Some days, I’m not sure that I can do this homeschooling thing. Some days, I want to quit.
Homeschooling is really, really hard. It might not look hard when you are browsing curriculum catalogs or listening to a veteran homeschool mom on a podcast. But just about any homeschool mom has had the moment—the moment when the task of homeschooling is so overwhelming that she wants to quit entirely. I’ve had that moment. I’ve had many (hundreds?) of those moments. But before you give up homeschooling, consider the following.
Take time to remember why you are homeschooling in the first place.
There are a lot of different reasons why families choose to homeschool their children. Some of you may be homeschooling right now in order to give your children stability in this uncertain time. Some of you may be homeschooling because of health reasons. Or some of you might be homeschooling because of dissatisfaction with the government school systems. Your choice to homeschool was a brave one, and more than likely, it’s still the best choice you could have made.
When I am feeling discouraged about homeschooling, I often think back to why my husband and I decided to start homeschooling four years ago. We had some great schooling options at the time, but my husband and I chose homeschooling because we felt that homeschooling would give us the best opportunity to instill in our children a biblical worldview. We still feel that way. So whenever I feel like giving up, I encourage myself with the fact that the big thing I am doing—instilling in my children a biblical worldview—is really, really worth doing.
Take time to remember the end goal of homeschooling.
I think homeschooling is a lot like exercising. The individual workouts can be brutal. How many of us really want to do those last two minutes on the treadmill? I know I definitely don’t. My whole body screams in protest. But I run those last two minutes because I know that in the end, the hard work will be worth it. My body will grow stronger.
It’s that way with homeschooling too. Individual days can get really discouraging. Like the day not too long ago when one of my children cried her way through her science test. Or the day when we spent way too long struggling through a math page. Days like those can make us feel like failures. They can make us feel completely inadequate for the task of homeschooling. They can make us want to quit. But we endure those rough homeschooling moments because homeschooling is worth it. Our children are getting the best education that we can give them.
Take time to count the homeschooling wins.
Even in the rough days, there are some bright spots. We just tend to focus so much on the bad moments that we overlook the good ones. For example, on the day my child cried through her science test, that same child took the initiative to do an extra, unassigned math page to be “extra prepared” for an upcoming test. That was definitely a big win. And that day when we spent a very long time struggling through math? There was a big win on that day too—my reluctant reader really got into her reading lesson that day and didn’t want to stop.
There may be a lot of homeschool wins in your home that you have been overlooking. Take the time to count them up. Homeschooling is probably going a lot better than you think!
Take time when considering if you need to make adjustments to your homeschool.
This step is last for a reason. Some homeschoolers, when going through a time of discouragement, will try to make dramatic changes in their homeschool. They will buy an entirely new curriculum if they feel like their current choice isn’t working. That “fix” doesn’t usually end up really fixing the problem, and it can cause a lot of instability in your homeschool.
Small adjustments to your homeschool can often make a big difference. For example, I have one child who is very easily distracted by others. So a few weeks ago, I started having her do her school in a separate (but adjacent) room from my other two children. She can focus better, and her schoolwork has improved. Another adjustment we made this year was with our routine. My children prefer to do their favorite subjects first and leave the hard ones for late in the day. This year, my husband and I encouraged them to tackle the hard courses first thing in the day while their minds are the freshest. That simple change in routine has helped them do better in those challenging subjects and has helped us finish our homeschool day earlier. It was definitely a win-win!
A word of encouragement…
If you are homeschooling for the very first time this year, take heart. It does get better! The first year of homeschooling is extra challenging because both you and your children are learning how to make homeschooling work for your family. If you are feeling really discouraged and need some help navigating these first few months, please consider reaching out to your local Homeworks consultant. Chances are, she’s had some of the very same challenges, and she stands ready to help you.
Finally, I want to share one of my favorite verses that helps me when I am feeling discouraged about homeschooling or a myriad of other things.
1 Thessalonians 5:24: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
The Lord will be faithful to you, and He will help you with this very important and very wonderful task of homeschooling your children.
Thanks for the tips Megan. I am also a homeschool mom of my 5th grade. This helped me a lot.