The best defense against the homeschool blues is a best good homeschool friend that will listen to you lose your mind. Then cry with you. Or at least be as outraged as you when someone dumps on your lifestyle. They also tend to agree that your kid is acting like a spoiled turd when the shoe fits.
They don’t point out where you went wrong, why you should give up, or offer to drive you to the nut house, like those that don’t fully support your choice to homeschool. More on that here.
Rather, when you are feeling especially low with the homeschool blues and ready to quit, they tell you about the time they hid in the closet and ate an entire sleeve of cookie dough while looking up public school registration requirements on their phones.
Or the time CPS showed up at their house for lunch and an interrogation because of a nosy neighbor.
Real Friends Keep it Real
“Homeschooling is hard, but worth it.”
Yah, yah we’ve heard that. My best good homeschool friend and I totally believe and agree with this, and we tell this to anyone interested in possibly homeschooling someday. Because it is true. It is worth it for sure.
But “hard” seems a weak and inadequate word.
Still, I can’t think of a replacement that will encompass the feeling you get when your kid puts the entire weight of his career goals and teen emotions into one unpleasant grade on an Algebra lesson and then sets it in your lap while you are trying to pay a bill, cook dinner, schedule everything for everyone, and keep your marriage on speaking terms. Oh, and mom, have you seen my wallet, left shoe, flash drive, math book, pet rat?
The fog of the homeschool blues sets in on the hardest days. You just don’t get it till you are there. (See also Homeschool Nightmares)
It’s like having a baby. You can buy all the cutesy crap and stock pile diapers and practice breathing till you pass completely out from preparing. But, like homeschooling you just don’t get it until you are in the trenches covered in lesson plans, coffee grounds, and outraged children in defiance of your well intentioned unit study.
And then somebody asks what’s for dinner. A switch flips and you can’t clear the fuzz from your brain. And you’re already tired. Tomorrow.
No one understands this like another homeschool mom. A best good homeschool friend would understand. And listening to another parent in the trenches complain about how “hard” it is to homeschool is often the best medicine.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Complain Alone
If you don’t have anything nice to say about homeschooling, come sit by me. (10 Things I Hate About Homeschooling)
I’m really good at homeschool bashing. And so is my best good homeschool friend, who I will refer to as Forrest in this article for privacy reasons. And because it will make what I’m saying more relatable. And because everyone loves Forrest.
Forrest and I invested in our own fruit companies (so to speak) years ago, and therefore have much experience with homeschooling. She more than I. Thus, we have tenure and can bash homeschooling without fear of termination or a cut in pay.
Pay. Ha. Eye roll.
You Can’t Sit with Us, Unless…
If you are going to bash homeschooling, at least have some knowledge of the game and maybe have played an inning or two. Or know a player or coach on a team which you’ve personally seen in action, on and off the field.
But don’t go around bashing homeschooling just because you heard from this guy who’s going with this girl whose cousin saw Ferris pass out at 31 flavors last night because of homeschooling.
Best Good Homeschool Supplies
If you don’t have one, I recommend getting yourself a best good homeschool friend. It is the quintessential homeschool supply or tool for mental survival. They come in handy right about the time you start looking into local charter, private, or public schools just to imagine the possibilities.
Heck, sometimes a best good homeschool friend has already read all about it and stuffed a kid in an overcrowded under-disinfected classroom to show them how good they have it at home. And they can guide you through the steps needed to make a proper and lasting threat.
We don’t see each other for days and weeks at a time, right Forrest? But we text. It’s like getting instant mail while folding laundry. I drop the pile of mismatched socks back into the basket, kick back, and nod as you unload on what is sitting on your last nerve. The emojis really tie your point together.
And then I ask if you want me to kill ’em. And then we LOL! And somehow, things feel a little lighter. And we just might make it till the next time we can meet for coffee.
When we do it’s like picking up in the middle of a conversation we never finished. “Oh my God, girl! Let me tell you…”
Misery Loves Company
Forrest and I don’t just spend all our time together bashing homeschooling. That would be sad.
No, we also complain about curriculum, our failed creatively wild teaching ideas, pointless co-op classes, overly hyped boring group field trips and expensive activities, unwashed uncut hair, unshaven legs, lack of sleep, lack of money, the price of a special tall coffee drink we sometimes need like oxygen, lost free time, pets that won’t live, experiments that won’t die… etc. etc. etc.
Allow Me to Brag on Your Kids
But we spend time tooting our horns on the good stuff too. Over coffee and a gluten filled pastry when we get the chance. Because despite it all, we love homeschooling. It’s the life we chose. And we are thankful for the option.
And we have much to brag about too. Such as…
Forrest’s kid thinks secretly listening to podcasts in the dark depths of his room is borderline gangster and that he’s getting away with something. Forrest sneaks in occasionally to catch him and threaten to take his phone, just to keep up the ruse. How awesome is that head game?
High five, Forrest.
And you can’t go bragging to just any parents that your kid chose to read a finance book over Christmas break. They might assume you are lying or trying to make homeschooling look like the best way to educate kids or something. Gasp! (but I mean if all signs point to….)
But Forrest knows that that same kid of mine wears his clothes backward and inside out on purpose and is my favorite nerd on earth. Gosh he’s weird. He could run a tech empire but may never master irregular verbs. And we couldn’t be prouder if he had “tooken” 1st in Olympic ping pong.
Others view our kids through homeschool goggles. They may be quick to blame our kids’ quirks, shortcomings, and aggravating behaviors on homeschooling alone. Forgetting the fact that we are their moms and genetics, yo. But a best good homeschool friend knows better. And therefore, you are each other’s safe space to let the worries, wrinkles, and homeschool blues all hang out.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say Come Sit By Me
I hope you are already thinking about the best good homeschool friend in your life. (Forrest, you know who you are.) It could be your husband, sister, mom, retired teacher from next door (who’s seen the light) .
Send your best good homeschool friend a link to this post and let them know you appreciate them for keeping it real. It’s like a hallmark card. Only better. And free. You’re welcome.
And if you haven’t found yours yet or she’s away worming orphans in Loompa Land, you can always shoot me an email, or FB message and I’ll listen, understand, and maybe do my best to make you laugh.
Or… If you don’t have anything nice to say about homeschooling, come sit by me at convention. It won’t be the typical convention talk. We’ll keep it real. We’ll laugh together, you don’t have to take notes. I haven’t written any myself yet. If it weren’t for all these darn meddling kids who knows what I’d get done around here.
I’d love to meet you! Bring your best good homeschool friend.
I will be speaking on Fridays and Saturdays at the Great Homeschool Conventions in: