View Full Version : Homeschool guilt

04-11-2012, 04:20 PM
:( I am having a terrible amount of guilt with my homeschooling so far. DD has decided she wants to go back to a b&m school for next year, and ds is unsure what he wants to do.

I have a great deal of guilt that the way I approached homeschooling for this, our first year, made it less fun and motivating for them. I wonder if it was too much like school but at home? I worry that we didn't hang around friends as much (which I know is what dd misses most) and I worry we argued too much and just sucked the fun out.

I know I can't go back and re do this time, so I'm stuck with just feeling deflated, sad and frustrated.

04-11-2012, 05:09 PM
I have had days like this - especially in the beginning of the year. I changed my approach and made things less "schoolish". My kids are younger, so it might be easier. I do remind them of the amount of homework they will have if they go o school. They normally quit complaining at that point! Try to ease off and see how it goes.

04-11-2012, 06:34 PM
Are you giving them the choice?

Are they getting a better education at home? If so, then that is where they should be. You don't go to school to study 'social life 101'. Tell them if they study hard and graduate then maybe they can go to college and meet a lot of friends, but until then, sadly, they are stuck. Too bad. AND until then, you will also be making sure they have to eat their veggies, brush their teeth, and take a shower every day, ect.

You get the idea.

Stella M
04-11-2012, 07:40 PM
I disagree, Rainefox, with respect. For elementary kids, maybe, but for high school age students, they deserve a say in how their education looks.

Gidamom, you are being way too hard on yourself. Yes, you may have had a better year if you were the perfect homeschooling mom, who already knew everything there was to know about home education and how to make it work.

But none of us are the perfect homeschooling mom. You did your best this year. It hasn't worked out for your dd but that was partly due to the lack of social opportunites which was outside your control!

Ditch the guilt. As you know I know, home schooling is not always the best fit for each child at every life stage :)

Think of this as a learning year; you learned about your dd that having an environment where she is learning with others is really important to her.

And now you get another year to work out a good way to h/s ds.

It's fantastic that you took the time to explore schooling outside a b&m school; that is a gift you gave your dd right there - the ability to take a risk and try something new - and whether she goes back to school now doesn't negate the modelling you provided her with.


04-11-2012, 07:45 PM
I think the first year is hard. I know it was for us, and from my reading, it seems like it is for a lot of other people as well.

It isn't so much that we don't know how to parent or how to teach our kids- but that we have to develop a certain relationship that's a little bit different from 'brush your teeth' or 'eat your veggies'. It takes awhile for anything to start to feel normal, and I think that goes triple (or more) for homeschooling- because not only do YOU have to find your normal, so do the kids, you all have to learn to work together in a different capacity. Public school tells the kids to do this NOW- and kids don't question. But for (many) homeschoolers, we WANT our kids to be a part of their education, and that means questions are where it's at.

For us, the first year was just about me figuring out learning styles, when to push and when not to, and to fix my (deplorable) expectations. It never felt like we were doing ENOUGH - rather hilariously, though, the reviewing teacher thought we covered too much material LOL.

It really wasn't until this year- the second with dd- that we hit our groove, I chilled out on all of us. When my very beloved dog died, and I couldn't put one foot in front of the other, we took a break. When the holiday season made my kids' attention span no greater than a fly, we took a break. And that's ok- the learning didn't stop, and I'm learning not to stress about it.

Nothing is perfect, but I really think you have to consider what your goals are for your homeschool. Look at the bigger picture, as well (less stressed kids, more time to parent, or whatever is important to you). This is not a sprint- it doesn't have to be perfect every day or even every year. The END goals are the important thing, not where you are RIGHT NOW. If you think it was too schooly for your kids, mix it up. That doesn't mean you failed (my kids do MUCH better with a certain amount of 'schooly'), just that the match didn't work for your kids.

Most of all, lighten up on yourself. :) The first year is just a trial year- if you managed to keep yourself going, get through (most) of what you wanted to get through, you didn't kill your kids or give up on them, and you think they've learned something, then you've done GREAT. Next year will be better- this was just the baptism by fire.

04-11-2012, 07:47 PM
Are you giving them the choice?

Are they getting a better education at home? If so, then that is where they should be. You don't go to school to study 'social life 101'. Tell them if they study hard and graduate then maybe they can go to college and meet a lot of friends, but until then, sadly, they are stuck. Too bad. AND until then, you will also be making sure they have to eat their veggies, brush their teeth, and take a shower every day, ect.

You get the idea.

