Jump to content


When mom is feeling the pressure

Recommended Posts

I am seeking input on how you deal with any feelings of pressure or anxiety related to homeschooling in high school. I loved homeschooling in elementary through middle school. I felt like I was giving my kids such a gift--teaching done at their level, creativity, lots of free time left over to figure out what to do with themselves--time they used to play outside, play dress-up, create stories with Playmobiles, etc. I loved being able to intermingle teachings of our Christian faith with school subjects. I liked the closeness of family.



Our family has never been of the mind that homeschooling is the one and only best way for our kids to get an education and be raised with certain values. For us, we have been quite sure that it was best for us and our children through middle school. As a Christian family ,it was important to us that our kids be taught to think and evaluate and understand worldviews before we sent them off into a secular education environment, but we've always been open to the idea of public high school. Our kids have been told that once they are in high school, it's their choice as to whether or not they homeschool.


The two of high school age have chosen to homeschool. And I feel a lot of pressure/anxiety that I didn't feel in their younger years. In their younger years, I felt I was giving them all that we wanted in a broader sense PLUS a superior education. Neither of my kids wants to get into an Ivy League School, but one wants to get into a competitive university. I feel pressure about all kinds of things: their standardized test scores (very good, but not knocking it out of the park), their course selection, how I grade, etc. I feel anxiety about one son who I feel doesn't get out much with friends. (His dad was kind of self-contained at that age, but I'm not sure if this ds is like his dad or just a little shy. He's around other kids, but doesn't do much that's purely social. ) Am I doing enough to build up the rest of the "resume"? <shallow breathing starts>


With homeschooling in high school, I take the "general contractor" approach, and try to find good outside classes for my high school students: local co-op type offerings, cc, and online. I still feel the pressure, though. My ds's rely on my "guidance counseling" to a large degree.


Do you feel these kinds of pressures? Did they increase with high school? How do you deal with them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel your anxiety at times too, but I wouldn't trade these high school yrs for anything! I'm reading a great book that says that our goal as parents is to find our child's strengths, develop them and then also to discipline out the bad. The high school yrs are great for developing their talents.


You mentioned outsourcing classes and for us this has been great. It reduces my stress to have to teach everything and the kids get teachers (so far at least) who are passionate about their subject. I try to really teach a couple subjects well too. This keeps me involved and produces great discussions.


I have a quiet, introverted dd too, so I know your worry about socialization, but I really think we must accept them for who they are. I do encourage my dd to do things socially and I try to engage her regularly at home. That seems to be enough.


High school does take more time, so there is less free time, more work and less creativity (at least for us), but I look at my role as teaching them to manage a larger load while they're at home so they can handle college better. My dd has enjoyed the academic challenge as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I feel pressure about all kinds of things: their standardized test scores (very good, but not knocking it out of the park), their course selection, how I grade, etc. I feel anxiety about one son who I feel doesn't get out much with friends. (His dad was kind of self-contained at that age, but I'm not sure if this ds is like his dad or just a little shy. He's around other kids, but doesn't do much that's purely social. ) Am I doing enough to build up the rest of the "resume"? <shallow breathing starts>


With homeschooling in high school, I take the "general contractor" approach, and try to find good outside classes for my high school students: local co-op type offerings, cc, and online. I still feel the pressure, though. My ds's rely on my "guidance counseling" to a large degree.


Do you feel these kinds of pressures? Did they increase with high school? How do you deal with them?


I felt a lot more pressure with my oldest. I kept asking if she would be able to handle college, whether I taught enough of the right things, and if she would be able to handle the switch from homeschool to life. She hated college her first year--had troubles finding anyone conservative who didn't entertain herself by drinking and gross movies. This year she is in a different college (let go of her 4-year scholarship at the other school) and it is a much better fit for her. She still has a 4.0. I think I taught her well enough, don't you? Funny, I'm not nearly as uptight this year with my 2nd child graduating! And I have a whole stack of books on the shelves waiting for my last child to make his way through the next 3 years. The stress level has gone done A WHOLE LOT here.


So look at the required classes for the school she wants to attend. Check out what the department of study she wants to pursue (if she knows) and see what they would like to see on a transcript. Make sure your dd has a few experiences to write about on the entrance essays (4-H, work, CAP, trips, volunteer work...just something! It is best if she has been involved in something for more than just short-term stints, I think.). Fill these in during her 4 years of high school as best you can...and then go back to enjoying life with her. It goes by so quickly.






