“I could never homeschool.” “I could never do that.” I hear it all the time. Easily half of the parents I meet respond this way when they find out I have five kids and homeschool—and since I’m a military spouse who settles into a new city every few years, I meet a LOT of parents.
I suspect that the reasons are really quite simple. Homeschooling takes three things:
- Some semblance of organization
- Some knowledge—or vast quantities of curiosity, and
- A LOT of time with your kids
Let me address all three of these.
I could never homeschool because I’m not very organized.
Ladies, if you’ve ditched any fleeting thoughts of homeschooling because you’re the hot mess mom who wears pajama bottoms in the school drop-off line, stop right there.
Most of the homeschool moms I know fit squarely in this category.
You only bring store-bought goodies to your kids’ classes? I would absolutely be that mom too. You look at the farmy/hippie/homeschooling moms on Facebook or Instagram and think they’re out of your league? Girl, I feel ya.
Don’t believe what you see on social media.
That is the tip of the iceberg—the beautiful, homemade, sacrificial tip. Under the water every homeschooling mama is drowning in some category everyday.
The only reason I ever started cooking homemade food is because I was too overwhelmed to take five kids to the grocery store and there wasn’t enough money in the budget for yet another Dominos order. So I googled how to make homemade french bread to go with our store-bought sauce on top of our store-bought spaghetti noodles.
There’s no actual way to simultaneously accomplish a clean house and a solid homeschool day. We’re all hot messes usually; we can’t even get our schtuff together enought to get in the dropoff line, let alone wear real pants in said line. That’s not just a glorious perk of homeschooling, it’s one of the reasons why we homeschool.
I could never homeschool because I don’t know enough about…
One of the main worries that scares parents off from homeschooling is that they don’t feel like they’re smart enough or equipped enough to handle some of the academics they struggled with during their own school days.
This is a worry for every homeschool mom I’ve ever met. It is the entire reason co-ops exist. Personally, I stink at science. I’m working hard to change my attitude because I don’t want my kids to hate science, but I just could never get into all those labs. I never saw what I was supposed to see in the microscope. How the ever living heck am I supposed to teach science?
Luckily, I have a fallback plan. It’s called “making friends with people who like science.” And don’t give me that introvert/extrovert schpeel: I test at like 85% introverted. There are people out there who get giddy about science like I get giddy about a beautiful hardback clothbound volume of Jane Austen. Mmm.
My job as a homeschool mom is to find people who are skilled in the areas I’m not and enlist them in my children’s education. (Actually, that’s my job as a mom.) Whether that means joining a co-op, hiring a tutor, or hounding my husband to help out, it’s up to me to do what it takes. And it’s easier than you think.
Science lab projects and dissections for me conjure memories of frog legs spazzing up in a metal tray during high school biology. But I have made friends who have helped my kids do everything from plant seeds to dissect owl poop. Thank the good Lord I didn’t have to do that. I try to outsource the things I’m not great at.
Outsource all the dissecting and all the poop, I say!
That said, not a single homeschool, public school, or private school kid has ever had a perfect education. Every one of us has holes in our education and we’re fooling ourselves if we think the standard is to muster a perfect education for our own kids.
I could never homeschool because I don’t actually want to spend all that time with my kids.
Some moms I’ve talked to come right out and say it. Homeschooling looks a lot like a 12-year version of the baby years—you know, those years spent drowning in diapers and barely speaking to other adult humans, while your brain slowly turns to mush and you have more goo on your shirt than you ever thought possible. They baby years can be both awfully sweet, and plain awful.
I wonder, too, if the reason people say this is that they think those who homeschool their kids are somehow more sacrificial. Kind of like when Christians look at missionaries or pastors as unattainably holier than ourselves. Obviously missionaries who have devoted their entire lives to sacrifice, preaching the Gospel, feeding the hungry, and working in Third World countries are better believers than the rest of us who can’t bring ourselves to give up our Netflix and our paved roads and our Amazon Prime. Right?
No, not actually. Talk to anyone who is actually in ministry and they can tell you stories for hours about all the unholy drama that unfolds between pastors, their families, and their congregations.
None of us are more holy or more sacrificial than anyone else. Let’s just chuck that idea right now because it ain’t true. Homeschooling moms are not better than other moms. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.
Also untrue is the myth that homeschool moms must interact with only their kids all the time (and love it!).
Homeschool moms I know? They yell at their kids. (Me.) They hide in the closet/bathroom/pantry/garage/car to get away from their kids because their kids drive them C.R.A.Z.Y. Crazy. (Also me.)
I can totally understand any non-homeschooling parent who says, “I could never homeschool my kids,” and really means, “We’d kill each other if we spent that much time together.” I get it. Deep in my bones I understand.
While it’s impossible to avoid that part of the homeschooling equation entirely, you can mitigate it some. There are co-ops, classes, field trips, and groups you can join (or create). Even the back yard can be an amazing respite. If you get creative, there are all sorts of ways to avoid being one-on-one with your kid all day long. Most end up being a ton of fun, too, like the Mother-Daughter Book Club a friend’s enterprising daughter invited us to, or the spontaneous hikes or doughnut shop runs we take because we’re all about ready to throttle each other.
But here’s a secret I’ve learned after homeschooling for the last eight years: there’s something weird and magical that happens when you do spend so much time together: you start to like each other a little more. There’s not so much peer influence shouting nonsense in your kids’ ears like, “Parents are dumb!” And with a little less of that influence, there’s a litte more grace and understanding in the relationship.
Related: 7 Reasons to Consider Homeschooling