The Doom & Gloom of Homeschooling (Part 1)

Doom & Gloom Teacher

We all have days (maybe weeks, months, even years), where we are plain worn out, discouraged, or frustrated with homeschooling. Homeschooling just isn’t working out like we thought it would (or should).

Maybe you feel like a slave to your curriculum or lesson plans. (I did.) Some days you PUSH your way through the lessons not sure how you’ll do it all over again tomorrow. And then there are days when you don’t make it through all of the lessons and end up feeling like a complete failure and that you’re causing your kids to fall behind.

For me …
Homeschooling became less enjoyable.
Homeschooling felt more like a to do list rather than a blessing or a privilege.

I was dealing with a constant struggle to find time for fun learning. I wanted the flexibility to stop what we were doing to follow a child’s interest, to slow down to dig deeper into a study, or to take a day off for a field trip, but the time and energy just weren’t there. We were too busy with our daily lessons to fit these things into the schedule.

Oh, and let’s not forget the panic that would overcome me when a naysayer cornered my kids and asked questions like … so what are YOU learning in school, do you like homeschooling, do you ever want to go to public school? Secretly, behind my painted on confidence, I wondered the same things.

For the first six years of homeschooling, I struggled in these ways. In moments of meltdown, I researched new curricula and new methods. I abandoned curricula mid-year, redid our schedule, bought new resources, tried new methods, and then started the cycle again when things didn’t work out.

I hoped to find the perfect combination of curricula and method, but each year ended the same. I had piles of half-read books, unfinished workbooks, and other schoolwork that went into a tote (for records) or to the trash can.

  • What were we really learning in our homeschool?
  • Were we just checking off boxes so I could add grades and hours to the record book?
  • Where was the joy, the fun, the deep, engaging learning?

This was NOT how I had envisioned homeschooling.

Sometimes it takes getting to the bottom of your doom and gloom before you can see the way out. That’s what it took for me.

After 6 years of experimentation ...

  • I was ready to give up.
  • I was ready to crawl into a hole.
  • I was ready to hide from my husband, my kids, the naysayers, the teachers at public school, and (ahem) other homeschoolers.

All I could see in front of me (and behind me) was FAILURE.

Thankfully, it was at that point, a dear homeschool friend came alongside me and showed me (very simply) how to break free from the chains that I {pointing finger at myself} had put on our homeschooling.

EVERYTHING changed that day.

And since that day …
I am no longer chained down by curricula, methods, schedules, or lists of check boxes.
I freely plan my year around my family’s needs and desires.

We homeschool with freedom!

At the end of the year, we know exactly what we learned and we look back on our year with a sense of pride, joy, and even nostalgia.

Best of all, my kids are becoming confident self-learners, expressing creativity in their work everyday, and appreciating the learning process.

Finding the joy and freedom in your homeschool does not need to take years of experience, struggles, trial-and-error like it did for me.

That’s why sharing my story with you!

Up next: 3 Homeschooling Myths that Trapped Me.

Looking forward to sharing more of our journey!

Debra Reed

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  • Shelly says:

    Last year I thought that Classical Conversations was my “answer” to my homeschool quandary because of less busy work. It was good, but presented a different type of stress and burden. I am hesitant to jump in with both feet here, but I begged my God to help me this Saturday morning as I am dragging my feet in beginning our homeschool year this year. I love summer when I can just be mom to my four precious children. I don’t feel like the ultimate taskmaster, who is burdened, stressed, and tired of trying to push the kids through the daily schedule. Then, at the end of the day, when my dear husband arrives home it’s time to be a godly, loving wife, which alludes me because of my empty emotional and mental tank.

    I love this idea. Years past, we narrated a section from Story of the World on notebook paper, and I do look back on those days fondly. It never occurred to me to use it for every subject. Can you help me understand how that works? How do we notebook English Grammar? My two oldest are using Susan W. Bauer’s Ancient History book, and I have been struggling to plan how we are realistically going to get through the workbook with all of our other subjects. Furthermore, they aren’t going to remember all of those ancient names anyway. Do you have a suggestion for this?

    Thank you so much. This just may get me started the first week of September.

    Shelly Harris

    • Gyny says:

      So true Shelly, it is exhausting to push the kids through the daily schedule. It is a blessing to have a husband who understands you are mentally and emotionally drained.

  • Christy says:

    I have thought about notebooking, but I just can’t step out there. My boys dont know what they want to learn about. I have asked them time and time again what they want to learn about. So, this leaves me with following a guideline of topics. I need guidance!!

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