Have you ever felt the untameable feeling that you should just give up on homeschooling your kids? Maybe it’s the frustration from always trying to get your kids to do their math? Mixed with exhaustion, and guilt about how you should be doing more for them? All these feelings have mixed together to make a cocktail of negative feelings about giving up on your homeschool. So, should you quit homeschooling? Or should you investigate further to see what the deeper issue is? And how to help it? Let’s find out.
Remember, homeschooling can be a challenge.
Let’s not sugar coat it. While it’s true that anyone can homeschool, the fact is that it still can be an exhausting venture. One that will drain you, while simultaneously filling you up. There’s really nothing like it. Sometimes homeschool parents will look at all they have to accomplish in a day and think ‘Why? Why am I torturing myself with all this extra work?’ So, why are you doing it? Should you quit homeschooling? Let’s investigate further.
Should you quit homeschooling? 5 questions to identify.
It’s important to ask yourself a series of questions when contemplating whether or not to give up on homeschooling.
Question 1: Is this still benefiting my family?
Despite the tough days, is this still the best education plan for your family?
Question 2: Are you just facing some bad days?
Our minds like to focus on the negative. Are you dwelling on the tough times more than the good? Dwelling on the negative can lead you to believe that things are worse than they actually are. Are they just experiencing some bad homeschool days? Or is your whole homeschooling system actually not working for your family?
Question 3: Are your kids still benefiting from homeschool?
Think about your kids, are they thriving off of their home learning plan? Or are they struggling with it? Don’t just think about the bad days and how your children did on those days. You need to also remember the good days, and how your children thrive during those times. Let me ask you again, are your kids still benefiting from homeschool?
Question 4: Do you want to make this work?
You can’t mess with a determined parent. Are you still determined to educate your kids at home? Then those feelings of wanting to quit homeschooling are temporary. And aren’t aligned with what you really do think is best for your family.
Question 5: Are your kids learning?
Chances are that’s a yes. Homeschooled children learn in such unique ways. Because they have the opportunity to learn the way that they need to. While not being rushed to master concepts in a timeline that isn’t their own. Are your kids learning?
If you answered yes to most or all of the questions, (or even just one of these questions) then I’d say that you’re on the right track. We all struggle sometimes with homeschooling and just parenting in general. Occasionally, we may feel the intense feelings of wanting to give up.
Despite the overwhelm, are you determined to make homeschooling work? Yes? Then let’s take a look at some things you need to do to get back in the right mind-set for homeschooling.
You need to: Remember your reason why.
Why are you homeschooling? What’s the reason behind the decision to take on such a huge challenge? Is it perhaps the desire to provide your child with a better education? Or maybe your child needs a little more one on one education time? Are you keeping your child home due to the pandemic? Or maybe school anxiety has become too overwhelming for them? Whatever your why is, it’s valid and it matters. Year ago, when I first started homeschooling my kids, I remember someone telling me that I was doing it because I was being selfish. Selfish? How? I took time to investigate those claims. And the more I thought about it, the more bitter I became about their response. They believed that I wanted more time with my kids, therefore I was being selfish by keeping them home with me. I remember those accusations leaving me utterly overwhelmed. Could I be selfish for making this choice? I let their idea of what my ‘why’ was, interfere with my actual reason why.
I look back on those claims now and shake my head. Homeschooling because you’re selfish with your child’s time? Come on! That’s not even slightly realistic. Homeschooling parents are far from selfish. On the contrary, homeschooling parents are the ones that are giving up their free time, and so much more. Homeschooling parent have to learn how to balance their children’s education, parenting, home life, relationships, social lives, and work. That’s not selfish. That’s strength. Dwelling on the words of someone with a negative opinion will only bring you down and cause you to doubt your decisions. Finding your why is important, but equally important is not allowing other people to distract you with their unrealistic ideas of why they think you are homeschooling.
Let’s recap this point: Find your why, and don’t allow others to tell you what they think your why is.
You need to: Note your surroundings and circumstances.
Generally, the feelings of overwhelm and frustration when it comes to homeschooling stems from frustrations regarding your current circumstances and environment. Did you read the November Homeschooling Slump blog? If you didn’t, check it out here. There are certain times of the year when homeschool parents report feeling like they’re in a slump. A combination of the shorter days, prepping for the holidays, and the excitement of the new school year being gone, has led you to a slump. Occasionally, when you’re caught in a homeschooling slump you may feel like giving up on homeschool. Should you quit homeschooling? When you start to question if you should quit homeschooling, it’s really important to note your surroundings and circumstances.
Are you in a slump? Is your family experiencing a little bit of cabin fever from the shorter days and less activities? These can all lead to moments of questioning what you’re doing. It’s important to take a look at your surroundings and circumstances and remember that these things will pass, before deciding if you should quit homeschooling.
You need to: Identify why you’re feeling this way.
Once you’ve taken the time to properly observe your surroundings and circumstances, you can properly assess why you’re feeling this way. Do you genuinely not like homeschooling? Or are these feelings a result of that slump you’re in? Identifying why you’re experiencing these big feelings can be crucial in navigating your way through it.
You need to: Remember why you started in the first place.
