It’s not that I hate homeschool. Oh wait. Yes it is.

by renegademama

 

Alright. I’m gonna let something outta the bag. I hate homeschooling. No, rephrase: I hate homeschooling at this particular moment of my life with the particular arrangement I’m facing.

Allow me to paint a picture for you.

It’s 8am. I have just dropped older kid off for school. We are now home. I have managed to feed the kids, get them dressed, have a cup of coffee and we are ready to start homeschooling. I excitedly tell Rocket “Okay, it’s school time!” There’s so much enthusiasm in my voice I make myself nauseous. But I want him to feel excited. He looks at me with disdain and BEGS me not to make him. He whines. I tell him “We’re gonna have fun!” His body contorts into a position that speaks his mind “I’d rather die than do homeschool with you, woman.”

“ROCKET. NOW.”

He reluctanctly rises. We go into the homeschool room. He’s dragging his toys. I make him leave his toys. He puts them down and kicks them. They knock something over. I get annoyed. Georgia is stomping with her standard frightening determination.

Georgia goes straight to the work table, climbs up the only chair Rocket will use and begins chucking things off the table. I move her, try to entertain her with one of the SEVENTY-FIVE FUCKING THOUSAND other toys in the room. She has no interest in them. That’s because she’s 20 months old. She must be with us. Near us. ON US. I know today is going to be like every other homeschool day – HELL.

We sit down. He rolls his eyes. We get the books out. We work on our letters. Every step, every activity, every moment feels like dragging a loaded wheelbarrow through knee-deep mud in the pouring rain. He resists everything. The only thing he wants to do is science projects. We can only work in 5-minute intervals because he can’t focus longer than that on shit he doesn’t care about (if one of you tells me he has ADD I will in fact HUNT YOU DOWN).

And while he’s resisting, while he’s ignoring and flailing and daydreaming and fidgeting and selectively listening and zoning out…Georgia is going batshit crazy. She’s climbing up my lap and tearing things off the table. She’s scaling his chair. She’s biting his knee. She’s pulling the trash can on her head. She’s drawing on the dollhouse with permanent marker. And if I divert her? She’s screaming.

So I have this kid who would rather stab himself in the eye than do schoolwork and this toddler who would rather stab him in the eye too, and neither of them are budging and the moments are crawling and we’re making no progress and my patience is waning and I’m trying to keep a 6-year old engaged and a toddler away from him and not dead and I am failing on every front and putting out fires as they come. and BOOM! One minute I blow. I can’t fucking take it.

I walk out to breathe. I walk out to gather myself lest I run full-speed out of this damn house FOREVER and quite possibly, into oncoming traffic. But we’ve only got two hours because in two hours I have to leave for class or work and I’ve got papers to write and classes to prepare for or maybe a conference call and oh yeah, a shower to take. OMG it never ends. I have to do this. I don’t have time to do this. I don’t have TIME TO DO THIS.

And yet, I must do this. I committed to do this.

I think I made a mistake.

I’m not cut out for this homeschool thing. I think that’s the truth. I think I could do it if I weren’t in grad school and working, if I could do it in the afternoons when Georgia naps – if homeschool/home-making is all I did.

I feel like I failed my son. Like I made him a promise and broke it. Like I thought I could serve him well as his teacher but I just could not. And now I’ve wasted his time and mine and my heart is breaking, as usual, with that feeling of remorse for letting time pass and not quite cuttin’ it.

It’s breaking because I already miss it. And yet my GOD I won’t. We only have a couple months left. He’ll be going to regular school in the Fall. And I KNOW that as I drop him off each morning I will miss him, miss him hanging out, missing him by my side. Miss him.

But there is this thing I try to live by called “honesty” and sometimes it requires facing some facts about yourself. What I’m facing now is that I’m not a good homeschool mother.

In the interest of honesty, though, I gotta admit, there is one area I haven’t failed in. And that area is fun. We’ve gone to 10 plays together. We get discounted tickets through his charter school, and we haven’t missed one.

And so we’ve gone together, just he and I. And he sits on my lap through the whole thing and we watch theater and we laugh and I kiss his head and ruffle his unruly curls.

And I love the time I’ve had with my son. And I’ll never regret it. And someday I’ll accept that old saying, that old truth that feels like a copout until it fully sinks in, the honesty of it, the truth of it…that I did the best I could.

And maybe, inside, deep in his little soul, he knows it.

