5 Ugly Truths on Being a Homeschool Mom: What Most Moms Wont Tell You!
Being a homeschool mom is not as glamorous as people think it is. I would be rich if I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this statement: “You are so lucky that you don’t have to work.” Um, excuse me, I do work! The only difference between me and a working mom is that, I don’t get paid for what I do. Staying home with my kids is a huge sacrifice and definitely not a life of luxury. At the beginning of my homeschooling journey, I watched so many YouTube videos about homeschooling. All the families that I watched seemed so put-together and organized. These moms were making homemade bread, sowing their kids clothes, showing their book shelves full of curriculum, color coded binders and color coded folders, and their lesson plan for each kid for 3 years out (exaggeration)! I only saw the good and never the bad. So I thought that was what my life would be like. I wish someone had explained to me the ugly side of homeschooling so I could start my journey with realistic expectations. If you are wanting to homeschool your children, this post will be great for you. Not to scare you away, but to give you helpful insight so that you don’t end up being naive like I was.
1. Be Prepared for Negative comments
When you announce to your family that you are going to be homeschooling your kids, please don’t expect everyone to be happy for you. I received so many negative and hurtful comments from family that discouraged me from homeschooling. I expected everyone to be happy and say something like, “Wow, you are a good mom!”. But instead I got asked, “Are you hearing voices in your head?”. I have no idea how me wanting to homeschool my kids could be equated to mental illness. The lack of support from family and friends was only the result of their ignorance. There were all these negative stereotypes surrounded by homeschooling families that I actually had no idea about. Also, the negativity doesn’t stop with just family and friends. When you meet strangers in the grocery store in the middle of the day, just know that someone will ask you why your kids aren’t in school. When you politely smile and tell them you homeschool, you might just get a strange look or even a lecture about why kids need socialization. I would always try to educate those people who wanted to lecture me, but now I just smile and move on because I could care less what they think about me.
2. Homeschooling can be lonely at times
Being home with your kids with very little adult interaction can feel so lonely. Once you decide to stay home with your children, your life will kind of revolve around them. While all your friends are at work, you’re at home with your new little best friends. Not having friends didn’t bother me at first because I was so focused on teaching my kids, but after a while, I realized we needed people to do life with. My regular friends were cool, but they didn’t understand my struggles; they couldn’t relate. Thank God we have Facebook! I joined every homeschool group that I could find. I even met one of my closest friends on Facebook! Finding other homeschooling families is necessary because isolation won't be good for you or your kids. There are co-ops that you can join, and even meetup groups that meet for park days and field trips. Just be very careful and selective when joining groups and meeting new friends. There are so many different types of homeschooling moms and it is important that you find people that have the same values, beliefs, and morals. I can’t tell you how many moms I’ve had to go ghost on because they were cray cray!
3. Competition and Comparison
I will be super honest and say, in the beginning, I pushed my kids so hard to be ahead and better than their public school counterparts. I wanted to prove to everyone that doubted me that I am an awesome teacher. The pressure that I put on my kids to be over achievers was so unhealthy for them. I had taken them out of a system that told them if they were not performing on the level as all the other kids, that something was “wrong” with them. So how in the world did I find myself doing the same thing? Well hearing other moms talk about what their kids can do made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. I wanted my kids to be super smart and read above their grade levels so that I could receive approval from everyone who doubted me. I wanted to prove that homeschool was so much better. I regret putting myself and my kids through that stress. There are some moms that gave up homeschooling because they constantly felt inadequate. They always felt like they were not doing enough. The truth is, not all kids learn at the same rate, and THAT IS OKAY! As long as we are creating a fun environment for our kids that makes them want to learn, we are doing our jobs. The beauty of homeschooling is that they don’t have to keep up with everyone else. They are not on society’s timeline. A lot of new homeschool moms go through this, but I hope by you reading this, you can avoid making these same mistakes.
4. Don’t Expect Reward for your Hard Work
Educating your child(ren) at home can be very trying at times. You may have a child who has learning disabilities, or you may have trouble figuring out how your child learns. Teaching your children is no easy task and is certainly no job for the lazy. It takes some hard work, dedication, and perseverance. If your homeschooling doesn’t involve your blood, sweat, and tears, then either you aren’t doing it right, or you have some perfect kids. If I had put the same energy and dedication into a paying job as I put into schooling my kids, I’d probably have a wall full of plaques and trophies, and several pats on the back. Well, in this homeschooling arena, that probably won’t happen. Besides my husband, no one notices how hard I’ve worked. They didn’t see the frustration and all the tears it took just to teach just one of my kids to read. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone actually cares. But, that comes with the territory sis. I had to learn early that I can’t be waiting on someone to tell me, job well done. I have to work hard whether someone notices or not. One day when my children are grown and successful leading lives of true happiness, then people will say, “Wow, you did such a great job raising them!”. My response will be, “I know”, and in the most arrogant tone, because I don’t need someone else to confirm something I already know. So just be prepared for people to criticize you more than they compliment you. Reward yourself. Pat yourself on the back and know that you are a freaking boss!
5. Living on One Income
When people find out that I stay home with my kids, they always respond by saying that I’m so lucky to not have to work. People assume that if we’re able to survive on one income, we must be rich. Well, the truth is, WE ARE NOT RICH! Living on a single income has been no walk in the park for our family. It has caused us to sacrifice so much. I miss out things like getting mani/pedis, eating out at nice restaurants, and even going to the hair salon. There have been times that we didn’t know how all of our bills were going to get paid. Being in so many homeschool mom groups on Facebook helped me realize that other families have sacrificed their income in the same way that we have. Even through some of the hard times we’ve endured, God has truly sustained us. I sometimes sit back in disbelief that we have made it this far. My kids are the happiest kids ever. Our family is filled with so much love and we have the most fun doing free stuff like having dance parties in the living room, or watching movies and having game nights. Over the past two and a half years, we have enjoyed each other so much and I truly believe that with God, He will continue to sustain us and give us an abundance. This situation has taught us to have faith and depend fully on God to supply all of our needs and beyond.
If you are a mom and are thinking about homeschooling your kids, just do it. God has placed it on your heart for a reason. Yes, there is always going to be a downside to everything, but the benefits of homeschooling definitely outweigh the bad. If you are currently a homeschool mom, keep up the great work. You are doing an excellent job! There will always be haters and naysayers, but keep doing your thing sis! You are one amazing mom whether people see it or not.
If you are a homeschool mom, what is your ugly truth?
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