Now that you know why you started homeschooling in the first place, dig deeper into it. Write it down. Grab a notebook. Then pencil in all the reasons you chose to homeschool your children. We can become so caught up between workbooks, grading, our children’s attitudes, and outside activities. That we lose sight of our initial joy for home-learning. That lack of joy leads us to thoughts like: ‘Should you quit homeschooling?’
You need to: Maybe get a new why?
Sometimes our lives change, our family situation changes, and our circumstances and surroundings change. Often times the greatest changes will be from our children. They’re constantly growing and changing into the people that they will become. Perhaps your reason for homeschooling is no longer valid. So adopt a new reason why. You will more than likely think of a new reason why in no time.
You need to: Set your biggest struggle subject aside for a week.
Yep, you read that right! Is your child struggling with Language Arts? Put it away for one week. In its place, add in something interest based for them instead. Watch how this simple reset can help your child refocus.
You need to: Chat with experienced homeschooling parents who have been where you are.
There will always be people that have gone before you. And there will always be someone who has gone through roughly the same experiences as you. Chatting with these experienced (veteran) homeschoolers can help when you’re feeling frustration and despair regarding your homeschool. Even if they don’t offer a huge mountain of advice. It can often help lift your spirits just by chatting with someone. So, don’t be afraid to reach out and talk with some veteran homeschoolers. Their wisdom may just be what you need to keep going.
You need to: Drop those comparisons.
Comparing yourself to another homeschool family will only cause a mountain of grief and frustration for yourself and your kids. Alternatively, comparing yourself to a family whose child is in traditional learning is just a bad idea. The point is: Don’t compare yourself or your family to any other family. Whether homeschooling or not. It’s a recipe for disaster. When you spend time focusing on how your homeschool should look like someone else’s. Or how your child needs to be learning the same concepts and at the same pace as another person’s child. You’re missing the whole point of homeschool. See, you and your family are unique. And, your homeschool reflects that. So, please don’t get caught up in the comparison game.
You need to: Change Your Homeschool Path.
Has your homeschool always been traditional? But now one of your learners seems to be benefiting from an unschooled learning method? It’s OK to change things up. Sometimes we get stuck in this idea that we must continue homeschooling the way we began. But it’s really important to remember that things change. If you feel that you need to change up your homeschool a little to better suit your learners, schedule or yourself. That is OK. Changing the plan doesn’t equal failing. Changing the plan can actually be good for your kids and yourself. If you’re finding that your child just isn’t thriving off of your current homeschooling methods, then experiment with other methods of learning and see what happens.
You need to: Stop Homeschooling.
Wait! Hold on! I don’t mean forever. I mean stop and take a break. No one likes the idea of falling behind when it comes to homeschool. We are all aiming for the spring weather when we can put the books on the shelves and run outside in the fresh spring flowers. Even so, you won’t fall drastically behind if you just take a week or two to reset. Often times when the homeschool mama is feeling like quitting, it’s because the homeschool mama is tired, drained and overworked. Taking a week off to take care of yourself will be beneficial for everyone. Let your kids play legos, or draw pictures while you spend some time reading a book. Taking these little breaks from the routine homeschool life can really help to regain your focus, and get you and your family back on learning track.
You need to: Connect with your children.
Do your children dread the moment you say “Time for Math!”? Have you put your responsibilities as a homeschool teacher above your natural parental tendencies? It’s really important to reconnect with your children especially if you’ve found that you have been forcing the homeschool teacher role more than your natural born parenting role. Take some time to just hang out with your kids, without the pressure of workbooks or TV’s/iPads distracting them or you. It’s important to take time to just be the family that you were before you became a homeschool family.
You need to: Ditch the schedule.
I have to say, one of the main reasons that homeschool parents begin to feel that they want to quit is because they’re holding themselves up to these crazy expectations and schedules. While routine is obviously beneficial for both your kids and yourself. Sometimes we can become too consumed by the schedule and plans. Homeschooling is supposed to be different from traditional education. That’s why it’s called home schooling. Your education can now evolve around your home life. And you don’t need to snap everyone into an intense schedule to be able to help your children learn. Check out this blog about scheduling your homeschool for some excellent ideas on how to have a great homeschool routine.
You need to: Find Joy in Learning again.
Do you remember that moment when your child learned something new? And you actually saw it click in their mind? You saw light fill their eyes, and you knew in that moment that this is why you wanted to homeschool your children. Because you wanted to help your children have those moments of pure learning bliss. Perhaps you used to take long walks in the rain when their school work was much less in the younger years. During those walks, you would chat about the water cycle. But now you are just too busy trying to make sure all the workbooks are completed. Just remember, workbooks aren’t the only form of education. Aim to find joy in learning with your children again.
Educating your kids is an enormous task. But such an important undertaking. Sometimes when something is a big deal and really important to us, we sometimes feel like we are failing. And therefore assume that we must quit what we are doing. The reality is, things that are important to us are often hard. If this were easy, everyone would do it. So, don’t assume that just because you’ve had some tough days you should automatically just give up. This task is large, but it’s worth it. So, should you quit homeschooling?
Don’t give up. Keep going.
Check out this amazing article by a veteran homeschool mama, Jennifer.