And he’ll remember moments like these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xo

  • Dee

    Here’s the thing I’ve found in the homeschooling community: no one wants to admit the downsides. I get it. HS is already marginalized, and who wants to call negative attention to it? I’m glad that when we homeschooled last year, I had my girlfriend, a veteran homeschooler, that I could bitch and moan to. She totally got it, and did not judge me. My kids are in public school this year b/c I knew I couldn’t handle homeschooling and being a student myself. I dealt w/ the same thing as you, having a Kindy kid and a toddler. We ended up keeping seatwork minimal b/c I got tired of the daily struggle while wrangling the smallest kiddo and homeschooling my older two as well. So, we did basic math and language arts, and he could go after that. We went on lots of field trips, belonged to a HS co-op, read constantly about weather and planets (his favorites), and did related experiments. Project based learning, and all that. And you know what? My now first grader is fine. He’s way beyond fine. His teacher is like, whatever you did, yes, continue to do that. BTW, my kids have totally romanticized HSing and only remember the good things. I have taken to calling the ’10-’11 school year “The Year That We Homeschooled” b/c of the way they talk about it. So yes, Rocket will definitely remember the tree climbing and hopefully, forget the knee biting. 😉

  • Eileen

    Oh Janelle, I had the same experiences as you and felt the same inadequacies as you and I was only homeschooling and only 1child! I made some profound discoveries though- during my short stint at homeschooling. Erin loved it! She too forgot all the threats and demands as I tried to get her to complete some work. But I think we were successful at re-setting Erin’s perception of learning. I learned she hated workbooks and stupid paper busywork and that she loved mud, gardening, water, weather, coins (math games), plays, farm day, hanging upside down and cooking. I hope I helped Erin see that learning is so NOT a pencil and paper! It’s fun and endless and fascinating. Maybe most importantly, Erin needed more time with me. I hope she learned that I was there. Because I seriously sucked at “homeschooling”.

    • Heather

      I suck at this, too. Mine is about to turn 7, and I hate the local public school; can’t bring myself to take her there. My husband won’t let us move closer to a Montessori school, and we can’t afford it, anyway. But this homeschooling thing SUCKS. I can’t believe she’s MY daughter. I was a nice little kid. My girl is MEAN; she bucks against any and everything I say and do. Never cooperates but always makes things WAY harder than they ever need to be. I’ve only done one month so far this year. I feel like giving up. This is SO not fun, in any way, shape, or form. It makes us hate each other, or something. WHY?

  • Lisa

    Well, ya effin’ got me again. Good this time. I don’t judge (except for those prissy parents who always seem to have time and money for everything, I judge them!). I sometimes judge them anyways. But back to the point. I read halfway through this post then had to deal with my, single, active two-year-old while making dinner. You see she is hitting her two’s early and needs choices every two seconds and needs Mom to show her the world is ok even if she can’t figure it all out and wants a fresh art project every other hour and damn I am attachment parenting and wonder parenting and trying my best but there is SO much to do in life. Add to the fact we’re poor and trying to eat better foods (read: not laced in a pesticide straightjacket and non-GMO as much as possible) so this year we are spending hours and hours tending our baby seeds and gardening. Not excessively, just enough to hopefully get some real food out of it.

    Then there’s the chores and the dog and the man who seems to need me almost as much as she does, haha. Wait, that’s not funny. He has two jobs and a tired complex and it always falls on me.

    And I thought through our life and our schedule and wondered how ever, EVER we might find time to parent two (or three) or actually ever get back to school or get my damn career back on track (working on it!) like you do. How in the world? Home schooling a wonderful young man would just be too much, for me. I’m trying to re-study in my field not even a full curriculum at this point, and I can’t make it happen more than 1 or 2x a week. If I tried to home-school, even if he was a star pupil, I just couldn’t see finding the TIME.

    So please, do not see this as a failure. I know you don’t. He will find opportunities in the fall, and all you have taught him, will just be the base for where he will go next.

    You will continue to teach him, every day, with the love you have in your heart. It doesn’t have to be at the (Georgia-destroyed) lesson table. It can be in every moment you have with him whether it’s “school” or not!!