I forgot to add that one of the best things we ever did was to allow the kids to send an invitation out to all the homeschooled teens, inviting them to come for a Teen Night. They play games, chat, have a snack and enjoy being with other kids. Now other families are doing the same thing, and every few weeks they are able to spend time with friends. Civil Air Patrol and other activities (cross-country, homeschool play) have also helped give them friends--and they can keep up with each other on facebook.

Edited by Jean in Wisc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Right there with you! You will feel better after you graduate one and have been through all of the grades. You do need help of some kind. In South Carolina, you homeschool under an umbrella association. And you pick it, the lady who runs mine has been invaluable. I'm not talking about homeschooling where they tell you what to do and when and grade, but one that guides but lets you make the final decisions. She knows what is honors, what is not, what is same level as what the kids are doing in high school, did my transcripts, gave input on how to grade, gave names to our electives and input on what was a credit, etc. I have seen just as great help and input on this forum, so if you state is set up different, run things by people here! Also a fellow homeschooler in your area that has been through high school already could encourage and guide you.


I see myself as "administrator" in high school. I get traditional texts in subjects I don't know a lot about with enough help either by email and/or dvd support. My job is to get what my daughter needs and equip her. For me and my schedule, everything needs to run itself, things that require a lot of my time tend to end up on the shelf (but others are not like me). You need to be realistic on how much time you can devote, don't say I can do this myself so I won't get this particular item that does it for me, you don't want to be spending every waking minute doing school things (but I admit, that is what it seems....). I have graduated one, and he is nice to give me input on what I can do to better prepare my daughter. The things that were a big adjustment for him were he didn't know how to do schoolwork with others, didn't know how to interact with the teacher ex. challenging grades, clarifying assignments, getting help, and had quite a difficult time with inflexible deadlines. He did well, and for my daughter, I think a few dual enrollment classes at the college will address all of these.


Both of my kids are slower paced, and tend to stay to themselves. A larger church with a great youth group helped them a lot. Last year, my daughter took a cake decorating class at Michael's. I cringed at how she would get her school done, prepare the cake and all of the frostings, and still get her school finished.... but she surprised me, and juggled it all. I made sure I didn't change her deadlines, and told her she needed to be at a certain point by a certain date, and she worked at night, and some on the weekends to keep her school up.


As for the pressure, yeah, its there. But it keeps me straight. It goes hand in hand with parenting teens, which is pressure anyway, don't know if it would lessen with sending them to school, I think that would cause more pressure!


My son had no trouble whatsoever getting accepted to the four year college locally, they even gave him a scholarship this past year! It is secular, but conservative, so it is working for him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a lot of responsibility, and it is all yours and your husbands. But really, isn't it even if you send your child to school? There are more people to help, but it is still your responisibility to make sure your child is educated in such a way that they will be good adults.


There are four things that help me the most. One is knowing that our community college is there to help. That took a lot of the pressure off. The second is that I have discovered that it is entirely normal for me to swing back and forth between panic and despair, and confidence and relief. Now I know that I just have to wait a few days or weeks, and I will once again feel good about our decision to homeschool. The third is reminding myself that we are not homeschooling for academic excellence. In the case of one of my sons, we're homeschooling because school wouldn't work for him. In the case of the other (youngest coming along), school would work fine and perhaps be a better choice academically, but there are other solid reasons not to send him, not the least of which is that we sent our oldest and it was a mistake. Gymnastics, peacewalking, more free time, time spent with my father, family closeness, family flexibility, removal of preer pressure, not having to put up with other children during their stupider stages, ... the list goes on and on and very much outweighs the academic advantages of our local (and excellent) public school. The fourth is sort of the same as the third, but I want to list it separately. I can offer something that the school can't. I can make sure that despite the hard work of high school, some of the nice things of kindergarten remain. We can keep drawing and storytelling and singing. We can go on more field trips (some of them pretty spectacular GRIN). We can homeschool with the dog on our feet and the cat in our lap. We can be outside with our feet in the lake while we homeschool. We can go sailing and take our schoolwork on the boat. I can scew the emphasis of a subject like biology to fit our lifestyle (which I am dead positive my children will continue), turning it into natural history. I can see that my son is struggling to understand trig using his calculator and take fifteen minutes of conversation to straighten out the misunderstanding and then spend two more hours having him use engineering trig tables to solve the problems; he doesn't have to catch the information as it flies by him and then after 40 minutes, forget about it and think about something else. By now (third child entering high school), I am scared, very scared, because this one would benefit from a good school, but I also recognize that what I have to offer, different and inferior academically as it may be, is superior for building a good, undamaged, strong adult.


