Yes, you can do it! You can keep homeschooling, even when things get tough.  But there are times when homeschooling might not be for your family.

Below I’m offering this episode’s transcript highlights. …

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Reasons Why Many Homeschoolers Want To Call It Quits

First off, there’s the fact that homeschooling is just plain hard.  I mean, let’s be honest here, it’s no rosy walk in the park.  It takes time, preparation and commitment to follow through with teaching our kids, no matter your teaching style.  There is curriculum to select or purchase, schedules to be set, and set expectations to be carried out- and furthermore, your kids have to LISTEN to you and RESPECT you enough to follow through on your expectations.  Couple that with the oversight of science projects, grading or reviewing math problems, and teaching a child to read- and maybe doing all of these things with multiple children, and you have a recipe for burnout…that is, if you don’t approach the journey of home education purposefully and with a plan.

 Secondly, many people decide to quit homeschooling because they fear they won’t be able to teach beyond a certain grade level.  Once kids start to hit high school, many parents back off in favor of private or public schools.  I can certainly understand how this fear is a valid one…I mean, thinking about conducting chemistry experiments at my dining room table makes me just as nervous as anyone else.  But with the increase in online schools nowadays, I’d have to say I don’t flinch all that much anymore because of the numerous opportunities out there for kids to receive their high school diploma at home.  Thousands of homeschooled high schoolers have graduated and gone off to college or start businesses and families and now lead happily, productive lives…so I don’t worry so much about that one.  I know a large percentage of the families probably didn’t feel capable of teaching high school either, but they became their child’s best advocate and supported them through their high school career.  SO, it’s possible and it gives me hope.

 Thirdly, some homeschool parents fear that there will be gaps in their child’s education.  Well, I hate to break it to ya- but there are going to be gaps no matter what- even if a child is enrolled in public or private school.  There’s no getting around it.  Education is a life choice- it’s a process of taking advantage of opportunities provided in teh world around us by becoming sponges and soaking it all in, learning as much as we possibly can.  If a child can have access to the tools that will help them learn, they will always know how to learn.  And since we’re all learning no matter what and at various rates and levels of cognitive understanding and speed, there will always be some gaps.  So when I think of education that way, I’m not so prone to be worried about gaps in my child’s education.

 Fourth, many parents are afraid that their children will not have the opportunity to be involved in team sports.  I’m not so sure that i have a clear grasp on this particular topic at the moment since neither of my girls are involved in team sports or have any interest in being a part of one.  But I do know that homeschoolers can be involved in sports whether through public school connections or by forming their own sports teams amongst homeschoolers.  Also, there are many talented kids, gymnasts, ballerinas, and ice skaters for example, who just like child television actresses, are homeschooled while competing.  So opportunities are out there for being involved with sports while home educating.

And fifthly, it’s tough to keep going when things just aren’t in order in the home.  Chaos can happen for a number of reasons: a new addition to the family, bereavement or a loss in the family, or a chronic illness.  It’s in these types of situations that each family has to decide what’s best for them at the time- there is no one cookie-cutter answer.  Homeschooling isn’t always right for every season of one’s life- and sometimes new seasons call for different measures and tough decisions have to be made.  The key is not harbor guilt or agonize over your decisions, but to let the Lord direct your paths.  You need to do what’s best for your family at the given time.

 But there’s another reason chaos can creep up on us: and that’s not having a clear sense of organization in the home.  There is is absolutely no way you can homeschool your kids and have a picture perfect  house 24/7- well maybe unless you veer toward compulsive cleaning symptoms- and that’s rare.  Most homeschooling moms I know have homes that are lived-in, not s howcase homes- and that’s what we want.  WE want our homes to be warm, inviting and comfortable for our kids and husbands- and for the most part, clean.  Me personally, I’m more of an organization-freak, and I love the motto “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  I grew up an only child for most of my life, so I had kind of a privileged cushy childhood-my own room, my own space, yada yada.  Needless to say it was a true wake up call when I found myself blessed with an awesome, but very busy spouse and two very energetic princesses in my home.  And then a goldfish, and now finally a family dog.  There’s no such thing as “my space” anymore unless you’re referring to the social networking site.  Now in my home it’s everyone’s space, and I’ve learned a few tips on how to keep most of our things organized just so I don’t lose my mind, but we’re nowhere close to being as organized as I’d like.  For example, right now I’m in the process of clearing out older curriculum we no longer need, and figuring out what to do with my kids’ worksheets and coloring pages from years ago- things I don’t want to part with.  I’ve been reading good blogs like Confessions of a Homeschooler and favoriting her pins on Pinterest, because she inspires me to get organized with my homeschool.  But definitely, not having a clear sense of structure in the home- as far daily routines, overall cleanliness

 

Ways to keep homeschooling and “stay in the game”:

 Know that others have gone before you and paved the way.  Read stories about other homeschooling families in previous decades who have made our experiences so much easier just by trailblazing the path for us.  Get to know families who have gone before us and graduated their own kids through high school and invite them to speak into our lives and give us advice and encouragement.

 Surround yourself with like-minded people.  Form connections and friendships with other homeschoolers in your community. I cannot express how important that is so you don’t end up feeling isolated. These types of friendships nurture both your children and you as a parent.  They help to establish healthy, concrete connections for your family that are simply priceless.  It cannot compare to the fly-by-night meet and greets you might get if your children were enrolled in a typical brick and mortar school. Usually homeschool parents take time to form true friendships, whereas in your general public school you may never see the same parent more than a couple of times a year, either passing by at a teacher-parent conference or waving to familiar faces in the school parking lot.  True friendships are difficult to be nurtured that way. Homeschooling parents have an advantage because of the deeper and more meaningful connections we’re able to make and maintain at park days and homeschool events, where you’re actually getting to know other homeschool families, and hopefully ending invitations to come over for play dates or co-ops or family gatherings.
Attend homeschooling conferences.  Know your industry.  The best way to stay in the game is to be as knowledgeable and familiar with your lifestyle choice as possible.  I recommend attending at least one conference every year or two years if possible, just to get to know the names and faces of homeschool leaders, speakers, and publishing companies nationwide, and it gives you a chance to meet other homeschoolers from around your state or region.  You’ll become familiar with the major homeschooling publishing companies at their vendor booths, get our hands on the materials and flip through them, and learn the lingo of home educators, etc.

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Resources mentioned:

“Growing Without Schooling” written by John Holt

Confessions of a Homeschooler blog

About Demetria Zinga

Demetria is a homeschooling mom and mompreneur who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, two daughters, and a dog. She currently runs two podcasts for homeschool moms and moms in business, writes songs, and spends lots of time at coffee shops. Her goal is to be an encourager and motivator of women, helping them to find success and joy in homeschooling, business, and motherhood.

avoiding homeschool burnout

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