The hardest part of my homeschool year

The hardest part of my homeschooling year
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

A note from Jamie: We wrote this series last summer, but I thought that revisiting it at the start of a new school year might be an encouragement. So check out some of the posts below and remind yourself that even if you’re facing something tough, you can still make homeschooling work for you and yours. Be blessed!

Ya’ll, homeschooling ain’t always easy. And it isn’t always happier ever after.

Sometimes it’s downright tough. You know, don’t you?

This world has troubles and homeschooling families aren’t immune to them. Tough marriage seasons, rebellious children, cancer, miscarriages, depression, financial struggles, midlife crises.

You get the picture.

You don’t always read about these topics on blogs, because well, they’re personal. They often involve our dearly loved children, too, whose privacy we respect and want to protect.

The danger of not writing about these situations, however, is that it creates an illusion that our lives are all peaches and cream.

Roses and buttercups. Always well-behaved children and energetic moms and dads joyfully learning together 24/7.

Sharing our hard truths doesn’t have to be negative. I prefer the word authentic. We open up vulnerably so that others can do the same. We learn that we’re not alone, and that gives us courage to keep going.

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It reminds me of what Brene Brown writes in her most recent book, Daring Greatly:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

With all that in mind, welcome to a brand new blog series: The Hardest Part of My Homeschool Year.

Because here at Simple Homeschool, my inspiring contributors and I don’t just write about homeschooling — we also live it.

The good and bad, easy and challenging.

This summer, we want to pull back the curtain a bit on our struggles.

Don’t worry–our aim is not to depress but to encourage. We’ll also share how we’re coping with our hard places, changes we’ve made, and what things look like on the other side.

The hardest part of my homeschool year

So please join us over the next month as we reveal some not-so-pretty, not-so-Pinteresty, but very REAL parts of our homeschooling lives.

This post will serve as a landing page for the series – feel free to bookmark it to refer back to as we go along. I will update it with links to each post as they publish.

Simple Homeschool’s
The Hardest Part of My Homeschool Year series:

* The hardest part of Kara’s homeschool year:
Working from home & homeschooling

* The hardest part of Jamie’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling an angry child

* The hardest part of Sarah’s homeschool year:
Being outnumbered by babies and toddlers

* The hardest part of Amida’s homeschool year:
Trying to do it all

* The hardest part of Kris’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling teens

* The hardest part of Shawna’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling with depression

* The hardest part of Kari’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling a child with Asperger’s

* The hardest part of Rachel’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling and homesteading

* The hardest part of Anne’s homeschool year:
Choosing the right path

* The hardest part of Melissa’s homeschool year:
Homeschooling through disruption

“Usually with life, you start wherever you are, and you flail around for a while.” ~ Anne Lamott

What’s been the toughest part of your last homeschool year?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She is the co-founder and editor of Simple Homeschool, where she writes about mindful parenting, intentional education, and the joy found in a pile of books. Jamie is also the author of a handful of titles, including her newest release, Give Your Child the World.

Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to this series! The hardest part of my homeschooling is realizing that it is MY failings that limit my children’s success- my extreme introversion, my medical problems, and my sin of sloth (‘acedia’)- we will continue homeschooling, but I have to face my own weaknesses a lot!
    priest’s wife @byzcathwife’s latest post: strongly opinionated priest’s wife: Jurassic Park for teens or Jurassic World for 5 year olds?

    • Wow, this is so true. And I think it’s also one of the beautiful parts of homeschooling – that our kids can see what grace in our imperfection and weakness looks like, so that hopefully they’ll grow up receiving that grace for themselves!

  2. I’m looking forward to this series, too. This sounds great. I’m struggling with a few of these things lately…moving, depression, strong-willed child and health issues (mine). I’m looking forward to seeing how others cope with these kinds of challenges.

  3. I feel guilty that I’m looking forward to this 🙂

  4. So looking forward to this! I’m sooo weary of the beautiful images I see on fb and instagram. That is not at all the reality that I’m living. Looking forward to getting a “real” glimpse into other peoples lives.

    • There’s something so wonderful about seeking out beauty, but only when we can balance it by being real as well. I hope you come away from this series encouraged, Kelli!

  5. ‘Not so pinteresty.’ I love pinterest, but we really do need more balance. This series is a good idea.

  6. It seems like each new day had its own specific challenges! The biggest issues for me were probably impatience/anger – sadness, lack of motivation (not sure if it’s depression) – for whatever reason. One of my children is very active and doesn’t like to sit still, so I had to give up trying to control him.

    • Giving up control has been one of my biggest growth areas since homeschooling as well, Karla. And when I finally am willing to let go, I find there’s a beautiful freedom there!

  7. Marnita Sonnenberg says:

    Looking forward to it!

