Overview: Thinking about homeschooling? Wondering if homeschooling is hard? It is. And it isn’t. Here are some hard truths about homeschooling you should know before you get started!
If you’ve read even one of my blog posts before, then you know that homeschooling is one of my very favorite things ever. I love the freedom that it affords my family.
I love being able to spend so much time with my boys.
I love seeing the spark in their eyes when they learn something new. Homeschooling has been a wonderful educational option for our family.
That being said, there are some aspects of homeschooling which are less positive. Sometimes, my husband and I will be talking about a difficult situation we’re dealing with and we’ll admit that we wouldn’t have to deal with that if we weren’t homeschooling.
Sometimes homeschooling can be hard!
Here are 7 Hard Truths About Homeschooling:
1 – Organized Sports
My boys love being involved in sports. As they’ve gotten older, however, we’ve found that there are fewer teams for them to play on as homeschoolers.
I believe part of this is because lots of people put their kids back into school once they hit the middle school or high school ages.
Fortunately, we have quite a few sports options for homeschoolers where we live. Both of my sons participate in a competitive basketball league.
They’ve also been on a baseball team for homeschoolers in past years. Unfortunately, that specific team didn’t exist the following year, which put us in the position of having to search for other options for our boys if they wanted to continue playing.
One option we discovered was to call smaller Christian schools in the area to see if they might have room on their teams for our kids. We found a school which will allow our boys to play on their varsity baseball team, but our 13-year-old was a bit reluctant to play with a bunch of boys who would be 3-5 years older than he was.
He didn’t relish putting in all of that time and work, only to spend most of the season sitting on the bench.
If our boys were in a public school, they would have more age-appropriate sports teams from which they could choose consistently rather than having to punt year after year due to lack of players.
And it wouldn’t require so much effort on our part to be sure they had the opportunity to play. Forms would come home from school and we would sign them.
2 – The Buck Stops Here
When you homeschool, you are taking on a lot of responsibility. You are the principal, the teacher, the guidance counselor, the lunch lady, and the janitor, among other things.
You prepare all of the lessons.
You come up with an overall plan of what your kids will and won’t learn during their schooling career.
You are in charge!
This is good and bad. You’re responsible for making sure they are prepared to live on their own someday. There’s no one else to blame when you are afraid your child is falling short.
There’s no one else who can tell you exactly what to do.
They can suggest, but they aren’t in a position to give you a plan of action. Homeschooling puts a lot of weight on the shoulders of the parents.
→ Related Content: Is Homeschooling Hard?
3 – Lots of work
Any teacher will tell you that being a first-year teacher is incredibly difficult. That first year is when you have to come up with all of your lesson plans, compile reading lists, dream up great science experiments and field trips, etc.
Being a homeschool mom is like being a first-year teacher every year for multiple grades at the same time!
And this is true for every year that we homeschool. Each year brings new challenges and requires lots of investigation and experimentation on our part.
I’ve heard people say that some moms homeschool because they’re too lazy to get out of bed and get their kids on the bus in the mornings. Ummm, no. I think not!
4 – Togetherness
One of the best things about homeschooling is that you get to spend so much time with your kiddos. Sometimes that blessing can also be a bit of a curse.
Let’s face it! People who are together all the time have a tendency to get on each other’s nerves.
Homeschool moms need to work harder to find time to focus on themselves. Depending on the ages of your children, this can be hard to do.
5 – You Work from Home
When you homeschool, you are basically working from home. This means that it’s harder to get away from your job.
Some families have separate homeschool rooms, so they could theoretically shut the door and put their homeschool day behind them.
For many of us, however, we do our schooling in our living rooms and dining rooms. This can make it harder to get schooling out of our minds.
6 – No Snow Days
Do you remember how exciting it was to listen to the radio the morning after a large snowfall and to hear that they canceled your school? When you homeschool, there aren’t any mandatory snow days.
Fortunately, there are ways around this one. You can still take a “snow day” when it’s convenient for you!
