Home Schooling Anxiety

Updated on March 13, 2008
J.G. asks from Oldsmar, FL
15 answers

Hi,

Can you all give me some advice on homeschooling. I strongly desire to homeschool my children, but I am fearful I don't have what it takes to juggle the demands of homeschooling, out-of-the-home activities, housework, everyday things, mothering my other children, being a wife, etc...... Luckily my oldest is only 2 1/2, so i have some time to mentally prepare :) For those of you out there who are able to manage all the things I just listed...how do you do it? what sacrifices do you have to make, how do you prioritize?
I would like to start my 2 1/2 year old this fall with some pre-K stuff. Any suggestions with that would be apprieciated.

Thank you all,
J.

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So What Happened?

Thank you ladies so much for your help! I know that your time is limited, and the fact you would take the time to respond with such good advice is very appreciated. You all gave me great homeschooling resources, and more importantly you made me feel more confident about my decision and capabilities of pursuing this. I will look over all the resources and relax more. I've a year or so before i really need to start homeschooling. Thanks again! I love this website!

Featured Answers

S.L.

answers from Kansas City on

I have also done a little unschooling. I like having the ability to follow tangents. Take today as a prime example. I was reading online that in Florida the iguanas are freezing and falling out of their trees. At first I thought oh no, they are dead. But then I read that they come back to life when they thaw out! So I told my daughter that and she thought that is so cool. Now we will do some research on iguanas. Life has so much to teach us if we are open to it.

I don't worry about how much the kids will get done in a day. It was so hard when I had 3 kids homeschooling and had such high expectations of myself. But through the years I learned it's more about a lifestyle than specific goals and expectations. Kids should never just go aimlessly through their day. I let them choose most of their activities so long as they stay busy and constructive. We spent a lot of time in the libraries and buying computer games for the kids to learn with.

We only have one homeschooling now and she's between 1 and 2 years ahead in each subject. So I just sit back and let her do pretty much what she wants just so long as I can see that she is progressing.

Sometimes I have to take the lead though. It's time for her to learn to read chapter books and she doesn't like reading for a long period of time. So I have to demand daily she sit and read. My husband helps her though. He'll read with her at night with them each doing every other page.

Suzi

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B.W.

answers from Springfield on

We are in our 12th year of homeschooling. It is a big job, but you have to just take one day at a time. Concentrate on the basics, first (reading, writing, math.) You also have to learn to be very flexible. Some days will go great and you will get lots of schoolwork done. Some days are a disaster and nothing seems to get done. You just have to do the best you can each day,and some days you just have to be more "mom" than teacher. When the house would get really messy, we would have "home ec" and everybody would work on it to clean it up.

You start with the first child, and kindergarten usually doesn't take much time. Maybe an hour each day. Each year they get older and you do a little more and you add in another child. You get to ease into in gradually. Elementary students can usually get their work done in a couple of hours a day. Older kids, 3 or 4 hours a day. It's very time efficient. Leaves much more time for hobbies, music lessons, and play.

You have time to prepare. There are lots of terrific books to read. I would advise starting with that.

As far as priorities, and sacrifices, the first sacrifice is a clean, orderly house! That is not top priority. We tackle the schoolwork first each day. Keeping the morning for schoolwork is essential. I try to make all appointments in the afternoons. If we have our morning, we can at least get the basics in.

To juggle everything, I just sort of compartmentalize my day. School first, then housework, then supper, and hubby time in the evenings. It's like changing hats all day! I try to get up early to have some quiet "me" time before the kids get up.

It can be really tough and there have been times I've just wanted to put them on the bus. But my three are teenagers now, and we are really seeing the results. My oldest started taking classes this year at the local junior college and is making A's. They are different than public school teens, in that they have no problem getting along with adults. When my oldest son got his first job, they thought he was a college student instead of a high school student. It makes the family a lot closer. I know my kids and have been there every step of the way. Also, my youngest is severely dyslexic. The school wouldn't have known what to do with him.

As far as pre-k with your little one, I wouldn't worry too much about that. Just play with him, read to him, provide crayons and scissors and clay. That's the best preparation for school.

Check for a local homeschool group. There are some really great ones out there and you could go ahead and join now if you want to.

I'd be happy to answer any more questions if you want to e-mail me directly. Best wishes.

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M.L.

answers from Rockford on

If you didn't have anxiety I would think you were strange.
But on the other hand RELAX AND HAVE FUN teaching your child all the cool stuff that is out here to learn.
We broke our day up in to groups and never ever planned on finishing anything but amazingly everything got done.
The Phone,TV were turned off during school hours. School hours were from 8am till 12pm. Each class was between 20 minutes and 40 minutes long depending on the age of the kids.
I homeschooled all of my three children and we decided to go with the term UNSCHOOLING it works the same but takes the pressure off of being the perfect parent/teacher If you want web sites I have a whole bunch that I really liked to use.
Get a big calendar and write everything down.
I would shop the same day everyweek. The laundry was on another day in between teaching and the children.
Dinner can be made while the kids are working on a work sheet The crock pot is awesome get a good one and use it all the time. My husband was always home by 3pm so I made up my mind that whatever didn't get done by 3 waited till the next day. Daddy time is very important. Our time came when the children went to bed and that was early for my kids 7:30/8 and we scheduled a date night about twice a month I needed that time away with him I would write it in on the calender. My out of the home activities included a bible study where the other moms had kids so as we did bible study the kids played.
Remember that field trips count as a school day so a trip to the zoo is perfect you learn and play.
I Hope this helps if you want anymore info just ask.
Remember RELAX AND HAVE FUN.

