Stress to Success (Part 1): Doom & Gloom of Homeschooling

Fraught Homeschooling Mom

We all have days (maybe weeks, months, even years), where we are plain worn out, discouraged, or frustrated with homeschooling. Homeschooling just isn’t working out like we thought it would (or should).

Maybe you feel like a slave to your curriculum or lesson plans. (I did.) Some days you PUSH your way through the lessons not sure how you’ll do it all over again tomorrow. And then there are days when you don’t make it through all of the lessons and end up feeling like a complete failure and that you’re causing your kids to fall behind.

For me …
Homeschooling became less enjoyable.
Homeschooling felt more like a to do list rather than a blessing or a privilege.

I was dealing with a constant struggle to find time for fun learning. I wanted the flexibility to stop what we were doing to follow a child’s interest, to slow down to dig deeper into a study, or to take a day off for a field trip, but the time and energy just weren’t there. We were too busy with our daily lessons to fit these things into the schedule.

Oh, and let’s not forget the panic that would overcome me when a naysayer cornered my kids and asked questions like … so what are YOU learning in school, do you like homeschooling, do you ever want to go to public school? Secretly, behind my painted on confidence, I wondered the same things.

For the first six years of homeschooling, I struggled in these ways. In moments of meltdown, I researched new curricula and new methods. I abandoned curricula mid-year, redid our schedule, bought new resources, tried new methods, and then started the cycle again when things didn’t work out.

I hoped to find the perfect combination of curricula and method, but each year ended the same. I had piles of half-read books, unfinished workbooks, and other schoolwork that went into a tote (for records) or to the trash can.

  • What were we really learning in our homeschool?
  • Were we just checking off boxes so I could add grades and hours to the record book?
  • Where was the joy, the fun, the deep, engaging learning?

This was NOT how I had envisioned homeschooling.

Sometimes it takes getting to the bottom of your doom and gloom before you can see the way out. That’s what it took for me.

After 6 years of experimentation ...

  • I was ready to give up.
  • I was ready to crawl into a hole.
  • I was ready to hide from my husband, my kids, the naysayers, the teachers at public school, and (ahem) other homeschoolers.

All I could see in front of me (and behind me) was FAILURE.

Thankfully, it was at that point, a dear homeschool friend came alongside me and showed me (very simply) how to break free from the chains that I {pointing finger at myself} had put on our homeschooling.

EVERYTHING changed that day.

And since that day …
I am no longer chained down by curricula, methods, schedules, or lists of check boxes. I freely plan my year around my family’s needs and desires.

We homeschool with freedom!

At the end of the year, we know exactly what we learned and we look back on our year with a sense of pride, joy, and even nostalgia.

Best of all, my kids are becoming confident self-learners, expressing creativity in their work everyday, and appreciating the learning process.

Finding the joy and freedom in your homeschool does not need to take years of experience, struggles, trial-and-error like it did for me. 

That’s why I'm sharing my story with you!

Learn more . . .

...he LOVED doing it!!! It made the whole experience SO MUCH more of a learning experience...

I just started homeschooling my 5-year old son for kindergarten this year. I'm new to homeschooling, and we are going through a charter school - so we are given a curriculum and assignments. But I have been frustrated with the curriculum and textbooks, and my son has been less than enthusiastic with the number of worksheets and "busy-work" and I was beginning to feel like I was killing his natural love for learning. Here I had this incredible child who is already reading on a 5th grade level, doing end-of-1st grade math, and yet he was starting to hate "school." I felt like I was failing. I started researching online for other homeschooling ideas, and came across the whole notion of notebooking, and it immediately appealed to me. It seemed so much more flexible than the curriculum we were assigned now, and it seemed like my son would be actually learning more than when he's just filling in blanks or drawing lines from pictures to words on worksheets.

My first trial was with one of the science notebooking pages. I printed the one with space for 3 pictures and then primary-lined writing area. We did a science experiment, and rather than just DO it, like we normally would have, after the experiment, I had my son draw pictures of the stages of the experiment and asked him to write a sentence about what he learned - and he LOVED doing it!!! It made the whole experience SO MUCH more of a learning experience, and even though it's been a couple weeks, he's STILL talking about it! Even though he generally dislikes writing, he truly enjoyed that experience, and I hope to have many more like it!! Thank you for opening a whole new world to us!!

Jen Clark in California

Do you wrestle with these questions?

  • What's the MEASURE of your homeschooled child's SUCCESS?
  • Will he graduate with MORE than a piece of paper that says,"I AM EDUCATED."
  • How much has he TRULY learned? How much will he REMEMBER?
  • Does he have a LOVE of learning that DRIVES him to be a LIFE-LONG, SELF-TAUGHT learner?
  • I did!  Click the video to hear our story.

    Our Homeschool Story