One thing I love about homeschooling is that you can also take off the first warm day of spring, birthdays, days to visit grandparents, and other various days that tickle your fancy. That brings us back to that benefit of flexibility that I was talking about earlier.
7 – Messier House
When the kids are home all day long, your house can have a tendency to be messier. Homeschool moms are busy teaching lessons and have a harder time making time to keep the house in tip-top shape.
Training our kids to do practical life skills is just as important as teaching them typical academic subjects. As adults, most of our kids will need to clean their houses more often than they will ever diagram a sentence or solve a quadratic equation!
Fortunately, there’s a fix for this one as well.
Our kids are home all day long, so we can put them to work. Train your kids to help with the chores.
Initially, this takes longer than doing them yourself. However, it won’t be long and your kids will be able to help out immensely with the housework.
And that kind of training is extremely useful for them when they’re on their own as well.
Yes, homeschooling can be hard. And homeschooling has a downside.
But I have to end this post by saying that homeschooling our boys has been one of the best decisions that my husband and I have made.
As Teddy Roosevelt once said,
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
Homeschooling definitely requires effort. But the end result will be so worth it!
Question: What are some of the harder aspects of homeschooling you’ve struggled with? What are the biggest blessings you’ve experienced? Please leave a comment below.
40 thoughts on “7 Hard Truths About Homeschooling”
Hard Truth – you will never feel like you’re doing it right and everyone except other homeschool families will not miss an opportunity to tell you you’re not doing it right.
Yes, Elizabeth, that’s so true! It takes some REAL inner strength to be able to swim upstream, doesn’t it? Hang in there! And thanks for adding this hard truth.
I love, love, love homeschooling. It started as a necessity but now it’s a passion.
Your points are so truthful. While I can’t identify with the sports teams side of things (our family isn’t athletically inclined) I found myself nodding along with all your other points… like the responsibility – YES! Principal, teacher, cook, secretary, custodian… lol the list goes on and on.
I have struggled with adult connections. I found that when I started homeschooling, a lot of our friends who have children in school kind of backed away from us. Many are big on academics and perhaps they felt uncomfortable with our choices or didn’t like questioning their own choices? I have never judged a family who chooses to have their children in school. We each make the best decisions we can based on our children and our family. Anyway, that’s my one struggle… I feel kind of isolated.
Thanks for sharing. This was a fabulous read!
Thanks, Jennifer. Yeah, that feeling of isolation can be hard. That’s one of the reasons why I feel led to encourage other homeschoolers. I know how tough it can be to feel like you’re all alone out there. Fortunately, the more homeschoolers you meet, the more you realize you are NOT alone. That’s one reason why I highly recommend people attend homeschool conventions. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by other like-minded families who are also trying to follow God’s leading and homeschool their kids. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!
I agree with your post. I know for me, finding the right sports is definitely a downer. My daughter is an avid volleyball player and she has few options. We “invest” in her playing the sport so we do have to pay for her to attend the non homeschool clinics and leagues. I think coming from a former teacher prospective on homeschooling and managed a classroom, it is much more work! At the classroom level you basically have everything there and all you have to do is implement what is given to you. This is not the case with homeschooling because you have to locate the curriculum, see if it works (lol) and then implement your curriculum. For me, its the trying to figure out what works for each child that is challenging and trying to accommodate them. I am very lucky that the area that I live in have many, many opportunities to connect with other homeschool families. So for me, socially its great for me and my kiddos!
Yes, two more things which are difficult. But I agree with you that homeschooling can be an amazing experience for our kids. And isn’t it ironic that people used to think homeschoolers were unsocialized when in actuality, they have MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES to socialize than do their traditionally schooled peers. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂
The hard part for my family is socializing. My husband and I keep to ourselves and we really like it that way but that means we don’t get our kids involved in things. I feel like this makes me a bad mom.
