It’s February and anyone who has been in the homeschooling game for a few years know that February is the worst month EVER. February is the month in which everyone wants to quit. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s finally the lull after the holiday season. Maybe it’s the gradual unthawing of the ground (well, not this year…). Maybe it’s the fact that it’s still quite a few weeks until spring break. Even families like mine, that don’t follow a traditional school year schedule, feel the blahs this time of year.
When we feel the blahs it starts to show in our behavior. I get snippy with the kids and the kids get snippy with me. The kids get downright mean with each other sometimes. On days like this I want to quit.
Did you hear that?
Some days I want to quit homeschooling.
But then I remember what life was like in that short period of time when my kids were in school.
-I remember the after school detention my 6 year old was given for being “too wiggly”.
-I remember the hate note I found in my 8 year old’s backpack, and how the principal said she wrote it to herself to get someone else in trouble.
-I remember my son coming home from first grade and telling me that he didn’t get to eat lunch because the lunch period ended right after he got out of line and the teacher threw his food away.
-I remember the teacher meeting in which a preschool teacher called my 4 year old “dumb” and “lazy”.
-I remember my daughter coming home crying, with wet pants, because the teacher wouldn’t let her use the bathroom during the end-of-day math test.
-I remember my child crying every night, begging me to let her be homeschooled again, because some kids were pushing her, throwing her backpack out of the bus window, and calling her names so foul I cannot type them here.
-I remember the day a teacher called to tell me that my child had threatened suicide because of bullying. (read our bullying store here)
And I don’t want to quit anymore.
Here’s the truth, parents:
We don’t homeschool for ourselves, we homeschool for our children.
Sure, sleeping in late and schooling in pajamas is great. Taking our field trips during standardized test week is awesome! Going to the library and having the time to pick out the exact book we want is priceless. But those are just perks, they aren’t the reason we homeschool.
-We homeschool so our children can learn in a safe environment.
-We homeschool to give our children a first-hand experience in the real world, so they know what life after school will really be like.
-We homeschool so our children have time to pursue their interests.
-We homeschool so we can provide an education that is relevant and interesting to our child.
-We homeschool because it is the right thing for our children, and for our family.
So where do we go from here? On the days when you’re ready to give up, just stop. Stop your schedule, stop your lesson plans. Stop and take a break. It is ok, I promise that the math books won’t disappear and your child won’t suffer if you take a few days, weeks, or even months, off.
Take a hike. Go to the zoo. Visit the park. Cook together. Play a game. Read together. Draw and paint. Craft. Go to bed late and sleep in! Say yes to your child’s ideas and whims.
During this break take some quiet, alone time to think about what is and isn’t working. There is no rule saying you can’t change your style or resources in February. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have some posts that may help provide insight, and maybe some humor:
Meg Grooms is a decades-long secular homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle, currently calling Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.