Homeschooling is hard. I see it a lot, usually right next to a sentence about authenticity or a hashtag like #keepingitreal. I also hear it a lot when I’m among homeschooling friends and I get it. It’s nice to have a safe place to vent, especially when you can do it without someone telling you a public school will make your life much easier.
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Here’s the deal: homeschooling may be hard sometimes, but we can’t let that frame our days. We don’t have to be fooled into thinking the struggle is real and it will always be that way. No, we’ve got children to love, teach, and guide and, whether it’s hard or not, we don’t have to surrender our callings to someone else.We don't have to be fooled into thinking the struggle is real and it will always be that way. #homeschooling
That’s not to suggest that we view our days through rose-colored glasses and pretend that every minute is perfect. We can be real about what’s happening in our homes and around our homeschool tables, but we can also choose to speak life into our days and look at the big picture when the day-to-day seems too much.
Homeschooling May Be Hard Right Now
Instead of accepting that homeschooling is hard, let’s talk it out and look it all from another perspective. Let’s remember the power in our words and reframe them a bit. Let’s remember our choice to speak life or death.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. – Proverbs 18:21
Let’s choose life.
Homeschooling is hard when you’re a rookie.
Thank goodness rookie status only lasts a season, right? Whether you’re homeschooling preschool or transitioning from a public school, it makes total sense for homeschooling to be hard when you’re starting out with it. After all, adjustments, tweaking, and learning happen with any new thing.
The good news is that it gets better. Hang in there and stay faithful, but give yourself grace as you settle into homeschool life. Don’t feel like something’s wrong if you don’t have it all figured out because, whether you’re a 15 year homeschool veteran, a rookie, or somewhere in between, homeschooling will always require you to learn as you go.
Sure, it becomes easier, more natural, and even enjoyable, but don’t despise these small homeschool beginnings. Instead, embrace your rookie season and celebrate your start.
Homeschooling is hard when you’ve got babies in the family.
I’ve got two kids and am certainly no expert on managing a large family, but I understand this one. Without a doubt, there are unique challenges that come with having a baby or toddler in the family while you’re homeschooling older kids.
Routine can be managed with babies and tots in the home; we do it all the time in other areas like laundry and cooking.
It may involve some juggling or sharing of responsibilities and it can take some trial and error, but you can settle into a homeschool routine… even with a new baby or curious toddler in the room. Here are some things to remember:
- Be realistic with your expectations. It’s okay to dial back on the time-intensive homeschool plans for a while.
- Lighten your load. For example, you could turn to online language arts options for a year or two, but continue working with your kids like normal in other areas. Reducing your personal load by one subject can be a huge help when adjusting to a new rhythm.
- Combine when possible. It’s a lot less time-intensive to teach one history lesson to all your kids rather than to oversee three or four different lessons throughout the day.
Homeschooling is hard when you’re on a tight budget.
Think an endless budget would make homeschooling a thousand times easier? Think again. An endless budget paves the way for endless curriculum options. Well, decision fatigue is bad enough when the budget is tight. I can’t imagine how exhausting it would be to choose homeschool resources without the help of my budget constraints.
Then there’s the fact that my limited homeschool budget has taught me how to be smart with my spending by buying used and borrowing when possible. It’s also taught me to recognize when to invest in resources, when to utilize a free option, and how to best keep curriculum envy from taking over.#Homeschooling on a limited budget is only hard if we allow it to be. It all shifts once you have a handle on your priorities.
Homeschooling on a limited budget is only hard if we allow it to be. It all shifts once you have a handle on your priorities. After all, the limited homeschool budget isn’t a big burden when you know what you’re looking for, why you’re looking for it, and where to look.
It may take time searching eBay, your local thrift store, or curriculum sale groups on Facebook, but the most important homeschool resources are out there. That may mean walking away from resources that aren’t at the top of your homeschool must-haves, but it doesn’t mean that homeschooling is hard.
Homeschooling is hard when you’re overwhelmed.
One thing I’ve learned in nine years of homeschooling is that homeschooling itself isn’t usually all that hard. When it’s hard, it’s often because of other things happening around us or in us at the time.
Homeschooling may be hard right now if you’ve got a family member dealing with health issues. It may be hard if you’re working, whether outside the home or from home. Also, homeschooling may be hard if you have responsibilities at church or in the community. Behavioral tendencies and learning challenges can also make for hard seasons of homeschooling.
All that to say, there are lots of reasons homeschooling may be hard and your reasons will usually look at least a little different from the homeschooler down the street. Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say there’s something piled on top of homeschooling that makes it hard. In my case, the moments usually involve working from home or our church plant.
I understand the overwhelm. Honestly, I do. It only takes one extra responsibility or variable to lead to overwhelm. But that doesn’t mean we quit. The last thing we want to do is model to our children that quitting is the best choice when life gets hard. Instead, remember your why. Why are you homeschooling? Use this for motivation on days when it’s all too much.
Also repeat these things over and over to yourself as often as you need to hear them.
- You don’t have to devote eight hours to homeschooling each day. Consider keeping only a few daily subjects and rotating the others throughout the week. You can cover a topic consistently and make progress without including it on a daily basis. This usually cuts your daily homeschooling time down dramatically.
- Prioritize. Establish what’s most important for you to accomplish each day, each week, and each month. If foreign language is on the bottom half of your list, don’t sweat it if you can’t make it happen in this season.
- Lighten your load. You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating. Whether you lighten what’s required of you through outsourcing, co-op, or shifting to a curriculum that’s easier on you, give yourself permission to make adjustments for your sake alone.
- Celebrate the wins. Celebrate what you want to see more of and be diligent about it. This goes a long way in all seasons, not just the hard ones.
Homeschooling may be hard right now and that’s okay.
Friend, be encouraged; we can do hard things. We do them every day and they usually become less difficult the more we do them. In other words, our hard things won’t always be hard.
We push through, we do what needs to be done, and we carry on because we can do hard things. Homeschooling is no exception.
In closing, remember that we’re not alone in our hard things. As Sally Clarkson points out in Own Your Life, “God has gone to great lengths throughout history to show that we are not limited by human constraints.”
Lastly, I invite you hop over to my guest post at Not So Formulaic. In it, I share what happened to shift me away from a homeschooling is hard mindset.