So my advice? Make a list of why you are homeschooling. Or if your children chose to do this, have them make the list. Don't forget that when children make lists, they often pick small concrete things to list that represent generalities. For example, my son if you asked him might say he wants to homeschool so he can sit on the floor with the dog, but what he really means is that home is much nicer than school and he would rather stay with his family. Then, during your panic times, look at your list and think of how far your children have come and possibly list out what you've done so far this year, making a mini progress report.


Remember, too, that being scared is good. It is a sign that you are taking your children seriously and that you value them.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh honey, I hear you.


With a rising senior, I feel the pressure of wearing the counselor hat with all of the other required in a homeschool situation. As a tough self critic, I have had many middle of the night worry sessions, followed by jubulation that things are really turning out right. (Echos of Nan...)


One thing that I have come to realize is that homeschooling has allowed us to produce a healthy and contented teen. My son was born wiggling. He went from zip crawling to running as a toddler and evolved into one of those kids who paces. Montessori was a great elementary option for him, not only because of how he clicked with the methodology, but because Montessori allowed him to move throughout the classroom and not be confined to a desk. I do not know what would have happened to my son if he had been glued to a chair.


So when we began homeschooling, long hikes were a natural. He had time for power skating lessons and hockey games and free skates. Time to burn all of the energy which he brings to each day. My son does not suffer from ADD or ADHD. Between the hiking, biking and skating, he can sit for an hour or more to read in complete concentration. But he is not happy if he is not moving. He takes long walks or bike rides almost daily. He is literally miserable when the weather stinks and he is confined to the indoors. (Yesterday he walked in the rain--not unusual for him.)


We could talk about educational opportunities we pursued at home, things that were not offered at the local high school. We could talk about travels or time made to take advantage of interesting lectures or films at the nearby university. Homeschooling can be so rich and fulfilling. Yet, as I think about things as we enter the last year of homeschooling, allowing my son to be himself--a pacer, a mover, an active kid--is probably the best thing that we have done for his future health and well being.


Laurie, here is a deal: you can cry on my shoulder if I can cry on yours!




Link to comment
Share on other sites

With homeschooling in high Do you feel these kinds of pressures? Did they increase with high school? How do you deal with them?


Oh yeah; absolutely; sometimes well, sometimes not so well. :tongue_smilie:


I've read through the replies and you are aready getting some great advice. I do think it's harder from our vantage, Laurie, where we haven't yet graduated one. Kinda like the newbies who wonder whether they'll be able to home educate a 2nd grader and Ker. ;) Pshaw. That's nothing to us now that we've done it! Hopefully, graduating our first will take some of the mystery out of whether the course we're following actually works.


A couple of things help me manage my times of stress (it comes in waves as Nan said). First, I'm trying really, really hard not to own my dc's lives. I have the responsibility of researching, guiding, directing, modeling, teaching -- but they have the responsibility of working hard, managing their time and working for excellence. I can try to point them and prepare them for their goals; they have to strive to reach them. Sometimes my stress is caused by the tension between those two.


Second, talking to IRL friends is very helpful. This board is great, but it's double-edged. On the one hand, I learn a lot from the board. On the other hand, I learn a lot from the board. To some extent, it's good for me to keep the blinders on so that I can focus on our goals and my dc. No offense, boardies! It's just that your dc are so talented that it can cause me to cast about, rather than focus on our path.


Finally, it helps me to depend on the Lord. I have no doubt we were following the Lord as we began to homeschool. So I look to Him for provision. Even where we've made mistakes in curriculum or classes or not supervising my high schoolers sufficiently, I try to remind myself it's another provision for character training. I already know some things I'd do differently with my oldest. In light of my imperfection, I have to trust in the Lord's sovereignty.


Lisa, who will be testing these words with her first upcoming senior.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am seeking input on how you deal with any feelings of pressure or anxiety related to homeschooling in high school.

Do you feel these kinds of pressures? Did they increase with high school? How do you deal with them?


I absolutely felt (and feel) the pressures you describe. How do I deal with the pressure -- pray and come visit this board, usually. Here, I know that I am not walking this path alone.


