Friday, September 21, 2018

Homeschool: The Hard Parts

As much as we love homeschooling and are so grateful that it's possible for us to do this for our kids, I would be lying if I said it wasn't hard sometimes. Here's a brief list of things I find to be hard. There are just five of them, which isn't that bad, right?

1. The pressure of being 100% responsible for my kids learning everything they need to know for adulthood. If there's a gap in their education, I can't blame anyone but myself. This can feel overwhelming, especially when someone has just quizzed my kid on random facts and they've gotten them all wrong. (Please don't quiz my kids on random facts. Or on anything. They're going to look at you like a deer in the headlights and forget everything they ever knew, because they won't understand why you are asking them weird questions about math or punctuation.)

2. Working really, really hard every day to educate my kids, but being told that I don't work. Or having people assume that because I am at home with my kids, I have loads of extra time to do favors for others. Like most parents who work during the hours that children are usually at school, I am busy from the moment I wake up until I get into bed at night. I am happy to do my bit for various projects at church or within our community, and I have built in time to serve others who are in need, but my days are not filled with endless free time. Essentially, I am a full time private tutor for two children. I just don't get paid for it. It's still work, even if no money changes hands.

3. And speaking of money, it is sometimes hard to accept that I am not bringing in any income regularly. I do hope this will change at some point, that I will find just the right opportunity to add to the family finances, but for now, it's just little bits here and there, and surveys that pay in gift cards. When we run a bit short or I'm wrestling with the budget to accommodate an unexpected expense, I have to give myself a little pep talk, reminding myself why we are doing this, and that it is worth it.

4. That our house is usually messier (and dirtier!) than I want it to be. While we aren't here all day, every day, we spend more time at home than families whose kids are in school. This means we eat more meals here, and the kids play more here, and all of the school materials the kids use are here. There is always a mess of some kind, somewhere. There are also more opportunities for my children to change clothes and put entire outfits that are really quite clean into the dirty laundry basket.

5. Managing my needs as an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person (it's a real thing - not just me being a delicate flower) with the realities of homeschool life. We often need to be quite social, and at some events we are meeting lots of new people at once. At home, there is very often at least one child and possibly multiple cats in my personal space. Sometimes my children are unbearably loud. I have accepted that during this season of my life, I will not get as much introvert time as I'd prefer or as is optimal, and sometimes I will be completely overstimulated. It can be tricky to make sure that I get enough time and space to myself, but I must figure out how to get the minimum so that my mental health and patience level remain strong for the work that I am doing.

As it stands now, all these hard things are manageable. If they weren't, we'd have to re-evaluate our choices for our family. But for now, we're good.

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