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Life Hacks for Mediocre Moms
#11) Ask Around

by Angie on October 16, 2013

Hi. It’s me.

Two of my kids are begging to be pulled out of school and be homeschooled.

gahhhhhhhh!!!!

image source: http://therapyideas.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/anxiety.jpg image source: http://therapyideas.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/anxiety.jpg

Remember this lady? She was my poster child for Anxiety.

Yeah… I’m feeling anxious.

I don’t know what the crap “homeschooling” looks like or how the heck I would do it. Or deal with it. Or manage that life. Or anything.

What are good, valid reasons for pulling a child out of the public school system? WHat are bad reasons?

What do you think? Do you homeschool? How do you do it? How do you still have time for your personal tasks? Do you even get to have personal time?

I’m admitting a bit of selfishness. I know. At least I can admit it.

Help me. I need advice from both sides of this issue– both from homeschooling families and those who can’t understand those crazy homeschoolers.

Hit me.

(Today’s Life Hack? Ask for Advice from Other Moms You Trust.)

Go.

life hacks for mediocre moms 100

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Pat October 16, 2013 at 10:15 pm

It seems like you are the kind of person who could do it. My friend did for several of her kids. It worked well for them through grammar school. The oldest kids then went to regular high school. Her 4th child was only homeschooled for a year or 2, The youngest has always gone to school. I think it works best if you are open to the idea that it is a flexible situation that can change as your kids’ needs change. They also found they had a lot more free time. They could get so much more learning done in a shorter period of time. There was no homework after school hours and the kids felt their time was being valued, not wasted.
My friend set herself up for success. Since they wouldn’t be paying tuition, she put some of that savings toward a weekly cleaning lady and grocery & milk delivery.

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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I can see that my kids could do “school” in an hour or two a day and have loads of free time to do other things. But then i worry– would that be like an endless summer? Summer is only REALLY fun for 2 months, then it gets really boring and we look forward to school again! So i think– well, they’d have more time for piano lessons and trips to the zoo and museums and homeschool co-op field trips… idk. this is a toughy!! thanks for your insights, MP!

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Ashley October 16, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hi Angie, so funny because I was thinking about homeschool other day because I wrote report on homeschooling back in my college days!! I was biased because I looked at outside of motherhood world before I got married and had kids. I now understand why children and families pursing that method.. If my kids become juvenile delinquent then I would do that!! Hahah!! I knew that really difficult decisions for you but you are the mother and know what are the best for your kids!!

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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

thanks, ashley!!

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Julie morgan October 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Hey. Of course you could do it. But do u want to? Actually, the real question that I would be asking myself and my kids is why they are so eager to be homeschooled….do they hate getting up in the morning, accountability, social pressures, anxiety, bullying, etc? That would be what I figure out first and then I would evaluate if homeschooling would really solve the issues or needs before I embarked on such a life changing thing. That being said, nothing is permanent and you can always put them back in if it isn’t working out. Also, on a totally selfish note…i am a better mommy with a little break in the day…however, I would do it in a heartbeat if it was what was best for my kids academically and emotionally in terms of development. That is my 2 cents and about what it is worth! Love and miss ya!

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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Yeah, i know. i could do it if i wanted to. the problem would be getting myself to the point where i actually wanted to do it. we are definitely working on resolving the issues prompting this whole discussion. i feel like most of them have been resolved/coached/solved via shopping-spree, so we are probably good for a little while now :-) HEY, CONGRATS ON THE BABY ON THE WAY, JULIE!!!!!! So happy for you guys!!!

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Emily October 16, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Dan was homeschooled and it’s always something that is on my mind. I really feel like there are so many options online now days, that it’s much easier to contemplate than it may have been 10 years ago. But I agree that it would be really important to figure out why your kids are wanting to be homeschooled. Tough decision – but not permanent. You could try it and if it’s a big flop, go back. But I’m SURE you could do it!

