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I watched the other moms from the basketball team laugh about a joke I didn’t get. Something about the school counselor or someone who forgot to bring treats for the class party–again. It stings a little, being the outsider. We’re beings created to feel like we belong to a group of people. I love homeschooling, I’m not saying I want to give that up just to get the joke, but it’s worth noting that there are things people don’t tell you when you start homeschooling–the hard stuff no one wants to mention.
The hardest parts of homeschooling…
We homeschool mamas spend a lot of energy defending our choice. Just like bottle-feeding vs. breast-feeding or working vs. staying home or an entire list of other choices we make as human beings, we defend our choices because we obviously feel pretty strongly about them or we wouldn’t have made them. Sometimes though, in the midst of the defending, we start to sport the rose-colored glasses and spread the sugar to coat each and every aspect of our choice. We skip over the not-so-pretties because that casts a shadow and we don’t want shadows over things that are already items on the road-less-traveled list.
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We don’t talk about the “school club” of moms that we aren’t in–even when we’re friends with these women, there’s still a big difference in our daily lives which causes, well, differences.
We don’t talk about the heaviness that can come when it hits us that our children’s academic life is almost all our responsibility. That’s a lot to bear some days.
We don’t always share the self-doubt we feel because that would be admitting we don’t have it all figured out and if you’re homeschooling your kid shouldn’t you have a lot of this figured out?!
We don’t share the math struggles when we don’t understand a lesson so how the he** am I supposed to teach it to my child?! Or the tears over fact sheets or a writing lesson.
We don’t want to admit when we felt overwhelmed with it all so we declared a documentary day(s) and plopped the kids in front of Netflix for a marathon of “educational” shows.
We don’t talk about the isolated feelings that homeschool moms get because, let’s face it, we’re the minority and it can be hard to find other moms near us to hang out with. We also don’t want to share the amount of time we spend chatting with online homeschool friends because they do get it and it feels good to know people that do.
We don’t generally jump at the opportunity to tell others about the weird looks we get in the grocer’s at 1pm on Monday afternoon or the passive-aggressive comments that well-meaning family members can give or the fears or pressures or doubts we have because that’s the hard parts of homeschooling, and that doesn’t exactly recruit the troops over to Team Homeschool. But those things are there and they’re true and even though I don’t think we have to talk about them to everyone we meet, especially those already in the nay-sayer crowd, let’s at least be honest and admit that there are downsides to this homeschool gig.
Every choice we make as parents has pros and cons. Our challenge is to weigh them out and make good decisions based on the resources we have at decision time. For us, those pros outweigh the cons 25 to 1. We love this crazy life. Yes, I worry. Yes, I doubt myself. No, I’m not in the School Mom Club. But you know what? That’s ok. Because had I chosen differently, there would be worries and doubt too, just about different things.
Happy Monday, mamas. Own the decisions that you’ve made. Own it, live it, love it, or choose something else. Life let’s us change our minds, too.