5 Homeschooling Expectations You Can Kiss Goodbye

When you become a homeschool mom, there are a lot of small and large expectations you find yourself reconciling or disregarding. Perhaps you expected to use your dining room for holidays, but the maps on the wall kill the ambiance.You thought that once the kids were in school you would have free time to hit the gym and grab a latte with friends, but now you wear yoga pants just for comfort. And who knew the anguish you would cause strangers by taking your children to the grocery store in the middle of a Tuesday? These are just a few of the countless ways we shift our priorities and expectations when we decide to homeschool our children. However, I have found there are deeper, more profound expectations I have discarded.

Fulfilling All of Life’s “Have To’s”

When someone says they have to do something, my first thought is, "No, you don’t". At one time I believed life was full of things you had to do, like going to school. It's funny, but when you decide to homeschool, you're breaking one of the most established societal rules. The law requires school attendance; you can't just refuse. Ah, but you can. And when you make that huge leap, it puts you on the outside of accepted norms and you start to question other beliefs about education and learning. You have to go to college. You have to join a co-op. You have to use a curriculum. You have to follow a schedule. There is very little in life that you must do. There may be negative results for doing or not doing something, but you weigh the consequences and make a choice.

Determining My Worth by My Children’s Achievements

5 Homeschooling Expectations You Can Kiss Goodbye We still hear about little twelve-year-old Johnny who's taking Advanced Calculus at the local college, or nine-year-old Suzy doing high school level work. I get it, moms brag. However, there was a time before I had kids when I believed parents were the determining factor in a child’s behavior and achievement. Funny, right? But I then had six children. They all live in the same house with the same parents, and they are all so different. I quickly realized it isn’t all about me. By homeschooling, our children’s achievements and our self-worth aren’t determined by honor rolls and AP classes. We don’t just slip into a casual conversation about our children’s GPAs, nor hang our head in shame over poor grades. We work together and we all improve, but with the awareness that we’re unique and independent people.

Believing I Can Do It All

Moms are expected to do it all, and usually, we do. My mind is a constant ticker of appointments to make, bills to pay, groceries to buy, and household chores to complete. Just daily life management for eight people is a full-time job. Add to this the extra layer of homeschooling and I’m now up to two full-time jobs. I know we all have additional responsibilities to add to this list. How can we do it all? We can’t. No one can. Homeschool moms often hear the phrase, “I just don’t know how you do it.” Usually, they try to cloak this in an air of admiration, but we all know they think we’re crazy. The truth is, there is a lot that I don’t do. I don’t do massive, themed birthday parties. My kids don’t have designer bedrooms. My only requirement when we leave the house is that they’re dressed and clean, matching is not required. Breakfast is a fend-for-yourself affair and we have been known to use paper plates. My sanity and rest are more important than doing it all and being the Pinterest mom. So is yours.

Control the Stress

Some of our most significant stressors as homeschool moms originate from our worry over meeting the expectations of others. What will the grandparents think when our five-year-old isn’t reading? What will the pediatrician say when we tell her we homeschool? What will our friends think when our eighteen-year-old doesn’t want to start college? We can’t control what others expect, but we can try to control our reaction to them. When these outside pressures dominate my thoughts, I find myself holding my children to unrealistic standards. And the cycle continues.

Embrace Your Inner Rebel

If you homeschool, deep down you’re a rebel, even if you wear yoga pants and a ponytail every day. Perhaps you should further embrace your radical side and question some expectations. Do you believe them to be true? Homeschooling flies in the face of so many expectations, so why not disregard a few more?


About the Author

Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six always homeschooled children who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of relaxed homeschooling draws upon classical to unschooling methods and everything in between.

While homeschooling her children, teaching at a Project Based Co-op, and writing about learning outside of school, she still tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills. Read more from Bethany on her site BethanyIshee.com: Real inspiration for the authentic mom.

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