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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm

If there were a “best place” to homeschool, DC would be it. The museums and monuments are their own curriculum. And the homeschooling co-ops are awesome here. But still. I drag my feet. I whine. I don’t wanna. what is my problem??? (and that explains a lot about Dan…) :-) Also, i shall now jump to your comment from the other day about that mary kay party… ha ha ha! your darn memory!!

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Megan October 17, 2013 at 8:33 am

I never homeschooled my older kids but the time came to put #4 in school and it just wasn’t the right thing for him. I have homeschooled him for 2 years. It was the best decision ever. For him. It was after a lot of prayer and research and then more prayer that I decided that we could handle this huge task. There are beautiful days where I look at our little life and think this is such a blessing and I am so honored to be a huge part of his growth. Then there are days (handwriting days) where I want to pull my hair out and take a big time out for myself. Because this is life right? Bottom line this is a huge decision for you, your husband and Heavenly Father to make regarding the children you have been blessed with. You’ll know what’s best for them. (as a side note I am pretty sure I met you during one of our “mom’s gonna lose it she needs a time out” trips to mcdonalds playland :)

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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm

I really admire you for being sensitive enough to know and feel that it was right to homeschool your last. Isn’t the time when your youngest heads off to school supposed to be the time that mommy gets her groove back? or something? I think that would be really hard to give up. I am so impressed! But like you said, if we make it a matter of prayer and truly listen for an answer… and receive it… then how could i argue with it? AND GUESS WHAT? they tore down that mcdonalds!! did you know that before you moved?? and the mcdonald’s they are rebuilding in it’s place isn’t going to have a playland! what will i dooooo?? 1st world problems.

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TJ October 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

We homeschooled 3 of our kids. They begged and begged to be homeschooled! I told them that if they could do all their chores (we live on a small farm) AND get along all summer (no arguing!) then I would homeschool them in the fall. I thought, “Bwahahahaha! That will NEVER happen! I will STILL have my 6 hours of free time each weekday!”

The joke was on me. They did it. We homeschooled. We’re so glad we did, and so are they. The best thing about kids wanting to homeschool is that I could threaten, “If you don’t want to do your school work, I’ll take you over and register you for school right now!” That got them to work immediately!

There were good days and bad days, but that’s the way it is when they are in ‘away-from-home’ school, too. One of the great things is that they are best friends.

On a side note, we have a daughter getting her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Duke…. she still doesn’t have a high school diploma :)
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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm

You sound awesome. Can I live on your farm and be in your homeschool? I bet your kids are awesome. :-)

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TJ October 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Sure, come on over :) We’re not really awesome, we’re just normal. We’re living life ‘one mess at a time’ just like you! (Except that I think we’re picking up a calf tomorrow, that’s not really normal, is it. But it does get messy.)
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Kelsey October 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I have never understood the homeschooling thing. Well I mean, I guess I can understand it, but it definitely isn’t for me. A LOT of the women at CrossFit homeschool their kids and I don’t know how they do it. I’ve been a SAHM for barely 3 months with my two toddlers, and while toddlers are a whole different story from grade schoolers, I can’t imagine life as a homeschooling parent. I have one child who is in the public school system (in 3rd grade) and she loves it and is doing just fine. Excelling, actually.

I think that there a few really important factors that go into the decision to homeschool, one of them being is it best for the child? If the reasons your kids are wanting to be pulled out of public school and homeschooled are deeper than superficial and general complaints like “I don’t like school” then it might be worth it. Or if the curriculum isn’t in accordance with your values or beliefs then it might be worth it. Or if there are real developmental or learning or personality issues that actually hinder the kids’ performance in school then it might be worth it.

Personally, I think it’s important for kids to be around their peers and while homeschooling doesn’t necessarily mean total social isolation I do think that it has a greater potential to hinder social development if the parent(s) isn’t very, very proactive about making sure that the kids are getting the chance to be kids with other kids.