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A.R.

answers from Springfield on

J.,
You are not the only one that feels that way about life and homeschooling! I found a wonderful website to help get a feel of what homeschooling would be like. www.letteroftheweek.com

It's preschool at home and my daughter loves it. She has learned a lot in the eight weeks that we have been doing it. The best Part: It's really inexpensive to do! And it's easy to taylor it to your child. Hope this helps

A.

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T.G.

answers from St. Joseph on

We home school our children-8 yr old girl in 2nd grade, 4 year old boy just started preschool& 10 month old. I love home schooling, though it is definately a challenge. We have a strong Christian faith, and feel very strongly that the Lord has called us to hs our kids, so that helps on those days i just don't feel like it-I know it's my calling and not just my desire. I would encourage you to start doing some real soul searching, and as a couple come up with a list of reasons why your wanting to hs-that way you'll have something to fall back on when things are tough.
Would also encourage you to look into an annual area or state home school convention. We've attended one in the KC Mo area for several years and it is wonderful. Attend now! Don't wait until you're ready to start. And, attend as a couple if at all possible. Get your husband on board as much as possible and fight the urge to take it on all by yourself.
As far as getting everything done goes, I have a sceduling book that I would HIGHLY recommend. It's called Managers of their Homes by Steven and Teri Maxwell. It's kinda pricey-around $40-but well worth the investment. A very practical guide from a hs mother of 7 or 8! I've gained MANY practical, useful tips from her book. I don't particularly like scheduling-would much rather not-but things run SOOOOOO much better, with far less disciplinary problems when we all know what we should be doing and there's a time for everything we need to get done.
This has gotten a little lengthy, but one more tip I have-don't be hard on yourself. Remember that you're not perfect, and neither are your kids. That's one of the most beautiful things about hs-you're much more likely to see and have an opportunity to work on those imperfections that if their gone all day than if you can tell yourself "I'll just make it till bedtime and not address this character/discipline issue." Have fun with your kids and enjoy the journey. Would love to talk more with you about this: [email protected]____.com Bless. T.

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C.G.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi J.,

I've not homeschooled myself (my daughter is 1 year old), and never thought I would (having gone to public school myself), but a very good friend of mine has been homeschooling for a long time. I emailed her about your question, and here's what she wrote back:

C. (and J.),

My favorite blog is guiltfreehomeschooling.blogspot.com. And the book that got us started was The How and Why of Home Schooling, by Ray Ballmann. There are lots of resources out there, and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Our first home school convention was information overload. I highly encourage you to read through some of the articles the gfhs blog. And of course, I have a comment or two myself. (big shock...)

First, know that families choose to home school for different reasons. A friend of mine taught her children at home because she was preparing them for a high-achieving prep school with a waiting list a mile long. My reasons for home schooling have more do to with purity and moral character. I have daughters and want to prepare them to resist the pressures that our culture imposes on young women. Whatever the reason, it is the thing that gets you through days when you wonder what on earth you've gotten yourself into. So make a list of what you want for your children. Decide which is the most important, and never let go of it, even if you decide not to home school.

Second, know that it will never be perfect. You'll make your plans and then you'll adjust them. Or you'll abandon them, and then go back to them later. Think of how you handle meals. You plan to be in the kitchen every evening, you do the shopping, organize your menus, and yet here you are in the drive-through again. It happens. It's not perfect, but it works most of the time. Everything we attempt to do for our families is like this. So when a homeschool mom tells you about her perfectly scheduled days, and perfectly planned curriculum, you should think to yourself "she's having a really good week". And when she tells you every week is like that, think to yourself "yeah, right".

Finally, a little satire on the topic...
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCommentary.asp?Page=\Commentar...

I hope this was helpful to you. If you have questions about how we "do school", I'm happy to share.

Teri

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W.C.

answers from Columbia on

Hi J.,
I have been a stay at home mom since my first was born and she is now 14 and I have always homeschooled all 6 of my children. I am currently homeschooling grades 10, 9, 6, 5, 2nd and 1st. It can be a bit scary but I wouldn't have it any other way. All of our children are enrolled in Christian Liberty Academy out of Arlington Heights, IL. They take the achievement tests and I send in tests that they grade and the kids get report cards and diplomas. I am responsible for checking a lot of their work and grading it. For kindergarten and first grade I did not enroll the kids but bought the needed books from Christian Liberty Academy's publishing company. I did not do a lot of subjects for kindergarten and 1st. We just had phonics, math, some reading when they were ready and some spelling. For kindergarten we only did about an hour to an hour and a half a day and then 1st grade is a bit more, but you go at the child's pase. Some days they will work for a long time other days you may only get in a few minutes. For more information about homeschooling or about Christian Liberty Academy you can go to their website: www.homeschools.org. Good luck and I think you will find it very rewarding.

