I think people feel a little bit sorry for me that I homeschool.
I feel like they imagine this very stressful and suffocating existence, where I am never without my kids. I work tirelessly doing something that the government has offered to do for free.
Truthfully, there are hard days.
I have to figure out how to teach while my three year old asks me for a cup of juice every 10 minutes.
I have to figure out the balance of being a teacher and a mom (it can get dicey!).
I have to motivate my kids to learn on days that I don’t want to do school either.
To be fair though, public school has its own challenges and frustrations. Since I started homeschooling, I began to realize how many things I had been putting up with that I no longer have to worry about. It’s fantastic!
I actually wanted to make a list of 10 things, but the list started to get away from me! I sat down and really thought about my experience as a public school mom and how it compares to my life now as a homeschool mom.
20 Public School Things We Kissed Goodbye for Homeschooling
1. Waiting on weather calls in the morning
We did not live in an area that had a lot of snow, but we did have a lot of issues with rain, hurricanes, lightning storms that knocked out power, and an insane number of legit tornado warnings. There were so many tornado warnings that I slept in my walk-in closet with all three of my kids one night!
Anyhow, some evenings I would have to look at the weather and wait for the school to make a call about the following morning. For Hurricane Matthew, I had to wait and see what the school would do before making plans to evacuate (which we did). Now that we homeschool, that seems so crazy!
If I don’t want my kid going out in questionable weather – I am the highest authority on that subject and I don’t have any concerns about unexcused absences.
2. Waiting on “early pick up” calls in the afternoon
Similar concept here. The board of education makes a call about when you should come retrieve your kids when bad weather hits.
I remember nearly sitting on top of my phone waiting to see if the school would send a text message out about early pickup. I would be so nervous about missing a possible text and my kid being left!
My sister’s kids attend public school and she waited anxiously all day once for school to be let out early because of a blizzard. The school waited too long and by the time the call was made, the roads were impassable, and my sister got stuck in a ditch trying to get to her children.
There was a scare that the kids might have to spend the night at the school, but they managed to make it safely home a few hours later on a school bus.
I am so thankful that when bad weather hits – my three girls are under my roof with me and we can just watch it from the windows.
3. Powerless Over Frenemies
When my daughter was in public school, she had the unfortunate experience of having a frenemy.
This little girl caused so many issues with my daughter that I eventually reached out to the teacher. I felt powerless as a parent to help my kid navigate this “friendship.” I just wanted her to stay away from this kid!
Now that we homeschool, I am in the driver’s seat (literally) of my kids’ friendships. I know all of their friends and their parents, and I love it!
We did have an issue with a friend last year. I worked with my girls about how to deal with the problem they were having and hopefully change this child’s behavior. Unfortunately, the child did not want to change and one of my girls cried and begged me to never take her to that friend’s house again.
Well, that was a done deal right then and there! I was so happy to have the power to cut my kids off from someone that makes them feel that bad.
4. Making the Call about Illness
Isn’t it stressful trying to decide if your kid really is sick? If they don’t have a fever and aren’t throwing up, its a bit of a guessing game.
We look at their eyes, color of their cheeks, color of their snot, feel their head, listen to their cough, look at their throat, ask questions about tummy aches. We don’t want the guilt that comes with a call in the middle of the day to come pick them up…but we also don’t want our kids to think they can get out of school whenever they feel like it.
With homeschooling, I no longer worry about any of that! Just the other day my daughter said she was feeling down but had no other symptoms. We went forward with school, and by mid-morning, she had a fever and felt terrible!
If she were still in public school, I would have absolutely sent her to school that morning. I am so thankful she was not sitting at a desk and feeling this way because I made the wrong call.
I vividly remember sitting at our breakfast table and battling over homework with my kindergartener.
I did feel bad for this little 5-year-old who had to spend 7 hours in school and then come home to more work.
One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is that my daughter completes her work in less than half the time public school takes and there is No Homework!
When school is done, it’s done. It was such a refreshing change!
6. Clothing issues
My daughter’s school required uniforms, so I’m sure we didn’t have it as bad as others. Regardless, I was always a bit stressed about whether her uniforms were ready to go every morning. There were a few times that the laundry hadn’t been done during a crazy weekend, and I had to scramble.
