I’m about to sound like a big ol’ traitor. Everyone knows that if you do something that is less than mainstream, you have to whole-heartedly back it up or you are a disappointment to the community. Or something. But truthfully, there are some days when I really, really, really hate homeschooling.
I didn’t choose it
Okay, technically I did, but it was a choice that wasn’t really a choice. When your child’s needs cannot be met in a typical classroom, or even a private school classroom, what are you supposed to do? All of the advocacy in the world wasn’t going to change the fact that my son needed more than any school could give him. I knew it was our best option, and honestly, yes, I did get warm fuzzies when I thought of reading delicious books and taking exciting field trips, but no one likes being forced into something. And I mean, let’s be honest, first impressions stick.
I know I’m a homeschooler because I have the chalk wall to prove it but what I really need is for someone to come do all the seasonal chalk art and also to like teach my kid because fuck I’m really bad at *gestures wildly* all of this— Life at Tiffany’s (@lifeattiffanys) December 3, 2019
It’s a lot of work to find secular resources
Post that you’re looking for a secular science curriculum and you will almost always get a reply for something that is not secular. I have actually read the words “Why not just teach both creationism and evolution and let your child make up their mind what they believe? Are you worried?” Umm, no. I’m not worried. But creationism isn’t science, it’s religion. And while I have long since left groups that receive such answers, it’s still pretty difficult to avoid Christian resources altogether. Most of the outlets that stock homeschool texts and supplies are Christian. And while I have no issues with other people supporting their religion, it’s not mine, and I do believe we vote with our dollar. I don’t want to give money to a company that may not believe in LGBTQ+ rights. I don’t want to support those who think evolution is fake. And that’s my right as a consumer, just like it’s yours to support your beliefs. But it makes finding homeschool curriculum difficult.
I have yet to find my homeschool “tribe”
I suck at making friends. I feel awkward, say the wrong things, and lay awake thinking of all of the things I should have said or done instead. So the thought of putting myself out there and having to explain our situation of why we homeschool puts me in a cold sweat. I mean, we’re secular, accelerated homeschoolers. Oh, and I actually love public school. I think it’s a fantastic thing that every child has a right to an education. So yeah, tons of great talking points there.
I feel like my kid is missing out
I hated school with a passion. If I could get out of it, I did. I seriously considered not attending my high school graduation. My first week of grade 9, I begged my guidance counsellor to let me take extra credits to graduate early (I was extremely unsuccessful). But even still, I can’t help but feel my kid is missing out on… something.
I suck at my kid’s favourite subjects
Ever heard of math anxiety? It’s a real thing and I have it bad. It’s not that I’m terrible at math, I’m actually pretty decent with it, but the numbers get all mixed up and my heart rate rises and I snap. And then I feel horrible for being such a terrible mom. Or, my kid will get stuck on something and start bawling and I feel so much guilt because if I was an actual teacher I could explain it better. And honestly, I love science, I think it’s fabulous and that scientists are some of the most important people on the earth, but… and I hate to admit this, sometimes I just don’t care. I’m sorry! I don’t care about atom bonding or the minutiae of the Big Bang. I mean, I think it’s important to know the basics, but my kid can dive so damn deep and I would honestly rather spoon out my own eyeballs. Even though I know that’s how my husband feels when I go on and on about a favourite classic novel. I wish my kid was being educated by experts in these fields so that their passions could bleed into him.
Because it’s so much damn pressure
When your kid is at a public school, it may not feel like it, but you have access to so many different professionals. They know what your kid should be learning, what they’re missing, and how to help them get there. There are professionals that come in for class visits and you know that if your child wants to go to university, a guidance counsellor is going to help give them the tools to get there to a certain degree. But with homeschooling, I’m my kid’s everything. His mom. His teacher. His friend. His teammate. His counsellor. And it’s not that I’m not equipped to do it, it’s just that it would be so damn nice to share the blame with someone else if this all blows up in my face one day. (Other than my husband.) I would love, on those really difficult days, to have gone to school for this. Or to have learned a fun and useful hack at a conference. Or to have a PD day sans child to organize myself.
So while I don’t hate hate homeschooling and will definitely admit that it has its advantages, I won’t be suggesting it to anyone else anytime soon unless they really, really need it because it’s hard, y’all. For all that I hate about homeschooling, it allows my son’s needs to be met in ways that just wouldn’t be possible in another setting. And I guess, if I have to begrudgingly admit it, makes it worth it.