101 REASONS WHY HOMESCHOOLING IS HARD…AND WHY IT’S SO WORTH IT ANYWAY
If you homeschool, you already know homeschooling is hard. If you’re thinking about homeschooling and think it’s not, let me warn you…it is. You’re trying to make the decision whether or not you should take the plunge and make this huge life change of homeschooling. Or you’re trying to figure out if it’s worth it to keep going.
Mama, I don’t have all the answers. But I do know many many reasons why this gig is hard. I made a big list of them and about 95% of these I have experienced firsthand.
But for every single reason that it’s hard, I’ll let you know why I believe it’s worth it anyway. Homeschooling it hard, but it’s a worthy cause. One that I strongly believe we will not regret. I find so much peace there–in the surety I won’t regret this decision.
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If you’re on the edge of throwing in the homeschooling towel, I HEAR YOU!! I’ve been there and it’s a tough spot. My hope is that by reading through this massive list, you’ll find the things that are making homeschooling so hard for you and keep going anyway–because it’s worth the work.
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Homeschooling is Hard Because…Kid Probs
- There are constant bad attitudes.
2. It’s hard getting kids to DO THEIR WORK!
3. How do you help kids find their passions?
4. Is it possible to keep a good relationship with your kids AND homeschool?
5. Your child has behavior problems.
6. Or they might have learning challenges.
7. Your kids compare their homeschool lives to their public schooled friends’s lives.
8. Your once-public schooled kid wants to go back.
9. Every day is a struggle because your kid hates homeschooling.
Kid Problems are Hard, but our Kids are Worth It
Like I said before, I don’t have all the answers. I won’t pretend to know how to fix 101 hard situations in your homeschool life. But this I do know to help: just love your kids. I know, simplest, most annoying answer ever, right?
Not so. Because loving your kids covers a multitude of bad attitudes, tears, frustrations, and anger.
Put the books away today. Tell your kids you all need a breather do something different for the day…because you can. This is homeschooling–doing whatever the heck you want to, just because you can. You need a reset.
Here’s some ideas:
- Pull out Tinker Crate for the afternoon.
- Put on a documentary–these are our all time favorites.
- Go to the zoo or a favorite museum for the day.
- Set up a play date with old friends and/or assure your kids you will make a point to have set days of seeing old friends.
- Create a rewards system based on something your children reallllly enjoy, like Mind Craft, if they finish their work without bad attitudes.
- Go to the library, go to the non-fiction section of your child’s choice or help them find some options if they’re drawing a blank. Check out a pile of books on that topic.
This list isn’t a secret formula to anything, it’s just ideas. Little by little, homeschooling works.
Put the phone away today. Smile (with teeth) at your kids. Hug them when they’re really pissing you off. (SO hard to do!) You were their mama first–focus on that. It will get better.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…Big Life Changes + Challenges
10. You’re pregnant and homeschooling and freaking out.
11. A big move is coming and you still have to homeschool. Girl, have I been there.
12. Medical issues are a big problem in your home.
13. You have elderly or unwell parents or in-laws.
14. Your husband has lost his job.
15. You are depressed and/or anxious.
Life throws us curve balls, we keep swinging away.
Homeschooling families aren’t immune to big life challenges. These big things can make homeschooling really hard. But I’ve realized something with these big challenges…my kids are RIGHT IN THERE watching me handle them. They’ve seen me cry, they’ve seen me crumple to the floor in frustration and sadness, they’ve seen me get mad and yell.
But they’ve also been there to see me get up.
They’ve seen me wash my face, brush myself off, and solve sh*t.
They’ve seen me get on the phone and figure stuff out, roll up my sleeves and get to work.
They’ve seen me at my lowest and they’ve seen me overcome it.
