I suppose I should start with a disclaimer for the people itching to tell me how hateful I am for smearing the life of homeschoolers. So here you go:
Okay, so now that we got that out of the way, lets get real. There are thousands of posts that tout the glories of homeschooling. I could go on for days about why it is the best decision we made for our kid’s education. And thanks to social media and mom’s good editing skills, many on us can create the illusion of perfection.
But it is definitely an illusion. And don’t even try to tell me it’s not, because that would make you a liar. And then what kind of an example are you setting in your own homeschool? Not a very perfect one. It may only be that you hate the cheap pencil sharpener that you settled for, or how the new globe is slightly off its axis, but you hate something about homeschooling, so fess up.
Here is what I hate:
- Being the cafeteria lady. Which is kind of ironic, because the first thing my kids always say is their favorite thing about homeschooling is the food. Three meals a day, plus snacks, seven days a week gets old real fast. And I don’t mean the money it takes to feed 3 growing athletic boys with a hollow leg each. I hate grocery shopping. And yes, the bill could rival the national debt by the time I’ve gotten them to the chest hair phase. But even if your kid goes to school you have to buy or pack the lunch, right? What I hate is the actual prep and clean-up, not once, not twice, but thrice a day. I’ve got minds to mold and rulers to crack! This feeding gig gets in the way. We stock up on breakfast and lunch foods they can easily nuke for themselves. Figure in condiments for those frozen burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and explosive leftovers in the microwave, and then I get to play drill seargent to get it all cleaned up in time to finish history before we leave for swim practice. And it is always fun to teach cooking at dinner time to impatient, not so careful tweens. Except when it’s not. And you just want a glass of wine and half the loaf of French bread you’re buttering while you peruse Facebook and stir the powdered cheese into the macaroni.
- Being the heavy. All those cute jokes about making out with the principal and getting away with it are hilarious. But around here, being principal is on par with being the Queen of England. A feared and respected position with little discernible immediate authority or job requirements (except to pretend to be ready to inflict severe consequences from an undisclosed location. i.e. at work). Consequences can’t wait till after evening rush hour if we’re doing math right now, and D3 says he just ain’t doing math and hides under his desk. There is no teacher the children and I can bond in contempt of for assigning the work they must complete before computer time. Yep, that’d be me, Cruela D’Mom. Enforcer of all things deemed unnecessary and inhuman, like grammar, flash cards, reading time, capitalizing every sentence, acceptable handwriting, don’t spit on your brother, throwing away a goldfish wrapper, getting dressed for practice, and flushing the toilet every time you use it.
- Reading about how awesome the curriculum is that I’m NOT using. If you’ve never shopped for curriculum piece by piece then you’ve probably never covered your eyes and played “any-many-miney-mo” with the computer screen. We homeschool eclectically.
I’m a control freak who can’t make up her mind.There are pros and cons to classical education, literature vs. textbook reading, Saxon vs. Singapore, religious vs. secular, cursive vs. print, crunchy vs. smooth, peddling oils vs. peddling make-up etc. Every summer now for years I lay awake for hours, for nights on end reading reviews, watching ads, researching to find the golden ticket medley of courses to guarantee future college scholarships. And when I finally lay the money on the table and commit to the dealer, I cringe with doubt as the tabloids of success roll in for the programs I turned down or never knew about. Did I win or lose this hand!?
- Feeling that every decision I make as cruise director could sink their ships in the future. Its not just the right curriculum. Should we school year-round? How many extracurricular activities are too many? Does each child need music, sports, and a fun hobby on top of academics? If we skip the review on adjectives did we write off a chance at the New York Times Best Seller List? Should they go to regular high school? Will they fit in or stand out? What if they don’t stand out!? What if I forget to teach them something essential and they get to college not knowing how to use a combination lock? Should I go buy 3 combination locks? What if they are too gentlemanly and mistaken as sexist by today’s young woman? If we don’t visit Disney World often enough will they never learn to wait in line like good citizens?
