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Some Days Are Like That: The Homeschool Edition


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I think sometimes we homeschool families are reluctant to tell the outside world that homeschooling isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. That every project isn’t Pinterest-worthy. That sometimes we have to turn to Google to jog our memory on what exactly the Pythagorean Theory is and how you use it to figure out the length of that stupid triangle’s side.

That reluctance isn’t without reason. We have enough voices crying out against homeschooling, so sometimes we feel the need to circle the wagons and present the good side – you know as opposed to the horses’ rear-ends.

Homeschooling isn't all rainbows and unicorns. It has its good days and bad days.

photo credit lightstock

The only problem with sharing only the good days, though, is that homeschooling parents who are in the trenches start to feel alone. They start to feel like they’re the only ones who ever have bad days. They feel like maybe it’s not going to get better. They feel like they’re the only ones with doubts. They feel alone and defeated.

Thankfully, the good days far outnumber the bad and the really bad days are few and far between, but here’s the truth about some days:

Some days are hard. Some days there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Some days will involve bad attitudes, whining, crying, and temper tantrums – and those are as likely to be from you as from the kids.

Some days are awesome. Some days all the boxes get checked, the light bulbs go off, the kids are engaged, the read-aloud is amazing, and the projects turn out just as you had in mind. Those days help you survive those previously mentioned hard days.

Some days your house will be a disaster. Some days the dirty dishes will be piled high in both sides of the sink and spilling over onto the surrounding countertops. The dirty laundry will be overflowing the hampers. Art lessons can be completed by drawing in the dust on just about any flat surface in the house. And, school will only be completed after you unearth the school books from all the clutter on the dining room table.

Some days – most days – you can’t get it all done.

homeschooling and housework

Some days the house will actually be clean. Every once in awhile the laundry will be caught up, the dishwasher will quietly be washing the supper dishes, while the clean pots and pans dry in the sink. The floor will be vacuumed. The house will be dusted. The toilets will be scrubbed. All the toys and school supplies will be put away.

Take a picture. It probably won’t last more than 35.5 seconds.

Some days you will sink into a pit of self-doubt. You’ll wonder if you’re cut out to be a homeschooling parent. You’ll worry that you’re not doing enough. You’ll despair that your kids aren’t learning enough. You’ll watch the little yellow school bus go by and wonder if you’d all be better off if your kids were on it.

Some days you’ll know you’re doing exactly the right thing for your family. You’ll be there for that ah-ha moment. You’ll watch your struggling learner get it – without having had to feel stupid or inadequate because it took a while. You’ll see your kids’ excitement ignite and their learning soar because you took that rabbit trail. You’ll see them following their passions and investing in hobbies for which they might not otherwise make time.

Kids and Me

Some days you’ll hit the books hard. Some days will be academically heavy days in which you surprise even yourself with how much was accomplished.

Some days you’ll decide that an impromptu field trip is just what you all need. Some days you’ll make the wise decision to scrap the lesson plans and herd everyone out the door to somewhere other than home – a museum, a park, a play, a zoo, an aquarium, a pond, or some really cool event that you just learned was in town. And, it will probably be one of those days that get stored up in the memory banks to be savored and relived in the years to come and you’ll know you did just exactly the right thing.

Some days you’ll wish you’d never homeschooled. You’ll catch yourself daydreaming about how you’d spend your time if your kids were in school. You’ll imagine what it would be like to have placed the pressure and responsibility of their educations on the shoulders of someone else – to let someone else write the lesson plans, grade the papers, and enforce the due dates.

But…

Some days you’ll thank God you do. Some days – most days – you’ll be so thankful for the privilege and the blessing to homeschool. Most days, there is nowhere else you’d rather be, nothing else you’d rather be doing, and no one on earth you’d rather be spending your days with.

Some days your kids will even recognize the sacrifices – whether time, income, or occasionally sanity – you’ve made in your choice to homeschool them and they’ll thank you for it. Really.

Some days I am struck by how seamlessly homeschooling is woven into our lives. It’s not something separate; it’s part of who we are. It’s just that thing that we do – part of the ebb and flow of our lives. Those are the days when I am so thankful we made this choice and I know that I wouldn’t trade this life for anything, even with the bad days.

How long has your family homeschooled? What “some days” did I miss?

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29 Comments

  1. I love this! There is so much truth written here and it’s always nice to feel like you aren’t the only one who has doubts and struggles and bad days. Thanks Kris for writing this. I needed it today.

  2. Kris, thank you for the continued encouragement; I think the last few posts you’ve published have been my favorites since I started following you. This year has been one of the most difficult and we’ve just started. We are going on an impromptu field trip today to pick plums and I’m hoping the break from the books will lighten things up. Love what you said about how we imagine what we’d do with the time if our kids went to school. I’m guilty of this on days when I just haven’t had enough rest and time with God. Hope your day is going well!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Heather. Those rough days are hard. I hope a field trip is just the ticket to refresh you all.

  3. Some days you will find a frog (toad?) In your house at 6:55a and it will start the day off with huge laughs and reading Frog and Toad during breakfast. I’m so thankful for the good days that remind me why this is our lifestyle choice. It is not easy and I am more exhausted than I ever dreamt possible but it is a beautiful mess.