  • Rebekah C

    The scene you described is why I ended up choosing not to home school and I’m not a student myself. I love my children with every part of myself and there are a hundred reasons why I think regular school needs serious overhauling or just plain sucks. However, I think that trying to handle it is beyond my limitations. While I think that kind of learning environment is ideal the reality is that no, not every parent can do it *well*. There is more to teaching a child than knowing the information and loving the child. And when dealing with the constant needs of two other small children, I felt that my oldest would get more frustration and less honest to god learning.

    The only other option for us was an un-schooling approach and while I love the concepts, it is too unstructured for me. I didn’t feel like I could offer them the kind of well rounded experiences necessary to make un-schooling really work.

    I was home schooled and I also have tutored and worked in public school. It was very hard for me to admit at that home schooling wasn’t something I could handle (at least not right now). But you’re completely right about living honestly. And I think your children will thank you for it, someday.

  • shauna

    Oh Girl, I was a nanny for years (afetr dropping out of college as an ED major) and when it was time for homework, I wanted to KILL! NO patience, and tho I hate the idea of Gideon (and maybe Joshua- we haven’t fully decided on the name yet) being sent out into LAUSD world, I don’t know if I can DO it!! I’m too control freaky and weird.

    PLEASE when you get a chance, tho, watch the TED talk I posted on my wall a few days ago (Scholl Kills Creativity)- at least until the “ballet” part where the wise school official, instead of placing kid on drugs for ADD, sees past it so it changes the world, etc…

    Keep going. It really is one day at a time, or one 5 minute episode. And if you go outside, according to sopmething I read, it makes learning a milllion times easier, or at least something you’ll all remember forever. XO

  • Julia

    amen. kids are different at home and with their parents then they are at school with their teachers. they have different expectations, fears, security blankets. and they know for a fact that you won’t kill them. even if they do their worst. The teacher – the kids are never completely sure if they might push them over the edge so they hold some stuff back. my two cents on learning at home is that it has to fit better with how kids are at home than how they would be a school. no desks, no paper, no #2 pencils. spell in shaving cream in the tub. make recipes (cut them in half or double them so the kid gets some math in too) lay out all the hotwheels cars. sort them count them add and subtract them. stuff like that. just do what you normally do at home but sneak in the learning. good luck and give yourself a break what you’re doing is unselfish and hard.

  • Shan

    Sweet, funny heartbreak. You are doing so much. Hugs.

  • Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    One thing I quickly learned as a full time working mama is that stay at home mamas have incredibly complicated, tough lives. Teaching children is absolutely challenging and even more so when they’re your own children and you have a different relationship than your child would have with a teacher. I think it’s incredible you tried homeschooling, given all the other things you have going on in your life and it’s even more incredible that you knew when your family needed to change directions. Takes a lot of courage to do the things you’ve done – I bet your kids grow up knowing how hard you work to make their lives better.

  • Lucy

    Thanks for your honesty. I fully intended to homeschool my three. But I knew in my heart I wasn’t cut out for it. I still ahve mixed feelings about school, as do they, but I know my sanity would not survive homeschooling the way I would want to do it (and I’m a trained teacher!!) I need to do my creative work more than I need to drive myself mad trying to give them a perfect childhood.

    This is the FIRST post I have EVER read by a home schooler that tells it like it is – it’s how I suspected it would be for me – but everyone always denies it.

  • ButterflyPrincess

    Hey there, I’ll start off by saying I was seventeen and newlywed and pregnant when my husband and I started praying about homeschooling or not. We did choose to raise our children at home and educate them ourselves. Now I have four children, one is starting fifth grade one is starting third one is preschooling and one is a two year old. I also have nursed all four still nursing the youngest. Two years ago we went thru a flood and lost almost everything. One year I literally had to scream over my third child to teach my older two bc he was constantly cryIng or in trouble. He is still my hardest child always destroying something just to entertain himself not bc he is angry or anything. I love being with my children every day but not 24/7! I miss the breaks I used to get when I took my kids to church on Wednesday’s. And I do think I need thAt again. I hate feeling like a referee, I am constantly ” do this” do that.. Stop, quit , clean up that .. No … No … No!! I hate all the responsibility. But love it when I realize I’ve taught my children everything they know. Wow! I realize not every one can do it. I don’t go to school I teach school! I don’t go to work my work is with my children and it is a full time job I don’t get money for. We are broke all the time. When I try tO make $ I hurt my back and feel like a failure. My depression comes and goes and I struggle to function sometimes. My children sometimes take advantage of it and I get angry. And the scary mom comes out. Then I cry for two weeks that I’m a horrible mom. Then I get over it and do my best to control my emotions. I pray a lot and I do believe if you don’t have Jesus reassuring you that this is what is His will for you and your children then you will “fail”. He reassures me that it is His way right now. I still need to figure out a lot I am not good time manager. I hate being bossy but I have to, all the time. I’m not a born leader. But now I am forced to be. I love some things Nd hate others.

