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10 Things Your Homeschool Friend Won’t Tell You (but wishes you knew)

10 Things Your Homeschool Friend Won’t Tell You (but wishes you knew) #homeschool

You know that homeschool mom down the street or across the aisle at church? Maybe you don’t know her really well. But she wishes you knew her better. In fact, there are several things she wishes she can tell you but she can’t.

There’s working moms and stay-at-home moms, breastfeeding and bottle moms, moms who go free-range and moms who cling to attachment parenting.

Then there’s the homeschool moms. They are the real  weirdos.

Your homeschooling friend probably wants to reach out, but she just doesn’t know what to say. It’s hard to explain to someone why in the world someone would ever want to do this, and it’s even harder to express why in the world someone would continue doing this after the craziness is readily apparentIn that regard, being a homeschool mom is a lot like … momming. 

If you could peek inside your homeschool friend’s brain, you’d probably be surprised what you find. You might find a mom a lot like yourself.

Your Homeschool Friend Wishes You Knew…

1. She works very hard.

It is a lot of work to be a teacher. On top of that, she is principal, school administrator, guidance counselor, and PTA. She alone has to research, plan, and implement every aspect of each of her children’s education. It’s more than a full-time job.

Meanwhile, she’s likely working a part-time job and/or volunteering regularly in the community and church. On top of all the Mommy Duties. So if she isn’t available at the drop of a hat to tutor your child or babysit or drive soccer carpool, don’t be surprised. This is one overly-committed gal.

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2. She’s always tired.

All moms are always tired. On top of that, the homeschool job always comes home with her, even during family time. Whether she has a nine-month school schedule or practices year-round homeschooling, she is always hyper-alert to educational opportunities and looking for more ways to meet her children’s social, academic, spiritual, and physical needs. She can’t get a vacation from it, so her brain is beyond fried.

3. She is lonely.

It’s hard to get much adult conversation when your life’s work is within your own four walls. And since she is so busy, it takes a lot of effort to maintain friendships. Homeschool moms too easily let real life friendships fall through the cracks in an effort to stay sane.

But she knows she needs friends. Just like you, your homeschool friend needs to be seen and understood and appreciated for who she is. So when you make an effort to meet her on your lunch hour, you are her best friend in the world.

Homeschool Made Easy4. She doesn’t think she is better than you.

Her lifestyle might seem very different from yours, and it’s obvious she takes pride in what she’s doing. But she expects you to take the same pride in your children and how you raise them, as well.

It took a lot of courage for your homeschool friend to step out and educate her children differently. It was the right decision for her, but she knows it isn’t the right decision for everyone. Her choices are right for her, and she knows yours are right for you.

5. She doesn’t think her children are better than yours.

10 things your homeschool friend won't tell you -- but wishes you knew. #homeschool Homeschool students aren’t automatically more brilliant and talented and spiritual and good-looking just because they stay home. Your homeschool friend is not mentally comparing your child to hers and judging you; she’s mentally comparing your child to hers and judging herself. It’s hard for her to allow her child to grow and develop at his own pace without feeling like she’s failing him.

She wishes all children could be incomparable. So don’t feel like you have to brag about yours around her. She knows they are awesome. And don’t feel pressured to compliment her children or inquire about their achievements, either. She just wants you to love her for who she is, not for what she is doing with her children.

6. She supports your school choice.

You won’t find a more loyal school-choice ally than your homeschool friend. She understands better than most of your acquaintances that each child needs individualized instruction and that one-size-fits-all fits no one. She is happy that her tax dollars are funding educational opportunities in her community, and that public school classes have more resources since her children are getting few or none of those benefits. Your homeschool friend prays regularly that every parent has the freedom and means to educate their child as they see fit.

7. She sometimes envies you.

She is happy to be the mom, she is proud of her choices, she is content and grateful and all that…but somedays, she really really, really wants to put them all on the bus for eight hours of peace and maybe a little vacuuming. She hasn’t found the surface of the coffee table in quite some time. And her home is never, EVER quiet.

8.She feels inadequate.

She might look confident and even act confident about this whole homeschooling thing, but that just means she’s been doing it long enough to have become accustomed to carrying the burden. In reality, she is far from confident that everything will turn out picture-perfect (whatever her version of that may be). She’s really just hoping for moderately-close-to-fine.

