Burned Out After Only 14 (or 41 Cumulative) Years of Homeschooling…

I’m really struggling as a homeschooling mom lately.  I’ve lost my motivation and I feel increasing pressure to get it back for the sake of the younger kids.

Toria has now officially finished homeschool.  She was educated at home from preschool through 12th grade, minus a few notable days in her junior year where she tried a public arts school three hours away (and promptly asked to leave it).

That’s 14 years done with child number one.  And there are 12 years done with child number two, 9 years with child number three, 5 years with child number four and now a year of preschool for child number 5.

If you could add them together cumulatively, you could say I’ve now homeschooled 41 years.  I know that’s not how it works, but it feels like it some days!  🙂

That’s a lot of educational games, historical adventures, science projects, read-alouds, lapbooks and lesson plans.

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And also a lot of math programs purchased that were never used, failed attempts to start curricula, projects never finished and abandoned lesson plans.

It’s September, and that used to mean a renewed excitement about a new school year.  I think the first 12 years or so, we always did something fun for the first day not back to school.  There were cakes and carnivals, not-back-to-school pajama parties and trips to the zoo.

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This year, I didn’t even remember that I was blowing that off for two weeks.

I’m struggling to fit a new writing job into the mix, along with more and more jobs around the house — preparing for house renovations, canning hundreds of pounds of pears and applesauce, keeping up with laundry and cooking and with what’s left of my garden after the slugs descended.

I also miss my old homeschool communities.

When I started homeschooling all those years ago, I started a yahoo group for homeschool moms and dads who practiced attachment parenting.  I found that I really needed a support system of other parents like myself, who weren’t homeschooling to avoid something negative in schools but just for the love of our kids and a desire to give them a happy educational life in addition to a happy childhood.  I found that I got along fine with parents of other faiths and other homeschool styles but I didn’t get along at all with the punitive homeschoolers who forced their kids to do hours of schoolwork and punished and controlled their kids.  That yahoo group became a large, vibrant group that really kept me company on this adventure over the years. It’s also how I met friends who became “real life” friends around the country, such as my friend Tiffany whom we visit so often.

Unfortunately, Facebook has sort of meant the end of email groups.  While the group still exists, we rarely chat.  And yes, there are many homeschooling groups on Facebook, but they feel like large crowds of arguing strangers more than an intimate group of friends to talk to about the day.

Blogs have changed, too.  Back then, we homeschool moms didn’t start blogging as in order to make money the way it seems most do these days.  We just wanted that connection and support (and to document it all for ourselves and loved ones), and there were so many moms who poured hours of work into creating free lesson plans for each other to use, making up educational games, scanning fun activities, sharing advice, you name it.

In the first years of this blog, it was hosted at Homeschool Journal and many of us would visit each other’s blogs on that site to check in on each other.  I’m still friends with some of those bloggers on Facebook now, but I don’t think most of them have blogged for years (or not about homeschooling any more).  Life gets busy and changes.  The new generation seems concerned about making things to sell on Teachers Pay Teachers or earning affiliate links or hits for google adsense.  People don’t talk about what their meal plans are for the week and the embarrassing thing their child said in the grocery store, it’s all professional and polished.

And many of my homeschooling friends are almost done with this homeschool business, or at least at a very different place than I am.  I went and kept having more children, so I have a child about to start kindergarten when most of my old homeschool friends are down to just high school kids.

I guess I feel a bit like the middle aged mom who gets unexpectedly pregnant and no longer fits in with friends about to enter their empty nest years but also doesn’t fit in with the young 20-somethings at the park.

I miss my tribe.  And I miss my passion for it all. 

My kids deserve that same enthusiasm that their older siblings got, though, so I’m determined to find it again — or fake it till I make it.

I’m not sure how I’ll do that, but I’ll keep you updated in case it helps someone else.  That’s what I originally created this space to be for, after all.  🙂

(Note:  I wrote this over a week ago and have been so busy with History Fest and other events that it’s been sitting on my dashboard all of this time!  I’m not sure what that says about this issue, but History Fest certainly does bring me back to my homeschooling passions and I can’t wait to share some of this year’s fun with you all!)

