Maybe this is your first year homeschooling your child and you are beginning to think that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Perhaps you had an idea in your head of how homeschooling life should be and your reality is not matching up with that vision. Perhaps you feel like your child might be better off in public school and all of the naysayers were actually right.
Trust me, you are not the first person that has experienced some doubts about whether you could or should continue homeschooling. Nor will you be the last. I honestly think that most of us have those moments (some moments lasting longer than others). However, these doubts are often based in either fear, a lack of knowledge, or a lack of support. I think that if you dig deep into your doubts, you will find this to be true.
It’s not necessarily that you can’t or shouldn’t homeschool. It is more likely that you need to do one (or more) of the following:
1. Connect with other homeschoolers.
I say this one first because having a support system of people who have been where you are and who have experienced most (if not all) of the challenges you are facing can truly help. They can help to assuage your fears, give you practical advice about how to overcome obstacles, as well as share tools and resources that might make your homeschooling journey more manageable and enjoyable. Having a group of homeschoolers to turn to when you have a question, concern, problem, or even just when you need to vent can be invaluable.
I would recommend connecting with homeschoolers in your area as well as online. There are numerous online homeschool communities that you can check out – especially on various social media platforms. Many states also have pockets of homeschoolers in various areas that get together for co-ops, playdates, used book sales, and just to have someone to talk to. Find out which groups are local to you and get connected!
2. Do more research.
Sometimes your frustration might be from a lack of knowledge. Not just about homeschool, but about the different aspects of it, such as learning styles and the various homeschooling methods. Take some time each day to learn something new about homeschool. You might come across some information that will shift everything for you and make it easier to manage.
3. Come up with a different approach.
In line with what I was just saying, sometimes all that is needed is for you to take a different approach. If you or your child is consistently frustrated, you might need to switch things up. Consider that maybe you are using a homeschool approach that simply doesn’t fit your family. For example, if you are trying the Charlotte Mason method and find it too strict, perhaps your family would benefit more from a relaxed homeschooling approach. Or perhaps your child doesn’t really learn best in a lecture environment but thrives when doing hands-on activities. There are so many different ways to teach and learn. Play around with them until you find the combination that works for you. The same thing goes for schedules and curricula. Perhaps your family functions best when you have a set curriculum and a strict schedule. Or perhaps things run more smoothly when you let your child take the lead and have a more relaxed schedule. There is not a single method that will work for everyone, but I believe that everyone can find something that works for them. You just have to be willing to experiment.
Seriously. Take a break. Lessen the workload. Shorten the homeschool day. The beauty of homeschool is that the schedule and curriculum you follow is completely up to you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to step away for a bit. Take a week off where you don’t do any homeschooling. Just as public schools give children a break, so can you. It might be just what you need. Sometimes, when we take a step back and allow ourselves time to breathe, we have moments of either realization or inspiration that can make it much easier to get back into things with a renewed sense of purpose and passion.
Just remember that you are not alone. Ever. There is a world of homeschoolers out there who have had the same doubts, fears, and feelings that you are likely experiencing. Many of them continued on to successfully homeschool their children. I believe that it is definitely possible to overcome those things and get back to enjoying the journey. However, if you do decide that perhaps homeschooling is not the best decision for your family, that is nothing to be ashamed of. The important thing is that you are doing what you think is best and giving it your best effort. That is honestly the best thing that we, as parents, can do for our children.
I wish you much luck on your journey – wherever it may take you.