She isn’t an expert on every subject, and she knows it. She isn’t experienced in teaching every subject in every grade, and she knows it. She isn’t trained in every learning, development, and physical challenge her students will face, and she knows it.

She is walking by faith every day, and she knows it.

9. She is often afraid of the future.

If she just started homeschooling “for just one year,” she’s nervous about how the year will end. If she’s planning on her students returning to school for high school, she’s nervous if they will adjust and be adequately prepared for the subject matter. And if she is teaching her children through graduation, she’s sick to her stomach when she thinks about college entrance exams, transcripts, dual credit, college acceptance, and scholarship opportunities.

She has plenty to keep her up at night.

10. She’s just doing the best she can.

She may look frazzled and over-committed. She may overcompensate with enrichment activities and extracurriculars. She may refuse to talk about homeschooling with you at all, she’s so terrified at the moment.

But she’s just doing the best she can to provide her children the best education and training she can.

She’s just like you.

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47 Comments

  1. Becky Boone says

    Our daughter homeschools her 11 year old daughter. We’re so proud of all the hard work, time and care she invests in our granddaughter’s education!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Becky says

      Bless you. Neither my husband’s nor my parents are supportive. My parents have grown to tolerate it but my inlaws blatantly berate our choice right and left, regardless of how well our children are doing in their studies and lives. I am fortunate to have an awesomely supportive husband while I homeschool (heck, it was his idea in the first place!) Without him I would probably be tempted to throw in the towel or at the very least cow to the berating. I hope your daughter knows how lucky she is!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is weird but I just posted on facebook a post about how homeschooled moms can also get respite care through Bryan School. Sometimes some of them need a break and now they can get it at our school. I had a neighbor who homeschooled her kids and we often talked. I would love you to see if this post is on the mark. facebook: bryanschool

    Like

  3. Susan says

    This post said homeschool moms sometimes wish they could put their kids on a bus and have peace and quiet for eight hours. Who gets that? Most moms now days have to drive their kids to school ( because the schools don’t offer bussing any longer) and then they go straight to work. Paint the picture in the right light. Very few mothers are at home in peace and quiet during the school day. Especially for 8 hours a day. I mean who gets to do that? Just Saying…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s actually quite common in the town I live, but you’re right — not everywhere. I think it’s easy, when we’re tired and discouraged, to assume others have it easier. But we all have our own struggles.

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    • Jennifer says

      Lots of moms put their kids on a bus and get 8 hours of peace each day. I have many friends who have the entire day to themselves while their children are at school. That’s what they have chosen. The husband works outside of the home, the wife stays home, but she doesn’t want to homeschool. These moms use their time to clean the house, go shopping, or meet friends for coffee. Remember, every situation is a bit different. This blogger just points out how the average homeschool mom feels. Homeschool moms are criticized all too much…..by people who don’t understand.

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    • kelly says

      In my area, a WHOLE lot of them.

      That said, going to work for 8 hours sure is a lot more peaceful . At least I remember it as peaceful, even while I was a flight attendant dealing with IRATE tired passengers.

      I mean, I hope co-workers aren’t busting in on you while you are on the potty or screaming at you while you are making an important business call. Etc. Etc.

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  4. S. Wright says

    Thank you for putting this into words. It’s so me. Now try thinking all of the above thoughts from the perspective of a WIDOWED homeschooling mom…each of these is magnified a few times over for me. It’s not an easy path to travel. But I have my first one in college now, and she is doing so very well, and I must give God the glory! He makes up for my mistakes and failures and fills in the gaps my frail attempts leave behind. Thank you, again, for this post. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • MomOfTwo says

      I was widowed when my two were 6 & 7, so we had only recently begun the homeschool journey. We took it a year at a time, they graduated, and now are both in college. I worked multiple jobs while homeschooling in order to survive. Both children were diagnosed with severe auto-immune diseases at separate times. Most days I felt like I was drowning. I envied other homeschool moms who had husbands and extended family to lean on. All I know is that God saw us through. There are some past decisions I wish I could change, but homeschooling was right for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This. Yes. My two older kids went to public school last year because we had a baby and I needed the break. It WAS quiet and blissful for 8 hours. Maybe our perspectives are just different because we were so used to homeschooling that anything outside of total chaos seems like peace? Ha. ‘

    God brought us back home, and I’m so happy He did, but on the crazy days I daydream a little of those quiet hours of getting the house actually clean, napping with a baby, and sometimes even *gasp* watching tv!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heidi says

      I am in my 26th yr with 2-3 yrs left. I agree, much of this is not me, I think because we believe strongly that Scripture mandates parents to teach their own children. I knew, even on the hardest days, it really wasn’t a “choice” and that His grace would be sufficient. And it always is.

