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What if Homeschooling Doesn’t Work for Your Kid?

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We’re about 5 weeks into this homeschooling and the short story is that it’s not going well.

The first couple of weeks were great. Better than great. Eva picked up new skills like crazy and we looked forward to our homeschool lessons together. I built time into our schedule for more outings, more games, more computer time, more books…and for a while there I was kicking myself that I had waited so long to homeschool because we were having such fun.

And then.

I’m not sure how we started sliding downhill. I think the novelty of doing homeschool lessons began to wear off for Eva so she suddenly “forgot” how to do everything and each lesson took twice as long because she’d put her head down and cry. My work started to pile up, so outings got a little more stressed, board games were a little more frustrating, and reading to the kids at lunch turned into playing educational videos for the kids at lunch (and then Disney videos eventually) as I desperately tried to regain a hold on my email.

I reached out for help and was encouraged by fellow homeschoolers who said to plan on a solid 6 months of transition time before everyone would be used to it. That sounded uplifting until I started to realize I was staring down the barrel at another 5 months of dragging Eva to the bookshelf to pick a book when she used to come running to me with an armload of stories she’d picked out. What was happening to my eager-to-learn kid?

Then the little things started to pile up. First, she began to ask about her friends constantly and when they’d come over she’d be practically frantic to make them stay as long as possible, totally preoccupied with what time they had to leave. She also started packing things into her school bag and leaving it by the door every day. “I know I’m not going to school anymore mom, but just in case.” In fact, “just in case” became the reason for everything…packing snacks, buying new shoes, making a Valentine’s Day box. She wanted it all just in case she woke up and it was magically a school day.

And then, this week, two crying fits with her asking for her teacher by name. Promising to try harder if she could go back to school. Making schools out of legos, wooden blocks, Lincoln Logs. Trotting all of the Calico Critters in and out of her created classrooms.

Blaaaaah.

And, to be totally selfish, I’m not a happy camper either with this homeschooling thing. It’s really tough to get my work done in the little gaps between all of the other things I have going on. The house is destroyed. Dinner only gets finished if we turn it into a homeschool lesson, in which case it takes twice as long to prepare, uses twice the amount of dishes, and tastes half as good. Plus, I’m now self-conscious about my skills as a teacher. I’m a smart person, but early education might not be in my skill set. Apparently 1 out of 1 of my students would really, really like to switch schools.

So.

According to homeschool lore, if we stick it out it will eventually get really good. Eventually.

Or.

There are a couple of other options we haven’t explored. Different schools. Different plans. Things that are harder and less convenient and more expensive. Ultimately, things that she’d probably enjoy much more…even if that bar is pretty low at the moment.

I don’t know. I’m tempted to struggle through but I don’t want to waste too much time making us both miserable if this isn’t for us. I love doing things with my kids (especially educational things) but right now I’m burnt out and she’s burnt out and I feel like we all like each other a little less than we did five weeks ago. So maybe changing up the plan will get us back to a good place…or maybe this is the post I reference later when I talk about how I wasn’t sure homeschooling was for us and then I realized it was the greatest thing in the world.

Just another parenting mystery I haven’t solved yet…

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6 Comments

  • Reply Melissa

    I don’t think I could homeschool. I know I don’t have the patience to keep the kids focused. We do have friends who do it successfully and they all seem to really enjoy some version of a co-op where once a week or twice a week they join with another family or several families. The parents take turns so it gives each family a break and it gives the kids some of the social time they want. Good luck! No doubt you will choose what is best for your family.

    February 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm
    • Reply Carly Morgan

      Yeah, I didn’t realize it was going to be soooo much time with the kids, if that makes sense. It’s really hard to enjoy them when I’m trying to keep them “on task”.

      February 13, 2015 at 9:18 pm
  • Reply Hope at Disneyland

    Aww man, that “just in case” part got to me. I feel for you both. I don’t have experience with homeschooling and the few friends I have who were homeschooled did it later in life not from the very beginning as Eva is doing. I definitely don’t have the patience for it. I remember getting so frustrated with my sister when helping her with her homework because she just didn’t get it and no matter what approach I took, it wasn’t sinking in. My last resort was, “well ask your teacher tomorrow”, but you don’t even have that luxury. Ugh. This is rough. I hope things get easier. (Insert “ooooh child things are gonna get easier” with bonus Chris Pratt dance off to cheer you up!) 🙂 Hugs!

    February 13, 2015 at 8:14 pm
    • Reply Carly Morgan

      Bonus Chris Pratt makes everything better. 😉

      February 13, 2015 at 9:17 pm
  • Reply Amy

    Since you’ve still got the rest of this one and another full year until she starts K can you maybe compromise and send her to preschool part time while loosely homeschooling the other days? I know she’s the same age as my daughter and I have mine enrolled in preschool 2 days/week. It gives me just enough alone time. She loves it and adores her teacher and friends but she’s pretty advanced for her age and going into it I knew she probably wouldn’t learn much academically so the days she doesn’t have school I always try to dedicate 1 day to an outing, 1 day we always go to the library and playground or indoor gym, and 1 day we try to do at least one fun learning game or activity at home planned by me. The way the former teacher in me looks at it she’s only 3 right now & will have her whole life ahead of her to be spent sitting in classrooms doing formal learning so I’m not too worried about focusing on academics yet and I’ve noticed she picks up sooo much on her own. If I was able to homeschool her I honestly wouldn’t even consider beginning until next year & even then wouldn’t try to do too much every day until she was 5. Preschoolers learn so much through play and time spent with peers. If you send her part time to a preschool now (maybe 3 days this year with 2 days homeschool, 2 next with 3 homeschool) it might be an easier transition to full time homeschool later on when she’s in kindergarten and the focus is a lot more heavy on academics in a school setting so it’s not as much fun as preschool.

    February 13, 2015 at 9:42 pm
  • Reply Eve

    You know, even as a teacher, I wouldn’t personally choose to homeschool. Mostly because I find it often helps when there’s a third party giving information (the kids I tutor see me as a teacher and thus are more productive with me than their parents, if that makes sense?)…and I also don’t know that I could handle being with my child for all that time, even though I love him more than anything! I give you mad props for trying- seriously-because it’s just not for me! I hope if you decide it isn’t right in the long-term that you’re able to find an alternative that works well for you and Eva!

    February 14, 2015 at 11:57 pm
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