If you feel like quitting

Written by Kara Fleck

“We’re not getting anything done. I’m failing at this.”  I hear this lament from moms on a regular basis. Sometimes I’m the one saying it.

Usually, this kind of thinking sneaks in when I get a case of homeschool envy and compare what we do to another family. Is that what might be going on with you right now? If so, can I suggest some advice from my personal blog: Before you quit, try this.

I can also start to feel this way when I’m feeling overwhelmed by life, like new babies or my husband working a lot of hours or those years when we had three under the age of five but I also had an 11 year old to teach.

“We’re not getting anything done.”

Are you sure you’re not getting “anything” done? Really?

Most moms I know are doing so many things. 

Do a little experiment for me: write down everything you and your kids do for the next couple of days. From the stories read to planting your spring garden – anything remotely learning related, add that to your list.

See? You did that. You’re doing that.

Maybe you’ve simply evolved into a more relaxed style of learning that works better for your family?

What homeschool looks like in this moment might be less formal than what it normally is, but I would be mighty surprised if you and your children are truly doing nothing.

You’re allowed to take a break. I promise.

When is the last time you took a break?

Regroup, catch up on sleep, read, and get back into a good mental space.

Many times when I feel overwhelmed a simple day off, hanging out in pajamas and reading a stack of books (that have nothing to do with our lessons or being a homeschool parent) helps refresh me.

Usually, it doesn’t take as much as I fear it will to bring things back from the edge, I’m just too tired / stressed / overdue for a ME day to think clearly about our situation.

There have been other times I’ve needed a longer break, and my kids have, too. Take the time you need.

Homeschooling is wonderful, but it can sometimes feel like it’s all we live, eat, sleep, and breathe, you know? Not every day, book, vacation, or activity needs to be for our children’s educational benefit.

Take a break. It’s all part of the rhythm of life.

Back to basics

Is something going on that is affecting your school days? Is this permanent or short term? If it is short term, how can you modify your lessons to accommodate this time?

When I am overwhelmed, our homeschool gets scaled back. There’s no shame in scaling back. I like to think of it as “specializing.” 

Trim your homeschool work down to what YOU feel are the essentials and then let that be your focus until life gets less crazy.

Try a theme week (or month)

Maybe what you and your kids need is to shake up the routine? Set everything else aside and focus on one unit study or project.

Hearth Magic has some wonderful family literature studies. We’re current enjoying Build Your Library’s Harry Potter unit studies. 

The archives of Simple Homeschool have many ideas, too, including the Read the World Summer book club and Jamie’s awesome Little House Virtual Field Trip.

My advice: If you’re burned out, this is not the time to be writing your own unit study. Let someone else handle it this time around, okay? I know you’re brilliant and could ace the planning, but we’re trying to give you a break, not add to your workload.

Some other ideas:

Maybe it IS time to quit

Be honest with yourself. Realistically, is this just a bump in the road? Or something more?

If your soul searching leads you to the conclusion that homeschool isn’t working for you or your child, it is a wise thing to accept that and make your decisions based on it.

Can you find solutions and continue homeschooling if you want to? Are those solutions something you can honestly and effectively apply to your life and your child’s life right now?

Or should you stop homeschooling?

I’m not sure anyone else can answer those questions for you, but please remember that choosing to quit homeschooling isn’t a negative thing: this is about doing what is best for your child. 

Maybe in this season of life, homeschooling isn’t the right answer. That’s okay! Whether this is a temporary situation, or a permanent one, the important thing is to do what is right for your family. Follow your heart.

Whatever choice you make, let go of any guilt. Move forward in the direction that is right for you and your child. You’ve got this!

If you found this post helpful, subscribe via email here to receive Jamie’s FREE ebook, Secrets of a Successful Homeschool Mom!

About Kara

Kara is mother of four, a caregiver, and a striped sock knitter. Uncomplicated and unconventional, you can find her sharing simple living tips at K. Elizabeth Fleck.


  1. Even a break is good for your child’s educational benefit. I also had a friend who homeschooled her !8! Children(I think it was only 6 kids at the time) and made a blog post that homeschooling was not for her family, and that she’d be enrolling her school aged ones into school in the fall. She got a mix of support and, well, non- support. You HAVE to do what’s best for your family, regardless. Even if it’s some kids at school and some at home.
    Danielle’s latest post: I don’t know what to title this.

  2. Thank you so much for the post. I have finished up my 13th year of homeschooling. I love it and want to continue, but my youngest does not. We may end up doing school this year even if it is only to help her experience it and come back home. Having other homeschool mom’s support is such a blessing when the decision is already so hard!

  3. I’ve lost track of how many years I’ve been homeschooling, but my oldest two are graduated and my youngest just finished Kindergarten. It gets long! In that time we’ve dealt with a child with cancer and other health crises, broken bones, surgeries, deaths in the family and lots of other instances of life coming before lesson plans, too.

    I agree about looking at what you are already doing. I used to print out homeschool schedule charts and fill them in after the fact as the week went on. Went to the zoo? That went in “science” for Wednesday. Did the kids help cook supper and double the recipe? Math and reading. Has history been blank for two days? Put on a fun history-related show or pull out a stack of biography picture books. It made things much more manageable and also reminded me that we really were learning all the time. 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog! I am Ashley I am a mother of 2, both my children are homeschooled. I would like to share some of my experience when I faced problems in homeschooling my children. I was under tremendous pressure and was having no clue how to homeschool my children. It was my friends and my mom who supported me in improving homeschool. They gave me different ideas which let me going and improving my homeschooling.
    There is just a suggestion if you have difficulties just be calm get new ideas how to improve and give your best.

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