Seeking bad attitudes

Where are the blogs with posts about homeschool drama? How can homeschool be as sunny as it appears on homeschooling blogs? It seems inevitable that these are some under-reported conflicts in homschooling families:

  • Men who think their wives are too scattered to homeschool but are scared to say so.
  • Moms who are insanely bored teaching addition but the kid can’t learn it on his own.
  • Moms who would rather be at the gym than at piano lessons.

Why don’t we hear about personal drama that must accompany such a huge commitment as homeschooling?

Where are the blogs about homeschool angst, turmoil and failure?

Or maybe there is just a general gap in honest writing like that because social media overemphasizes happiness.

16 replies
  1. Karen
    Karen says:

    Talking about homeschooling failures is kind of taboo because of a general sense of not wanting to give those who think that we are ruining our kid’s futures any more ammo. A lot of us already feel defensive about the fact that we are constantly having to justify what we are doing to a bunch of ignorant busybodies who really need to mind their own business. The conversations between mom’s in a homeschooling group are completely different. We freely share our failures and try and help each other craft solutions to specific problems. It is much easier to talk about these things with someone who understands and can sympathize and not judge.

    • Caroline
      Caroline says:

      I feel exactly the same pressure not to disclose my failures publicly (unless I’m talking to another homeschool parent in search of sympathy or answers).

  2. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    This makes a lot of sense, Karen. I think a sign that homeschooling has gone mainstream is when parents can talk about failures and mishaps in public.


  3. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I don’t try to sugarcoat my blog, but I guess I tend to write mostly about the good times because those are the ones I want to remember. I also have a supportive husband and hate the gym. I do very little teaching, the kids learn by doing and that’s a lot easier to deal with on a daily basis.

  4. Latha
    Latha says:

    As Karen pointed out, among homeschooling families/mothers, there is a lot of openness about the struggles with homeschooling and a lot less posturing. But the truth of the matter is that it is a struggle till you get the hang of it and get a rhythm to it. The whole idea of homeschooling and unschooling especially is that learning is a life long process. Which means there is a conscious effort to apply what you learned from the previous cycle to the next one. As time goes on, I have found it smoother and smoother where now I do not really face any major challenges in our unschooling process. Look and you shall find! Like your post on social media, it is finding the right niche. For example, check this blog out.

    This is a wonderfully moving narrative of a family’s growing pains after their decision to unschool their son.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I just spent an hour on that blog. Thanks. I love that the mom not only lets her unschooler kid have screen time all day long, she also published a photo of her kid visiting the beach, playing her DS. Love that. So honest. I think there should be a whole genre of blogs devoted to parents struggling with how much DS is too much DS. I need to take my older son out of school so that we have enough family time during the day to get in all our fights about the DS.


      • Karen
        Karen says:

        Oh, yes please! You really need to do a post about video game time and how much is too much so we can have a comment thread about it. The fights in my house over this issue are epic.

        • Zellie
          Zellie says:

          We’re not currently homeschooling, but I just implemented a policy (age 15 aspie-type): For every hour of screen time there is an hour of reading time.

  5. Carole
    Carole says:

    I agree that a blog is too public a place to share the deep struggles of homeschooling – responses from the general public would be to question why in the world I’m doing it in the first place.

    Here are a few thoughts off the top of my head as to the “worst” parts of homeschooling:
    – working really hard and doing a freaking awesome job at educating your kids for zero pay and no kudos from the general public
    – discerning between attitude issues (I don’t want to read this) and learning ability (I can’t read this)
    – what to do with preschoolers and toddlers (since you are making $0 you don’t have money to hire a babysitter or send him to preschool)
    – still having to go to work when you’ve been up all night with the baby
    – not having a lot of time away from your kids (this, of course, has a tremendous reciprocal, but it is an issue nonetheless)
    – did I mention toddlers and what to do with them?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      These are great topic ideas. Thanks. Also, just reading the list of topics gives me insight about the problems homeschoolers have that I’m not reading about.


    • Karen
      Karen says:

      If it’s in your budget, I would recommend an ipad for your toddler. The apps for little kids are phenomenal. Alternatively, TV really is your friend sometimes.

