So you REALLY want to quit homeschooling

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Read our Back to {Home} School series for encouragement and giveaways! 

I think many homeschoolers have the same dirty little secret. At one time or another, they have wanted to quit. Many of us will admit to a passing moment when we wanted to throw the kids in the car, drive them to the nearest public school, and leave them on the door step in response to the whining and the bickering that comes along with kids being stuck with their siblings and a math textbook.

But what do you do when it isn’t just a passing moment? What if you are truly miserable homeschooling? What do you do then?

Help, I want to quit homeschooling

Take a break

First things first, stop what you are doing. If you are miserable, and the kids are miserable, chances are, no one is learning anything. Put down the curriculum. Take the kids to the library and have them check out some books, pull out craft supplies and science kits and field guides… and then send them off to do some self-study. Let them play Legos all day. Suggest they go bird watching. Let them follow their interests for a while. (Pro-tip: keep the screens off. You’ll feel less guilt and the kids will learn more and whine less if they keep their hands busy and their brains occupied.)

Most importantly, make it clear that you are in time-out. They aren’t being punished, you’re just having a teacher in-service.

Pinpoint the reason why you want to quit

Now that you have a moment to breathe and reflect, see if you can determine what it is that is really making you miserable. Is it an academic problem? Are struggling with teaching certain subjects? Do you lack support? Are you butting heads with some of your stronger willed students? Are you exhausted? Are you feeling unfulfilled? Do you want to be doing something else?

Determine if you can fix the problem

Is the problem something that you can fix?

For example, if you are feeling like a failure because you just don’t have time in the day to teach all four of your children everything they need to know, is it possible to sign the oldest two up for distance learning classes? Can you get everyone in the same curriculum for history or science? What can you streamline?

If you are feeling isolated, is there a co-op you can join?

If your house is a mess and you just can’t take it another second, can you implement a new chore system, and spend the weekend getting rid of the clutter?

Is there something you can do and still be happy homeschooling?

Research alternatives

Even if you don’t think you will pursue alternatives, I tell all my friends who want to quit to at the very least, do the leg work and research your options. Not because I think you should stop homeschooling, but because knowing what is out there can help you make a decision.

One of two things will happen. Either you’ll look into your options and realize that oh-so-shiny school around the corner has kids failing math, and they can’t read, and also there is a roach infestation and you could never ever send your kids there…

Or, you’ll realize the school is pretty sweet. They have a robotics program, and the whole place is clean and inviting, and you all of a sudden feel really good about sending the kids.

It’s either going to feel like a good idea, or a bad idea.

Consider your options

Now that you know what all the options are (the public school down the street, the private school, the online academy, online classes mixed with traditional homeschooling, co-ops, new curriculum, new time management systems….) you can make an informed decision.

Sit down with your spouse, and share with them your concerns and your options. Take the time to really think about what it is that you want to do. Prayerfully consider changes.

Move forward

And…. Go for it.

I don’t want to encourage you to quit. If you can fix your homeschool, and move forward efficiently and comfortably, that is wonderful. But I don’t believe it is the only right way to raise a child.

Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. If you are miserable, you aren’t an effective teacher. You need to be taking care of yourself. You need to be able to enjoy your kids and your spouse. It’s okay to have hard seasons. It’s okay to do “survival school” for a while. But if you determine that this isn’t a season, and you have viable options, don’t feel guilty for a second about making a change for your family.

Have you ever wanted to quit?

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  1. I just went through this… almost put all my kids (6 – 4yo-15yo) into school this year. After coming down off my stress-peak, I realised the older 2 are pretty easy (emotionally) and are finally with a gymnastics coach who “gets” them… and I didn’t feel I could support the gymnastics+school, so they were staying home. The 4yo was too young, so we’d be paying for her, so she was staying home. THe 12yo with tantrum issues is doing worlds better… but neither he nor I feel that is an environment that would work yet, so he was staying home…

    It was down to the 2 middle boys. The 6yo (who’s defiance is driving me nuts – takes too long to empty the dishwasher? really?) said he didn’t want to go “because homeschool is better” – AAAWWW… Plus he’s ahead in math and reading, and I remember what that felt like… he stays.

    It was down to my 9yo – borderline(?) hyper, very extroverted, very needing physical touch, the most age-separated kid, and at a developmental stage where he doesn’t play well with the older sibs or younger ones…
    I checked out our local PS – via friends and neighbors. Got glowing results. Was ready to do the legwork to check it out…
    … and started feeling nauseous and panicky.
    I realised *I* wasn’t ready to go from having him 100% of the time to a few hours after school and homework.

    We were lucky – there was still an opening for his age at our 1-day/week local (and secular) Cottage Program. Local is a bit of a euphemism – it’s 45 min away, but we’re in the country, that’s typical of everything we do. And it costs – but all told it’s less than $1/hr over the year (we know the organizer, it’s barely breaking even) and it was something we could handle.

    His first day was yesterday – and he LOVED it.
    He wants to go next year.
    The 4yo wants to go.

    Now I have a new worry… I like homeschooling them!

  2. Thank you so much for this! This is a very balanced view and provides both sides. A lot of articles I see about wanting to quit homeschooling just push you to keep going and push through, and this articles is encouraging, but also sees there is another side sometimes. I’ve been homeschooling 7 years and now have 4 doing it. I’ve tried so many different methods and curriculums, I keep changing all the time to find the “perfect fit” and have tried 4 distance education schools as well. I’m just not sure when it’s time to give up and admit it’s not working. Yet I want my kids home with me. I just don’t know anymore what to do, it’s so hard. 🙁

  3. Thank you so much for this! We have just moved away from home in a sudden move to Massachusetts, where we don’t know anyone or anything, plus I am battling a chronic illness. I am exhausted and worried that I can’t be the same mom I used to be and my kids will miss out. My husband is ready for me to send the kids back to school, but I am resistant, even with all the issues. Thanks for the support and encouragement that it’ll be ok no matter what we choose to do.

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