  • carlisle

    I’ve skimmed a couple of crunchy parenting blogs, mostly looking for information on natural birth and breastfeeding and how to be gender neutral without being a complete fucking nutjob, which is REALLY hard to find… And they are all SO PRO-HOMESCHOOLING.

    Which I don’t get. I feel like no one remembers the home-school kids when they were kids, and that they never met adults who were home-schooled. Because I know every person I met who has been home-schooled their whole life is FUCKING WEIRD. Like, there’s something off with them.

    But maybe we just never clicked, for some reason or other, and I’m just the asshole here. But it could also be because the only home-schooled kids I met were taught by religious parents, and I was very much all about the secular side of things, and both parties were extremely judgmental of one another.

    And, I could just be holding a grudge against my home-schooled neighbor in junior high who I had a HUGE crush on, but I was an extremely aggressive flirt with a foul mouth and stories of booze, which he didn’t realize at first. He was looking for a chill, demure, girl-next-door-type. Which I guess he mistook me for early on, since I WAS the girl next door.

    • Dotcom

      Yes, every person I knew who was a homeschooler was “fucking weird,” too, when I was growing up. Then I ended up meeting children of ages from my parenting group who were well adjusted and happy.

      It really depends on the reason the person is homeschooled and how their parents tackle it. When it was first legalized in the 90s, most families who did it were trying to keep their children from being exposed to the “evil” outside world. The fact is THOSE kids are going to be fucking weird regardless, but the fact their parents were in positions to prevent them from being on their own and formaing their own identities and ideas made it worse.

      These were the homeschoolers I knew as a kid, and probably a lot of the ones you knew as well. It was why I was very anti-homeschooling for a long time. Then I met my group of crunch moms. They are very bright ladies. Many of them are actually ex-teachers. They do a very good job exposing their kids to many situations and types of people, and it shows. Their kids are awesome.

      I ended up joining them after my daughter’s first year preschool teacher warned us to be careful where she went to school (kiddo was 3, reading on a first-grade level, and counting to 100 on her own). The second year preschool teacher was awful and my daughter was very bored.

      She is a poster child for homeschooling. I don’t say this because I’m biased. My daughter is friendly, funny, and outgoing. She has friends in public, private, and homeschool. The thing I’m coming to realize though is while homeschooling is wonderful for children, it’s very hard on parents—especially as the kids get older and their needs to be with peers and do more complex activities grows.

      First, it’s very important to understand homeschooling is a *full time* job—especially the older a child grows. It is very easy to slack or procrastinate but the more you do it the faster you get behind. I just witnessed this happen to a friend who let her life go in 40 different directions (no, most people can’t homeschool your multiple children, go back to college, get pregnant, and lead a coop all at once—something will have to give).

      Second, it is imperative to know a good community—preferably with people who *do* have teaching experience to offer advice and support (and playdates—great for the kids and the parents).

      Third, it’s hard to juggle a lot. It’s not impossible, but the problem with homeschooling is it’s very easy to find too many activities outside the house. This can be hard if you also want to have personal goals beyond stereotypical stay-at-home parent goals.

      I’ve yet to meet too many moms in my group who actually have careers beyond teaching (I know a few who are awesome at balancing that and their kids’ educations).

      So while I love our little community and this connection with my daughter (she’s doing so well), we will be phasing into an education at a private or we’ll move to a public we like. I love homeschooling, but I miss having a career and don’t want to become a stay-at-homer who is prone to falling into deep depression when my kid grows up (hated seeing this happen to my MIL and grandmothers).

    • Moi

      I LOVE the brutal honesty of this post. It’s so true! We’ve homeschooled our kids their whole lives, but this year, my daughter (12) is finally doing a partial enrollment for the “fun” stuff. She’s ready for it. My two (thank god i only had 2!) love learning, and thank goodness most of their memories are the GOOD ones.

      We’re not religious, we just didn’t want our kids to HATE learning. We wanted them to learn by their own interests, and they’re doing well. But yeah, i fantasize about running away. HS is tough as balls, and i can’t wait to get to the end of it. At one point my daughter will be totally in PS but my youngest (11) will need a little longer before he transitions to the dark side (haha, j/k).