These curve balls have given me compassion–they’ve given my kids compassion. They’ve had front row seats to LIFE and I hope they can carry my highs and my lows into their own lives to make their own better.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…Peer Pressure from Other Adults
16. Your family and/or friends are doubting your decision to homeschool.
17. The pressure from your purist homeschool acquaintances is too much! (Don’t forget though…purists are cranky.)
18. Your spouse is doubting your decision to homeschool.
19. You are homeschooling and trying to work from home.
20. Family functions turn into a debate about homeschooling.
21. You feel the “in-crowd” mamas looking down their nose at you, the only homeschool family on the sports team, etc.
22. It’s hard to always feel like you’re defending yourself.
23. People you meet sometimes feel defensive when they find that you homeschool.
24. You’re tired of people questioning your child’s future success because you homeschool.
25. You’re sick of that constant question of “oh! Is there no school today?,” at the grocery store on a Monday at 1:34 pm.
You don’t have to please everyone.
I know all these outside issues make things hard. But to be honest, you don’t have to please all these people. The only exception would probably be your spouse. It’s kind of important that you’re on the same page with your kids’ education. My husband was totally against homeschooling at first. I am rebellious by nature and I knew that I technically could go file exemption with the school district without Jarrod’s blessing, but that wasn’t how I knew was the best way. I wanted his blessing.
This is a tough one–when your spouse disagrees with homeschooling.
Try to work it out though. Go out to dinner to talk–we’ve found that shelving a hot topic till we get out of the house really helps us solve things more civilly. You will work it out together if you communicate and listen to each other.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…that Great Big Topic of Socialization
26. It’s hard to find good friends for your homeschooled kids.
27. It’s super hard to find a good co-op.
28. Introverted mamas feel pressured to sign up for more things because they are more inclined to stay home.
29. Extroverted mamas feel stressed about being home so much.
30. You don’t feel like you fit in anywhere.
Socialization is relative.
I’ve realized the world’s version of socialization is nothing that I want for my kids. Keep looking for those good friends. Be bold and ask people to hang out. Give your kids the outside-the-house time they need but still honor your own needs too. There is a balance there. You might not find it every week–you might have to adjust things often to suit the needs of your people, but it is totally possible.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…Mama’s Self Care
31. Finding personal time for haircuts, doctor appointments, etc.
32. You struggle with chronic pain and it’s hard to do daily tasks and take care of yourself.
33. It’s hard to find time for exercise.
34. You can’t remember the last time you had an hour at home alone.
35. You never get a break from your kids and you’re losing your mind.
You’ve gotta take care of yourself, mama.
I’m someone that needs alone time often. Sometimes I get that time early in the morning and sometimes late at night. I’ve hired babysitters and trained my big kids to make lunch some days so I can take a quick siesta in my room and do yoga for 20 minutes. This is a busy season of our lives. It will change. We will eventually have more time for ourselves, but for now we have to seek it out.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…that Darn Housekeeping!
36. Your school stuff is EVERYWHERE!
37. Wait, your kids are hungry again??
38. Managing your home is exhausting.
39. There’s no time to run errands and…
40. Going to the grocery store with all the kids in tow is a death wish.
Dude, I get it!!!!!
Sometimes I daydream about how neat and tidy my house would be if my kids went to regular school. Ha! But then I think of all the fun I would have missed with them. Sure, there’s a red stain on my couch, but it came from leftover art supplies on my kid’s clothes and that was a dang fun art project!
Can I tell you a secret? I hired cleaners. I know. Don’t hate me. But they are the sweetest couple ever and they love my kids and care for my house and they are such a blessing to me. They come once a month for about the same amount of money as it costs my family to go out for dinner. It is worth it to me! I feel like I have a tiny army of helpers coming in to scrub all the things and I can worry about all the other things.
Look at your budget. It might be more attainable than you think.
Here’s some other thoughts:
- Lower your expectations. You have kids. Your house is supposed to be messy.
- My cleaning lady always says to me in her gorgeous Moldovan accent, “Oh Alicia, don’t you know this?? Your house is messy, your kids are happy and full of joy–this means they are having a good childhood!”
- Adapt some systems that really work for your family.
- Get the kids involved. You can’t do it all alone.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…Family + Home Dynamics
42. It’s hard to be the constant taxi driver.
43. You have no idea what to do with your baby while you homeschool.
44. Your toddler is all up in your business while you’re trying to do school with your big kids. What to do with a toddler??
