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This is a spinoff of the thread "Is Homeschooling Hard?" How do you answer that? http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/624728-is-homeschooling-hard-how-do-you-answer-that/

 

It reminded me abut another issue I've been thinking about and I'd live other perspectives on it:

 
In general, would you say newbie homeschoolers are being given an appropriate amount of information about the challenges of homeschooling in individual conversations with homeschoolers, books, blogs, websites, at conventions and support groups?

 

What do you think is appropriate to tell someone new to homeschooling or considering homeschooling about the challenges?

Veterans, (define veteran however you like) do you think this has changed over time? How so?

Newbies, (define newbie however you like) was there anything you weren't told up front that you think you should've been told? Was there anything you were told that you think shouldn't have been said?

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I remember when I was pondering homeschooling that I was only thinking about the challenges. I needed to hear encouragement, and am eternally grateful to the woman who pushed me off the fence by her insistence that I could do it.

 

I am glad they did not enumerate all the challenges I would be facing; I am glad they talked me down :)

 

I'd be happy to answer specific questions from newbies and explain challenges when they bring them up. But i see no need to offer unsolicited litanies of difficulties.

 

 

 

In general, would you say newbie homeschoolers are being given an appropriate amount of information about the challenges of homeschooling in individual conversations with homeschoolers, books, blogs, websites, at conventions and support groups?

 

That would depend entirely on the individual source.

Clearly, a lot of information about challenges is available for those interested - just perusing these boards for a while should make that abundantly clear.

I have never attended a convention and cannot comment on that. 

Edited by regentrude
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Well this is really kind of complicated because I think different people have different thresholds for challenge.  What one person finds challenging another person might not.  It's kinda like telling someone what it is like to have kids.  Some parents are more natural and easy going than others.  Some kids are more easy going than others. 

 

I think if there is anything I'm irritated by in terms of the advice I encounter most is this idea that academics aren't a real requirement to homeschool.  People say things like, "oh you don't need books".  Or "just grab stuff from the library".  I know what they probably mean.  You don't need public school textbooks or a packaged curriculum.  You could look into what your library has to offer.  But it's a major oversimplification that comes out sounding like one doesn't need to do anything at all.

This board overall is quite different than what I encounter locally. 

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People ask me after they hear all the encouraging stuff about homeschooling. Basically they want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly. Most people don't want to be naysayers so the good and neutral gets said and people are left wondering about the cons. Even the SAHMs who ask about homeschooling asked about the possibility of continuing freelancing to top up their family's emergency/retirement/college fund. Many who asked me have accelerated kids in schools with no gifted program so my sample size is also skewed.

 

If someone is new to homeschooling, telling them the days would get better won't be a lie. If someone is considering homeschooling maybe make a pros and cons chart for their family together if they want you to.

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I agree with Sparkly. It's hard to know what's hard for somebody else, whether in regard to homeschooling, parenting, a career, etc. I think it might be more useful to point newbies to state requirements and what your day/week looks like than to describe it as hard or easy--especially since families differ so much.

I don't find homeschooling hard, but I'm not trying to keep toddler twins out of the science kit and a baby from fussing during the read-aloud, taking someone to twice-weekly doctor visits and someone else to 4x/week sports practices, and keeping the house immaculate for showings while owning dogs in mud season, or any number of things that other people might need to juggle. Homeschooling affects the whole household, and the whole household affects homeschooling. That's in addition to issues of temperament, talents, resources and experience.

Edited by whitehawk
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I feel like most of the conversation I hear with newbies is pretty honest about the academic challenges overall. And the organizational ones and so forth. I hear a lot of good encouragement, but also a lot of, well, I'm struggling with this sort of confessions, but in a good way - couched amid, "but it's worth it" language.

