good enough?” “Am I smart enough?” “Do I have the patience for this?” Anytime your child struggles with material or a lesson doesn’t go as planned, you’ll be tempted to blame yourself. DON’T!
Know that those feelings will come, and have strategies in place to combat them. Remind yourself that you CAN do this, that you’re doing it for a reason, and that you are the mother (and teacher!) of your children on purpose for a purpose! Don’t expect perfection – just give it your best. When you fail (and you will), get back up. When your kid has a rough day, keep at it or try it a different way. It’s going to be hard, but you can do it.
Want to read more of my homeschooling posts? Click here to get more homeschooling encouragement, ideas, thoughts on curriculum, and more! I would love to be a resource for you, and am happy to answer any of your questions.