I’ve never homeschooled and don’t intend to ever try it — but that’s only because I know I’m not patient enough to try to teach my own kids, and I don’t trust myself to give them as good of an education as educated professionals are able to. I don’t disagree with the practice of homeschooling, I just know it isn’t for me. If it is something you feel like you could do, then it may be worth it to dig into the culture a little deeper and research some more. But you also have to keep in mind your life and your well-being and your needs without feeling guilty or like you’re being selfish. Because truthfully, if you’re unhappy all day long as a homeschooling parent it will eventually take a mental toll on everyone in the house. Like SAHMommying, my bet is that it takes an insane amount of patience and empathy and is a delicate balance between being a “mommy” and being “me”.
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Heidi October 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Totally agree with the above, find out why they want homeschool so badly. And then…honestly sort through why YOU want (or DON’T want) to homeschool. It’s a pretty big decision to make on the spur of the moment…maybe you could tell them “Let’s discuss this as a family during the semester, and if we decide to go this route, post-Christmas will be our start date.” I don’t think you should rush into it without a firm plan in place (ie, what curriculum would you use? how will you manage dinner/cleaning et al? where will the kids get their social interaction? are there homeschool support groups or co-ops you might join?). Or does your state offer public school at home? My nephew did that last year (5th grade)…all lessons via internet, and all technically part of the public school system. My sister hardly had to “teach” at all.

On a personal note:
I was homeschooled in first grade and public-schooled the rest. I begged and begged to be homeschooled in third grade having been through all of the previous year with no friends, my share of bullies, and boooooorrrrring class material. Mom originally said that we could do it, I could stay home; but then she changed her mind, and I went back to school on the second day of the semester. That I remember, she never told me why. Looking back, I think I can guess; but I was an 8 year old in crisis, and public school (even a blue-ribbon school) was intensely and utterly miserable. I’m told I was outgoing and friendly before school…by 6th grade, I was a clam.
Maybe it wouldn’t have been any better in homeschool. Maybe Mom was on the brink of losing her sanity or the curriculum we had was subpar and we couldn’t afford better. I don’t know. But I think it might have helped if we had had a “grown-up” conversation about it and I heard the reasons for myself.
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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

THanks so much for your look back. Today things are looking better. We talked late last night and coached the kids through some of the frustrations they are having. As far as dealing with annoying/mean kids and frustrating experiences— this is life and we have to learn how to deal with those things now. Welcome to the world. But as far as them being totally being bored most of the day, then coming home and having to hammer away at homework? I do feel bad about their days.

Anyway, thanks for your help! <3 Ang

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Kelsey October 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Angie, also check out this post from Mary Beth, and the other posts she links to within that post. She’s brand new to this homeschooling thing and provides a pretty honest view of it: http://annapolisandcompany.com/2013/10/schooner-schoolhouse/
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Angie October 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Oh man, thanks so much for all the thoughts and links! Do you want to be my life assistant? Coach? Whoops, nevermind. Just kidding. Before I know it you’d be scaling up WOD’s for ME. Then we’d have death on our hands. But thanks for the help today!

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Lisa October 17, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I have homeschooled my kids for the past 12 yrs. My oldest is in his 1st year of college. Having said that the first thing I recommend you doing is pray and then pray again for God’s guidance. The next would be to have a really good sit down with kids and hubby to explore the reasons for the kids wanting to home school. Then pray again. Do a lot of research (check out the HSLDA’s-Homeschool Legal Defense Association- site a wealth of information there). Check out the different methods.. Classical, Charlotte Mason, etc. to see what might fit your children and your style of learning/teaching. Pray again. Look into curriculums/books, maybe get in contact with local homeschool groups and/or moms for the advice..nothing beats getting advice from someone in the trenches. :-). pray again.

Homeschooling is a lifestyle. The first time a veteran homeschool mom told me that I rolled my eyes….but now I get what she meant. Life will change, there’ll be a big adjustment period. it is not a decision to make without getting all the information you can get.
Please keep in mind that homeschooling is not right for every family and every family is not right for homeschooling. I would advise you to take the rest of this school year to gather information and take you time to make your decision. but above all pray for God’s guidance. Remember you are their momma and will do what’s best for your family and for yourself. you need to be at peace with your final decision.
I hope this helped a little bit. ;-)

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Lauren October 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm

I have been thinking about homeschooling for years, and I think the only thing holding me back is fear of the unknown. That, and my kids get sick of each other and start fighting. Do your kids do that?

