You guys know I love homeschooling. You know I love introducing it to people who are anxious to get started. You know I speak to audiences about the advantages and benefits of graduating from a home education program.
I just can’t say enough about it. Homeschooling is the bomb.
Unless you ask me what I don’t like about it. Which I don’t mind sharing, either. Because I never want you going around thinking, “What a liar. She said it was gonna be easy, and now my kid’s failing Algebra 2” and things like that.
It’s not fair for people to trick you into thinking homeschooling is all unicorns and rainbows. I need you to know it’s serious business, and it can be really, really hard. I should probably also tell you there might be days when you dream about the school bus and getting the house all to yourself. Sometimes, it can get so frustrating you even want to quit.
In case you think I’m joking, I’ve made a list of the things I hate about homeschooling. Well, strongly dislike. These aren’t deal-breakers obviously, but things I could seriously do without.
I’ve written this article so you’ll understand that when homeschooling (as with anything else), you learn to take the good with the bad. If this stuff bothers you a lot, they might be deal breakers for you. But, if you can look past them as I do, they don’t make a bit of difference compared to all the good you’re doing for your kids.
Hate Strongly Dislike About Homeschooling
People who pretend to be supportive but really aren’t
You know those friends and family members who smile politely and ask all the obligatory questions? They really don’t want to hear your answers. Because they’ve already made up their minds that you’re either crazy, or wrecking your kids lives, or both. I try not to waste my time on hypocrisy or negativity. It’s hard to avoid though.
People who ask if there is something wrong with my kids
Like those people who witness a meltdown in public (yours or your kids’) or who see your kids doing something sorta crazy or super-nerdy, and they can’t relate? They assume there is something terribly, terribly wrong because you’re not doing anything about it. Especially if you’re the kind of mom who doesn’t care about that kind of thing because you know your kids are fun and quirky and normal. So, you don’t even try to explain or change what’s happening, therefore they assume you’re really messed up.
Never getting to be alone in my own house
Over the last 20 or 30 years, there has always been somebody at home. And, when you leave the house, you’re usually all together. So, you personally never get any time in your own house, alone, to just do whatever in the heck you want, in your own house, because you can. I distinctly remember all the times this has actually happened in my house, by the way, which is exactly 2. Because I keep track.
Having to answer questions about homeschooling to total strangers just because they ask
Just because we’re doing something that makes people curious doesn’t mean we totally have to drop everything we’re doing. Sometimes we have babies in our arms or it’s at the very second we were just about to make a dash to the restroom. But we can’t always avoid making eye contact with people, or we’re just trying to be polite, and now we have to spend all that time pretending to be nice and telling them everything they want to know. That.
Wondering if people really want to “have coffee” or if they secretly just want to get free homeschooling information
Because you really want to have friends, but when you’ve been homeschooling a while, you start getting the impression that people only love you for what you know. And everybody knows how frugal homeschoolers are, but you simply don’t have time for “quick questions” all the time. Besides, you don’t even like coffee that much, and it’s not worth getting a free cup if it’s going to take 2 precious hours out of your day and you’re not even going to feel refreshed afterwards. It’s just hard to figure out if you’re really friends or if people are just using you to get free information they’re too cheap to pay for from people who actually give that kind of advice for a living.
Feeling like we have to look more perfect or sound more perfect in public because people are really judgmental
You know, because somebody might ask you or your kids a question, or might notice your kid has a bruise on his arm from falling off his scooter and that person might be your pediatrician and you’re afraid he might report you for neglect. Or other people might notice you’re out during the day when all the other kids in town are “in school” and your kids are not. So, you can never truly relax 100% because there’s always that person who’ll think something or say something or spread something that makes homeschoolers look bad, and you feel responsible for making sure that doesn’t happen.
Rarely getting anything for myself
They all take it. And there’s never any left. Even when I put my name on it and hide it aaaaallll the way in the back in the fridge. Because I’m the mom and they don’t care, and that’s the way the world goes ’round. And I’m not supposed to feel bad about it either. Okay, maybe this isn’t just about homeschooling.
Never being able to afford anything, and not being able to show my kids the world
I know people travel on the cheap but the truth is, there’s just never anything extra in the budget (plus, we run a business so we need to be in one place). Which makes me sad, because my kids want to see things and places, and I feel like a big old failure when I can’t provide it. They don’t ask for much, so this is actually a tough one for me. I wish I could’ve figured this one out years ago.
Never enough time to work on marriage and focus on my husband
Everyone knows we’re supposed to work on our marriages and prioritize this very important thing. But, the problem is lack of time to even spend with our husbands (speaking to wives here), let alone read books or study things about marriage. I still manage to do it to some degree, but there’s definitely some frustration over doing it enough.
Not being able to contribute to the family income
Since you were capable of earning a decent income before kids, now you’re feeling like you can’t use your experience or your college degrees to significantly contribute to the family income. Especially when money is tight, and particularly when people ask if “you work” or what “you’re gonna do when the kids move out” and things like that. It’s a decision you made when you had kids, and you know you made the right choice, but there’s still that little feeling that you could be earning money, maybe even lots of it.
So those are my homeschooling pet peeves. Perhaps you agree with some of them, or maybe those wouldn’t bother you at all. Thankfully, mine is a short list. Because, as I’ve said repeatedly, I love homeschooling my kids.
Is there something you hate about homeschooling? Post a COMMENT letting me know. I’d love to compare notes. Or, maybe it’ll end up in my next book.
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. The founder of homeschool groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame and with no teaching background whatsoever. A liaison for regional school-to-home organizations and a homeschool leader in Florida, Marie-Claire also mentors homeschool families nationwide. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on CONNECT, Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of other blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.