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  6. If I want someone to know something about me, I tell them. I don’t sit around wishing they would figure it out on their own. Sounds like an introvert speaking, to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says

      I feel like you could have chosen words that were more kind to express your difference of opinion. Not everyone feels comfortable just telling someone exactly how they feel. Many homeschooling moms I know already feel judged and persecuted, so talking about any struggles or conflicting feelings just seem like an open door for more questions and judgement. You don’t really have to agree with the sentiments of the OP, but it is always beneficial to support someone where they are, and it seems that in just looking through the comments that this person shares her feelings with many other homeschooling moms.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. michellecaskey says

    Yes, yes, and yes. The only thing I don’t resemble is being happy about the taxes… but otherwise this is totally true for me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. ThANK YOU for sharing this. I posted this on my FB page, not because it describes me perfectly, but because there will be many who can relate to a few or even all of the descriptions here. I have never been afraid to share about my homeschooling journey, but then I am “one of those people” that share even my difficulties or failures – if I think it will benefit someone. I have felt most of these feelings at least once in the last 24 years of homeschooling, and I think it’s great to let others know that, if and when they feel the same, they are not alone.

    The fears I faced when I first began this journey greatly diminished after my oldest got his SAT scores back and ranked in the top 9th of the nation. Yes, this was great, for he and I, and it felt like a job evaluation – and I got a “great job”. But imagine what I was feeling the other 11.5 years of his schooling education. That’s a long time to wonder if you are doing your job right. Now my two youngest are finishing up school, and the fear lurks, not as strongly as before, but it is still there. It accuses me of “not doing enough”, “not teaching as well as others might have”, “you should have…” or “why didn’t you…” This list is endless.

    And as far as comparing this to a full-time working mother, well, in my opinion, you can’t. It’s a completely different ball of wax. I did the” full-time working mom” routine early on, and it just doesn’t compare. The struggles are different, the concerns are different, and yes, you might not want to hear it, but the workload was different, working outside the home was not as difficult as being a full time homeschooling mom. I also added part-time work when we were in financial need (20hrs. a week), and it was some of the longest and most exhausting days of my life. Of course, this is my opinion, but the difference for me was:

    1. My success or failure dictated my children’s success or failure. This was something that made me stress about almost daily,
    2. The work day never ends (I am not talking about the normal driving kids around, making dinner, cleaning house, laundry, etc.) these are normal for all mom’s – working or stay at home. I am talking about the late-nights of grading papers (and not just for one subject like most teachers), the late night studying of subjects like Algebra 2 and Trig, (that you study and learn on your own so you can better teach and explain these subjects to your own children), the late night planning of the group class you are teaching – so that your children get time to interact and spend time with their friends.
    3.The stressing and work you have to put in to make sure you are adhering to all government regulations in regards to homeschooling. Not to mention. the yearly academic and curriculum decisions, planning, and implementation you have to do for each child, and the quarterly progress reports you file for each child, for each subject, for each quarter.
    4. The common negative attitudes by my family, peers, and even occasionally church elders who did not understand homeschooling. (God redeemed all of this, and now most are very supportive and thankful I homeschooled. I have even homeschooled some of their children when they were struggling in high school.) 🙂
    5. The self- doubt and doubt of others.
    6. Almost no-praise, and all the responsibility.
    7. The lack of “me” time, and the extra workload others would pile on me because “I am a stay-at-home” mom. When I worked out of the home, no one asked me to take hours of my work day to run their errands, watch their kids, or just do the miscellaneous tasks that they needed done during the day.
    8. There was no such thing as “sick-days” or “personal days” for me. I continued to school and teach even while sick. (Even while battling Colon cancer. I was planning out their school work from the hospital bed). The homeschool mom really rarely rests. Even when our bodies stop our minds keep racing.

