Homeschooling – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly – Part 2

Sorry, I would have written this post sooner, but life got in the way.  I do want you to know I am ignoring my sink full of dirty dishes for you.

That’s right.

Priorities people!

Ok, so you want to know about the bad of homeschooling.  I could mention the Math tears, or the times when I want to make my son march right on down to the elementary school and find himself a classroom, but I think these are just normal frustrations.  You can experience these feelings even if you are not homeschooling.  Ever consider boarding school for your kids?

Be honest.

I thought so.

Remember, I am no expert.  In fact, I am a novice; however, I believe there could be at least two real negative aspects of homeschooling.  It is possible to avoid these pitfalls, but I think it takes viewing yourself and your children without the mommy-love blinders on.

It is easy for homeschooling moms to tailor every little aspect of their child’s education to fit their little student’s personality and learning style.  Bad.  At least in my opinion.  Teaching your children to adapt and to be flexible is a valuable life skill.  I believe teaching your child to be adaptable is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little one.

At some point your child will enter a classroom or the workplace and they will be faced with tasks that challenge them.  Assignments that aren’t tailored to fit their interests, personalities, or learning capabilities.  They will be pushed out of their comfort zones and possibly beyond their ability.

I believe it is our job to not just teach our children reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also to teach them how to work through the most challenging tasks.  So it is my opinion that while we foster a love for learning in our children by allowing them to explore their interests, we must also require them to complete assignments that are outside their realm of interest.  We must challenge the way they learn and teach them to adapt to a variety of situations.

I am going to give some examples of what I mean.

If my child is distracted easily and can only work in silence, I will make him work in a room with noise or action for a certain amount of time each day.  I think it would be my job to help him learn to concentrate and pay attention even in difficult circumstances.  No I don’t think this is done overnight, but in small doses, my child can learn to adapt.  It would be the same if my child was an auditory learner.  For a certain time or subject, I would require him to complete a task visually.

Not all of life makes us comfortable.  We can easily over-baby our kids when we are homeschooling them.

The second “bad” of homeschooling is helping others understand that homeschooling is simply the best choice for my family at this time.  Do I think we are better or smarter?  Of course not.  Just spend some time with us and you’ll know we are not better or smarter.  Homeschooling is simply a choice.

Clearly and honestly communicating your reasons for homeschooling and your goals for your children can go a long way in helping others understand your choice.  I also think it’s important for us homeschoolers to keep our attitudes in check.  Some are homeschooling due to a negative public school experience, but sometimes we just need to let some things go.  Many, MANY children have great public school experiences.  Again, homeschooling is a choice, and it’s not the best choice for everyone.

Enough said.

So in my vast four weeks worth of experience, those are my observations.  Lots of you have been homeschooling forever, so feel free to add your two cents.  Maybe my opinions will change as I go through the year.  Who can tell?  It all depends on if I ate my M&M’s or not.

I can tell you this one thing for sure.  I’ve always had a great respect for teachers, but everyday I spend schooling my children, my respect grows.  So do something nice for your child’s teacher.  They deserve a Thank You!

PS This Friday is the first Friday of October.  Can you believe it?  Every Friday in October I will be putting up a linky and a Comfort Food recipe.  I’d love for you to post your favorite recipe and link.

See you Friday!


  1. says

    Kudos to you for your absolute honesty and the ability to step back and see the good, bad and ugly. I also think it’s awesome that you are intentionally pushing your kids out of their comfort zone. It is a life skill they will be grateful to have in the future. Another important skill I always try to impress on my high school students is the necessity of being able to work with anyone. No matter the personality differences, there are times you just have to buckle down and make it work. I love that you are sharing your homeschooling experience! As a professional teacher, I must admit I have, in the past, been somewhat skeptical of homeschooling in general. However, you are opening my eyes and I respect all that you are doing. Keep on keeping on!!

  2. says

    Two comments/observations/stories from my vaaaast homeschooling experience:

    1) My youngest son (who is now in his 3rd year at West Point) went through a stage of wanting to be an astronaut. He did not like math. Do you see a big disconnect here? I tried to convince him that astronauts needed to know math. He did not believe me. Until we watched Apollo 13, which became one of his all-time favorite movies. There is a scene in that movie when they are trying to figure out how to get home, and one of the astronauts says, “I can add.” That was an epiphany for my boy. Hmmm… astronauts need to know math. So from then on we didn’t have math anymore. We had astronaut lessons instead. End of recalcitrant math student.

    2) There is something about other people homeschooling that causes non-homeschooling people to get defensive. We started homeschooling in the early 80′s when homeschooling wasn’t cool. I never really liked to talk about it, but if people were really curious I would tell them a little bit about it. Their invariable response was, “I could never do that. I just don’t have the patience. I’m not smart enough. I didn’t learn anything in school. Etc. Etc.” I wanted to say, “I am not the school police. You don’t have to explain yourself to me. You don’t have to explain anything to me. Etc.” But I usually didn’t.

  3. says

    I never thought of the whole “don’t adapt everything to their particular way of learning” idea, but it makes total sense. You’re one smart chocolate chip cookie.

    It’s a funny world we live in, that makes you have to explain your choice to people at all. One of my neighbors home schooled her kids in our old neighborhood, and I thought it was cool. Yet, I walked up to a group of moms at the bus stop who were ragging on her, and obviously looking down on her. I spoke up (of course – I can’t shut up), and said something along of lines of, “What the heck? Have you guys failed to get beyond high school? Grow up!” I’m not sure why more people don’t hate me.

  4. says

    Yes, teaching adaptability and flexibility, great traits to help our kids with. Good reminder that not all of life is tailored just for us.

    I also agree that homeschooling is a choice. Some people can easily feel inferior when they learn that you homeschool and they don’t. But like you said homeschooling has to work for both parent and child.

    I’m looking forward to some good recipes. My oldest daughter loves to cook and the youngest is eager to learn (she’s making lunch now). We definitely have a recipe to share.

  5. says

    Good thoughts. I hadn’t even thought about any of this with my daughter doing the online virtual school. You’ve given me something to think about. Thanks.

  6. says

    I totally agree that you need to teach kids to be adaptable. Out in the real world life does not revolve around them, and we’re doing them a disservice if life inside the home revolves around them.

    And I don’t know if I can participate in your recipe thing. Last time I sent in a recipe for hot dogs, remember?

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