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Sometimes homeschooling is hard. Don’t get me wrong, I am committed to educating my kids at home. About 95% of the time, I am certain that this is the right choice for my family.
Some days, though, are just hard.
Maybe everyone (Mom included) woke up on the wrong side of the bed and the school table is full of grumpy faces.
Perhaps kids are sloppily doing their work, not caring if they get the answers wrong.
The kids might even refuse to do their school work.
On a bad homeschool day, it might be all of the above.
What can we do when homeschooling is hard?
Remember that we have options
When I start to feel unsatisfied with the way our homeschool is going, I try to remember that homeschooling is a choice. I do not have to do it.
I could enroll my kids in our local public school. The private school nearby is an option too.
Both are valid options and work well for many families. There is no shame in deciding that a different schooling method is right for your child. We need to do whatever is best for our families.
Let’s be real with ourselves though. There is no option that is 100% perfect 100% of the time. There will be hard days and evenings no matter where your kids are educated.
If I sent my kids to the private school around the corner I would be trading in one battle for another. Instead of dealing with sour attitudes about math worksheets I would be listening to complaints about homework.
Somehow reminding myself that parenting is hard regardless of educational setting makes me feel a little more content with homeschooling.
Outsource a class or two
I have noticed over the past year that my kids will work harder for a teacher other than me.
This drives me a little bonkers. It kind of reminds me of when they were toddlers and would behave so well for grandparents but start throwing tantrums as soon as we got home.
I’m using the information to my advantage though and plan to outsource more classes next year.
We are lucky to homeschool in 2020. We have the internet and the popularity of homeschooling on our sides!
There are more options for outsourcing homeschool classes than ever before.
You can outsource classes by:
- Finding a teacher through a local co-op
- Trade teaching with another homeschool family in your community
- Sign your child up for an online class, like Outschool
- Registering your teen for classes at the community college (assuming they are old enough and are ready for college level work)
A bonus of outsourcing classes is that it can provide a little separation, which can provide a little mental and emotional relief when homeschooling is hard.
Talk to the kids about their educational goals
What do your kids want to get out of homeschooling?
Sometimes we can get on the same educational page as our kids if we find out their ultimate goals and help them work backwards.
This is especially helpful when kids melt down into ‘whenever will I use ______ (insert current least favorite subject here)!’.
Let your child look up the requirements for the future they want:
- Admission requirements for the trade school or college of their dreams
- Real job ads with the required skills listed
The trick here is to keep the conversation empowering. We want to remind them that they are an active participant in their educational choices and that they can take steps now to help themselves in the future.
Look at the big picture
Sometimes we make homeschooling harder than it needs to be by getting laser focused on what isn’t working rather than what is going well.
We see a child not doing as well as we would like and instantly start worrying. It is all too easy to assume that they are just being lazy.
If they are lazy in one subject, maybe they are being lazy in everything.
If we are not careful we will spiral out of control and assign a character flaw for something as simple as struggling with a course.
Yikes. We wouldn’t like it if someone saw our sink full of dirty dishes and assumed that we were just being lazy. It is the same way for our kids.
Take a breath and look at the big picture. When they are 30 will it really matter if they get a C in biology? Probably not. It will matter if they are a good person who treats others well. It will also matter if they have a strong relationship with you.
Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint. There are bound to be bad days. Sometimes there are hard seasons. We just deal with them the best we can, love our kids, and keep moving forward.