Now, it is completely normal for my kids to be in their pajamas till lunchtime. A lot of times its dress-up outfits. I don’t care what they wear! I just want them to be comfortable and do their work!
I could.not.believe how many fundraiser forms my daughter brought home during her kindergarten year. I wanted to support the school, but it was getting out of hand!
I was too happy to say goodbye to those things! I’m not a big fan of feeling pressured to ask my friends and family for money regardless of what its supporting. Especially that many times a year!
8. Forgetting picture day
When my daughter was in Pre-K I actually did forget about picture day, so I know exactly how it feels. It’s a great way to make you feel like a scattered mom who can’t get it together.
When you do remember picture day, I feel like there is huge “Woosh!” when they leave your car with the nice outfit, done hair, and perfectly completed picture form. You can exhale! You did it!
No more for this family! Now, I schedule pictures on my time, and they turned out pretty great this year!
9. Packing lunches
What mom doesn’t love packing lunches?! Um, this one. I want my kid to have a healthy lunch, but I got so tired of planning, shopping, preparing, and cleaning out her lunch box.
Oh, and then after all that work, I would be so frustrated when she didn’t eat it! Sound familiar?
Now, we all get to eat lunch when we’re hungry and make something fresh out of the fridge or heat up some dinner leftovers – much more relaxing for this mom!
10. Active Shooter Stress/Guilt
We have all become a little complacent about school and work shootings. No, I’m not saying pull your kid out of school and hide at home in fear.
I am saying that when my daughter started coming home and describing what had to be active shooter drills in her school…I felt guilty. I knew I could do better than this for an educational environment.
At times I also worried about her. How good were those drills? How prepared were they? Is my kid really safe today?
Thanks to homeschooling – that’s one less thing on my mind.
11. Asking to watch questionable shows
“Mooooommmmmm, Jane gets to watch that show and she even has a really cool book bag too!”
The worst. I hate having conversations with my kids about why they can’t do, say, or wear what other kids are doing, saying, or wearing. I don’t ever want to judge another parent, but I also want to maintain standards for my kids.
Yes, I still deal with this occasionally, but much, much less.
12. No idea what’s going on with my kid
I actually spent time reading articles on Pinterest about how to ask my daughter questions when I picked her up from school.
I thought If I asked her the right question, it would unlock her and all the information would come out.
“How’d your day go, honey? What did you learn about? Who did you sit with at lunch? What did you play at recess?”
All my well-meaning questions were met with mostly one-word answers or “I don’t know.”
One of my most favorite things about homeschooling is that I know almost everything my kids do every day. I love that I have the pulse of what they’re learning, what they’re great at, what they’re struggling with, and who they’re friends with.
As a result, my relationship with my daughter has grown exponentially since we started homeschooling.
13. Don’t forget the doctor’s note
I had to go back and apologize to the school secretary after she told me that my child had an unexcused absence because I forgot to get a note at the dentist appointment we just came from.
My reaction to her did not display the attitude of Christ that I would hope my daughters will display when they get to be my age.
Nevertheless…that is a crazy rule! I was juggling three kids at the dentist by myself – I was lucky to get out alive! How am I supposed to remember a note?! Why is my word not good enough that we were at the dentist?
One less thing I don’t think about now.
14. Hoping for the “Good Teacher”
The teacher your child gets is a big deal. It can sometimes feel like a lottery.
Will my kid like them? Will they like my kid? Is she fun? Is she strict? Is she the one everyone says is “the best?”
Completely understand and totally been there. But what if you don’t get the “good” teacher you were hoping for? What if they don’t click with your kid?
What then? Settle?
Yes, there are lessons to be learned from working through challenging situations…but I would rather have my kids learn those lessons through sports or other extracurriculars. Not during the foundational years of their education.
Every year my kids get a teacher that cares about them, sees them, hears them, and loves them. A teacher that is willing to tailor the curriculum to them. A teacher that is highly invested in helping them excel and conquer challenges. Every year.
15. Worrying about “school nights”
I will admit that I do not like having my kids out late at night…but I do know that they can sleep in and take their time in the morning if we had a late sports night.
When my oldest was in public school, I remember being almost panicked about bedtime because she had to be up so early and walking through the front doors no later than 7:40 am Monday through Friday.
The “school night” issue caused us to say no to quite a few opportunities my daughter would have enjoyed because we knew she needed sleep to be able to function and do well in school.