Anyway, if they WANT to be home schooled, I agree with the friend who told you to study it and decide over a break (Thanksgiving, Christmas). Decide if it’s something YOU can do. I enjoy having a break, but really, I don’t mind my oldest and youngest being around ever. It’s the two middles that I kick out the door and lock it behind them. Depending on your kids, it might be cool to have them around. Especially as the older ones are old enough to leave for periods of time (okay guys, I’m running to the store/doctor/massage therapist, be good!) Plus, I don’t ever really DO anything during my “break” that I could do with them at home. I started exercising early before school, and you can always take homeschooled kids with you to Costco. Or leave them at home.

Plus, homeschooling in DC would be the coolest. All those museums, basically empty during the week. As long as the government is open, right? I’m sure there are a ton of resources for homeschoolers in the area. I think urban homeschooling is the most fun kind. I love reading about Manhattan homeschoolers.

Okay, so my reading list? The Well-Trained Mind is my favorite. If you read only one book, read that one. She has a million book recommendations as well. Follow HSLDA and find a co-op in your area, although I have noticed that the conservative Christian groups often don’t accept Mormons. I never wanted to be a religious homeschooler, anyway. Religious, yes. Homeschooler, yes. But the two together seems a bit myopic.

I can’t wait to hear what you decide, and remember, if you pull them out and it doesn’t work out, you can always put them back in school… right?

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Krystin October 18, 2013 at 7:58 am

as you know, I am the freak that pulled kids out!
I am more than willing to have a sit down with you..
But here are 2 questions you can consider.
What do your kids get from school they can’t get homeschooling? (socialization isn’t a valid answer)
What can they get from you they can’t get in a brick & mortar school?
I can’t say I’m good at this, can’t say I’m bad at it.. I know that I want my kids HERE with ME as long as I can.. I love so many things about my life now.. is everyday sunshine and roses… NO!!!!!!! But as the quote says
The days are long, the years are short.
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Jenny B. October 21, 2013 at 1:21 am

Sounds like you’ve got lots of good advice here. :) I thought I would share our experience since it’s halfway between homeschooling and regular school. My 3rd grader goes to a University-Model school. He attends school two days/week and then we do what I would call a modified homeschool the other three weekdays. His teacher sends home an assignment sheet each week that details what they are doing in class and what we are to do at home. She does most of the initial teaching, and we do homework and reinforce concepts on our at-home days. We buy all the textbooks and some of the teacher’s answer keys (parents are asked to check/grade most of the homework before sending it back), but the school takes care of choosing the curriculum and developing the lesson plans. I think it’s a great balance between homeschool and regular 5-day/week school. We get lots of time together and I play a big part in his education, but he also has plenty of time to interact with kids his age and make friends. Here’s a link to the National Association of University-Model Schools: naums.net
It looks like there are a couple in VA that might be sort-of close to D.C. (Warrentown and Stafford), but I’m not sure how close they really are or what area you live near. :)
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KayDe October 23, 2013 at 1:58 am

Hi Ang! Roger & I are both past public school teachers and may be a wee bit biased in our views, but for us our children’s lives/emotional well being would have to be in danger for us to even consider homeschooling. There just so much that they learn at school that I can’t recreate for them at home- like social issues and how to deal with their own problems. We went through a very difficult year with our eldest emotionally and there are issues she will probably always have to work through now. At the time home schooling would have simplified our lives, but she would not have gotten stronger by overcoming her issues. And she would have learned that Mom and Dad are always there to swoop in and save her when life gets hard. We would have handicapped her for life, I think. And at some point our kids have to enter the big, bad world; I can’t give them a college degree or employ them for life. School is rough, and we all get through it with bumps and bruises (I definitely saw that teaching middle school!). But for the most part it is a time to learn so much, and not all of that is curriculum based. I hope I haven’t offended anyone, as I know there are legitimate reasons that people pull their kids out of public school. I just fear what will become of our entire society if all of the good kids are out of public school.

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