School at home – The worst

Okay, there are some not-so-great things about homeschool.  A few of the negatives:

Number One – The money

Homeschool costs.

The thing is, I could certainly teach my kids at home for very little cost.  There are many free resources.  I choose to purchase a curriculum because I find it much easier to do so.  I do not want to gather, organize & plan the year.  I did that for a bit & found that it consumed too much of my time.  So we purchased our curriculum this year & will continue to do so.

Just google homeschool curriculum & you will see that there are many, many options out there & the costs vary greatly.  We use Sonlight, which is pretty middle-of-the-road as far as price.  I like the approach & materials they offer, & I am willing to pay for someone else to do the legwork.

It will sting this summer when I order next year’s curriculum.  And the costs will not go down, they will go up each year.  But I think it’s worth every penny.

Number Two – The burden

The burden of homeschool does not lie in the actual work of teaching my kids.  As much as I worried over it before we began, the process has not been difficult at all.

The burden of homeschool lies in my own doubts & worries.  Or maybe it actually lies in the stigma that comes with that word…homeschool.  Let’s be brutally honest.  If we run into problems along the way (& we will run into problems because that is how life works), be they behavioral or academic, the first thought to enter everyone’s mind (friends, family & yes, even mine) will be homeschool.  Is homeschool to blame?

My family does march to our own beat & I like that just fine.  We are happy in our little world, but we do not live in a bubble.  Like other parents, I strive to raise educated, happy, well-adjusted people who can function in society.  I wish never to hinder my children socially or academically in the name of making our homeschool work.  I said even before we opted out of public school this year that we are not married to this & we will learn at home until that is not a good fit for us.

Because of the stigma or because our choice is not mainstream, I feel that I am more cognizant of my kids’ academic progress & behavior than I would otherwise be..  I obviously give more thought to what & how they are learning because I am the one & only person making those choices for them.  For better or worse, it’s on me now.  It would be disingenuous to say that this is not a burden.  It is, & it weighs heavy on me at times.

Now, I must add that this burden is so much less now that we are actually up to our elbows in homeschooling.  My worries were much greater & my confidence was much weaker before we started.  As is my way, I spent time over-thinking this whole thing.

Number Three – The burnout

I am with my kids all day every day.  All day every. single. day.  Sometimes, I do not want to be with my kids.  Yea, I said it.

This is such a tricky thing.  I say that I cherish this time & so appreciate that I am able to keep them close & share our days.  And that is true.  On the other hand, it can be difficult to be hands on every day & I do often struggle with patience.  True as well.

How do I reconcile the two?  Well the answer is, I enjoy my kids more often than not.  We have good days, lots of good days.  Occasionally we have bad days.  Because we have more good days than bad, I call it a success.

Is there a mother who enjoys every waking moment with her children, never needs time to herself, whose enthusiasm & patience is never-ending?  I have not met her.  I am not that mother.  And I suspect that most mothers who homeschool their kids are not that mother.

Sometimes I become absolutely desperate for time to myself.  I am so thankful for my extended family who allows me that time.  The occasional time away from my kids does make me a better mother.  How much time a mother needs is really just a very personal thing.  My burnout level is mine & mine alone.

I generally get a day off every couple of weeks & that works for me.  But I must admit that if I do not get that time, it most certainly affects my attitude.  I find myself impatient, bored & even a little resentful.  I suppose everyone needs a day off.

I hope that in sharing some of the best & worst of our own homeschool experience, I can encourage others to simply consider it as an option for their own families.  For those who are not satisfied with their public or private school choices, there is another option.

~K

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