3 things to do if you think you’re a homeschool failure

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

I‘ve heard the same thing from several different moms in the last week. They think they are failing.

Maybe it’s the time of year. Many families have to endure the stress of standardized testing each spring.

Not being where you’d hoped to be as you wrap up a school year feels disheartening, too.

It could be the fact that most of these moms are homeschooling middle schoolers. Those preteen hormones can wreak havoc on a mom’s sanity.

But whatever the cause, feeling like a failure is miserable. So what do you do when you find yourself in that position?

Here are three ideas:

1. Don’t make homeschool the scapegoat.

The very first step in overcoming feelings of homeschool failure is ensuring that you’re not making homeschool the scapegoat. In my experience, we homeschooling parents are often guilty of blaming homeschooling for everything.

when you feel like a homeschool failure

Some of the issues you’re experiencing with your kids have nothing to do with where your kids go to school. You’d still be dealing with them if your kids were in public or private school.

In many cases, a different educational setting would exacerbate the issue. You’d be less of aware of what was going on in your child’s life. And you wouldn’t be able to be as directly involved in helping him navigate the situation.

If the things that are making you feel like a failure are parenting issues or are related to the emotional upheaval of adolescence, deal with them as such. Don’t make them about homeschooling when they’re not.

Just as an aside, I found it extremely helpful to explain to my preteens how hormones affected their moods. Understanding the cause of anger or frustration that was disproportional to the situation helped them deal with it better in most cases.

2. Evaluate.

Take an honest look at the things that are making you feel like a failure. We homeschooling parents like to constantly reassure each other not to worry. We’ve got this.

For the most part, that’s good advice, but worry can be helpful if it’s channeled constructively.

Look at the things you’re worried about. Is your child struggling with math? Does he have trouble making friends? Is she having trouble staying focused on her schoolwork?

Maybe you’re at the center of your worries. Do you feel like you’re not following through with schoolwork like you should? Are you having trouble staying organized? Are you missing needed opportunities for your kids to meet up with friends or get involved in activities?

Consider whether there is any truth to these worries. If you can’t be objective, ask your spouse or a trusted friend to help you evaluate your concerns.

After carefully examining the issues that are making you feel like a failure, you have a couple of options. If you determine that your worries are unfounded, put them behind you and move on with confidence.

If you determine that there is some truth behind your worries, it’s time to make some course corrections.

3. Make adjustments.

Course corrections are adjustments that address areas you’ve identified as needing improvement. If your child really is struggling with math, maybe you need to try a different approach, arrange for tutoring, or step back and work on mastery of a foundational skill.

If your child really is having trouble making friends, you may need to be more intentional about social opportunities. You might need to schedule regular park days with families who have kids of similar ages, join an enrichment co-op, or try some extracurricular activities.

If you’re having trouble with follow-through, maybe you need to try homeschool curriculum that’s less teacher-intensive or use a planner to help you stay on track. You might want to consider a co-op for subjects that are problem spots for you.

Thomas Edison reportedly said something to the effect of, “I have not failed. I’ve discovered 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.”

You probably don’t want to work on discovering 10,000 ways not to homeschool your child, but identifying problem spots does not make you a homeschool failure. It makes you a parent willing to assess and invest in your child’s education.

So, stop worrying, homeschool mom or dad. You are not a failure! You are a pioneer who is refining the methods for successfully homeschooling your student.

What are some course corrections you’ve made that have had a positive impact on your homeschool?

** Our (FREE) Read the World Summer Book Club begins on Monday, and we’d love to have you join us & over 3,500 families from around the globe! Details and registration here.**

About Kris

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of over 25 years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.


  1. I love this. There are times we all feel like a failure. My favorite tip was to make adjustments. When things aren’t working, change is needed. It is not failing. Great post.
    Jen’s latest post: 5 Quick & Easy Ways To Save Money When Buying Books

  2. Thank you! I’ve been feeling like a failure this week and needed this perspective. And I love your comment about being pioneers..we all know that is never easy!

  3. Thanks, Kris for sharing the blog, I hope this would help all those homeschoolers who are facing problem in homeschooling their children. Whereas according to me there should always be focused on whatever we are doing to make the work successful.
    I hope this would really help all the parents who are facing the problem.

  4. A great way to fail in homeschool is to be so concerned about “success” that we try to hurry our children into “being smart”…we make our children and ourselves too busy with workbooks, extracurricular activities and so very many courses, that we try to transform a hobby-horse into a steed by brisk riding.

  5. I love this. Summer is always the time to evaluate. And I also look at what went well too! Sometimes there are some good things that happened and I forget about them because I’m so focused on my failures.

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