- Needing to be left alone while simultaneously feeling lonely. It is possible to be having your ear talked off by multiple people at once and feel like you are on a deserted island and no one cares if you get hit on the head with another Minecraft coconut. Hiding on the toilet with a book is almost as good as a trip to Target for nothing in particular without kids. (My jury is still out on how I will react to Target’s recent potty decision. We’re not out of household cleaners and Zen trail mix just yet.) If I’m having a particularly hard day of whiny children and goals not met but rather hurled out the window, who would care to hear about it? Even the dog runs and hides on those days. And homeschool moms are strong and independent and must keep up appearances at all times, so that that one special friend or relative can’t jump at the chance to tell them they could see this coming, and that it’s okay they failed. Am I supposed to have time for real, 3D, noninternet based friends? And if I actually have some, do I have the energy left to be a good friend?
- The pay sucks. And so do the taxes. We knew this going in, but didn’t fully appreciate until really looking at what all we spend on educating our boys at home to the best of our abilities. The amount of money we are paying to help educate everyone elses kids far surpasses what we are able to spend on our own. No tax breaks for homeschool families. It is sad that I can write off a set of beer mugs we donated to goodwill during our recent move, but I can’t write off $600 worth of textbooks and supplies which are used by someone working for free to educate kids not utilizing public services and therefore freeing up extra tax dollars for other children’s public school education.
- The excitement I expect is rarely met. Let me just say that doing all of elementary school for the second time has been a blast. And to think I once despised being forced to learn multiplication and write how-to-make a PB&J essays for someone to comically follow verbatim!? How fun is this?! Hahaa! What was I thinking? Now I’m all “Woohoo! Let’s do this!!” jumping around on too much coffee and enthusiasm and waiting for the boys to explode with joy as I outline how they’re going to each research and then present one of the 3 branches of government!!! Wuh whaah. Charlie Brown enters with, ow, I got the legislative branch, they don’t do anything. And the wind is knocked out of my sails. Not all of the time though. I did orchestrate the burning of London to a wild applause. Its understandable for the age difference that we get excited about different things. I’m looking into the topic from the opposite direction than they are, and with experienced perspective. I want so bad for them to see with my eyes. And I won’t quit trying. Like a cheerleader trying to rouse the crowd while the players cry on the bench, 4th quarter, 36-0.
- Being called a stay-at-home-mom. Did you just refer to me as a SAHM? Wench, I am the Matriarchal Academic Ninja! That makes me the M-A-N! It really shouldn’t bother me, and most of the time it doesn’t, cause I know people who admittedly go to work to get out of the task of SAHM. That means it’s not for the weak. But homeschool moms are the SAHM 10.0, the souped-up version with antivirus software because we work even with a Kleenex stuffed up both nostrils and a low grade fever.
- Telemarketers, wrong numbers, right numbers at the wrong time, UPS, Fed-Ex., meter readers, mailmen, handymen, soliciters, door-to-door salesmen, Jahovah’s Witnesses or anyone with a pamphlet I didn’t ask to read, people who say they will be here sometime between 8am-5pm, do-gooders who kidnap my “obviously” lost dog from our street and call me to come get him across town, people I love dearly and anyone else that shows up when I’m minutes away from finishing an important lesson and make me envision stabbing them with my red grading pen.
- Not knowing if anything I’m doing is working until they are gainfully employed, independent, upstanding men, husbands and fathers. Okay so obviously some of what I’m doing is working. They can perform a multitude of tasks on or above grade level. But the deep seeded reason for homeschooling is to instill stalwart moral character and create productive members of society. Whether they become fry cooks or surgeons, engineers or repairmen, plumbers or senators I want them to be genuine, strong, Godly men. All I can do is point them in the right direction, arm them with knowledge and pray for the strength to see them through and realize they must do the rest on their own.
What do you hate or dislike about homeschooling? Be honest and share in the comments below.