45. The daily distractions are incessant.
46. Your house is small, and your family is not.
47. There’s big responsibilities in your family’s life besides homeschooling–a farm, elderly parents living with you, etc.
48. You’re totally strapped for money and homeschooling is expensive! (Here’s my suggestions on homeschooling for under $100!)
49. The small town you live doesn’t offer much for homeschoolers.
50. Sometimes Dad feels excluded from the homeschooling part of your lives.
51. It’s hard to find a daily rhythm that works for everyone.
52. Your spouse works nights or is out of town a lot for work.
53. The internet service stinks.
This stuff is all so hard.
But if there’s one thing I know after 35.5 years on this earth is that so many of things are SO seasonal and they don’t last forever. As soon as I’m done complaining about one thing, I’ve realized it’s passed and I’m on to another issue. 😉 In the moment, it all feels overwhelming–and it is. Just do your best.
You’re doing better than you think you are.
Take a long bath, read something fluffy–not self help, and make a mental list of what IS so lovely about your life right this very moment.
Homeschooling is Hard Because…Organizing is the Worst!
54. Where on earth do you put all those books?!?!
55. How on earth do you organize all these papers!?! (Oh wait! I can definitely help with that one!)
56. Don’t don’t have a school room and you don’t know where to put anything.
57. You’re always planning + organizing, but never actually getting the schoolwork accomplished that you need/want to.
Organizing looks different for everyone…
…just find what works for you. I love helping people get organized, but you can’t copy and paste someone else’s organization over to your life. You know what works for you. If you struggle with organizing, you’re in the right place because the best remedy for you is keeping it SIMPLE! And here at Learning Well, I’m all about simple systems + easy routines.
A few places that might be helpful:
- How to plan your school year the super simple way
- Homeschool Organizing for almost everyone
- How to start your homeschool morning out right
Homeschooling is Hard Because…the Academics are Tough
58. All your kids are crying into their math books. (Nicole the Math Lady has helped a TON with this!)
59. You don’t know what topics to teach your kids. (This FB Live might help a bit.)
60. There doesn’t seem to be anything fun out there for your high schooler to do for school.
61. How on earth do you teach your child to read!?! (Our favorite has been Hooked on Phonics!)
62. Your homeschool is boring and you don’t know how to fix it. (Maybe this will help?)
63. Are you going to homeschool for high school or what!?!?! (Don’t be afraid of it.)
64. Your kids hate to write. (This has helped us SO much!)
65. How does a homeschool mama find help for her child when she can’t provide it?
66. It’s hard to narrow down all the things you want to cover in your homeschool.
67. It’s so hard to find great resources that your will all enjoy without spending hundreds of dollars. (Our curriculum directory might help!)
68. Some kids like the curriculum you’re using, some don’t like it at all!
69. When you know next to nothing about certain subjects.
70. How do you even begin with paperwork for college, transcripts, scholarships and the like??
You’ve SO got this!! Here’s how I know this…
You’re a homeschool parent! You’re resourceful and smart and willing to get your hands dirty and work till you find the answers! One of my favorite homeschool books ever by Carol Barnier taught me that WE are the keeper of the keys to our kids’ learning. We just have to keep trying different keys till we find the one that turns the lock.
Homeschooling is Hard Because of Personal Struggles
71. You need quiet and your house is NEVER quiet!
72. Getting over the public school mentality is tough.
73. It’s so hard to find your tribe.
74. You miss your public school friends.
75. It’s hard to deal with guilt and anger.
76. Social media is so hard sometimes!
77. It’s sometimes hard to find other homeschool friends that aren’t….ummm…weird.
78. When you get sick, there is no substitute.
79. You left behind a career to homeschool.
80. It’s hard to stop buying books when you’re a homeschool mama!
81. You have NO. more. energy!
82. And you are the one who has to provide all the structure and that is really really hard!
83. You feel guilty about not giving each child enough one-on-one time.
84. It’s so hard to be cooped up with winter doldrums!
85. Keeping self disciplined enough to do all the things you need to do.
86. Finding your homeschool identity is difficult.
87. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others’ homeschools.
