Choosing to homeschool can be a disappointing decision. Once the honeymoon period wears off, you get a clear view of the responsibility resting on your shoulders. I could try to comfort you with empty platitudes such as "Homeschooling is not for every family" or "You have to be called to homeschool." But I don't believe those sentiments, and they aren't encouraging at all.
Instead, I’m sharing three surefire ways to help you bounce back quickly from homeschool disappointment.
1. Don't Re-create Public School at Home
When your child trades a desk at public school for an arm chair at home, he has only changed the geography of where he learns. You’re not homeschooling yet. Instead of focusing on keeping up with the academic advancement of public school kids the same ages as your children, you want to enlarge the gulf between them by forging your own course.
Having your children complete checklists while tethered to the dining room table is a sign that you’re re-creating public school at home. Look at these 10 ways to broaden the meaning of what homeschooling is.
- Homeschooling is attending private classes.
- Homeschooling is venturing out on field trips.
- Homeschooling is participation in a family-based business.
- Homeschooling is service learning through community volunteer work.
- Homeschooling is using boxed curriculum.
- Homeschooling is sharing the load of teaching a subject with another homeschool parent.
- Homeschooling is participating in events at local support groups where socialization opportunities abound.
- Homeschooling is living overseas to experience different cultures.
- Homeschooling is hosting a teen night’s out.
- Homeschooling is learning in a specialized group like 4-H.
2. Find a Spot Between Frenzied and Lazy Homeschooling
It goes without saying that we want to be successful at homeschooling. And pressure to perform can be good because it teaches kids to manage deadlines, to focus intently on the task at hand, and to be decisive decision makers. However, placing more pressure on you or your kids to perform when you both have given your very best can teach children that results matter more than earnest effort.
Constant lesson planning, creating nonstop extraordinary learning activities, and not taking time for your health and appearance set you up for a homeschool nightmare. The key to bouncing back quickly is a balance of productive and relaxed homeschooling.
3. Quit Going It Alone
Asking other homeschoolers for help was hard for me to learn. Not only do I like to be in charge, but my family enjoys long periods of solitary time. As I realized later, though, that homeschooling was harder than I expected.
I learned my boys not only wanted to be around other kids their age, but some subjects and hands-on activities are more appealing when learned in a group. Finding a support group or meaningful co-op was easier to do when I began homeschooling. Today, some groups function like rigid private schools with emphasis on rules, academic rigor, and hefty enrollment fees. Others function like social events with emphasis on field trips and hosting a variety of enriching activities like cooking, sewing, art, studying ancient crafts like rug making or paper making, which fit the needs of the group.
Because I choose to cover core curriculum at home instead of with a group, I joined co-ops focused on social interaction and with a variety of intriguing activities. Widening our homeschooling circle of friends by meeting with others reminded me that I wasn’t alone when I had self-doubt. More importantly, my sons have the right kind of lifelong friends based on the relationships forged in those co-ops.
Pinpointing a clear cause for being disappointed in your decision to homeschool isn’t easy because many factors can be involved. My best advice is not to mimic public school at home, to avoid extremes in teaching, and to be part of a support group which energizes your family. Put mistakes in perspective, pick yourself up, learn from failures, and try again. You can be a stronger homeschooler, having experienced a letdown.
About the Author
Tina Robertson celebrated the graduation of Mr. Senior in 2013 and Mr. Awesome in 2015. Because of her love for new homeschoolers, she mentors moms through her unique program called New Bee Homeschoolers. She loves all homeschoolers, though, as she shares her free 7 Step Curriculum Planner, unit studies, lapbooks and homeschooling how tos. She can't sing, dance, or craft, but she counts organizing as a hobby. She is still in the homeschool trenches blogging at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.