I graduated my oldest last week, and it's bittersweet in a lot of ways. The time went by so quickly, but I'm so glad he spent high school at home. He's also one that was somewhat frustrated with a lack of social time while he was in high school, but I made sure he got out and did things with other kids (youth group & scouts). He also got to spend a lot of time with his grandfather.


This past year was very stressful, mostly because I was worried about him getting into college. I guess I was putting more pressure on myself because it was time to see if "my grand experiment called homeschooling" would pay off. The more I think about it, though, the senior year and college application time is stressful for all parents, even those whose dc are in a school. Yes, we as homeschoolers have more responsibility for the college application process, but we have much more freedom, too. We can choose which standardized tests they take (if any), which people to request letters of recommendation from, and which electives they take. I really feel that my son's applications were well received because his education is different enough that he stands out.


I think I felt the most relief when he got those acceptances and enough financial aid to be able to attend a school that is a good match for him. The counselor hat is a tough one to wear, but even without any experience, I was able to learn enough from the folks here and at college confidential to do a decent job with my son's application. I went to the college junior night at the local ps, and I realized that the kids there really don't get much one-on-one help. They can't; there are too many kids per counselor. So I bet that you'll do OK even though you might lack guidance counselor experience.


I'll second Nan's vote of confidence about cc classes. My son had a great experience there, and he really enjoyed the freedom of driving himself there and scheduling his own work.


It sounds like you're doing a fine job thus far. Hold on tight; the ride will be over before you know it!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stressful? Oh yes. Sometimes I think homeschooling high school is like smacking your head REPEATEDLY into a brick wall......


I could make a list of all the mistakes I've made. It would be rather long.


BUT --


1) When my oldest was in 9th grade I was almost hysterical due to self-imposed pressure. My husband talked and prayed for a long time and realized that we were homeschooling because it was the right thing for us as a family and for our kids. We were NOT homeschooling so that they could get in to the "right" college; we were homeschooling them to strengthen our family relationships and my kids' faith, to allow them to be people who had all kinds of interests rather than kids who sat in a school all day, and to give them a great education.


If OUR version of a great education meant that they ended up at Podunk U, so be it. We were going to homeschool to the best of our ability and we would let the chips fall where they may. (That's up to God!)


2) If you persevere, you will end up having those inspiring stories that people post sometimes on these boards. My daughter really has thanked me for homeschooling her. My kids really did get into college.


BTW, when my dd's first college acceptance arrived in the mail, I just sobbed. The idea that my pathetic inadequate (because I know all the things that went wrong!) version of an education could help a student to get into college was truly a miracle to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

I too will read the resposes! Yes, I get stressed. Middle of the night worry - yes. Worth it - I think so! Hard - yes. This is why I like this board - I realize I'm not alone. About pressure and getting into a competitive university - you would feel that if you weren't homeschooling. My kids would probably not do as well academically if they went to ps and I think the SAT scores would be lower too. So, if ds (17)went to public school my anxiety may be worse as far as getting him into a college. To ease stress - you are not alone, think about the good times with teens (you wouldn't have as many if they went to school).


No more advice really, just that you are not alone, don't let feelings of stress change your mind - homeschooling is worth it and is better then ps education. Think of your kids in a roomful of other teens listening to a poor lecture then comming home to innane homework. And then think of the day they have at home!


Gee, I think I just helped my own stress!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh yeah!!!! I feel a ton of pressure. Especially now with a senior that is too sick to do much of anything.


I'm learning to relax a bit. In the whole of life it is not going to matter if the first step to higher education is a gap year, or a year at CC, or not going to college at all. :001_huh:


I have taught her how to think for herself, how to research and learn on her own, and how to dream, make goals, and work. Also she is learning that life happens and goals sometimes need to be re-made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the stress boat. Some mornings I wake up well before my alarm with the awareness of where I'm "failing" in homeschooling so present in my mind it's as if someone just shouted it at me, and there is no going back to sleep after that. I can go over what's going well, what's going great, what we're doing to work on problem areas (math for one, reading for another) but it doesn't matter, the heart rate is up and my brain won't stop thinking, and there's no going back to sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the most part, I would say that I am a relaxed parent. However, this graduating/ going to college thing has me wound up and anxious. There is this overwhelming feeling that these are the last and most important decisions in my child's life for which I will contribute a deciding or major vote. I don't want to vote wrong!


I try to be informed and give appropriate guidance, but there is a ton of information and what if I miss something. It makes my chest feel heavy if I ponder it for too long.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...