  8. I am so looking forward to this. I shate some of these “hards” with you all. I have a large family, my 12 year old has Asperger’s and some learning challenges, and we have a work from home situation. On top of that, we are likely moving house. I have also homeschool with depression, and I remember that dark time well. Hemingway the difficulties of homeschooling can be so isolating. Thanks for d going this series.

  9. The hardest part of homeschooling for me is dealing with my ADHD while trying to effectively keep my kids on track. There are a lot of resources on how to deal with ADHD kids but not a lot for the moms homeschooling them. I am slowly learning things that help my day and hinder my day, so I try to plan accordingly. Not having the self control to follow a schedule is probably the hardest part for me and my kids. I have this brilliant plan in my mind but putting it into place never seems to work quite right. 🙂 We may not be traditional in our homeschool process, but we make it work and that is the beauty of homeschooling!

    • I love that we have so much flexibility as homeschoolers, too, but like you’re saying sometimes it can almost feel too open-ended and tough to figure out how to structure. I think that’s where major trial and error comes in. It’s messy, but it works!

    • Meghan,
      I struggle with ADD as an adult and I am so with you. I would love to brainstorm with you and commiserate if you could use a friend that gets it.
      I am so glad to discover this series and see the upcoming topics. I appreciate everyone’s openness!

  10. I’m looking forward to it, too, not from a sense of schadenfreude or voyeurism, I hope. But because it’s just nice to know you’re not alone…
    Hannah’s latest post: On Surviving the World With Your Heart Intact

    • It is so uplifting to feel that we’re in the trenches of an important mission with fellow kindred spirits, doesn’t it? That’s the tone I’m hoping this series will take. Thanks for reading, Hannah!

  11. Katherine says:

    Thanks for doing this series, I need it so much! We are headed into our 3rd year of homeschool and last year was tough. We have had custody now for a year of a now 1 year old and almost 3 year old. We love having them and things are going great now and have a rhythm, but I did not know how we were going to make it going from 5 to 7 kids and the babies needed a lot of attention and adjusting to living here. So many told me I had too much on my plate and I should give up homeschool. I was starting to agree with them to be honest, so many days we barely got anything done and I felt so pathetic compared to all the perfect things I saw on the computer when I was drowning over here. We are catching up over the summer and I am so glad we are keeping on since we love it so much. Thanks for all you do on here. SO many times I have read your books again and come on here for encouragement and you really helped me through such a rough year!

    • I’ve so blessed to hear that you found a bit of peace and help in this space, Katherine. Sounds like you do have a lot on your plate, but some seasons we are called to that – like plates at an all you can eat buffet, I guess!! 😉 I hope the series is a help and encouragement.

  12. Looking forward to reading these. We have just started home schooling and have some hard days. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one that ends up with less than Pinterest worthy days!

  13. Kristi Goldsberry says:

    I am so looking forward to your part in the series, Jaime. Homeschooling an angry child. This very day I am feeling I should put that child back in public school so the rest of us can have a break. It’s awful!

  14. melanie lawn says:

    This is beautifully timed for me, and I am looking forward to reading each week. Thank youJamie for thinking outside the square yet again and bringing up the topics that we all know intimately, yet often feel alone with.
    I have just had the toughest 6 months of my 4 yr homeschool career. We packed up our family and moved to the other side of the world last Christmas. I thought homeschooling would make it a breeze, not having to deal with new schools and stuff, but it was deeply isolating and I ended up with terrible culture shock and eventually Expat depression. This is the closest I have ever come to returning my ( very unhappy and bored) children to school, but we have just, in this past couple of weeks, started to find the sunshine again.

    • I hope the sun keeps shining on you and yours, Melanie! It’s always amazing to me how culture shock can affect EVERYTHING and for much longer than we expect sometimes.

  15. The hardest part for me is the sheer size of my family- and the fact that most of my 11 kids are very strong-willed. We’re very laid back homeschoolers, and the amount of scheduled learning we do amounts to only about an hour a day, but sometimes they even have trouble handling that.

    • Yes I can imagine, Shelly, that 11 kids would make for quite a challenge!!! I tend to think those strong wills will one day make for really strong adults who stand their ground in powerful ways, but it doesn’t always feel like that when you’re raising them! Thanks for reading.

  16. I am looking forward to this series as well. I have been home schooling my 13-year-old son for just one year so we are still learning our way. He is an only child, he has some mild disabilities, and we don’t have family near. I am really struggling with deciding which home schooling groups to join as he would like to go on more outings with other kids. Even though we live in a suburban area, we are having trouble finding a group with kids his age that are a good fit. It is a big source of anxiety for me.

  17. Rachel Pankhurst says:

    My hard thing at the moment is that none of my children are truly independent learners yet. Everyone needs me to read instructions etc. My eldest is almost there. But I struggle with how labour intensive this all is. Three schooling, plus a three year old and an 8 month old make it pretty busy! Was feeling rather sorry for myself this morning. Have to remind myself it’s not all about academics, but the character and heart of my children. Still, it’s hard and gets you down sometimes. You feel that’s it your failures as a teacher that mean they can’t read properly etc.