 

On the other hand, I've rarely heard anyone be honest about the social challenges with newbies. I think it's because we're all so sensitive about the "what about socialization!?" arguments that we just overcompensate. I don't mean to imply that this is a challenge for everyone or that homeschooled kids can't have active (or, as I'll attest some years, way overactive) social lives with plenty of good social skills. But for some people, it's a huge challenge. I've seen introverted parents struggle to break in. I've heard some sad tales online about secular or Catholic or Jewish homeschoolers closed out of groups, unable to make friends. If you're in a really rural area it can be harder. I feel like kids who don't get enough social time is a leading reason that homeschooled kids ask to go to school. So it's not always easy sailing for people to find a good niche. And it takes more work on the part of parents. Especially for early elementary age kids, getting kid friends means putting yourself out there as a parent. It's a LOT more work than a ready made variety of kids at school. So that's one way that I think we're not always honest about the challenges.

 

But, as others are saying, the challenges can be hard to predict - what's hard for one family is easy for another. So there's that.

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I personally felt pretty prepared for the academic aspect. I tend to be a reader and an information seeker. I followed the boards for a couple years before we started. I talked to all the homeschoolers I knew and investigated potential opportunities. I was concerned about the actual day to day part of schooling, but found my groove once we began.

 

Even though I was used to staying home with my kids I don't think I was prepared for what that would look like once my kids were beyond preschool aged. Scheduling a dentist appointment while my husband is out of town and finding someone to watch three kids is more difficult with an 8, 6, and 4 year old. While it wasn't exactly easy when my kids were younger, there were always people available. As my kids have grown, my mom friends have mostly returned to work. There is never alone time unless I carve that time out myself. I wasn't prepared for that.

 

My friend who is a sort of reluctant homeschooler who is also not a reader or an investigator has struggled much, much more. Her oldest is the same age as mine and she is just now finding her groove. I'm not sure anything anyone told her before she started would have helped prepare her more though.

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Telling someone the joys and challenges of homeschooling is like trying to tell a woman pre-baby what it's like to be a parent. There are thousands of variables and the experiences among people are endlessly different.

 

If someone really wanted to know about homeschooling, I would need a decent chunk of time to talk to them, and I'd have to try to feel out what sort of person they are, what sort of kids they have, and what sort of philosophy they have. And they might not even know their philosophy. Based on what sort of people they are (introvert/extrovert, diy vs pre-done, etc.), my statements about the challenges of homeschool would be different.

 

I've never really had the chance to sit and talk with someone about it for enough time to really delve into what sorts of people they are to try to figure out what might be meaningful to them.

 

For instance, I have a friend who is super-extroverted. She likes being alone for maybe 20 minutes at a time. After that, she seeks out someone to be around. It is not a challenge to her to be around her kids all day long, every day. She enjoys the company. But for someone who is introverted, this would be a challenge. She'd need to plan some down/alone time into her day.

 

I think the next time someone asks me about homeschooling, I'm going to tell them that it's like a soon-to-be parent asking, "So what's it like having a baby?" Very difficult to answer. I'll tell them that I'd be happy to discuss it, but it's not something I can answer in less than an hour.

Edited by Garga
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I feel like most of the conversation I hear with newbies is pretty honest about the academic challenges overall. And the organizational ones and so forth. I hear a lot of good encouragement, but also a lot of, well, I'm struggling with this sort of confessions, but in a good way - couched amid, "but it's worth it" language.

 

On the other hand, I've rarely heard anyone be honest about the social challenges with newbies. I think it's because we're all so sensitive about the "what about socialization!?" arguments that we just overcompensate. I don't mean to imply that this is a challenge for everyone or that homeschooled kids can't have active (or, as I'll attest some years, way overactive) social lives with plenty of good social skills. But for some people, it's a huge challenge. I've seen introverted parents struggle to break in. I've heard some sad tales online about secular or Catholic or Jewish homeschoolers closed out of groups, unable to make friends. If you're in a really rural area it can be harder. I feel like kids who don't get enough social time is a leading reason that homeschooled kids ask to go to school. So it's not always easy sailing for people to find a good niche. And it takes more work on the part of parents. Especially for early elementary age kids, getting kid friends means putting yourself out there as a parent. It's a LOT more work than a ready made variety of kids at school. So that's one way that I think we're not always honest about the challenges.

