Have you read this post of mine from 2016? Oh wasn’t life peachy back then, woman.
Now that three (long) years have gone by since we started to homeschool, it’s time to get real.
I hate homeschooling.
I know. I’m as dumb struck as you are.
I hate homeschooling, and I loathe the person homeschooling has turned me into.
Homeschooling DOES have undeniable benefits that we homeschool moms slash bloggers love to brag about. With each and every published POLISHED blog post, the rays of homeschool sunshine grow another inch longer.
Yes, homeschooling is awesome.
But the life of a homeschooling parent can get pretty intense.
Disclaimer: In case you haven’t noticed, this is mostly a humor blog. Hey, we all laugh at different things, right? Feel free to point fingers and disagree but rest assured I love my kids with all my heart. Before you slap me with a mental condition, how about you read about why we homeschool in the first place?
1) Constant chaos.
98% of the time I’m awoken to the sounds of the blue whale and a howler monkey mating in the middle of my living room. I close my eyes tighter and bury my head in the pillow, yelling at them to stop. Not the best way to start a day, I admit.
Show of hands: Who would love to listen to the ode of girl drama over the silliest of all things silly all day long on repeat? Exactly. I would pay money to drink coffee in peace. No I take it back. I’m too Type A to hire help plus I’m kinda on a budget.
2) You’re never, ever, EVER alone. Ever.
If this isn’t enough to score you your very own legally prescribed bottle of Xanax, then I don’t know what is. I’m surprised they don’t hand these out when you’re initiated into a homeschool group or a co-op.
It’s like living with the Gremlins, but worse.
My kids must be with me constantly. Near me. Next to me. On me. They won’t leave my side for longer than 4 1/2 minutes without briefing me on something important, funny, sad, urgent, clever, or just plain stupid.
I love them with all my heart.
But I clench my fists every morning in jealousy of all SAHMs on our block that drop their kids off at the bus stop in the morning and kiss them and smile and wave and won’t see them until at least 4 p.m.
3) On-call cafeteria lady.
Preparing 385 meals and snacks each and every day and cleaning up after said 385 meals and snacks each and every day? Hate it. HATE. IT. And just for the record, I used to love to cook.
Look, I know I’d still have to feed them breakfast and dinner and make a sack lunch for them if they were in school, I’m not an idiot. But they were born with two hollow legs each and the reverberation of “I’m huuuuungryyyyyyy moooooooom” makes my skin crawl 7 days a week for the vast majority of my waking hours.
4) Constant mess.
Oh dear God, the constant mess.
Did I mention the mess?
The mind-numbing hamster wheel of managing the growing mess is exhausting. It sucks the life out of me. It’s debilitating, really, for a neat freak like me.
I have to do this. I don’t have time to do this. I don’t want to do this! How much is a boarding school in the Swiss Alps?
Maybe if they weren’t being spoiled with two hundred and fifty four freakin’ thousand toys, life would be better? “DONATION PILE!!!,” I jot down on a post-it and stick it all the way to the top of the refrigerator to keep it safe from the hands of all evil.
5) Knowing that I can make them. Or break them.
Both education-wise and on a social level.
I don’t have the guts to radically unschool, so my 8-year-old uses schoolwork as a time killer and amusement while I use it as punishment. Not a great combination, I know. But it kinda works, I think.
I fully believe in the beauty and power of unschooling. But most people in this world don’t.
Am I paving paths for future college scholarships or the unemployment office? Will they hate me one day for not bringing them to their full potential? How many social activities a week are enough for my kids and not a total overkill for a hopeless introvert like me? Where’s the balance?! Will my kids eventually need therapy?
I won’t know the extent of the good OR bad I’ve done until my kids are all grown up. At which point it’s pretty much too late to fix anything major like screwing up someone’s whole life out of love.
It’s all on me.
And I love it, but it scares the crap out of me at the same time.
6) Being the Worst. Person. Ever.