I agree. That's a big decision to pass on to her. If you believe the school will provide a level of education that you will be happy with then I can see you consenting. I don't know your history so maybe this first year was just a trial basis that she agreed to. But if you feel you can craft a better education for her then maybe you should tell her you are making the decision. Maybe you can have a nice heart to heart and listen to her reasoning for wanting to go back. If it is just the socialization aspect of it then maybe you can agree to work harder at fitting time in for her to get out. You can admit to her that you feel you sucked the fun out of the homeschooling experience this year and will strive to do better. Allow her to say what she likes and doesn't like and maybe you can get into a groove together that makes everyone happy. Maybe you can give her a greater voice in curriculum and resource purchases. See what things interest her. Depending on where you live maybe you can find a upcoming homeschooling convention or local curriculum sale. Take her with you. Let her tour the vendors and feel more involved in the homeschooling adventure.

Just my two cents because ultimately you know yourself and your daughter better than anyone on this board. Do what you feel is right. All the best to you and your family.

Stella M
04-11-2012, 07:54 PM
Mostly parents don't just 'pass' on the decision to their children; they work with them to decide on the best of the options available. Just saying :)

Accidental Homeschooler
04-11-2012, 08:22 PM
Guilt messes up everything. I have major guilt right now for HOW I have been hsing my dd14. But anyway, it seems like there are basically three choices. You could review what has not worked and negotiate with her to try another year. You could inform her that you are going to hs her for another year. You could go with what she is asking and send her back to school. Any one of these choices could be the right one depending on your daughter and you. You know yourself and your daughter so you are clearly the best one to know which is the right approach. And I think that there is nothing to feel guilty about for trying hsing, whether it turns out to be long-term or short-term. I am a little over a year in and I wish I could go back and change a lot of things. I have made so many mistakes and I think the only reason my kids want to keep hsing is because they were having such a hellish time in ps. I am the lesser evil and lately it has been a close contest. I really don't believe that sending your child back to school, if that is what you decide to do, means you failed or that she won't grow up to be a happy, successful and productive person. Well, off to grapple with my own guilt.

04-11-2012, 08:42 PM
Every year, at the end of the year, I make a list with ds of the things he and I liked/didn't like, what worked, what didn't, etc. It could be--he didn't like to have the subjects in the exact same order every day, or there was too much writing, or we need to stock up on pencils and paper at the start of the year so we don't run out, etc.

Every year has been different--different schedules, different ways of approaching work, more or less involvement from me, and so on. I don't give him free rein, but we do try to work out a fair compromise. Some years have been very tough, some have been easier.

So, yes--cut yourself some slack! :) Maybe not everything was hunky-dory this year. That's okay-- you can discuss how you could make next year better. Or, public school might turn out to be the best option. If so, it doesn't mean you failed, it just means that next year, that's what is going to work best!

04-11-2012, 08:44 PM
One of my goals in homeschooling is to facilitate my son's education being about him getting educated. That's a pretty stupid sentance, right? But what I mean, is I want this journey to be about him getting his education. Not, him just doing what he's told but making the process about him, and him having ownership of the process.

For us the decision to go back to school will be a big one if and when it happens. It will only happen if DS is succesful in developing the tools he will need to do so. (he will need to get up on time without my nagging, finish assignments without my nagging, etc) If he accomplishes these things because school is important to him, then we will have been SUCCESSFUL in making the process his, and harnessing motivation. This will not be a failure, even if its hard.

Your daughter will always know that you were there for her and that you made available education options. That is a huge success and speaks volumes about you as a parent.

Good luck with however it turns out....its the journey not the destination, right?

04-11-2012, 10:14 PM
What Stella said. And hugs!

We're so not to this stage yet, but I think homeschooling a teen has to be a partnership. I'd see if there are ways to figure out things you could change to make it work better (I wouldn't quite give up on homeschooling yet - see if there's discussion to be had or if you can work out a deal to include her needs more - are there special projects that homeschooling would help her do or ways to help her connect with friends more?), but if she's set, then you may not be able to change her mind. At 12, I would agree with Stella that she should help make the decision - unless you feel she can't academically do her grade (which, as I understand it, isn't the case here). Reframe it for yourself... you gave them a great year - even if it wasn't perfect, they inevitably learned things they couldn't have (about you, about each other, about their community, etc.) in a b&m school. And when you believe in homeschooling, then it takes courage to send your kid to the wolves of ps.

04-12-2012, 02:28 PM
Thank you so much ladies! Your thoughts has helped me to reframe the way I am looking at the situation. My goal is for my children to be involved in their own education and learning how to make chices and decisions. At their age, I think the ideal is for us to analyze and make decisions together.
If nothing else, I am so grateful that we had this experience for this year. You are sooo right Farrar...we did learn a lot about each other and from each other, and so much more.
I try to check in with them every so often on what's working and what isn't, though I have not always been successful in "making it work".
And yes Colleen, it should be the journey...so I hope like you say that if nothing else they realize that we are giving them all the options, and that we will always be here for them :)

Thanks again...I'm feeling more at peace :)

04-12-2012, 07:47 PM
I agree with Stella.

Hugs 2 U Gidamom.

04-13-2012, 07:20 PM
Thanks for your support :)