What Not to Say to Your Homeschooling Friend

two moms hug and chat

Do you have a homeschooling friend? Know this—homeschooling isn’t for wimps. There are days we homeschoolers wonder what on earth we were thinking when we signed up for this gig! But if I open up to you and share that things are tough, please don’t tell me the answer is to put my kids in public school.

Everybody Has Hard Times

It doesn’t matter what path you choose in life; there will be hard days. It doesn’t matter how you choose to educate your children; there will be things that go well and other things, well, not so much. Every parent goes through seasons where everything is overwhelming. This happens to public school parents. It happens to homeschool parents, too.

Not a Martyr, Just a Realist

Perhaps when I talk about how hard things are in my homeschool right now, you’re worried that I’m sacrificing myself on an unnecessary altar of educational purity. Maybe you just want to offer me a way out. I appreciate the thought, but here’s the thing. If I put my kids in public school, then I would have to have everyone up, dressed, fed, packed, and out the door by seven a.m. That doesn’t feel easier than breakfast and read aloud time in pajamas. I would have to supervise at least an hour or two for homework in the afternoons.

Managing multiple separate assignments for several different children at the time of the day when we’re all “done” doesn’t sound easier than learning all together in the morning while we’re all fresh, and then having our afternoons free. I would have to do the same amount of laundry, meals, and housework for the same number of people. Managing it all by myself with noone to help except a preschooler, toddler, and nursing baby doesn’t seem easier.

A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way

What Not to Say to Your Homeschooling Friend

When you suggest I switch to public schooling, it sounds like you’re saying my job is only hard because I’ve made the wrong choices. Honestly, there’s no better way to kick a mom when she’s down than to go that route. If you shared that your kid is having trouble in math class, would you want me to say, “Why don’t you just homeschool?” If you shared that you were bummed to miss the school awards ceremony because you had to work, would you want me to say “Well, why don’t you just quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom?”

We’re friends. You know I homeschool. If you want to ask about it, I assume you’d ask. You know I’m open to talking. If you’re not asking, here’s what I’m going to assume.

  • I assume that you love your kids like nobody’s business.
  • I assume you’ve thought through all the choices.
  • I assume you’re making decisions based on your family’s unique needs, gifts, and circumstances.
  • I assume you show up every day to give it your all because that’s the kind of person I know you to be.
  • And I assume that if you’re having a hard day (week, month, year) that what you need is exactly what we all need.

You need to hear that your kids are lucky to have you as their mom. You need to hear that the energy you put forth to do all that you do is valuable and somebody notices. And you need to hear that you are not alone and someone is thinking of you. Can we have each other’s backs, even if our choices look a little different? I sure hope so!

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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