As far as keeping up with all the activities and things we don't have a lot of extra activities. The kids only do the things they are very interested in and will stick to. Currently, our main thing is that we are very active in our church. The kids have classes on Wed. evenings and my oldest two are in the youth group and have various activities. My oldest son is teaching himself how to play guitar and has an electric guitar that he is getting really good at. There has not been a big interest in sports in our house so other then my oldest son playing baseball for a couple of years that has been it. He wants to play again this year.

I have gone on and on long enough, but hope this helps. I could go on and on some more about the benefits of homeschooling and it has some challenges and things, but those are minor. I believe my e-mail address is in my profile if you have any other specific or personal questions about homeschooling. I would be happy to try and help.

Dione
(I am a stay at home wife and homeschooling mother to Kaylyn 14, Max 13, Cassandra 11, Justin 10, Levi 8 and Faith 6 1/2. My husband is my best friend and high school sweetheart and a wonderful, supportive man.)

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M.R.

answers from St. Louis on

i do not have any experience in homeschooling but i read a blog of a woman who does. She has her entries in sections so maybe you'll find some advice there. here's a link http://www.mamalogues.com/homeschooling/
maybe you could even email her with specific questions?

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J.H.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi J., I am not homeschooling yet but I also will be once my kids are old enough. I was homeschooled from 4th grade on. My mom homeschooled my brother and I and is now schooling my autistic brother. My mom runs a homeschool group and is absolutely amazing in her knowledge of it, if you want more advice I definatley can get you that. You just need to not freak about the little things, I know that they say it will be there tomorrow, and that is probably the problem, because it would be awesome if some elves came in and took care of that for you! But things will always be there to take your time with your kids, the only thing that will not go away us the fact that your kiddo's won't always be there. As you get into a groove things will start to fall into place.

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A.S.

answers from Springfield on

i admire you for even considering homeschooling! and to be thinking about it now is even more admirable! you may not have to go it alone. we just moved from texas and one of our neighboring towns had a homeschool co-op. which really helped parents as the kids got older(cuz seriously, how many of us can teach algebra or french!) so you might look into that. also there are alot of great websites and references out there you need to take advantage of! atozteacherstuff.com is one i like.

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S.P.

answers from Joplin on

We homeschooled our 2 boys using a variety of methods. One method that worked well for us was using an online charter school. It is a public school, but you educate your child at home. Typically, the books, materials, computers and internet access are provided for the student free of charge. Each student has a teacher assigned to them from the school. You communicate with the teacher through emails, phone and face-to-face meetings. If you need special ed services, the school will arrange for the necessary services. We used K12 (in another state) and were quite pleased with it. I know that in Missouri, you can use Connections Academy. http://connectionsacademy.com/ There are probably more if you just google it.
It's kind of the best of both worlds, the structure of knowing that your child is staying on track grade-wise, the expertise of a teacher but with the convenience of being at home and structuring the learning the way it is best for your child. Our kids were early middle school when we used the online charter school and it took the heat off of me. Instead of an assignment being "due" from me, it was "due" from the teacher. I was no longer the task master. There are pros and cons to each style of homeschooling. You may find that you use several styles over the years. Find something that fits with your child's learning styles, abilities, special needs and your season of life.
Most importantly, get involved in a homeschool group. It is a great support system and you will meet some very special friends there.

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L.L.

answers from St. Louis on

Find the right time for you and your children and stick to the routine.

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M.G.

answers from Kansas City on

J.,
I wanted to recommend a book that might be helpful to you. Its called "Passionate Housewives" by Jennie Chancey & Stacy McDonald. I have found the book very helpful in trying to balance house, family, kids, activities, etc. I think it would be very encouraging to you as it has been for me.

About Me:
I am a homemaker and homeschooling mom for my husband and kids: 7 yr old daughter(1st grade), 4 yr old son and 2 yr old son.

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T.M.

answers from Tulsa on

J.,

I was very scared when I first started homeschooling my 4 yr old son. We took an advanced road and we are doing kindergarten. We started when he was 3 1/2 and he is doing great. So my advice is to give it a try. It is a lot of hard work but the rewards of watching them grow and learn way out do any negatives. It is a journey that is filled with ups and downs but when you find what works for you two it all comes easy.
Just do your research for a program you like. I use calvert homescooling and it is a great program with many extras to do. There manuals are easy to follow. Good luck...

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J.G.

answers from Kansas City on

I don't know the first thing about homeschooling but I have a neighbor that homeschools her 7 boys. I can try and get some info from her or see if you two can get into contact with each other to help you get started.. Just let me know.. Take Care

www.workathomeunited.com/missouri

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