    I don’t share this for recognition, because my grown children now recognize the sacrifice, and their gratefulness and success is enough. But I share this for the “early” & “in the midst of the journey” homeschool mom. Because they rarely get recognition and are often facing these same difficulties.
    To you: Great Job! Keep it up! Don’t lose faith! God will see you through! Run the Race and keep your eyes on the goal.
    I will stop here since I didn’t mean to write such a long post. But I want to say that I wouldn’t change places with the “working” me for the “homeschool mom” me for anything in the world. It has been an honor, blessing, and privilege to be my boys’ homeschool mom, and I only thank the Lord I was given the ability to do so. I know it is not something we all can do, or even have the option of – so this is not a judgement on my part. This is just to acknowledge those who choose this path.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for educating people about homeschooling. My daughter Michele is homeschooling her 5, yes I said five, boys. She has a teaching Degree, but she would have done it even if she did not have the Degree. Yes, I pray for her and the boys everyday. Another daughter, Brenda has chosen to not home school, however she is very involved with their education and volunteers at their school. Yes I pray for her and her 3 children everyday also. All 8 of my grandchildren are getting a fantastic education. God journeys with us, if we invite Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. If you are a mom, there are no 8 hrs of quiet no matter whether you homeschool or not. I’ve been on both sides. If your children are in a public school you use every extra minute you have to be up there and part of their education. If you homeschool your children, they are there 24-7 and have tendencies to get mad when they are stuck at home because Mom is so worn out. However if offered the public school choice (my children, anyway), they immediately say no to it. So in that instance I hope I am doing something right. They’d want away if I wasn’t. I’ve also been on both sides of education. I taught school for 15 years, quit when my first child was born, put him in public school kindergarten, and 5 years later pulled both of mine out of public school and began teaching them at home. But as always, when asked, I tell people homeschooling was my choice. you have to make yours. It’s not for everyone. There are those bad days when you want to quit, but within the day, something always happens to let me know I made the right choice. It is a constant, “Am I doing the right thing?” Almost always the answer comes back–YES! Merry Christmas to you and yours and may God bless all of us in the coming year. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. linda says

    Ok, but please don’t dare assume that parents that don’t home school get 8 hours of peace and vacuuming….:

    Like

  12. Angie says

    Parents that don’t home school get their kids at the end of the day when their tired and spent, and then have to help them with homework. I don’t for a minute think life would be easier if I sent my brood to school. Face it, homeschooling moms both dream of retirement and dread it, just like everybody else.

    I don’t know why so many moms worry and lack confidence though. I worry about things beyond my control like potential accidents and health issues. I don’t worry about their school. I wonder how long it will take my sons to learn to spell, but I never doubt that he will! Maybe it is my own educational level that gives me confidence…

    I can’t say I’m happy about taxes… And my kids might be better than yours, but not because they are home educated. Just kidding… sort of… lol… they are the best kids I have 😉

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  13. Well…I am glad if you are not judgmental of other moms’ choices, and that you do not consider yourself to be superior to others. But some homeschoolers are, and that’s why people have that perception of the movement. Thanks for expressing your thoughts.

    Like

    • Louise says

      One could generalise about everyone I have certainly been on the receiving end of obnoxious comments from parents who send their children to school, but I don’t tar all with the same brush.

      Like

  14. Emily says

    I am a working mom, but this sounds a lot like my job. I teach middle schoolers! I drop my kids off at school to teach others peoples kids and then I pick mine up to do homework and other house wife tasks. No 8 hours of peace here and my job is definitely not a respite. I know that your post was supposed to even the playing field, but it just seems like you needed to justify and defend your choices.

    Like

  15. Stacy says

    I see this and more in my house as my husband is s homeschooling Dad. Talk about people not knowing what to think or how to stretch out that hand of friendship! We are so grateful for the ones who gave and accept our family.

    Like

  16. I wish people wouldn’t automatically make judgements about my kids. That they are weird, or that they are missing out, that the real world is going to be a shock to them, they will not be able to socialize with others, etc etc. Because as you said, a homeschooling mom is her own worst critic. I am constantly making sure my kids have every experience that I can get them. They are well spoken, we’ll behaved, and very well adjusted. One of the things I have learned is that I am teaching my kids the truth about real life situations and choices. It’s not their peers who are guiding them through an experience that they themselves don’t know yet. My kids were in the 8th, 6th, and 5th grades when they came out of public schools and we started homeschooling. We have a closer relationship, and they trust me more now that my “mom” advice has actually been useful as opposed to a friend that is just guessing at how to handle a situation.

    Liked by 1 person

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