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9 thoughts on “Burned Out After Only 14 (or 41 Cumulative) Years of Homeschooling…

  1. I hear you. I’m coming to the end of my homeschooling years (24, 21, 18 and 15 yo) and many days I struggle with enthusiasm. I could just throw some resources at my daughter and say get on with it. And she probably would and it would probably be fine but I want her last years to be so much better. I don’t think I even know any other homeschoolers in real life anymore and online support is difficult. I’m too structured to be an unschooler but far too relaxed/slack for the academic types. There aren’t a lot of highschool bloggers and those that are don’t seem that interested in creating a community by visiting the blogs of others. Or perhaps my blog isn’t what they are after. Anyway good luck rediscovering your homeschooling mojo.

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    • Yes, I feel the same about not wanting to just do “enough” and to keep making it as magical and meaningful as possible. I thought I was subscribed to your blog but just checked in and see that I was not. I’ve subscribed and will try to comment more often, to help with that community. 🙂

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  2. Oh my, I can’t even imagine as I am on the other end of the homeschooling journey where I only have a year under my belt. What I do know though is out of the bazillion blogs out there, I was drawn to voraciously read yours because of the honesty, the slice-of-life, the fact that your passion and love for your children was so amazingly apparent. In the quest for the perfect monetary blog nowadays, that is so often lost. Through your blog I learned that I could throw my curriculum out the window, or have too many, or have too few, or love unit studies, or just use a hodgepodge. It taught, and continues to teach me, to just relax and let many things happen when I am feeling Type A. I am currently trying to create my own community with the words that you used – with parents who are doing it because of the love of their children, but it often time feels like dating. One of the things that always helps me is pouring through the pictures of the things that I’ve done with my older child because I see the love of learning in her now and the benefit of what I’ve done with her and I want that same thing for my younger, even though at this point it may require more coffee to get there ❤

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    • Aw, thanks for the smile! Thanks for the reminder, too, to look back at what we’ve done with the older ones. I’ve found that blogging helps me with that when I accidentally end up going down that rabbit hole into the past every once in a while and see the fun we did some other era. 🙂 I’m not allowed coffee anymore (it triggers my neurological “lightning strikes”). I miss it, too!

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  3. I’m in the same boat, but without the little ones. My oldest just graduated and is off at college. Getting one all the way through feels like a finish line. I am finding it hard to be motivated to keep going with the younger two (13 and 16).

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    • Yes, exactly! And with Fiona, she’s just starting it all out and I want it to be as magical for her as it was for the older ones. I think I’m going to brainstorm on ways to bring back the enthusiasm of those first years. 🙂

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  4. I just happened to pop on here to see if you had any new posts lately because I really needed some homeschooling inspiration. haha! I actually love that you shared that you are struggling a bit. We ALL do, especially when you’ve poured so much into your work for years, as you have. I can imagine it being a bit daunting to start over. 🙂

    BTW… Your blog was my go-to for years… you are always “real,” inspiring and so helpful. I would read your posts over my morning coffee.

    I’ve had to quit reading most homeschooling blogs for the reasons you mentioned. I prefer to read about making little moments of magic amongst the messiness of life, which you do so well. It’s less helpful for me to read about moms who profess to have it all figured out or want to sell curriculum.
    I’ve always considered you a mentor of sorts (my husband knows the name “Alicia Bayer”), especially at the beginning of my homeschooling journey. I, too, long for a “tribe,” I live in a rural area with few (none, actually, ha!) homeschooling for the same reasons I’m doing it.

    Anyway…. as always, thanks for sharing. I’m a faithful reader and always will be. Best wishes on getting your mojo back. 🙂
    oh and… If you ever start a chat group again for moms-of-the-same mind, please let me know.

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    • Aw, thank you for sharing that! I often wonder if anybody at all is out there and it’s so nice to think that there are still folks out there who get something out of this little blog and our crazy family. 🙂 It’s so nice to know there are others out there dealing with some of the same issues. I’ll post about it if I start any sort of new group.

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  5. Did you get your mojo back? This is the first school year I’ve not wanted to start. If you found your mojo again, share your secrets! 🙂

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