88. All the responsibilities you have to juggle are exhausting.
89. You don’t feel smart enough to do this job.
90. You’re afraid you’re going to be disappointed with the results at the end of your homeschooling journey.
91. You wonder if you’re ruining your kids’ lives.
Like I said. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t even have a majority of the answers. But I do know that nothing worth doing is easy. Sure we’re tired. Sure, we’ve gained some weight. Yes, the house is a mess. Ya, sure. And we ARE worth taking the time outs during the day to care for ourselves. But in the long run, this whole thing–this investment into our children–is not just about them.
We’re growing too. Sure, there’s this list of things we’re struggling with, but I bet if I sat down with a pencil and paper to list the things I’m getting back from homeschooling, the list would be longer.
Homeschooling is Hard because…let’s just be honest here
92. Your stomach drops when the big yellow bus shows up at your nice, quiet field trip.
93. Your poor kids never get a snow day.
94. You feel like every homeschooler out there is uber religious–you are not.
95. The thought of dissecting a lung on your kitchen counter makes you wretch.
96. Your library fines are more than your current utility bill.
97. The kids know more about science than you do.
98. The government’s homeschool laws are really grinding your gears.
99. Your husband thinks “Parent-Teacher Conference” is code for something that it’s not.
100. It’s hard to find a parking spot for your 10-passenger van.
101. And it’s just plain hard to feel like you’ve got to overcome the homeschooling stigmas all the time.
You are not a stereotype.
You don’t owe any explanations. Own your decision.
Own your van, that big ol’ parking space.
Own it all. Embrace it all.
Homeschooling is worth the work.
Ahhh, since covid and the in and out in and out of school for two weeks here and there due to “close contact” I’ve been leaning towards homeschooling. I’m scared. I’m stong. I know …. Well I think I can do it. Well I guess I did do it during this covid cr@p! When this distance learning started I started feeling really jealous of the teacher’s my 5 kids have. Like, they get to see them all day everyday. See those smiling faces. Watch their eyes light up when they learn something new! I wanna be there to experience that too! I got a taste of it…. I miss it. I miss them. I want this. I feel like i have a calling for it. The thought of it Just feels like home. All 101 reason’s on ur list was me and some a whole heck of a lot then other’s as one could imagine with 5 kids! Ahhh I need to do some serious thinking. In the meantime I would like to thank you foe this article! It’s everything to me! -xo
Thank you. I really needed this. So many things out of different sections fit my life right now. We are in year one and it isn’t going as nice as my idea of it went. I think we are doing better though, I see progress in them and in myself. And yet… it still does not stop the doubt and worry and overwhelm that creeps into each moment. This post just summed all of that up. As though every worry behind worry had a voice and a response. The encouragement you gave through all of it, telling us to keep hanging on when we feel like we are failing, that is what I really needed today. What I think a lot of homeschool moms need. So again, just thank you so much for this wonderful post.
We have started home schooling our daughter who is 13 years old. Reading this is such a relief and a validation of our decision. Your honesty and practical approach, together with anticipating and sharing all the inevitable wobbles and fears that rise up in mums is sooo useful. I am energised again. Thank you so much.
I love this!!!! You are so awesome, and gave so much of a candid reflection of how kids really are at home. We essentially had to home school from March to June, and all of what you described was what we experienced. Going forward, I am not afraid to homeschool, after reading your page.
Reading this has made me feel like a weight had lifted and that I’m not alone and it’s OK for me to feel the way i do… Thank you so much
I can relate to most of these very HARD things and I really needed to read this today! Thank you! I keep telling myself just because it is hard and homeschooling literally brings me to tears some days doesn’t mean that its time to throw in the towel. I am sometimes afraid to talk to other people about how hard it is because I don’t want to be told that I should give up. I am not a quitter and I don’t want my kids to be quitters either.
I so needed this! And of course just had time to read thanks to movie night. Feeling like we are at a crossroads deciding whether to continue homeschooling or go public. We moved to a small town, and it has been a bit of an eye opener to what we “would like our kids childhood to look like.” So many decisions/factors. Sometimes it is so lonely! Grateful for your inspiration as always!