This doesn’t make you a bad mom, Jessica. God has given you your kids for a reason. I totally understand where you’re coming from because I’m also an introvert. But a few years ago, I started to get this nagging feeling that I needed to get my boys involved in some more activities that would help them to make some more friends. I started looking for opportunities where I could drop them off at a class but I would be able to go back home until it was time to pick them up. Since then, my boys and I also go on field trips with other families… and have regular outings where I’m also involved. But drop off activities might be something you’ll want to look into if you’re feeling like your kids need to be more involved.
Pray about it and do whatever God leads you to do. He will guide you if you’re supposed to be doing something differently. 🙂
I’d say the sport and getting out there are the hardest for us. We often feel isolated and stuck at home. We live in a rural town in South Africa and there are maybe two or three other homeschooling families in the area. I’ve tried to arrange a get-together but haven’t had any success. So, sport is an issue and even other things. Like my daughter wanted to do drama. A local school kindly let her take part in their after-school lessons but then she ended up feeling left out as she didn’t know what to do and wasn’t allowed a decent part in the play so this year she told me she’s not interested. It’s not worth the effort. My kids go to Scouts as it’s the only way to see friends and get out – they love the camping. But sometimes, they don’t enjoy it, but because it’s all they’ve got, they just have to stick with it. That said, I’m still glad I homeschool my kids. I appreciate every day with them even though I’m not a very focused, hands-on homeschooling mom – I mostly leave them to do their work themselves and get on with my part-time job. But we’ve had some good times and my kids have had the opportunity to focus on their interests and excel in them.
Oh, Kathy, it would be hard not to have the community of other homeschoolers around you. Sounds like you’re making the best of your situation, though. I applaud your daughter for at least trying the drama. I think a good thing to remember is that even when our kids attend school we can sometimes feel isolated. I know I was a painfully shy kid and even though I was surrounded by other kids all day long, I still felt alone quite a lot of the time. And yes, thanks for bringing up another benefit to homeschooling – where our kids have time to learn about stuff THEY like rather than just getting a cookie-cutter education. Hopefully the next time you reach out to those other homeschooling families, one of them will be more receptive to getting together. Sounds like a good thing to pray about. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Aww wow I don’t think I’d ever be brave enough to do home schooling with my 2. But I take my hat of to you as sounds like your doing a brilliant job hun 🙂 xx
Well, thank-you, Sarah. That’s very kind of you!
I have an interest in homeschooling my children but was not homeschooled myself nor do I know anyone else who was homeschooled. My oldest is preschool age but I just don’t know where to start. Any advice?
We just moved to a small town and I’m worried I won’t have a homeschooling community to get support.
I was in that exact position when my boys were preschool aged. I didn’t know anything about homeschooling, didn’t know anyone else who did it, and I was pretty intimidated about the whole process. My advice to you is to dive in and learn as you go. You will probably be amazed, as I was, at how many people around me actually did homeschool once I was part of the community.
The awesome thing about your children’s ages is that they aren’t compulsory school age, yet. So you can experiment with homeschooling and build up your confidence before they are the ages when the state would require them to be in school.
Here is some advice:
1. Check out my post about starting homeschooling.
2. Google to see if there are any upcoming homeschooling conferences in your area. You can gain a TON of wisdom and advice from attending workshops held by seasoned homeschoolers – and from browsing the vendor hall.
3. If you would like a little bit of guidance your first year, I would suggest following a preschool curriculum to help you get your feet wet. If your child enjoys lots of fun hands-on activities rather than filling out worksheets, you might want to check out my Learn & Grow curriculum. With that, kids are able to learn in a fun, engaging way – and have plenty of books read to them as well.
These are all very good. We have been homeschooling for 4 years now, and we absolutely love it. But there are definite obstacles that must be overcome.
One of the biggest ones for us is family that is still constantly asking when our kids are going to go to “real” school. It drives me crazy. My kids are getting a better education at home than they would be anywhere else, and they have TONS of activities outside the home for “socializing” as well.