The super-un-fun mom that is relentlessly enforcing barbaric tasks like no more farting at the table or hitting or pinching or pushing, teeth brushing at least by lunchtime???, no playing with the garden hose, capitalizing every street name on every envelope in the penpal pile because come on, how many times have we gone over this?!
I’m the worst, I’ve heard.
And then I blow and I lose it and roar harshly that I’m sending them to school next Monday because I’ve had enough BUT THIS TIME I REALLY MEAN IT!!! But that would mean I had also meant it the other 235 times I’ve said it this year. No one believes me anymore, but it feels so good to say it.
Maybe I really am the worst.
The threshold of my patience has sunk way below the bottom of the Dead Sea, and you know you’ve screwed up when you hurl out words at your unappreciative offsprings in a tone only your own mother ever could.
7) Kids can be lazy, know-it-all, back talking, eye-rolling MONSTERS.
Here’s the thing. The emotional security of homeschooling doesn’t only bring out the good in homeschoolers. It also brings out the bad and ugly. And you can’t pretend it didn’t happen and let the principal or a teacher worry about that.
I’ve been struggling with my 8-year-old’s attitude at times, but that’s not even the scary part. Having other homeschoolers paint vivid pictures of the hell called Homeschooling A Tween Girl is.
8) It’s hard to find balance.
Like, REALLY hard. Balance just doesn’t come easy when you score the unlucrative gig of a homeschooling parent.
It’s like volunteering long hours at a job with high demands and no lunch break in a company that’s perpetually disorganized and low on staff, with coworkers that include an 8-going-on-tween-year-old and a chronically messy 5-year-old. Really freakin’ hard.
Breaking fights between the four brown eyes every day and the constant mess and bickering and catching toys mid-air every 12 minutes makes me want to jolt out of my house screaming and hitch the first truck ride for my solo backpacking stint across South America.
I’ve put my sanity and health on the back burner for now. We’ll see what comes out of it.
Belize sounds really nice.
9) “Oh you gave up your career to stay home
and homeschool your kids!? That’s nice…”
But I’m not going down without a fight.
I actually know quite a few people who have gotten out of the “full-time mommy gig” by purposely finding a job to commute to daily, the farther away from their home, the better. Their numbers are growing.
People need to realize that being with your kids nonstop is not for the weak. Stay-at-home moms that don’t have help can have incredibly tough lives.
Being with your kids nonstop AND being solely responsible for their well-roundedness and education and keeping them fed and alive for all these years should score homeschooling moms a straight ticket to the Heavenly Lounge no matter how many husbands they’ve tried to kill along the way.
Still, I don’t think I’m ready to throw in the towel.
You may be thinking…
“Um, if she hates homeschooling so much, why suffer???”
Because in a way it’s kinda like hating to take your car to the shop for regular maintenance because it interferes with a scheduled binge watching of the last series of The Walking Dead but is probably a good call long-term.
The ride is long, uncomfortable, and loud. But I CAN see the bigger picture.
The passion for learning in the curious eyes of my 8-year-old was an eye opener for me a few years back. I didn’t expect that. I love having almost grown-up conversations with her about things she herself catches and brings up. I’d take the clarity of her soul over small talk at the school playground ANY DAY.
Getting hugs and kisses from people that haven’t faked a single thing in their lifetime and hearing the laughter when they play together? Precious. Noticing the little gestures of them being there for one another? God that melts my heart.
Maintaining a clean house when you homeschool is next to impossible, but I love the silly times they bond over and the imagination they foster in one another through at least half of the mess.
I hate wondering whether I’m doing enough preparing my kids for LIFE, but I love the direction unschooling is leading us to.
Deep down, I don’t think I’m entirely ready to get defeated by what might be a temporary homeschool burnout.
I’m also hoping that it’s really ONLY temporary…
(PS: No school papers have been filled out YET.)
What about you?!
Do you have a love/hate relationship with homeschooling? Or are you more put-together than me and still pretty sane after years of running the show???