Now my daughter is involved in multiple extracurriculars every week because I know her sleep and school will not be sacrificed for them.
16. The rushed mornings
This one really is the worst. I consider myself to be a very organized person. But, no matter how organized I was, it seemed we were always rushing breathlessly out the door with the uniform, book bag, folder, and lunch box.
On many occasions I had to pull my sleeping daughter out of bed, beg her to eat breakfast, dress her, put her and her sisters in the car, and drive her to school.
These days my daughter sleeps till she wakes up – about 7:30 am usually. She takes her time waking up and often asks me to sit with her on the couch with a blanket and just be together. It is so wonderful.
17. Parent-Teacher Conferences
In kindergarten, there actually were no conferences scheduled. Report cards with all kinds of letters were sent home to show how my daughter was progressing and where she needed more work.
In preschool, and pre-K there were parent-teacher conferences and I remember being a bit nervous as I waited for a woman I didn’t know to tell me how my daughter was doing.
Was my kid doing well? Fitting in okay? Meeting the standard? Above the standard? Falling behind in any areas?
As her teacher now, I am so thankful that every day is a parent-teacher conference and I am crystal clear on how my kids are progressing. There are no surprises waiting for me in an after-hours classroom with a teacher.
18. Worried about being cool
My daughter can be very carefree and unconcerned with her appearance. I had to force her to buy new shoes recently because she had finally put a hole in her old ones. She still said, “Mooommmm, these are fine!”
That kind of attitude always concerned me in school because I was worried she would be bullied by some mean girl or made to feel bad about how she looked.
For most of us, school is where we learned something was “wrong” with us. Too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, ugly, big nose, wrong clothes – whatever stands out from the crowd.
I love that my kids now learn in an environment free from any of that. Yes, they might still have run-ins during extracurriculars. But, while they are learning, they can completely be themselves and focus on what is in front of them.
19. School calendar running my life
As the kindergarten school year started to unfold, I began to realize that my life and schedule were at the mercy of the school calendar.
I consulted it often to let me know when we could plan trips, schedule appointments, have a day off, or when family could visit and actually see my daughter.
If my husband’s days off from work didn’t match up with the school calendar…oh well.
Now, I actually write my own calendar at the beginning of every school year and put flexible breaks wherever I think it makes sense.
When family comes, I block off a whole week of school so my kids (and me!) can truly enjoy the visit.
My husband recently had a very challenging season and had to work many hours. He had a relaxed work week at the end of that season, so I scheduled the week off for the girls to have the most amount of time to be with their dad.
I run the calendar now, not the other way around.
20. School timeline
I think many parents get frustrated with the necessary evil of dealing with when to enroll their child in school. The decision is made by when their birthday falls, but that sometimes puts kids together that have quite a span in ages. At the kindergarten level, 6-8 months is a huge difference!
True readiness for kindergarten also has little to do with age and much more to do with maturity and development.
Homeschooling has allowed me immense flexibility in making decisions about kindergarten for my 5-year-old. School does not have to start in September!
It has also helped me table certain concepts for my oldest that I can tell her brain just can’t grasp right now.
As an example, learning math facts in 1st grade was a nightmare for us. Night.mare. I eventually just threw them out and took a break.
I am completely amazed at how much better she has done in second grade when we went back to studying math facts. I pulled out some flashcards just to see where she was at and she got nearly every one right!
I can see in her eyes that her brain has just developed and she can grasp the concepts so much quicker!
I try to always be aware of the risk of causing my kids to hate school because they’re being asked to do something that their brain is not developmentally ready for.
That kind of customized timeline is something the group think of public school is unable to provide.
On that note, check out this fascinating article from the Washington Post about the benefits of delaying Kindergarten till age 7!
So what is all that to you?
If you’re already a homeschool mom, I hope this made you laugh a little, but also encouraged you on the journey you are on with your kids.
Homeschooling has its challenges, but enrolling in public school brings its own frustrations with it too.
If you are curious about homeschooling and you read this post to see why we do the crazy things we do…awesome!
To be clear, these reasons are not why I started homeschooling (you can read about that here).
If you are interested in learning more about homeschooling, keep sifting through my blog – I wrote the entire thing to encourage people like you to make a decision about homeschooling, get started, and keep going!
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