  18. So looking forward to this series, especially the ones on homeschooling an angry child and homeschooling teens! We’re on our 9th year of homeschooling.
    Racquel’s latest post: Planning for Both College and High School

  19. I am so thankful this came up when it did! I have an appt 8/3 to go talk to a principal at a public school to discuss enrolling my K and 2nd grader as I am now having to find part time work to make ends meet, dealing with some health issues and know that my son (2nd grader) on the spectrum will have a very hard time with this change. My heart is breaking . I’m hoping I find some insight that will help me feel better about this upcoming year…whatever decision I make.

  20. I am so looking forward to this! I honestly don’t know what my biggest struggle has bee- I just know this last year was HARD! With a new baby last summer and a supportive but slightly undermining extended family it was rough. As I’m getting ready to start our 4th year I know that this year might not be any easier with a toddler, but I desperately need it to look different!
    Anyways, I’m excited about this series.

  21. I can’t wait to read this series! One of the greatest things we can do for each other is be honest about the fact that this is a hard job. I am only 6 months into my homeschooling journey so I have many more tough times to come but so far my biggest challenges have been working part-time and still finding time to plan. Also my 10-year-old full-time stepson is in public school. Managing both a homeschool life and the demands of public school (schedule, homework, etc…) makes my head spin!
    Kayla Nor’s latest post: Weekly Reading List

  22. The hardest part of my homeschool year is keeping my son focused on his tasks without frustrating him or becoming frustrated myself.
    Leslie DeJarnette’s latest post: Five lessons my daughter learned this week from crafting

  23. Mary ann says:

    Can’t wait to hear how we struggle and the opportunity to support and learn. I have any only and worry about interactions, friendships, motivation (both his n mine) etc. Thanks

  24. I love Real and Authentic. Looking forward to this series!
    Shirley’s latest post: Edible Oasis

  25. The hardest part of my homeschooling is realizing that the goal that all homeschoolers have of handing your child the work, and expecting them to do it without me, is never going to happen. Homeschooling with learning disabilities may be the best for the children, but it is not easy on the mom. The emotional stress is incredible. The judgement from those on the outside that do not see the daily struggle to just get the work done, is horrible. Everything takes three to four times longer to learn, and sometimes it seems it will never click.
    Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

    • Oh goodness, Martha, I could have written your comment myself! So my heart goes out for you. Have you looked into Leadership Education at all? For our family, especially with children who learn differently, I think the advantages are huge. But especially the way the phases of learning helps Mom keep her sanity. This might be a good place to start, since kids with special needs seem to progress more slowly through the phases: http://simplehomeschool.net/core-phase/

  26. I am so looking forward to this series. A great way to prepare for a new year – learning from the perspectives of others – their successes, failures, and all the nitty gritty of life.
    Cara Thompson’s latest post: 10 Tips for Choosing the Best Curriculum (& 6 Encouragements)

  27. Love this series! The hardest part of my homeschooling this last year is that it didn’t even really happen. We found out in July we were moving from Arizona to Washington, found out I was pregnant five days before my husband left for Seattle, was living with my family while being very sick and when we finally were able to make the move to join my husband I was still so sick that I was just needing to survive. It wouldn’t have been so bad but all of my family basically disagrees with our decision to homeschool so every time they would talk to my daughter they would ask her how school was. It just made it very stressful to allow myself the grace I needed to get through this last year. The amazing thing I saw though (and am now able to testify to) was that when our children are ready they can learn things so quickly. My daughter who just turned 6 is reading rather well, loves to do math and is very proficient at comprehension. This all happened without us even focusing on school and “teaching”. She has just picked it up in the everyday of life and I love that she loves learning all these things since there has been no forced education. We will get into a school routine in a month or so but it has been encouraging to see and to know that I don’t have to force it to make it happen. When they are ready it can just happen naturally.

  28. I am already finding solace in the topics alone. Homeschooling an angry child, one with special needs, one with Asperger’s, teens, while moving…they all fit us to a tee. Sometimes I need the reminders that this merely is a season, that my wisdom isn’t what is pulling us through, but HIS and that my children will grow through all of this.

  29. The hardest part of my homeschool year…so many of these posts resonate. We moved out of state, my daughter got a 2E diagnosis, anxiety, SPD, and giftedness. And I am still dealing with anxiety and PTSD following the traumatic birth (I hemorraged severely and dangerously) of my son. We are struggling financially and with all the stressors, I question and second guess all the major decisions we made quickly. I am lonely and we miss our friends and family as well as the support of community. We love our new home and parts of our new life but adjusting takes time and all the stress can affect our family and homeschool. I am finessing a routine that allows flexibility for all of the big emotions in our home and sometimes it feels like everything is a thread away from falling apart. I am hopeful that with time and new friendships, the dust will settle but it has been a very mixed year for us!

