Homeschooling is not perfect. It also is not the answer to all the world’s problems; it’s not even the answer to all your family’s problems. So much of what you will see on social media paints a picture of a happy homeschooling family where all things are wonderful. I’m sure that I have added to that overall picture more times than I’d like to admit. But homeschooling is much more than reading outside in the sunshine and smiling lovingly down at your children as they complete their math work.
It is work. It is hard work. Here are six truths about homeschooling that people may not be quick to tell you. Although these realities are hard to cope with at times, they are all normal and to be expected.
1. You Will Want to Quit
Every year, at some point, you will want to quit. There may even be three or four times a year that you will want to quit. That feeling is completely normal. I don’t know a homeschool mom who doesn’t occasionally get burned out.
“ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9
Take a break, clear your mind, put away the school books for a while, and enjoy your kids again. You’ll remember why you chose to homeschool and get your second (or third, or fourth) wind.
2. Your Child Will Not Always Appreciate You
There is a holiday for everyone under the sun. There actually is a Homeschool Mom Day on the calendar, but I don’t know when it is, and my kids certainly don’t. Even if I knew when my day was, what am I going to do?
- Tell my children to make me a card?
- Give them money and tell them to get me a present?
- Have them tell me something nice about myself?
Yeah, I know, it sounds pretty ridiculous. Homeschooling moms are probably among the most under-recognized people. In fact, chances are you only hear feedback when you mess up or forget something. This is normal.
“...Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”Hebrews 12:1
Enter into homeschooling, knowing that you aren’t doing it for the awards and graduation speeches. Understand that it is a job that requires intense faithfulness. Resist the temptation to find your value in your occupation, and lean on God to show you your worth in Him.
3. You Will Fail
Keep in mind that you are doing a job that takes hundreds of people to do in a public school setting. There will be days when you will not accomplish anything. This is normal.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”Psalm 73.26
Think about your mission statement. If you don’t have one, write one. Our mission statement has always been to diligently teach our children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. We believed that if we focused on that one objective, God would bless the rest. He has, time and time again. I fail quite often, but God never does.
4. Homeschooling Can Be Lonely
Homeschooling moms can go days without meaningful adult interaction outside the family. I can still remember when going to the grocery store was the highlight of my week. Even now that my kids are older, I sometimes still find myself feeling lonely. You will miss out on things that other families are doing, and you’ll find yourself a third wheel in conversations about public school. This is normal.
“Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:20
You are making disciples. We can see from the Scriptures that making disciples can be lonely. Keep your head up, and find a friend you can call or message regularly. Find opportunities to get out each week, even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store.
5. Homeschooling Will Cost You
Homeschooling will cost you money and time. You may find yourself driving used cars and wearing off-brand clothing. You will pinch pennies and clip coupons to help here and there. It won’t feel glamorous. You may give up a career for a time, and you will most certainly give up hours in your day. You may feel the sacrifices more on some days than others. This is normal.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6:19-21
Homeschool moms and dads put this verse on display every day. Remind yourself what matters and care less for the things of the world. Find the humor in your uniqueness, and teach your children how to do the same.
6. It’s Going to Be Worth It
I have a tendency to worry. So one of my go-to strategies for worry is to play “Worst-Case Scenario.” When I started this homeschooling journey, I imagined and faced the worst case scenario.
My worst case scenario was that my kids graduated high school knowing absolutely nothing and were socially awkward. Even if that were the case, which I know won’t happen, we would still have hours upon hours of time spent together. We still would have millions of conversations about current events, history, fiction books, science, and anything else under the sun. Nothing would ever be able to take that away. We would still have all that. And if that’s what we walk away from homeschooling with, then it’s all worth it.
Nope, homeschooling is not all rainbows and butterflies. On a daily basis, it is hard work that takes faithfulness, self-discipline, tough skin, and more prayers than you could ever count. But it is worth it.
Every second of every day...worth it.
Every veteran homeschool mom I’ve ever spoken to says the same thing, “It was worth it. I would do it all over again.”
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.Psalm 119:30
Choose the way of faithfulness. Be faithful in the little things, day in and day out. Even when it isn’t easy, set your eyes on God the Father. It is all for God, all for His glory.