Secret homeschooling facts? Really? Information you see about homeschooling doesn’t always paint a complete picture. Does that info tell you about how hard homeschooling can be? Or how lonely? And what about glitter? Have you read negative reviews about glitter? Let me tell you, glitter is not your friend! (And some other homeschooling facts no one wants to talk about!)
Homeschooling Fact #1 – Glitter is NOT your Friend!
Let’s face it – glitter looks cool! You see all those great project ideas on Pinterest with glitter making everything sparkly and shiny. Your kids will love doing crafts with glitter! Don’t be fooled by the glittery pictures! Glitter is not your friend!
No matter how careful you are, one project with glitter means you will never see the end of glitter flakes. Those shiny, glittery flakes will haunt you forever! They hide in cracks in the floor and the table. You will find glitter in the laundry machine. And even after your kids finish their glitter projects, glitter will still flake off the project and migrate EVERYWHERE!
Don’t get caught up in the glittering trap! You will NEVER be free from glitter! (Closely related to glitter terror is Christmas tree pine needle regret and Easter grass trauma.)
Homeschooling Fact #2 – Don’t Be Fooled by all the Happy Children Homeschooling pictures!
Just because you are homeschooling does not mean your children will bounce out of bed every morning with happy smiles, eagerly awaiting the time for school to start. If you think that will happen, you have amazing children or aren’t facing reality. Do you bounce out of bed every morning with a smile on your face, ready to tackle your day?
Let’s get real here. You will have bad days. Your kids will have bad days. Someone will wake up in a bad mood. Most kids are not programmed to jump for joy over algebra assignments. Your kids will argue with each other, and probably you, also. You will sometimes wonder why you ever thought homeschooling was a great idea. Every homeschool day is not a day of joy, sunshine, and roses.
But then, other, more pleasant days make up for those bad mood days; the days where everyone gets along, everyone is cheerful and kind to each other. And the more of those days you get, the more all of you will enjoy homeschooling. So, work for those days. Work on attitude adjustments. Have them practice getting along with each other. Foster the connections between your children; build that sense of family among them. Strive for them to be best friends with each other. Teach love and kindness. And while they still may hate algebra, they can be pleasant about it! And you can see more of those “picture-perfect” homeschooling days.
Homeschooling Fact #3 – Your House May Never Be the Same
Kids tend to disrupt life, order, normalcy, sanity, and everything else. Homeschooling has a way of multiplying that disruption to the Nth degree! I’m trying to align your expectations and imaginations with reality. Homeschooling is more than just educating your kids. Rather, it becomes a way of life.
Projects in progress and assignments don’t take on cloaks of invisibility at 3:30 each afternoon. That papier-mache model of the Hindenberg will take days to dry. And all that artwork must find a home on your refrigerator or somewhere! Don’t forget about all the assignments waiting for you to grade, either. That stack of papers and workbooks on your desk will not look great in the upcoming Home & Garden photo shoot!
And then there are the books – all the books! Library books. Textbooks. Workbooks. Reading books. Pleasure reading books. So many books! Shelves and shelves of them! If anyone in your family is a reader (and I hope you are all readers!), your collection of books will quickly multiply out of control! Every wall needs floor-to-ceiling bookshelves! Great for educating your kids, but not so great for home décor.
Homeschooling Fact #4 – Shiny Object Syndrome Is All Too Real!
Have you heard of Shiny Object Syndrome before? Often connected to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), Shiny Object Syndrome causes us to lose focus on what we have and, instead, draws our attention to all that is new. Everyone wants to stay current and trendy, not be behind the curve or left out. And this is so true in the homeschooling world as well.
New and trendy curriculum on the market now? Ooooh! I must get it! Is a new record-keeping software available? It must be better than what I have. Has a new reading program just been published? This new program will surely make teaching my kids to read easier. Order it tomorrow!
Too often, however, these new shiny things take our focus away from where it needs to be. Our kids can usually learn just as well from what we already have. If your record-keeping system works, why go through all the time and hassle of setting up a new system?
Don’t get caught in the trap of Shiny Object Syndrome and lose the focus of teaching your children. While they might be tempting, the latest and greatest of anything does not always mean it is better or even suitable for you at this time. Always look for things that will improve or add to your kids’ education, but don’t let Shiny Object Syndrome distract you from what is most important.
Homeschooling Fact #5 – It’s Okay to Say NO!
Peer pressure is not something that only affects kids or teens. It also rears its ugly head among homeschool moms everywhere. Every homeschooling family you know uses Curriculum A. But you don’t think that is the best fit for your kids. Do you have the courage to work “outside the box?” The courage to be different?
What about that long list of activities your homeschool group has planned for this year? How can you do all of those and still get the teaching done that you need to do? How can you afford all those admission fees and gas and parking fees?
I want you to know that it is perfectly acceptable to say NO! You are not required to attend every activity, go to every meeting, or use the same materials as everyone else. If you want to follow a different approach to homeschooling, you don’t need approval from the crowd.
Feel free to say no to joining every sport, taking every extracurricular class, going on every field trip, or participating in every music group. If you have a large family, that is almost logistically and practically impossible! Look at your family goals, consider your family schedule, ponder your kids’ needs, and then decide what is reasonable for you and your family to include in your plans. Do what is best for your family, not what everyone else is doing. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that don’t work for your family. Say it kindly, pleasantly, firmly, but say no when you should!
Homeschooling Fact #6 – Homeschooling Can Be Lonely
While homeschooling is much more popular and common than it used to be, it is still not the predominant method of educating our kids. You may be the only one in your neighborhood who homeschools. You may be the only family in your church who homeschools. People (including family members) may not understand your choice at all and let you know all about their thoughts. You may quickly feel that you don’t fit in with any group.
Add to that that you are home with your kids every day. You may long for some real adult conversation. Perhaps your spouse works long hours or crazy shifts. Combine being a parent, being a responsible adult, and being a homeschooler, and you can quickly end up with loneliness!
And on top of all that, if one kid gets sick, you can kiss the world goodbye for a couple of weeks (or more) until whatever sickness runs its course through everyone in the family. Strep throat? Goodbye, world, for the next month, while I wait for everyone to get sick and recover. Order the antibiotics by the gallon. (Yep, been there – on too many occasions!)
Is Homeschooling Worth It?
So, after all that, is homeschooling even worth it? My house will never be the same; my kids will have bad attitudes or fight sometimes, I will be lonely, and I will be under peer pressure to conform to others’ homeschooling ideals. And glitter – don’t forget the glitter! (Or pine needles or Easter grass!)
Yes, homeschooling is worth it! Watching your kids learn to read? Priceless! Seeing your kids becoming best friends with each other? Invaluable! Helping to mold and shape your kids’ characters? Amazing! Watching your young children become mature, responsible adults! Heartwarming!
Despite all the troubles, complications, frustrations, and challenges of homeschooling, your efforts are worth it! Keep on keeping on!
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