Another one is the sports at an older age–but they have so much else going on right now that I don’t think they will mind when they get older–and if they do we will cross that bridge when we get there.
Homeschooling may have it’s difficulties, but the rewards far outweigh those in our opinions.
Amen, Miranda. You’re so right! The rewards definitely outweigh the difficulties. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.
Home schooling is completely outside my experience so thank you for giving me some insights into a very different world.
You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!
Keeping up with the tools I need to teach my very different learners in very different ways is one of my biggest challenges. One is a book learner and one is a hands-on kind of guy… And because they’re relatively close in age, we do a lot of subjects together. Needless to say, I am constantly having to work at balancing both, even in subjects where their work is separate. But I’ll never give up. I consider it time well-spent, because homeschooling is the best decision I’ve ever made.
Oh yes, I can definitely relate. Thanks for being real about your hard thing! And I’m with you – it’s definitely time well spent. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend. 🙂
Yes! All of this! It can be hard and scary to homechool…that fear of failure…it’s all on you, because like you said YOU ARE the teacher, principle, school board, ect. That’s quite the load to carry on your shoulders. Homeschool moms unite!
Amen, Erin. It’s so important for us homeschool moms to encourage and support one another! Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Yes! But you forgot the bickering! I know my boys love each other and often act like one another’s best friends too but there are days that their bickering drives me right up the wall… usually in winter… when we’re stuck inside together for too long.
Oh yeah. That is WHY togetherness can sometimes be a curse. LOL Totally agree! Bickering is not fun. I have to say, though, that my boys may have their squabbles but they are also each other’s best friend. And they choose to spend time together, like at youth group events, when they wouldn’t have to. And I think a lot of that can be attributed to us homeschooling. 🙂
I have to agree with this one! My 7 year old son and 10 year old daughter bicker a LOT. My personality is more passive and non-confrontational, so the fighting stresses me out. It is, by far, my biggest challenge. I have to remind myself that they’d still squabble even if they attended school. It would just happen in the mornings, at dinnertime, and on the weekends. My mom reminds me of that, also
Yes, this is so true. My boys definitely have their days. And some seasons are harder than others (the TWEEN years.) But overall, they’ve become each other’s best friend as well. I think homeschooling forces you to confront those relational issues so it can seem harder at first. But after you rub each other’s hard edges off, you end up with better relationships in the long run. Hang in there!
Just as a helpful suggestion for the parents of middle school and high school students who want to do sports (since it seems to me that before that age it’s all club and private league anyway): Try looking into your state laws to see if your child can try out at the public school you are zoned for. I am sure many of you have already done that (maybe already up in the comments), but I wanted to put that out there just in case you didn’t know that. Not true for all states, but some states do allow that.
And for encouragement I want to add that I read a blogger who had graduated homeschoolers, one who went on to play college softball and another who went on to an art college doing violin and orchestra, and neither of them got to do those activities in public school. I know private and city leagues and other clubs and groups may get less attention from recruiters, and your child may not get the same opportunities and coaching, but it can still provide some good experience 🙂
Good advice, Teresa! And I actually know one guy who was offered several college scholarships from his performance on our homeschool basketball league… so it does happen.
I have an only child, I am extremely introverted and live under a rock in the woods. Luckily the only is introverted and has never had trouble making friends and has a bestie from an early age, she is a lovely kind child. But all that leaves me fighting more light sabre battles than I care to relate. I wish people understood introversion better.
Meeting new friends is difficult because the kids we meet are either narcisstic, sociopathic devils or their diet, neuro-development and lack of actual parenting leave them impossible to tolerate. Who wants to play with someone who breaks your stuff, lies, cheats and steals. If my child acted like some of the children we have met I would lose all hope and faith. Thank God for the two decent friends he brought into our lives and online mommie friends. You all may never know how important you are to me.
Thank you so much for the wealth of information that you share! You have given me the knowledge and courage to do more than I ever felt possible, especially the ability to maneuver the high school transcript and college application process.
