A comment of a recent article about homeschool scheduling got me thinking about the difficulties involved in being a homeschooling mom. The comment stated that having kids in regular and private schools was demanding (schedule-wise), and they imagined homeschooling had it’s own issues. Does it ever. After all, if homeschooling were easy, everyone would do it. Here are some of the challenges of being a homeschool mom.
Life scheduling is near impossible when homeschooling: In some ways life scheduling becomes easier as the parent does not have to deal with children in different schools with different schedules and an array of important activities, and programs a parent must work into their already hectic schedule. However, in order for children to have healthy friendships, and relationships, and to participate in the community and activities, the parent must do quite a bit of driving kids from place to place. This is probably where the concept of car-schooling (doing educatinal activities in the car) came about because homeschoolers can spend an inordinate amount of time in the car. Let’s just say that when I started homeschooling 8 years ago, I loved driving. Now I hate driving. In short, my schedule is not my own. I have learned to cope by using electronic calendars to keep track of activities, and forcing a predictable rhythm to our lives around the activities.
Personal time is at a minimum when homeschooling: As I just mentioned, my schedule is not my own. When you have little kids, they are ALWAYS with you. Even big kids still need your time and attention. As a homeschooler, I not only need to drop my child off at enriching activities, but I am often asked to participate in some way be it supervision, planning, or working in some capacity. So, if my kid is in drama club, I am in drama club too. She acts, I help build sets, print tickets, and tend to things like the cast party. I have learned to cope with these demands on my time by balancing them with my own enjoyable activities. For instance, I know that on most Tuesdays, I am free as my children are in classes. So I use this time for beauty treatments, and lunch dates with friends. On Thursday evening when my daughter is in drama club, I go to the Starbucks on the lake nearby to enjoy the view and have some time dedicated to maintaining my blogs.
Isolation is a problem with homeschooling: Not only do homeschool kids have to put an extra effort in developing relationships, but parents need to work to maintain their own relationships. After all, all of your friends are working full time jobs and enjoying their own personal pursuits while their kids are at school. Homeschooling moms rarely have time to connect with their friends, and often fall out of touch with pre-homeschool friends for numerous reasons. Meanwhile, homeschool friends are all individually busy which makes getting together difficult. It is important to stay connected to people you care for through phone calls, letters, and the occasional visit or party invitation. (You can even try online networking.) In the meanwhile, remember that homeschooling is just for a time, and you and your kids will be richer for it in the end.
It is the problems with life scheduling, personal time, and isolation that many homeschooling moms suffer from what is called homeschooling burnout. For this reason it is very popular that homeschooling moms make a concerted effort to find balance between the child’s personal needs and their own.