      Mine have been in many classes with other kids–non-H.S.– like dancing, karate, zoo classes, etc. So they seem like normal kids except they’re excited about their lives and not stressed. THAT’s about the only success i recognize as my own. Happiness is the true measure of success, and to find meaning and purpose in your everyday life. And i agree– H.S. is TOUGH on the parents. It’s not just a full-time job, it’s an around the clock job. Damn! is there an end to this?! I’d smoke pot if it was legal in this state, just to get through the day w/out losing my cool.

      Seriously. There’s got to be a way to cope with each and every damn day you school the kids!! I’d drink vodka in the morning but it only makes me tired. There has to be a better way, but you just learn that there’s nothing else you can do besides endure the endless stress of HSing–

      THAT, & force your significant other to support you and GIVE YOU A BREAK WHEN HE GETS HOME!! My husband becomes a single dad when he gets home. I put on my earphones & music and say to the kids. “I’m not here. i’m off for the day. GO ASK YOUR DAD!!” (AKA–FUCK OFF!)

      Thanks again for not hiding your humanity. I needed to find another human who’s brave enough to be honest. Not too many are. 🙂

  • Trish

    Lol, homeschooling isn’t for everyone. I plan on homeschooling my 3 and have days like the one you mentioned. Okay, like 4 of them a week. We haven’t even started ‘officially’ homeschooling, either. I’m still in the idealized Brady bunch phase planning out pre-k activities, play-dates, field trips and lesson. I figure if I can manage through the end of KG on #1, I will carry on. If it’s not working out I’ll send him in. Unlike you, however, I am currently NOT working and not going to school. Every day is an extension of grace, though. We’ve made it through by the skin of our teeth so far and I’ve found every way I possibly can to hustle extra cash while I am at home. Honestly, I loathed the idea of being a SAHM but here I am, so I figure if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna DO it. So until further notice I will try it. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s called parenting-just gotta do your best, then wing it 😉

  • Martha

    I’m a homeschooler: a 10 and 7 year old. This is my fourth year and every day, I want to quit. It’s exhausting and I have kids that will hate me and need counseling one day. We had horrible problems in the school system when my son was in preschool and kindergarten. I was at meetings all the time. My son has allergies, so I had to bake for him for every friggin’ snack situation under the sun (I got better at that). We are lonely, we are frustrated, BUT…. My son has focus problems…big ones. I had to reteach everything to him anyway.
    The upside is that I can reteach third grade stuff to my 10 year old. I can give more complicated chapter books to my 7 year old to study (he’s advanced). I can tutor them. I can also pack up and go out of town whenever I want and not worry about school giving us grief. I can do other things other than be called by the school for yet another IEP meeting that always brought me to tears and caused me to take my husband’s xanax just to get through it as they again told me how inept my son was. So, I totally get how it is a pain in the butt to homeschool, but the alternative for me was worse.

    I think everybody is just doing the best they can. I really enjoyed the blog.

    • Cristina

      The reason is that your kids are WAY underaverage. Sorry to brag but, My child plays guitar and piano, plays soccer and baseball, and he can also solve a rubik’s cube in under 40 seconds. If you have kids like yours behave, send em to school, if not, do what I did.

      • renegademama

        OMG a Rubik’s cube?! You must be SO proud! Mensa candidate!

        Jack Daniels.

        • shelly ulman

          See this is why people hate homeschoolers!!! I have 7 children and the oldest two LOVE homeschooling but I don’t know why!!! I am the scary mom quite often!!! I HATE Homeschooling there I said it! Don’t tell my friends they will kill me!!! I realized early on that humans have tunnel vision and they think that everyone’s experience is the same as theirs!!! LOL!!! I would rather clean my house watch t.v. and scrapbook!! then when they get home I am the greatest mom every because then we would go to the ymca and baseball!!! BUT NOOOOOO I don’t even have energy by dinner to go anywhere it is time to get ready for bed!!!! I still don’t see why they like it, I guess it is all they know and when they meet other high-schoolers in public school they are so wrapped up in their selves it is hard for my kids!! anyway do what is best for you and your kids will be great!!! don’t listen to braggers who make me hate it more!!!! my oldest two are perfect my younger ones give me a run for my money!!!! it is pure chaos!!!

