Archives for April 2015

Likes and Dislikes: A Homeschool Mom Confession

Homeschooling is a non-negotiable in our family. My husband and I agreed that we would raise our children this way long before there were even two pink lines on a stick.

And then there’s the fact that I am a homeschool grad. My parents were homeschooling pioneers, the kind who still had to answer the question, “Is that even legal?” (And, at that point in time it was a fair question in parts of the U.S. because it wasn’t clear in all 50 states.)

So, that’s a quick background: I’m a homeschool grad and a homeschool mom. You might think I love everything about homeschooling.

Well, not exactly. There are things I love. But there are also things that I don’t particularly enjoy.
likes and dislikes homeschool confession

5 Things This Homeschool Mom Loves:

1.Being there for all my children’s “Firsts.”

I love that I have missed very little of my children’s lives. And I love that I’ve seen so many of their “A-ha!” moments as they figure out reading, or a tricky math problem, or a puzzle. From a baby’s first steps to a teenager’s first independent job, being a homeschool parent means getting to witness the big (and small) milestones.

2.Living a life surrounded by books.

I love to read. And I love books. I even love words themselves. And yes, I love writing, too.

Filling our home with good books and the chance to introduce my children to my favorite books, ideas, and people, is one of the great joys of my life. (After all, I want to raise readers.)

3. Choosing our own curriculum and course of study.

I love choosing what we’ll study. For instance: I love that Latin is part of our curriculum from 3rd grade (or even younger). I love teaching my children History instead of “Social Studies” and Grammar instead of “Language Arts.” And I love that my children are learning cursive. Honestly, I love that we have time for P.E. (Since so many schools are cutting recess and gym classes.)

4. Giving my children the kind of childhood I had.

I love that my kids don’t spend 8 hours cooped in a building, with a thirty minute (or longer) bus ride home. Followed by several hours of homework.

I love that they have time to explore their own interests. Or that they get to play outside for hours. I love that we have time to get in deep discussions. And I definitely love that they’re learning about cooking and cleaning and child care with me.

To repeat point #2, I love that they have hours to read good books, whether those are part of our “school” or not. I love that we can eat almost every meal together.

5. Flexibility in all things.

I’ve talked about this before (see: Enjoy the Journey and Schedules, Routines, and Real Life).

I love that we can have “snow days” on a particularly lovely day in March when no one else is at the playground. Or that we can go visit family or go on vacation without worrying about missing days of school. I love that a day trip to a Children’s Museum one state over will totally count as school for that day.

And I love that we can sleep in when we’re tired, keep at a task long after the bell would have rung in a school setting, or completely change tactics midstream if that’s what we need to do.

There are so many things I love, it was honestly hard to limit myself to five.

Those were the first five that came to mind, so we’ll stick with that.

With so much to love, does that mean I love everything about homeschooling? Unfortunately, no.

3 Things This Homeschool Mom Dislikes About Homeschooling:

1. The daily-ness of it all.

Butting heads with strong-willed children. Dealing with attitudes. The school bus looks kind of tempting when I’ve had a stressful day with a hormonal thirteen year old, a grouchy ten year old, a bouncy eight year old, a disobedient 4 year old, and a toddler who must be getting teeth because seriously, why is his nose running constantly and why won’t he let go of me? (Um, purely hypothetically, of course…)

The concept of sending some of my children away for a few hours? Yeah, that has sounded almost idyllic on occasion.

See, the thing about life as a homeschool mom: no one else to blame.

The “Bad Teacher”? Yeah, that’s me. Ignoring an attitude problem until it becomes just too big to ignore? My deal again.

Discipline is hard work.

And I’m talking about my own discipline, not my kids’.

The discipline to:

  • sit down to some lessons I dislike
  • correct bad behavior or attitudes before they infect other children
  • load the dishwasher, switch the laundry, change (another) yucky diaper, and then cheerfully help a child sound out simple phonics (that I feel like we should have moved on from by now, surely?)

But that, friends, is life.

There are rewards for endurance. Rewards like seeing your teen thrive at her volunteer work, or watching a big sister kindly help her younger sister in the bathroom, or realizing the ten year old just switched the laundry without being asked.

2. That homeschooling has to constantly defend itself instead of the other way around.

See, I don’t think the concept that children are raised by their parents (or “belong” to their parents) instead of the state should be radical. I don’t think it should be radical that I want my children to grow up into capable, well-rounded adults who know how to think, reason, act, and speak.

And I don’t think I should have to ask our state for permission for our children to be “Excused” for the next school year. I think I should be able to notify my state: your assistance will not be required in this matter, thank you very much.

Personally, I get tired of being on the defensive about homeschooling. (“No, really, it works. Listen to my child recite this poem. Do you want to hear her do her multiplication tables?”)

I also hate it when my children feel left out or strange around their friends and neighbors.

My children are funny, delightful people (if I do say so myself). But they also get tired of explaining what homeschooling is or why they don’t attend the local school. They want to be treated like people, not like zoo exhibits. (“SHE’S HOMESCHOOLED!”)

3. The financial burden.

Yes, you can homeschool on a budget (and like it).

Sure, you can be as frugal or as spendy with your dollars as you’d like. But it still costs something. (Even the homeschoolers who say they “homeschool for free” are surely using things like ink cartridges to print all those free resources from the web.)

The $200 I spend to keep all my children in math curriculum is $200 I don’t get to spend for something else.

There are parents who get more annoyed about this than I do: they think they should get some of their tax money back for these expenses.

After all, homeschool families pay property taxes the same as everyone else, but our children don’t get the benefits (real or imagined) of the local schools. I am not one of these homeschoolers.

I’d prefer not to have the government involved in my homeschool in any way. (Which is also why my children do not participate in sports or classes offered by the local schools. Even though it is our right to request that they do so.)

But that doesn’t mean that I love paying for everything.

The financial repercussions of homeschooling do need to be considered.

Not only will you need to buy your own textbooks, science equipment, math manipulatives, school supplies, etc. you will also have the costs associated with one spouse not working outside the home (generally speaking). Or the fact that you will be feeding your children all three meals every day, even if they might be eligible for subsidized meals at the local school.

None of those reasons would be enough for my family to consider NOT homeschooling, but they are real and they might matter more to some families than others.

So, yeah, our family budget is tight.

We try to squeeze those pennies. I try to be wise about what I buy (or don’t buy) for our homeschool. I have to be more creative than I’d like sometimes. Sometimes I have to pass on trying the latest, greatest homeschool material. If I focus on that too much, I might resent it.

So, I mostly don’t. I’d rather think about the five things I love about homeschooling, and really, the hundreds of other reasons we love and enjoy this life.

Because there is Joy in the Journey, including learning how to rise above the challenges and annoyances.

If you’re a homeschool mom what do you love about it? What do you dislike?

Favorite Homeschooling Resources:
Notebooking Pages Free Resources

To see other posts about what my fellow homeschool mom bloggers love and dislike about homeschooling check out this round-up:
lovedislike
homeschool mom confesses likes and dislikes

Posts may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy if you have questions about this. If no images appear on this post, you may need to disable an ad blocker on your browser. If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on your favorite social media sites.