Contrary to Popular Belief, Not All Homeschool Moms Want to Be with Their Kids 24/7

Homeschooling requires a bit of a pioneering spirit. It is life off of the beaten path, and as such, if often incurs criticism, or at least skepticism.

I understand the urge to have pat answers ready and to hide behind a smug defence. Most people don’t really want to be educated about our way of life. And most of the time we don’t have the energy for their less-than-supportive enquiries.

But sometimes those smug defenses do something worse than ward off nosey neighbors. Sometimes they wall in the very people they were designed to protect: us.

Oh, But We Love Our Kids!

Second only to the socialization question, one of the most common lines of inquiry homeschool moms face is the matter of how they can handle being with their kids Or perhaps the objection is posed in the form of a statement. You have probably heard it before:

“I don’t know how you do it! I couldn’t be with my kids twenty-four/seven. I need a break!”

I’ve seen homeschool moms, particularly privately, among themselves, respond with some rather smug retorts.

  • “Oh, I don’t need to send my children away every day; I love my children.”
  • “This was the whole reason I had children—so that I could spend time with them!”
  • “What kind of children must she have if she can’t stand to be around them?”

Some of the responses are more gracious.

  • “Well, when children come home from school they are tired and cranky. But I get to enjoy my children at their best.”

I Call Bologna

If it’s really true that homeschool moms just absolutely bask in the joy of rubbing shoulders with their dear little darlings every single precious minute of every delightful day, why are there memes going viral homeschool circles that joke about …

  • Never getting to use the bathroom alone …
  • Sending the kids outside and locking the door …
  • How badly we need date nights or girls’ night out …
  • How the kids always fight when we are on the phone …
  • How awesome it would be to grocery shop solo ...

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Don’t Be Afraid of Honesty

Let’s be honest. The mere idea of homeschooling really frightens some people. The idea that you would attempt (and perhaps even succeed at) such a death-defying feat rattles their insecurities at the roots.

They don’t wish to be rude. But they need to find an explanation for why they could never do what you are doing. And so, they do something really startling—they go for honesty.

It would be really hard to be with the kids all day long with no breaks.

Are they wrong?

Do you really find it so unequivocally blissful?

Can you be honest with yourself for a moment? Why does it bother you so much when people raise that objection?

Contrary to Popular Belief, Not All Homeschool Moms Want to Be with Their Kids 24/7

  • Is it because you feel it’s your responsibility to see that people realize maximum enjoyment of their kids?
  • Is it because you feel children in general are given a bad rap and need you to be their public relations consultant?
  • Or is is because there’s something about what they say that actually strikes a chord with you and suddenly your owninsecurities are shaken?

What if that neighbor knew you hid in the bathroom with the pint of moose tracks ice cream?

What if that neighbor knew you had to ask your husband to stay home from work so you could have a mental health day?

Would that prove that you are a fraud? That this whole homeschool gig is a big charade where you only pretend to love your children and enjoy homeschooling them?

Come Out of Hiding

The next time a neighbor or friend mentions that they couldn’t handle being around their kids all day long, try this. Just say, “Yeah, there are definitely pros and cons to homeschooling.”

You can tell them that sometimes, when your husband gets home, you just have to escape to your room to scroll Facebook for a while or read a good book. You can explain to them that some days it’s rough not to have much grown-up interaction at all.

If people are going to judge you, then they’ll manage it just fine without your help. But you might be surprised how far a little vulnerability can go. You don’t have to trash homeschooling or gripe about your kids. And it’s okay to share that things have been so much less stressed in your home since you pull the kids out of public school.

But it’s also okay to let them know that you need breaks, too. You just have to find other ways to get them, because in terms of the education of your children, this model is the best fit for your family right now. Even with the difficult parts.

About the Author

Lynna Sutherland • Homeschooling without Training WheelsLynna is a former homeschooler, then classroom teacher, now homeschool mom of eight crazy (and lovable) hooligans from middle school down to bouncing baby.

She calls her blog Homeschooling without Training Wheels because she loves to encourage families to embrace the freedom and flexibility that come with homeschooling and let go of the things that are holding them back! You can read more in her free eBook 5 Myths that are Killing Your Multi-Age Homeschool


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