I'm in my fourth year of homeschooling, and honestly, I wouldn't do things any other way. But nothing is completely perfect. At the risk of raising the scorn of my fellow homeschool moms, I am going to share with you some of the things many of us would rather you not know. Consider these the dirty little secrets of the homeschooling world, exposed.
Our cars are a mess
For many homeschool families, much of our school time is actually spent away from home. Whether going back and forth to regular lessons, visiting museums and other attractions, or attending special events with our homeschool groups, we spend a lot of time in our cars. And it shows. Car detailing gift certificates might be appreciated gifts!
Sometimes we fall behind
Life happens. Sometimes a little too much all at once. When things go awry, sometimes school work gets pushed to the back burner for a while. We don't like to admit when we are falling behind our own schedules, but I'm pretty sure it happens to everyone once in a while. Thank goodness flexible schedules allow us to catch back up.
We don't all get along
Homeschoolers are a very diverse group, and we don't all get along. We don't all agree on political matters, religious matters, and certainly not on what curriculum to choose. Sometimes serious rivalries evolve between individual families or even whole groups. Those of us who are lucky find great groups that are a good fit for our families, or we form our own.
Our households aren't always calm
For most of us, our kids are just normal kids. They fight and argue, push boundaries and pout. Sometimes it is a struggle to get them to do their school work. In short, our households are probably a lot like yours.
School is challenging
We might like for you to think that what we are doing is just as easy as pie, but honestly, some of it is hard. I find myself learning new material right alongside my kids, and they are still in elementary school. But certain terminology has changed, and there are things that you forget over time. Teaching every subject, and doing it well, is a challenge.
The comparisons can drive us crazy
Without report cards and standardized tests, it can be hard to know for sure how well your child is doing in school, especially compared with their peers. Therefore, many conversations between homeschool moms turn to comparisons of our children and what they have learned. It's enough to drive us nuts.
Homeschooling can be lonely
My homeschool group often takes off several weeks during the hottest part of the summer and after Christmas. It can get lonely, both for me and the kids, during these times. For those without a good homeschool group or other social outlets, things can be even lonelier.
We really want a day off
Most of the homeschool moms I know are totally committed to the educational choices they have made for their kids. But darn it, the schedule can be grueling at times. We'd really love a day away from our families now and then.
We envy your second income
Homeschooling often means making it on just one salary. Many of the homeschool moms I know have college degrees, and choosing to educate our kids at home meant giving up a substantial portion of the family income. The financial sacrifices can be tough, and living a frugal lifestyle while others jet off to the islands really isn't always fun.
Yeah, some of us are judging you
This is maybe the biggest secret we'd like to keep under wraps. Some of us really are judging other parents. But let's face it. If your child is in a failing school district, or being bullied at school, or is otherwise just miserable and you choose not to take some action, it's hard not to judge. We know homeschooling isn't the answer for everyone, but there are almost always options in cases like these. Forgive us for judging, but please step up for your kids if they are in trouble.
There you have it. Ten little secrets many homeschool moms would rather you not know, exposed. Now, next time you meet a homeschooler, give her a smile and say hello. After all, now you know she's just a regular mom doing the best she can, maybe just like you.
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