 

But, as others are saying, the challenges can be hard to predict - what's hard for one family is easy for another. So there's that.

 

Agree so much about the social challenges. My kids are going to public school mostly because they are bored and lonely at home. They are desperate for friends and we've done everything we could to help them make friends. We joined co-ops that ended up being so cliquish, we made not a single friend. There was one mom whose daughter was supposedly friends with my daughter, and who was sad to see us go (sad because I'm a good teacher, not because I'm a friend) and she said, "Now I can't call you up in the middle of the day and invite you and your daughter over!" I literally didn't know what to say. Three years in that co-op and that had never happened once. What a difference that would have made to my daughter!

 

Not only do homeschoolers dismiss how difficult meeting social needs can be, they are often very unwelcoming to fellow homeschoolers, thereby making it difficult for those homeschoolers to meet their kids' social needs.

 

As for the original question, I don't think it's helpful to go on and on about how difficult homeschooling is, but I hate when I see homeschoolers talking up how easy it is. There's a big difference between saying, "Any homeschooling is better than public school," or, "They basically teach themselves by sixth grade," and saying something like, "Yes, it's a huge challenge, but there are so many resources available these days. You take it a day at a time and you will be amazed at what you get done in the end!" (I've heard people say the first two things.)

Edited by Mimm
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Homeschooling is both hard and easy for me. I put a ton of work into it and it's definitely more than a full time job. My kids have great attitudes and make really nice progress, so I feel like we are on a good path. It is hard work, but rewarding and it WORKS, you know?

 

I know other people who say homeschooling is easy, and usually they are taking a minimalist approach. Check the boxes and move on, without trying to excel.

 

So for me to tell someone how hard homeschooling can be is to presume that they will put a ton of effort into it and overcome challenges. Some people won't have the time or interest to do much. Some people don't need to do much because their kids are just easy to teach and whatever they use works well. Some people like me deal with challenges but enjoy overcoming them. Others avoid challenges.

 

There are too many variables. Personally I think that if homeschooling isn't challenging you, then maybe you aren't doing enough. If school is too easy for the kids, increase the challenge. If it is too hands-off, maybe you need to be more involved. But I wouldn't dare to tell someone they are doing it wrong. I really only know what works for my family.

Edited by ondreeuh
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I can't tell someone what it's like to be so exhausted after having a new baby, how can I impress upon them the challenges of hs'ing?

 

Every situation is different, and everyone is going to find different things challenging.  More than that, it's impossible to tell newbies lessons learned from experience.  They have to make their own way. They come in thinking they know how to do it, that you were just a rube, and that your bits of knowledge don't apply because they've researched more/better than you did when you started.

 

 

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This is a great thread, and I thank you all for your honesty. We are doing okay socially, but we've lived here for over a decade, and I've made a concerted effort since my oldest (now 10 yo) was born to make and keep friends. I'm an introvert and many many times I've called folks or gone to a moms group because it's best for the children, even if I would rather be reading a book or working in the garden.

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On 9/21/2016 at 1:35 PM, regentrude said:

I remember when I was pondering homeschooling that I was only thinking about the challenges. I needed to hear encouragement, and am eternally grateful to the woman who pushed me off the fence by her insistence that I could do it.

 

I am glad they did not enumerate all the challenges I would be facing; I am glad they talked me down 🙂

 

I'd be happy to answer specific questions from newbies and explain challenges when they bring them up. But i see no need to offer unsolicited litanies of difficulties.