  6. mary kathryn
    mary kathryn says:

    Homeschool admissions:
    When I was homeschooling 3 elem. kids, I plunked my 3 yo in front of PBS for, oh, about 4 hours each morning. Ugh. Yes, I did.

    We took our 11th grade son out of h.s., and put him in public, b/c he really, really hated h.s. He admitted to wanting a much larger social life. He wore his daddy down until he caved, and he attended a huge, very indifferent, public high school. Ugh. Fail. But, in the end it won’t kill him.

    I pawn all the math and most of the science off on my hubby, b/c I don’t like it. I’m terrible at it. It’s good to know what you’re bad at.

    I’m an introvert and I hate taking my daughter to h.s. social events.

    I’ve argued in favor of GOOD homeschooling, and against BAD homeschooling, angering some friends. If you just hand your 4th grader a pile of books, and ask him to teach himself, you just hired someone with a 3rd grade education to teach your 4th grader. They hate it when I say that. I don’t really like the “educate yourself” idea. The whole idea is to have someone who understand more than the child, impart that understanding TO the child. It’s hard work. I’ve taught homeschool failures in a classroom before — kids who could barely read in 10th grade. These things occur, and homeschoolers should be willing to admit it, and encourage parents who are homeschooling badly, to stop.

  7. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Hey there- wow, love your blogs Penelope! Great stuff! I just came across it tonight from a HS link – we have been homeschooling our kids for several years now and love and boy am I (and our house, etc) a mess, daily. Its true – convos between others who HS can (usually) get more real, and do, b/c it surely is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I used to think only crazy-weird people did it, now I say to myself every week, at least once, this is CRAZY! WHAT am i doing?!?! But I cannot say I would trade the opportunity to be real with my kids and learn (again or many times for the first time) the wealth that stories, nature, people (in the past, in the neighborhood, across the globe), and God has to offer, for anything else I could be doing with my day in this (relatively) short time… The years fly by- but the days can last forever! Also, people say “I don’t know how you do it all” and I say “I DON’T do it all- let my kids and husband give you the list of all the things I DON’T do, they are many.” Anyway, I just had to say hi. Sorry for all the runon sentences: shhh…don’t tell! I’m probably wrecking my kids’ grammar abilities as I write this! ;)

  8. Jen
    Jen says:

    Really? ‘Cause if I ever cave and homeschool A, you bet your sweet ass I’ll be writing about the good, bad, AND ugly. I already do about parenting a twice-exceptional kid; homeschooling him (and probably his younger brother Godhelpme) would just give me unlimited blog fodder.
    Life isn’t all chocolate and roses. It’s hard and messy and often involves inexpensive wines, but I really believe if we’re all just honest with our struggles, we feel less alone.

  9. Carol Ziogas
    Carol Ziogas says:

    Not sure about bad attitude, but I started dating a school teacher this year and he’s talked me into getting my unschooled son back into public (charter) school. Yikes. I still refuse to put my kid into a regular herd-style public high school, but I feel I’m limiting his possibilities at this point if I let him stay home too much longer.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. And in California, you’re practically branded a Bad Parent if you homeschool, even worse if you unschool.

  10. Alison
    Alison says:

    I was homeschooled for high school and hated it. It completely derailed my plans for post-secondary education and I am still resentful towards my parents for it now, in my 30’s. I try to encourage people to find any alternative to homeschooling that they can. I grew up knowing a lot of homeschoolers and now many of my friends homeschool their children, so I know all the arguments FOR homeschooling, but I could give you many negatives, things that people don’t usually want to acknowledge. It’s a polarizing topic.

    As a Canadian, I have a few more education options than you do in the US. We have the choice between public and Catholic schools, both of which offer French Immersion, sports, arts, science and other charter school options, all under the umbrella of public education, so it’s free. If your child has delays, health conditions that need monitoring or is advanced, you can request aides in the classroom for them. I put my daughter into a Catholic French Immersion school that has only 125 students from K-6. They have all the core subjects as well as gym, music, art and religious instruction. She loves art & science, so I make sure that I supplement her formal education with trips to art galleries, the observatory and art & science daycamps in the summer. I will do everything in my power to help my children achieve success, but I’ll do it without homeschooling.

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