When we start homeschooling, most of us are presented with the Pinterest perfect images of beautiful children sitting across the table absolutely thrilled to learn about the solar system, the smiling 3rd grader anxiously waiting for the next lesson on long division, perfect daily schedules complete with color coded meal plans for the week (and a bonus shopping list for those following the Whole 30 diet!), and neat homeschool spaces that leave you questioning whether you searched for “places where kids do not live” by accident.
Meanwhile, *your* lovely children are stomping through your home like a herd of wild buffalo. Not to mention, the three-year old is covered in Nutella and hanging off the chandelier in his Spiderman underwear.
While those Pinterest images are wonderful and full of rainbows and sunshine, there is a dark side of homeschooling that no one wants to talk about for reasons that I will never know.
Let’s talk about how lonely homeschooling can feel on the hard days. Let’s talk about how frustrated, tired, lonely, and outnumbered you feel in your home barely keeping your head above water.
These hard days are THE WORST. And, we ALL have them. I don’t care how long you’ve been homeschooling your children, whether one hour or fifteen years, we all have days like these.
Homeschooling is a team sport, and when you need help, ask for it!
Rest easy that you are not the only player in the game. You do not have to be the pitcher, catcher, short stop, 1st baseman, and center fielder. Homeschooling is a team sport with plenty of teammates, and sometimes, you need to call in a relief pitcher!
I would imagine you did not make the decision to homeschool without the support of your spouse. Keep in mind, your spouse brings something unique to the table. They, too, can facilitate your child’s learning and teach your child/ren a new skill. Do not be afraid to pull your spouse off the bench in the dugout and encourage him/her to teach your son how to read, explain a long division problem to your daughter, work through geometry problems with your high school freshman, or even teach your children how to change the brakes on the truck. Your spouse is a valuable part of the team.
For many years, I hid my struggles and hard days from my “fans.” I felt the need to teach everything to my children all the time with zero outsourcing. It was beyond exhausting trying to take on every single position with the added pressure of trying to do them all well (spoiler alert: no one can do everything well). I was embarrassed and afraid to admit that after throwing 75 pitches in a row, I needed a relief pitcher to come out of the bullpen.
Do not be afraid to call your relief pitcher. Your relief pitcher may be your high school best friend or another homeschool mom, but do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask for a break, take a minute or two to chat on the phone, or hire a babysitter to give yourself a chance to rest. There is a reason why you have a relief pitcher. Recognize those reasons and don’t be embarrassed to get some extra help.
This also means, there is zero shame in outsourcing unfamiliar subjects. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and it is important recognize where we may need some extra help. I barely passed Geometry while I was in high school. There is definitely a better candidate to teach my daughter Geometry. That candidate is not me, and I am more than okay with this. Take advantage of online classes and programs, co-ops, and other outside-the-home resources available to you that can help you properly educate your children while also staying emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy.
It is okay to have hard days, friend. We all have them. It’s normal.
You don’t have to feel like you are the only player on the field. You have plenty of teammates that can step on the field and take your place when you need to ice your shoulder and sit in the dugout for a while.
When you need help, ask for it. It’s okay. Your team wants to help you.