Oh, I’m so glad to hear that, Ashley!
One of the hardest for me has been the criticism and absolute lack of faith in what we’re doing from our close family members. It doesn’t matter what milestone we pass, it’s never at the right time, or on par with the kids in school. It doesn’t matter how well they speak, read or interact with others, I am unqualified to teach them in our families eyes. This has been especially true with my son, who is now 10 1/2, and has been slower at some things then his sister. He is dyslexic and an introvert, like me, and has a harder time with reading and writing, though his math skill are amazing! But, they only see the problems and have said all sorts of horrible things about him, ignoring the good parts about him and the skills he has acquired thus far.
It’s been a heavy burden on my shoulders since I began my homeschool journey, but now more then ever as they get older.
Only the Lord, the encouragement from my mother (who homeschooled four kids) and the wonderful advice I’ve received from you and other homeschoolers on this site, have gotten me through the really bad times 🙂
Oh, April, I’m so sorry most of your family hasn’t been supportive of your decision to homeschool. That’s difficult for sure! Unfortunately, there are lots of other moms who are in a similar situation. I’m glad your mom has been there for you – that’s huge!!! I’m also glad we’ve been able to be there for each other and give each other the encouragement and advice that we need to make it through. If you find yourself needing even more support in the future, I actually wrote about this topic a while back as well: You Are Not Alone: 5 Ways to Find Support
Take care and may God bless you on your journey!
Thank you, Michelle!
I’m a homeschooling mom and I’m terribly shy and an introvert as well. I’m looking into lessons or sports for my kids who are 10 and 12yrs so they can socialize more. The issue is both boys have autism so they are not at peer levels and sometimes don’t understand directions or rules from others. They both want friends but I’m not sure how to meet their needs. Both are becoming big guys and I’m still trying to teach my 10yr old basic skills like washing his hands, showering and not wetting his shorts during the day. So peer aged lessons, sports or groups don’t work as well. I don’t have any special needs groups near me. Most autism groups are geared for the younger kiddos or newly diagnosed. I tried a kids club with my older son where he could free play with peers but he got frustrated during a game and scratched himself up. Luckily the staff called me ASAP but it scared the kids and my son is embarrassed to go back. My younger son doesn’t like being anywhere without me. When he did try public school he stopped communicating and would cry every morning so I started homeschooling him. Very difficult with older boys with special needs in terms of feeling isolated and not finding good social outlets for them.
Oh, Sky, that’s so difficult. Are there any churches in your area that might have the ability to provide some support? It would be wonderful if other families would come alongside you as you walk this difficult road. If you want to tell me the city you live in I’d be happy to ask on Facebook to see we can find some some friends/social outlets for them.
I struggle with routine. I have ADD and I hate routine. I get bored really fast after few days and I feel really bad for my kids. But I am not giving up!
Do what works best for you and your family. We’re all unique! Be creative and figure out ways to keep things interesting for yourself and your kiddos. You can do this!!!
I’m a 60+ retired analyst with a 14 year old who has been addicted to social media and has been doing poorly in school socially, academically and not sports minded. He suffers from seizures and is defiant and lies straight faced. I hates school. I’m not sure I can fo this, but I’m seriously thinking about home schooling him.
Thank you for the postings. It’s good to hear others are committed to the process no matter how much headwinds you are all facing.
My wife is still working and I’m retired into farming so we have our hands full of blessings and struggles.
Any pointers for a dad who looks like my son’s grandpa before I pull him out of public school permanently? I would appreciate your feedback!
Hey, David, as a Christian my advice would be to pray about the decision and if you feel led to do it I would go for it. Homeschooling has been such a blessing for our family and for our sons. And yes, we had a few rough years in there around age 14 where I thought for sure my oldest son was going to kill me or I was going to kill him. LOL But we made it through and now he is a wonderful young man and a true pleasure to be around. I hope and pray you’re able to make the best decision for your family!!!