- Are you feeling frustrated and wonder if homeschool is really worth the sacrifice? You might question if homeschooling is still the right choice for your family.
- Perhaps you know that homeschooling is what’s best for your children, but you wonder if it’s best for you.
- Maybe you are certain that you want to continue homeschooling, but you are feeling defeated and blah.
I've faced all of these feelings! When I morph into the discouraged homeschool mom attitude, I use a simple but effective exercise to make sure I'm on the right track. This pick-me-up can help you, too!
List All the Reasons You Chose to Homeschool
Sit down with a paper and pencil and jot down all the reasons that you initially began homeschooling.
- Were you looking to provide your children with a better academic environment?
- Were you kids ill-suited to sitting in a classroom?
- Did you want more freedom (religious and otherwise) for yourself and your family?
The list doesn’t have to be in order of importance or categorized or even spelled correctly. Just get your thoughts on paper. If it helps here are a few of the reasons that quickly pop to mind when I think about why I originally chose to homeschool.
- More family togetherness
- Integrating our faith into school time
- Freedom to teach in ways best suited to each child
- Able to choose a literature-rich curriculum that reflected our values
- Less rushing and time-dependent learning (no school bells or class time allotments)
- Increased opportunity for varied extracurricular activities
- No unnecessary testing
- Better access to good foods, the outdoors, and physical exercise
- Excitement about learning new things together as a family
- More sleep and less rushed mornings
- Access to more diverse peoples and experiences, typically not found within a peer aged classroom
I have homeschooled my kids from the beginning and never put them into a school system. My husband and I chose to homeschool independently of the performance and reputation of our local school system. If you pulled your children from a local school, you likely have additional reasons to homeschool, reflecting your experience with traditional school.
- Unique needs that weren't being met in the classroom
- The classroom didn't provide enough challenge, especially for gifted children
- The cost of private school
Challenges Arise, and Homeschooling Isn’t Always Perfect
Inevitably, once you’ve been homeschooling for a while, challenges will arise. Some you may have seen coming; others may be a complete surprise. Personally, I had no idea how draining it would be to be with all of my young children all day long. I also had a limited understanding of how strong-willed my children could be when faced with topics they didn’t want to learn. It’s been a learning experience for all of us.
At this point let me caution you. We are not creating a list of pros and cons. We are actively looking for evidence that our initial decision to homeschool is a good one. Being discouraged or having a rough day doesn’t mean that the reasons you choose to homeschool are no longer valid. It does mean that it might be time to take a few moments to remember the reasons homeschooling is worth doing.
Are Your Original Reasons to Homeschool Still Valid?
Do your children still stand to benefit from learning at home? If the answer is yes, you still have a pretty strong argument for continuing to homeschool and hopefully a list to inspire you to continue.
If homeschooling hasn’t provided all the expected benefits, why not? Would placing the children in a school system resolve the issue(s)? If so, it may be time to research educational options in your area. If not, try to determine what changes could be made in your homeschool to put it more in line with your original goals. Get an outside perspective on your situation—Sonlight Advisors have counseled thousands of discouraged homeschool moms just like you. They can help.
List New Benefits
There are likely additional reasons for homeschooling that you may not have recognized when you first started. Even little reasons like not having to rush in the morning or having more flexibility with family vacation time are precious perks of homeschooling. More than one homeschooling family enjoys pajamas and hot chocolate during school time. Don’t overlook the little things that make homeschooling fun and beneficial for you and the kids!
On those days when you become a discouraged homeschool mom and are struggling to see all the expected benefits, pull out your list! Read it over and take some time to soak in the value you bring to your kids as a homeschool mom. Accept the encouragement that the list provides and move forward, knowing you're doing what’s best for you and your family.