  30. Maree Thompson says:

    The hardest part for me has been homeschooling (or not!) my 7 yr old daughter (only child left at home) on a limited budget, with no car and no close friends nearby for her to play with. She gets really lonely and we don’t always have enough money to take the bus to find playmates. We moved 2 months ago when our rental sold and the new place has no trampoline and no kids around to play with. She is struggling and it makes me feel sad and guilty! I am a lot older than most mums with 7 yr olds and struggle with arthritis which makes everything a little bit harder.

  31. Thank you for this authentic series. I think because homeschooling goes against mainstream that when we have difficulties we can feel that there is no one to share with. We expect schooling parents will tell us to give it up, and that we’ll look like a failure in homeschooling circles. Reading the series makes me think “sure, there are challenges no matter our choice, so let’s support each other to walk our unique paths.” Thank you!

  32. Jamie,
    Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your difficulties with us. I have shared almost every issue with all the homeschool mothers and reading about your situation and theirs has just made a tremendous impact on me and it has been a tremendous relief to know that others are faced with similar, sometimes seemingly endless challenges. I like your mention of the idea of just letting go. I feel like there is some kind of unseen force out there that is so pervasive that it affects me at every moment- and I think it is coming from the pressures from society to achieve, making me feel like we are constantly and hopelessly behind in every way- having this endless “I’m not getting it done” feeling. Why not just let go and live life in the moment and enjoy what we can every day? Thank you, again, for the inspiration this week and throughout all the years I’ve been homeschooling.

    • “Why not just let go and live life in the moment and enjoy what we can every day?”

      Love this thought so much, Virginia. So glad this series is speaking to you!

  33. The hardest part of homeschooling for me is trying to work the homeschooling around my part-time, night shift nursing job!
    And when a friend “throws in the towel” just about the time you are having thoughts about quitting youself….but I know I can’t….

  34. I’m looking forward to this series as well. With five kids (the oldest a senior in high school), we’ve been through so many seasons. There are different struggles in each, but I think the flexibility of our homeschooling is what kept us successful through it all.
    Alicia’s latest post: 25 Garden crops to plant in August for your fall garden

  35. Heh, wow, does this resonate with a lot of ladies. Feels like a mass closet exodus, pardon the allusion. Gosh, like the mosquito in a nudist colony, where to begin? Homeschooling is great. Homeschooling is fine. I’m in my honeymoon year with one. It’s sometimes the only thing that seems to go right. The spousal depression, the marital stress, the constant friction between two wildly divergent personalities, the Dickensian financial hell of the past five years, bounced paychecks for years in a row, spouse so depressed he cannot motivate himself to get a real job, repressed rage, everything else put on the back burner, one crisis after another, two midlife crisis, the marital strain of husband working from home and never ever ever ever ever ever getting a break from each other? Not so right. Homeschooling’s a picnic. It’s the rest of it.

  36. The hardest part of my homeschool year last year- and so far this year, too- has been finding the right path to education for my son with ADHD. There is hope, though! He seems to have gotten off to a better start this year. 🙂 I remember reading this series last year. I think now is the perfect time to read through it again.
    Shelly’s latest post: Is College As Important As We Make It Out to Be?

  37. Cecilia Bustos says:

    The hardest part of homeschooling for me is confidence. I often second guess myself, wondering if I’m doing it “right.” I appreciate all of the support I get from forums and this blog along with others. Thank you for all of the insights and tips. I’m grateful for all of the homeschool moms who continue to share valuable information to help me learn and stay focused on the big picture. I was inspired by the article I read one of my favorite homeschooling resource sites, “Debunking the Talent Myth. Ignite Your Child’s Potential.” – https://www.myteachingstation.com/child-development/debunking-the-talent-myth-ignite-your-childs-potential
    The funny thing is that although the article was probably written to inspire parents in raising their children, I felt encouraged that I CAN do all things. It’s a matter of perseverance. So here I am pressing on! To all homeschool moms: Keep up the great job you do every day!

  38. The hardest part of homeschooling this year for me is dealing with intense therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder (also anxiety and PTSD). My therapist told me I couldn’t homeschool so I almost put my kids in school but didn’t feel good about it. So my kids are having a do it yourself year while I deal with flashbacks and processing loads of hard stuff. We have been blessed with extra help in the form of a commonwealth and a friend who volunteered to tutor. my 7 year old in reading. Thanks for the great posts, did you ever announce the winners of the Give Your the World book club?

  39. I posted a question the other day about whether we could get an update from the women who graciously shared their stories last year. I don’t see my question up anymore. Did you take it down? Was there something wrong with asking?

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