Monday, January 11, 2016

The "Joyless" homeschool.

It was supposed to be fun.  

It was supposed to bring us together.  
It was supposed to cultivate learning.  
It was supposed to at least be better than public school... 

I hate this.  
This is hard.  
My kids hate this.
It takes forever!...

To do nothing!
Nothing is getting done!
It took 3 1/2 hours to do 1/2 a lesson of math!
Math sucks.

I am yelling.
They are crying.
There is so much laundry!
The little ones are being ignored...

I am a failure.
I don't like being around my kids.
They don't like being around me.
They are begging me to stop school.

What a waste of money.
What a waste of time
What a waste of intent.
What... A.... WASTE!


     We have all been there friends.  Me included!  I do not know anyone who can say that homeschooling was great from the start and/or stayed that way.  Homeschooling is hard, it is also worth it, but that doesn't make it easy.
     I have talked with A LOT of homeschooling moms in the past 60 days who are just "done".  They are exhausted, defeated and joyless.  They just want peace in their home again and restoration with their kids.  They want JOY to come back into the family.  Homeschooling is the problem and the problem must go... or is it?

     Truth:  Homeschooling is not the problem, finding what works is the problem.  It can be costly, it can be confusing, it can be hard and it can (and usually does) take a while.  I remember often having to tell myself this:  
"It is not my inability to teach or their inability to learn.  We just haven't found the right system for us yet."

     It's not just about curriculum either.  When I say "system" that means a lot!  What we choose, how we implement, how we work it into life... at home... with kids everywhere!  Finding the right curriculum, the right schedule, the right rhythm, takes time.  It must also be fluid!  All those things listed have changed, for me, over the years as the dynamic of our family changed or things with different kids came up.  Allowing room for change, failures and growth is BRAVE!  It is also SMART!  It is also NECESSARY.

     For a long time I was more of a stick in the mud than anything else, because I did not want to change.  Did you hear that.  I- ME.  MISSY RIGHT HERE!
     I was so upset at times that life just wasn't... easier.  That homeschooling wasn't easier.  I wanted to be done.  A few times I was done.  The only thing that stopped me from enrolling them in public school was that I was afraid they would be so far behind and I would be judged.
     In reality, it was never really that bad.  I put THAT on myself.  I was so sure though that things were so terrible and so bad because things were so joyless.

    Joylessness in your home is usually the homeschool killer.  It's the relationship killer.  It just kills- how about that?  Is your home currently joyless?  Are you wanting to give up and be done?  Are you just over it?

     I know you do not want to hear it, but you need to.  Change.  You need to change some stuff.  You need to be willing to go deeper into the "what-if's" of homeschooling in order to find the change.  You, and you kids, will hate homeschooling until YOU find the change and start making it.

     So what needs to change in order to bring back joy?  What is it?  Maybe:

  • kids hate the schoolwork?  >>> curriculum?
  • kids have attitude?  >>> heart issues?
  • house is falling apart?  >>> need a schedule?  Chore chart?
  • nothing ever get's put away?   >>> get rid of things/purge? 
  • we never get all the work done?  >>> curric?  Schedule?  Too much work?
  • there are little ones around?  >>>schedule?  curric?  system?
  • kids won't obey me?  >>> heart issue?  respect issue?
  • too isolated? >>> play group? homeschool group?
  • more accountability?  >>> curric?  umbrella program? friend?
  • it's me.  I have a heart issues?  >>> right...
     Identify the problems and then start making the changes.  You may need to stop schooling for a while... (Um... did she just say "stop schooling"?  Yah... She did!) 
     Sit your kids down, apologize to them, talk with them about what needs to change and what you ALL will be doing to get that change.

     Tackle some of the things on the list.  If your kids don't obey you then that's huge!  Work on that,  practice it daily. How can you expectthem to listen to you to do their math if they won't even come when you call them?   Yes, your life will be a war zone while you fix this issue, but if you stick to it, you will win!

     If you all work well together already then start implementing the changes needed to re-define your homeschool.  Tackle those things.  Get new routines and habits in place and then add back the homeschooling.... slowly.

     Play around with stuff.  So your kid hates math and you hate it too- why?  Is it bland?  Do you hate correcting?  What?  look at other math programs.  Try a computer based program, something that grades it for you.  Is this working?  Is it better?  Look at what is available, play around with it.

     Kids hate history?  Why?  Do you need to lighten up?  Maybe it needs to be more fun?  Maybe it's too fun and you are overwhelmed with crafts.  Par down.  Watch some movies.  Decide what you can do and go with that.

     Is the whole thing bad?  Chuck it!  Chuck it all!!!  There are plenty of free ways to homeschool.  Explore those while you look at other stuff.  You may fall in love with a free program or at least figure out some things you do or do not like.  Take it easy.

     Is it you?  Are you upset because you miss a clean home? Quiet afternoons? Toddler time at the library?  Coffee and working out with your friends while the kids are in school?  Sigh... that is a whole post in itself- here's the short.  Get over it!  You need to join your team.  Be a sweet boss and a good leader.  Refocus your priorities.  Start finding interests with your kids so that you all have a life.
     I could go on and on and on with different problems and different ideas but I won't.  The possibilities of joy-suckers are endless.  You need to identify what they are and then start separating the truth from the lies.  Be willing to look critically at all areas and to make changes.

     I promise you that the JOY will come back.  It may be quick or it may take time, but it will come.  Be BRAVE.  Be SMART.  Be willing to CHANGE!

I saw today.
They were smiling.
Who new coloring was schoolwork!
We went on a walk.
We had fun.

I feel like I can breathe now.
I found better stuff.  
I lightened my load.
I instilled good habits.

We read.
We played.
We did school.
It was.... joyful.

I like them.
They like me.
There is still a mountain of laundry.
It's okay.

Today I saw...
It wasn't my inability to teach
or their inability to learn
We just hadn't figured it out yet.

*poems written by Minda Corey 2016



  1. This is lovely. I have read it and plan to re-read it. We are in a joyless place. Except for Tristan. He bubbles over with happiness about learning.

    1. aww friend, I hope you guys come out of your funk soon!