  • Heidi

    Thank you. Your story here has made my day….no, my month. We have relocated to Reykjavik for sabbatical and I have taken on homeschooling my 5 year old daughter. Seems every other day one or both of us wants to cry. I am worried on bas days that I will put her off school entirely 😉 Deep breath, begin again. When it is good it is fantastical but man…glad we go back to school in fall.

  • Vicki

    I know this post was from last year, but I wanted to comment. This is my second year homeschooling and I have had my share of struggles. My daughter is in kindergarten and my son is in grade one. My son also has Aspergers and adha, so we have a tremendous amount of frustration in a day. There have been many times I wanted to give up, but then I think of the alternative. Putting him into a system that has little time to address his frustrations and then puts him into a special program that then makes him feel like he doesn’t belong (embarrassment). He loves socializing, but doesn’t always handle himself right and has been bullied because of it. Anyways, I look at that and I think my struggles are pretty little when it comes to his education. I am now trying to be less hard are myself. I found that once I became more relaxed and found the system that works for him. It was good. Now we may not get as much done as other kids in his grade, we are still working hard. For my son, I give him work to do and the instructions, then I leave him to do it. He likes having the control. And he doesn’t get a brake until he is done. So whether he is messing around or not, it doesn’t matter because he has to stay at the table until it is done. Plus, without me over his shoulder, there is no one there to entertain or complain to. Then after his break, that is when we do his corrections. We don’t do his corrections right after because he sees it as, “I have just worked do hard on getting this done, and now you are telling me I have to re-do it.” Well maybe thus helps or maybe doesn’t, but I wish you luck. Everyones situation is different.

  • Micky

    Old post, I know. But, yeah. I don’t homeschool my kids, but I try to do a curriculum during the summer to avoid the learning loss. And, yeah, I absolutely hate it. I used to frequent a mommy board, and there were many avid homeschoolers, and I also noticed the bit about no one to admitting to the downsides, the negatives in their children, etc etc. When I would push or complain about my own efforts, it started to become clear to me that their answers were, well, don’t make him do math, make it a game, go outside, cook something– as if you learn algebra by counting the daisies or measuring the flour for a cake. I don’t know. I’m not impressed by what I hear from homeschooling parents. There seems to be a lot of capitulating and a lack of pushing and, as I work with my kids this summer, that temptation to just say EFF IT is definitely there. I’m sure there are some parents who are amazing with it. But, I’m skeptical in general.

  • Nimbus

    I love your blog! And I just wanted to say that unschooling works really well for us 🙂

  • Mama K

    I feel the frustration in your words. It sounds to me like deschooling and then free learning would make for a much happier Mama, son, daughter and family in general <3 If you ever need to talk, feel free to ask away!

  • Amy

    This is why we unschool. No seat learning, no resistance, no fighting. We’ve been doing it for 10 years and they’ve learned so much. All the fun and connecting stuff without forcing anything. I realize this is an old post, but if it draws other homeschoolers who are looking for a new way — unschooling.

  • grace

    I agree with you, im being homeschooled now and you know what i hate homeschool. i regret every word i ever said to support homeschool. its hard to say im homeschooled to someone.

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  • June

    I googled- I hate homeschool- been one of the days! Love your post and the blog. Very refreshing not have to suffer the bloggers who “LOVE” homeschool and paint the picture of bliss and harmony. We live in a small village in Mexico and the public school is simply not an option, homeschooling is it…unless we return to the States. Just wanted to say thanks for the post. Gave me much relief from feeling like a complete failure. BTW-30 minutes after throwing up my arms and storming out, yelling, “You’re on your own! Do the work or not, I don’t give a crap!” Yes, I swore, more proof I’m a terrible mom… He is sitting at the table writing about his favorite book.

  • Kelli S

    Janelle, please look into unschooling. You are the perfect person for this. Seems like hippie-feelgood-bullshit, but it put a new perspective on EVERYTHING for me. And no, it’s not perfect, either, but it is eye-opening. And if not, I’d love to know your opinion of it!

  • shevrae

    Just started year 8 of homeschooling – four girls 12 (advanced – jr high level), 8 (struggling learner probably around 2nd grade level), 6 (bright but STUBBORN), and 4 (into everything ALL THE TIME). I used to love it, now I I wish everyday I could quit. My house is too chaotic for anyone to focus, time to “take care of myself” is non-existent, it feels like all I do is yell and complain. It was fun when my younger girls could just sponge off the older one, but now they need individual instruction on things like math and reading and it’s hard to teach at 3 different levels every day. I’m so afraid I’m ruining my relationship with my kids.

