Recently I watched a collaboration on YouTube from a few amazing homeschool moms about the sacrifices they personally make to homeschool. While I choose to homeschool and wouldn’t choose to have it any other way, there are challenges with home educating your kids. Nonetheless, I was inspired and in today’s blog, I am sharing the sacrifices I make to homeschool my children.
You can see the collaboration hosted by the Grace Filled YouTube channel here.
Often times when someone decides to homeschool they are met with negativity from others that are used to following mainstream ideas of what education should look like for children. For example, children should be in a traditional school setting for them to learn or women should be working outside of the home in order to contribute to their family. But, rarely do people consider what a mother (or father) sacrifices to homeschool their children.
Value as a Homeschool Mom
I will admit, I didn’t value my role in the beginning and felt a bit small when asked what I do for a living. It wasn’t until I found a community of homeschool moms on social media and both my best friend and sister pointed out how valuable I am to my family, that I slowly came to realize what I do matters and is God’s assignment for me right now. My value comes from my creator.
*Note, this is not a “woe is me” post, this is a mom sharing the reality of the tougher parts of homeschooling. This is the conversation we tend not to share publically. But it is this that might actually help another mom feel a little less alone on the hard days.
Income or Traditional Career
This one sounds obvious but many moms still pursue careers and homeschool their children. However, that is just way too much for me to personally handle. My hat goes off to those that can.
After a few attempts to do both, I realize that my primary role as a homemaker and home educator was suffering and it just wasn’t worth it. More importantly, my mental health was suffering. Keeping a home and learning so I can develop as a parent and educator consumes most of my time. I do hope to have a small business one day I can work from home when my children are older and can do much of their homeschooling independently or don’t depend on me as much to survive, ha.
So, right now, an income is something I am willing to sacrifice in order to be home full time and educate my children. And it comes with being mindful of our budget and saying no to many of the extra little things and conveniences. It means cooking more and eating out less. More DIY and second-hand (which I love and is more eco-friendly) material and furniture for our homeschool space. It means becoming a conscious consumer and being mindful of the time my husband spends at work to be the sole financial provider in our family. So as far as sacrifices to homeschool go, this one isn’t that devastating. Though it might still be for others based on their circumstances.
Speaking of time, one of the hardest sacrifices to homeschool has been losing time freedom. Before becoming a mother, I had so much time to develop myself, pursue my own interest, take care of myself, and simply do all of those things at times that worked best for me. Now, with two young children and home full time, life runs on their schedule. And I know, a lot of people will say that’s a bad thing and you shouldn’t let your kids dictate what you do with your time. But you know, to each their own. As for me and my house, I understand my assignment and am honored to have been trusted with raising these two wonderful children. As Misty from TeachThemFun’s video calls it, this is a “dying to the flesh”. Understanding that, makes the loss of time freedom so much easier to embrace.
Going from Stay-At-Home-Mom to Homeschool Mom
The difference now is that I have added the role of home educator to my roles as a homemaker and mother. Between cooking, cleaning, tending to our two dogs, planning, child-rearing, and managing the home, when I do find a pocket of time to myself, I have the challenge of deciding what is most important during that random pocket of time alone. Do I spend time catching up on a show, a hobby, cleaning in peace, reading a book for enjoyment, spend time with my husband, call a friend, exercise, etc.? The list goes on and most often, I choose something homeschool-related. I choose to read and study child and brain development, best practices for learning, interest-inspired activities, homeschool subjects I am rusty on that I notice my child is interested in, prepping the homeschool space for the next day, etc.
Homeschooling as a stay-at-home-mom is multiple full-time jobs. It is essentially similar to being a teacher in a school but without the additional twenty or so children, but also without the lunch staff, janitors, nurse, etc. You become those things too. By the way, shout out to all the teachers out there! You are not given enough props for all you do, especially when your hands are tied behind your back by red tape.
Sacrifices in Social Life to Homeschool
Well, this should come as no surprise, but social life is something I don’t put a lot of energy into right now. It has a lot to do with the lack of time freedom. Relationships require time. I simply don’t have much of it outside of homeschooling and keeping a home. Right now, if I can squeeze out just a few minutes, it will be to spend time with myself honestly. Which, sucks a little, because I want friends and to go on a girls’ trip or out to dinner. But, that just isn’t the season I am in right now. And that’s okay. Again, I understand the assignment.
I am blessed and thankful to have my bestie of twenty years, who you all met in one of my blog posts, DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SINGLE MOM. We have a weekly check-in on the phone and we don’t mind when the kids are loud in the background or interrupting us a million times, because, we get it. I also have a virtual book club with my bestie and another very dear friend of mine whose son is in high school now but the mom life struggle and blessing is still just the same. And now that we have recently moved, my other very close homeschooling mom friend is hours away. We try to check in weekly, even if it’s a string of spaced-out texts throughout the day as we both understand homeschooling and homemaking are the priority.
If you notice, the traditional social life of going out and meeting with a friend kid-free just isn’t a thing. It is also hard to have friends that are not in the same season as me. Friends that might not understand why I can’t join them for dinner or take a weekend trip away because “I need a break”. Or why I can’t always stay focused on the phone while my kids need my attention. The energy it takes to explain why I can’t hang out, just isn’t worth it. So now, I just say no more often than I say yes. I cherish my handful of friends no matter the distance or time in between our get-togethers and chats.
Sense of Belonging
This is a hard one and I know it will get a few eye rolls. However, I am sharing because it is my truth. We are social creatures. We were not designed to exist in isolation and without community. Our survival as a species depends on it. When you are home full-time and homeschooling, you can feel ostracized by society. People think it’s this weird thing to do and like your kids are somehow these socially awkward people. If you do not have a community of like-minded homeschool families, you can feel like you don’t belong. Or, at least, that is how I felt. Like I didn’t fit in with the moms whose kids went to school or the moms who had careers outside of the home. My struggles would be different and if I shared mine with someone I would come off as ungrateful.
I get to be home with my children and have a role in their educational journey. My husband works hard and is able to provide financially in a way that allows me the option to even be home and homeschool. How dare I complain or have a bad day? (The story I’m telling myself- Brené Brown reference.) So yeah, without having a community, you feel this sense of not belonging.
The last thing I feel I sacrifice as a homeschooling mom is, recognition. We all try and pretend that we don’t need validation from anyone. And yes, we don’t, because God sees us. However, I will point out that it does feel pretty nice to be recognized and appreciated for your hard work and contribution. People like being recognized at work by being compensated or receiving a new promotion. In sports and competitions, you receive a medal or title. At a traditional school, you receive grades (which I don’t support by the way). The point is, we can’t argue with the effects positive recognition has on our self-esteem and mood. My love language is words of affirmation. So of course when no one sees what you do on a daily basis, you are less likely to receive that recognition or affirmation. Instead, you probably receive criticism.
When you are raising children and educating them, you also don’t see the fruits of your labor until they are adults. So, you really do have to step out on faith in this regard and be patient. You must understand that you may not hear a “thank you mom” or a “you’re doing great” often, but all of the sacrifices you make and the time you put in matters. I see you. God sees you. You are appreciated.
What is something you sacrifice in order to homeschool?