Homeschooling is Hard

If you only see homeschoolers on social media, you may be under the impression it is all beautiful days of well-behaved children and happy lessons. Those pictures show a clean home, well-rounded meals, and photo-worthy field trips.

Those are lies. 

Truth Behind The Lies

Real homeschooling includes cleaning up messes you didn’t see coming, again. It entails a few great days, a lot of mediocre days, and a few where you question all your life choices. Every month. It means testing out curriculums that won’t work for your child and pulling together lesson plans, again. 

If you start homeschooling expecting nothing but rainbows and kittens, you are going to be disappointed. It is just like the newborn period, where everyone shows you a beautiful baby, but not the exploding diapers, spit-up, and exhaustion. Instagram isn’t the truth, or at least, not the whole story. 

It Isn’t All Bad

That doesn’t mean that every day of homeschooling is horrible. I have tons of great memories of playing with my kids, reading them stories, and singing songs together. You can have those too.  They aren’t even hard to plan to do. 

My biggest tip for having a happy homeschool is to look a bit into what is developmentally appropriate and let your kids be kids. They don’t need to start reading and writing in preschool. Instead, they need to learn to draw and color. They need to learn directions, like above and beside. They need to learn to take turns and play games. And as sweet as that all sounds, you may find yourself despising playing Candyland by the 15th time. I did. I hate that game. But we played it because it is a great first game for kids to learn the idea of taking turns and moving along the board. 

As your kids grow, my best advice is to make sure you are doing things you all enjoy. Take them to explore parks and creeks. If you enjoy music, put some on for everyone to enjoy. Play with the play dough and let yourself paint pictures with them. Look for fun things. 

I also recommend finding curriculums to use that fit your personal style and that work for your kids. This can take a lot of time and effort. It is frustrating when you realize yet another program is a bad fit. It can make you feel bad at this job. But even seasoned teachers can have trouble finding the right fit, especially if your kid has a learning disability. 

But It’s Worth It

A normal homeschooling house is messy. Dinner time varies based on when you get a chance to finally get started cooking, and some nights a frozen pizza is all you have the energy to make. A normal homeschool family has lots of days they are in their pajamas all day. 

The kids won’t enjoy every lesson, and you won’t enjoy teaching everything. Yes, the moment your child first reads is amazing. You will have those moments. But you will also have days where you try to explain multiplication for the 47th time and debate which wine will pair best with your math curriculum. 

The thing that pulls me through the bad days, is looking at the big picture. I homeschool for many ,many reasons, but one of the biggest is safety. I know my kids are safe with me, even if they just play all day today while I try again at lesson planning. They are not being bullied. They aren’t being told they can’t do something because of their learning disabilities. One of my fears is that the world would tell them they couldn’t be anything they wanted to be. At home, they are told they can do anything they choose, and they know that is true. 

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About the Author

nimble_asset_Laura-in-floral-shirt-with-treesLaura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator, and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.

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