    1. Oh, that cracked me up! What a fun way to start the day. I loved that you extended the adventure by reading Frog and Toad. Those are such fun stories!

  4. When I read this it was like a big old ‘cyber hug’ that I sorely needed. Yes, those doubts and tears have been present in our homeschool lately…it’s nice to know that I am not the only one having these feelings. Our schooling last year took a hit…my dad was sick with cancer and died, then two months later my sweet dog died, then last week another pet died. Some days I just feel like I have nothing left inside to offer my kids, and think they would be better off in school. But then…I think my kids are benefitting from seeing how ‘real life’ is….anyway, sorry about the rambling comment, but I just wanted you to know how comforting this post was for me. πŸ™‚

    1. I was really praying that it would be exactly what someone needed to hear today. I’m so thankful this post encouraged you. That’s a rough year y’all have had. I hope today is amazing!

  5. I always appreciate it so much when an experienced homeschooler is really honest about what it is like! When I was starting out everyone made it sound so easy and perfect, like every day would be rainbows and sunshine. When it wasn’t like that, when it was really really HARD I thought there was something wrong with me! I always make a point of telling people who are curious that it’s wonderful and I love it, but it isn’t the easy road to choose.

    I’ve been homeschooling for ten years now, and we’ve experienced ALL those days.

    The hardest thing has been homeschooling through two knee surgeries and a year of physiotherapy, a super difficult fourth pregnancy, and then a lower back injury two years ago that left me very disabled, and more physio. The back injury is still a problem. I live with chronic pain now while homeschooling my oldest three and keeping up with a little one. We’ve found a way to carry on (your review of Switched on Schoolhouse saved our homeschool three years ago BTW!).

    1. I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with so much, but I’m glad to hear SOS has worked well for your family. I hope you have a great year!

  6. Thank you, Kris. This was a wonderful and real post. It also helped remind me of why we do what we do! We are due to have a baby any day now and trying to homeschool my 5 and 7 year olds has been a little chaotic lately. I have no energy or patience! I could totally relate to this line:
    “Some days will involve bad attitudes, whining, crying, and temper tantrums – and those are as likely to be from you as from the kids.”

    Also glad to know that I’m not the only one who could do art projects in the layer of dust on the shelves! πŸ™‚ This was just what I needed today.

  7. Yes. I needed this today too. We are having a rough start with school. I am not sure my plan is working with my oldest. I may need to find a new route to teaching him. Then the other two are getting neglected as far as teaching goes. Thank you. πŸ™‚ It is funny how some things are timed so well.

  8. We have been homeschooling since 1984- that makes this our 30th year with 5 more to go. The hardest days homeschooling for us have been just about every day since November 2, 2001 when our 2 yr old daughter was diagnosed with brain cancer and subsequent multiple disabilities.

  9. Wow. This couldn’t have come at a better time. As I write this, I am sitting at our neighborhood park. Alone. You see, it’s been one of THOSE days. It started with me making the unwise choice to get groceries before school, therefore saving the bulk of our schooling for the afternoon. Came home to happy children, who then turned into crazy children, and then escalated into 2 of them in a fist fight. Spent the next two hours working thru that, all while trying to get the other two started on school; one of which keeps getting distracted and keeps playing with his pencil and REPEATEDLY tapping it on his book. I’m sure he had no idea that it’s making me crazy. Then theirs the child who’s loudly WHINING because she doesn’t want to write a story for her Lang Arts assignment. Oh, did I mention the 7 y/I who’s running around wreaking havok? So yes, I do homeschool. I do love my kids dearly. And for their sake and mine, that’s why I’m at the park right now. Alone.

    1. (((Hugs))) Sometimes, the best thing to do is just leave for awhile. Chick-Fil-A sweet tea helps, too. πŸ™‚ I hope tomorrow is a MUCH better day.

  10. You hit the nail on the head! It’s always nice to read posts like this so you don’t feel like you are the only one who goes through this.h

  11. LOVE this! Sometimes I can go through just about all of those feelings in the course of 12 hours, lol!

    Despite the messes and struggles, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Which is a good thing, since we’re just starting the second year of our homeschool adventure. πŸ™‚

  12. Even after 9 years of home schooling I still needed this! I have only 1 child left at home (4th grade) but I feel like he’s been the hardest !!! Thanks for the reminder that I am not alone in this!

    Debi

  13. Lately I’ve been struggling with a just plain hard year. I’ve tried to focus my writing/records on the good, but I’ve found myself aching to confess the hard stuff . . . but there’s a fine line between acknowledging and whining. πŸ™‚ Your post rings true. Every homeschooling parent out there who reads this post will sigh with relief after doing so.

  14. What a great post! We definitely do have the wonderful days as well as the awful days..where I’m crying and frustrated right along with the kids. lol πŸ™‚

    I’m also really slow sometimes. I think I met you at the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention this year at the TGTL booth (and took our picture together, lol). You also run the facebook Trail Guide to Learning page, correct? Here I’ve read and loved your blog for years and just love it! I never put 2 and 2 together until reading this post tonight. haha!

      1. Well, how fun! πŸ™‚ It was great meeting you! I plan to return to Cinci for next year’s convention. I’ve been to the PA homeschool convention (which is closer to me), but I LOVED the Cincinnati one!

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