 

 

This a million times over. When we started homeschooling, Dh and I had only one supporter. One. Everyone else was not just opposed to it, they were vocally, vehemently opposed. I had more than enough of the potential pitfalls being thrown in my face daily. I needed encouragement and a source for practical solutions. Because after all, all challenges do indeed have a solution if you're willing to look and be open.

 

That's why these boards were a godsend when I found them. I could look up or post my challenges one at a time and have them addressed. It made it manageable. It made it doable, and to be honest overcoming challenges has been a confidence builder. It makes the next one less scary because the homeschool sky is not falling. For that reason I try to be encouraging to new people, and although I will honestly answer questions about my challenges if asked, I don't bring them up unsolicited because the odds of my challenges being the same as the next persons are extremely slim.

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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I think that there are taboo challenges that never get mentioned. One of them is that there can be significant difficulties with socializing ( as opposed to socialization) depending on your circumstances. The other is that we never talk to newbies about the financial challenges they may encounter, again, depending on their circumstances.

 

Otoh, if anyone had talked to me about those things, as a newbie, it wouldn't have made any difference to my choices. The first, because I'd have thought 'oh, it's OK, they have siblings! and me!' and the second, because I was an idiot who had no ability to see into the financial future. 

 

So - I think it's OK with newbies to be led by what they want to know, to share our experiences as individual, not universal, and to be supportive of each other's choices. 

 

Otoh, sometimes hearing from a more experienced homeschooler does provide a reality check. Like when the FIAR guy told us all that it was important to plan for our post-homeschool futures, and that we deserved to do so, and that we should do it when our children were still at home, being homeschooled. 

 

My dream is to run a homeschool co-operative providing mutual child care and involvement in education activities that mothers and fathers can avail themselves of in order to study, work, start a business, whatever, for a day or so a week. So that we, as a community, support each other in keeping our career and financial choices alive. 

 

Oh this is so true about finances and planning for our post-homeschool futures. I feel like I'm only now starting to feel the reality of both of those things.

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I concur with the social challenges for kids and would add one more: no one warned me how hard *my* social life would become. I was not a SAHP; I quit work to homeschool. My social life has always included lots of casual friendships with co-workers and that all disappeared. It's a lot harder to find and maintain a social circle for myself and that's definitely had a major impact on me.

Edited by Jackie
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I graduate my younger one this year and will be "done" in June 2017. Overall homeschooling hasn't been hugely difficult, it's been managing it amid the rest of life that's been hard. Encountering so many problems that could have derailed us was not something I ever heard about or considered. We've never consistently had the "happy homeschooling family" experience that I thought we would. All along I've had to configure things primarily for efficiency.

 

It's a crazy, crazy story, but basically it's been nearly 15 years of DH's constant hospitalizations and eldercare issues on both sides of the family. He's had two surgeries so far this year, one next week, and probably two more by the end of the year or in early 2017. Because of the medical bills, I have had to work all along and am now full-time. In January I'll be the family breadwinner. So my transition to being a retired homeschooler is already set.

 

If someone had told me early on about all of the things outside of homeschooling that we'd go through, I'd probably run away and join the circus!

 

In a way, I think it's best to generalize with newbies though. Everyone's experience is a little different. Some have the "happy homeschooling family" experience, and some do not. When I talk to newbies, I tell them that they have to be very flexible because it may not work out like they think.

 

When my older one was preparing to graduate, I told him that he had to "walk" with a local group where they have a reception afterwards to celebrate. Getting a kid from preschool through 12th grade amid all we've dealt with is a huge family accomplishment. We had to do something to mark it. My younger one will do the same in June.

 

I'm another that has found the social isolation for myself difficult at times. Homeschooling and working from home is very lonely. This school year I'm taking classes at the gym and joined a local Bible study group. I really don't have time for these, but I'm already feeling more balanced and happy. 

 

Edited by G5052
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The situations vary too much with families and kids to say that my challenges would be yours or vice versa. Most people don't live a cakewalk no matter how they school and the naïveté to think it will be like a Sonlight catalog is youth and cures with time.

