Whether you’re just starting out in homeschooling, or a years-long veteran like me, here are three truths you should know about homeschooling.
Truth #1: Homeschooling can take over your whole life.
Obviously, homeschooling gets a large wedge in the pie chart of your life. You’re in charge of your children’s education, and you want to do a good job. It’s a good thing to pour your enthusiasm and creativity into your children. This all takes time and effort, and it’s all well-spent.
The problem begins when homeschooling doesn’t end. As a homeschooling parent . . . well, let’s be frank. I’m a homeschooling mom, and moms are expected to handle most of the schooling. It’s all too easy for homeschooling to color all areas of our lives. We hang out with friends, and the conversation centers on curriculum and schedules. We take our kids to the park, but feel the need to call it P.E. We don’t have hobbies to fill our free time, because who has free time? There’s always another lesson to correct, another book to check out, another field trip to plan.
And why is this such a problem? Well, because of . . .
Truth #2: Homeschooling is, ultimately, temporary.
Even if we’re educating just one child, homeschooling can be a years-long commitment. The more kids we have, the longer we’re doing it. Yet, at some point, all of our children will be done. When that large wedge of the pie chart disappears, what will fill up the space left behind?
A lot of “retired” homeschool moms take on essential roles in the homeschooling world. They run co-ops, put on conferences, write books, or pursue further education and build careers around helping moms with students. To these women, I say a very big thank you. To the rest of us—the moms who don’t see ourselves stepping roles like that—what about us?
When we hang out with friends, what will we talk about? Will we browse the library and find books to read, just because? Will we find ways to satisfy that love of learning and study that we cultivated over years of homeschooling?
Of course we will, as long as we keep in mind . . .
Truth #3: There’s a lot of life outside of homeschooling.
As a young mom, I could see that my time, interests, and energy were being swallowed up in homeschooling. So I pushed back. I gave my kids more screen time than was “recommended” so that I could take mornings to write. I learned to say, “We’re all done with school today.” I suppressed the urge to make every moment educational, and instead let my kids fritter some time as they liked. When Darren took over half of the schooling, we made a conscious effort to keep our homeschooling talk from becoming our basis of relating.
And let me be frank again. A lot of my earlier friendships were based on a shared interest in homeschooling. As soon as my friends took different paths, the relationships faded away. My recurring disappointment was at least instructive. Now as I make friends, I try to forge connections based on interests beyond just homeschooling.
This year, I’m graduating my second child, and I have two more to go. If I squint, I can see the end goal. Many homeschooling moms are in the same stage. Some are turning hobbies into small businesses, several are returning to school with a future career in mind, and I plan to fulfill a longtime dream of learning another language.
One day—probably much sooner than I expect—I’ll launch that new life beyond homeschooling. I hope I see you there!