  • Misty Van Staaveren

    We are considering sending my son back to school. We started homeschooling, transitioned into unschooling after hsing was proving unsuccessful, and now it has turned into 12 hours a day in front of Youtube Minecraft. He is smart, but extremely unmotivated. Everything is a fight. And the more he sits in front of the tv, the harder it’s getting to get him to do stuff. He won’t even go to the arcade. He is lazy and not a good team player in soccer. We joined a hs co-op that turned out to be a disaster and these are not the type of children I prefer he is modeled by. I think public school is totally the way for us, even though I think it stinks, and I really don’t like Common Core. But how do I send him back? He’s so resistant to it, for one, and for two school already started. Do I start him in the middle of the year or wait for next year?

  • joe

    Im a 15yr old boy from New Zealand and I absolutly HATE HOMESCHOOLING!
    I am actually part of a school called Correspondence-School were they send me work then I do it and send it back for reviewing and answering. But I do it from home and I hate were I live. I live on a farm but I hate it..30min drive to the nearest town and I dont have many friends exept 3 1.30 hour drive away in thames. I cant motivate myself because theres not much to look foward 2 the next day. I just want to get into a trade like building as I enjoy that type of stuff.although in saying that my#1 dream was to do computer programming as 2 make video games (my favoutrite hobby other than friends). I fell like my life is over because I get depressed almost everyday.

    • Lia

      Joe – it is wonderful that you know what you are most interested in. Focus on your goals. If building is what you are most passionate about, then start doing it. You can watch YouTube videos about it and find out about upcoming shows or communities who focus on this. The secret to a meaningful life is to choose something you love, and do it with all of your heart and soul. Become a master in it. Then specialize, and become a master at your specialty. Open a business, perhaps advertise online and have a regular income that will allow you to live wherever you like. Your life is a gift that most kids don’t have…you have the gift of ‘free time’ You have the chance to fill it with something wonderful. Use your free time to learn as much as you can. Hone your skills and develop your talents. I wish you the best on your journey!

  • Christina

    I just found you today and cried all the way through “It’s Not That I Hate Homeschool”. I hate, yet am so badly drawn to, all the perfect homeschooler blogs. Damn it, who are these perfect kids smiling in all the pictures? My boys are cute but they pretty much hate most aspects of homeschool…and that makes me feel like a failure. I am so thankful to have found your blog, now I know the web is not totally full of perfect princess homeschool mommy bloggers. There are people like me out there! BTW I live in the Central Valley…I read you used to…I wonder if we ever met or passed by each other….I bet we would have been friends. Thank you for your honesty and wisdom! Rock on Momma!

  • KeKe

    This blog is refreshingly honest. I am homeschooling a 1st grader and have a preschooler as well. In my experience, it’s very easy for homeschooling to take over life (education above marriage, finances, sanity, self-care, housework, healthy cooking, fitness, work, etc). Kudos to the unique families that can balance this monumental task while providing the necessary social opportunities and proper education. After year one, I can see the benefits of homeschooling but they are not *so much greater* than public school to justify the rest of our lives falling apart. When I speak of this with fellow homeschoolers I get the same tired advice: Cultivate an unschooling mindset, or hire help. Yes, I will hire help in the form of public school. It will be awesome to have someone else arranging curriculum and social plans for me, for “free”. =)

  • Lisa

    I just gotta say I love your post. It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only homeschooling mom that feels like running out the door screaming! I have a 3rd grade girl, a 1st grade boy, a 4 year old boy who isn’t even in school yet telling me he hates school days, and a 10 month old baby girl who needs constant attention. This school year has just started and I’m already sick of it. I try to make it fun and keep it upbeat, but you can’t BS a BSer and kids know work when they see it, no matter how fun you try to make it. I wish someone would make a homeschooling video game that taught everything I need to teach my kids. I’d buy it in a heartbeat! Lol!

  • rebecca

    thank you so much – i needed to hear this – i have 2 special needs kids
    i tried to homeschool them and remodel a house. Oppositional defiance and Aspergers are a challenge in and of themselves, let alone while a house is being torn apart literally (and im the one putting it back together).

  • Alexis

    This is fabulous! Lol! I’m going into my second year homeschooling my two children. I don’t think it matters if you just homeschool and don’t work. It doesn’t matter because kids still don’t want to do work. I’m definitely one of the scary mothers. My 6 yr old son is advanced and gets bored easily with his work but my 10 yr old is way behind. I think she’s dyslexic. I do the best I can to teach her how to read and spell. Patiently as possible but after a year of drilling phonics and reading daily, she still gets stumped on simple 2 and 3 letter words and I go nuclear and we both end up crying. When she tries to write a story on her own, it takes a naval cryptologist to decipher it. Being a teacher was the last thing I ever wanted to do but I went through the ringer with public schools and simply can’t afford private. I pray. I pray every single day!! Lol!! How many times have I called my husband in a fit of insanity and quit?! Too many to count! Although, all I have to do is take a trip down memory lane and the reality of the school system to suck it up and try again. I go crazy and cry. Sometimes a lot. We are part of a homeschool group and all the mothers act as if everything just flows so nicely so I’m way too intimidated and embarrassed to really express my difficulties with it all. The group is good for get togethers for my kids to have friends and see familiar faces but that’s about it. All of those women have 7-9 kids and act as if its all just a breeze and perfect. And here I sit with two kids and losing it. Its worth it but it certainly is a serious endeavor with no room for selfishness of any kind. I know its making me a better person but its very hard. So very hard. My kids love it though. Even with the bat shit crazy teacher/ mom.

  • Kittens

    Been at this for 4 years now. I love and hate homeschooling. I *enjoy* educating my child 9 out of 10 days. At this point, we mesh well, the kid is a fast learner, and I think the biggest issue is I wear myself out and need more to do on my own outside our house. I’m considering getting a part-time job at this point on weekends or nights just for more adult stimulation (and extra income is never a bad thing).

    The problem is I am quickly becoming annoyed with other families in my homeschooling community. It’s not the kids. Most of the kids are actually decent little people (so far). The problem is the parents.

    First the majority are usually ultra religious people who are often sexist, homophobic and racist (not our bag).

    But then those who aren’t are not perfect, either.

    I’ve met a number of people who completely neglect their kids’ education—I’m sorry…unless, your kid is special needs (and at which point you need to get assistance) they should be reading by ten! Sometimes it’s a bad circumstance rather than the parent being lazy/neglectful/or over idyllic about unschooling. A bad year can happen and regardless of where the child is going to school, they can have a stall in their education. However, when it’s *years* that’s just plan bad parenting. Children *need* education.

    Then there is the other extreme. That is mothers who have *no existence* beyond homeschooling and expect everyone to be clones of them. Right now someone I knew has started a click. We used to have fun. Now it’s about everyone doing the same thing regardless of whether it is fair to their children or spouses—and it doesn’t matter how expensive it is. Holy enmeshment, Batman!

    Then there are the parents who are child abusers/creepy control freaks who homeschool to hide this or further control their kids. They are not the majority, but they are hard not to run into if you are in a homeschool community. It’s horrible, because their kids will likely never get any intervention and they don’t have the 8 hour break that children in schools get from their abusive/controlling parents most of the year.

    This has been emotionally exhausting to be around. Yes, these kinds of people exist in other school settings, of course, but it’s a lot easier to be stuck around them a lot if you homeschool.

    Don’t get me wrong. Not every homeschool family is dysfunctional. I have met some well-balanced homeschooling ladies. But that is about 5 people out of a group of 75.

    I’m at the point of staying away from most of our local homeschool groups because of this. Some of their dysfunctional baggage has spilled into our lives, and I’m doing cleanup duty for my child and myself. I’m looking for better ways to meet other families for my and my child’s sake, and I’m finding other ways to balance my time.

    There are loads of studies that say stay-at-home moms are super prone to depression…and we homeschoolers are kind of like SAHMs X 10. We deserve self care and identity beyond our kids—and we should do that also to be good role models as well.

  • Rita

    i homeschooled 3 kids and never liked it ( I did like being with my kids). but was forced to do it by my husband and church pressure. Now that my kids are older, I think they are suffering due to it. They do not know how to study hard and take challenging test. I think in the primary grades it went well, but would never do it past then. Goodluck!

  • Corinda

    Oh good lord my tears. The real tears I’m shedding because i dont feel like a horrible mom for fucking hating homeschooling. You described everything I just went thru TODAY better than I could have described it.