 

I personally think it would overburden them to compel them to worry about all that COULD happen. Let them be happy.

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Yes, I think people's challenges will be different.  

 

I wish I hadn't read a million times (here and elsewhere) that the anti-homeschooler response of "how will they socialize" was BS.  It is not, for us, BS.  It is very real and a serious struggle.

 

But if we had a community, or were church-going, or part of a co-op, or something, it would probably be a lot easier - and most homeschoolers go to church, so I think our situation is just not much like the average situation.

 

 

 

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My experience has been that people are often misinformed, not in respect of how hard it will be, but in respect of what aspects will be challenging. The issues that people expect to find difficult turn out to be non-issues, but it's likely that other, unexpected, difficulties will arise.

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My experience has been that people are often misinformed, not in respect of how hard it will be, but in respect of what aspects will be challenging. The issues that people expect to find difficult turn out to be non-issues, but it's likely that other, unexpected, difficulties will arise.

 

I agree.

 

Our difficulties came in the form of problems outside of homeschooling that have interfered with homeschooling. It's been hard to keep the momentum going through every stage. 

 

Thankfully no learning challenges here. I know plenty of people who have struggled with that though including several who ended up putting their DC in public school because it was so hard to get their children to the right resources for help without running themselves ragged.

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Tbh, I think it's like talking to a first-time pregnant mom about what life is going to be like after the baby arrives. Full disclosure isn't necessarily the kindest approach and everyone is so different, that no two parents are going to have the same experience.

 

If anyone asks me specifically for details about the difficulties I've experienced in home schooling, then, yes, I will give them the (abbreviated) truth. But I'll also tell them how we worked to resolve those difficulties and the positives that came out of the experience.

 

I would never portray homeschooling as all perfect, unless, of course, I'm trying to convince someone who is critical of homeschooling in general. (In that case, I'll paint the most positive picture I can!) I'm happy to admit to newbies that it's been a rollercoaster journey for our family, but I'll also say that I have no regrets about choosing the path we have.

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Yes, I think people's challenges will be different.

 

I wish I hadn't read a million times (here and elsewhere) that the anti-homeschooler response of "how will they socialize" was BS. It is not, for us, BS. It is very real and a serious struggle.

 

But if we had a community, or were church-going, or part of a co-op, or something, it would probably be a lot easier - and most homeschoolers go to church, so I think our situation is just not much like the average situation.

This is highly individual - I always tell people it's nonsense for us because it is. Socialization is so silly - my kids have friends and so do I, that's never been a struggle for any of us. That doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat, but others aren't lying or being dishonest by representing their situation that way, either.

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I concur with the social challenges for kids and would add one more: no one warned me how hard *my* social life would become. I was not a SAHP; I quit work to homeschool. My social life has always included lots of casual friendships with co-workers and that all disappeared. It's a lot harder to find and maintain a social circle for myself and that's definitely had a major impact on me.

I think the decline of my social life was one of the hardest thing to come to terms with and one I regret not working harder at. I frequently tell newbies that it's ok to sign up to activities because *they* need company, not just because they think they should socialise their kid. Parenting can be a lonely business and homeschooling can amplify that feeling of isolation. :)

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I also find the OP a difficult question to answer because in my opinion, homeschooling really isn't hard. It has ups and down and all sorts of logistical challenges. It takes hours every day. I keep adding more students and am trying to not shortchange anyone. But that's not really difficult, it's just time consuming.

 

How to explain to someone that the difficult parts are more parenting related is tricky. It's the my-kid-is-in-THIS-stage issue, which comes out a bit in schooling. Not the schooling, but where life is at the moment. It's the budget. The house. The marriage. The sleeping! Homeschooling itself is the fun part of the hard, dealing with sibling squabbles and never ending laundry is the challenge for me. Balance. And communicating that accurately to someone else is doubly difficult, because their struggles likely won't look like mine.

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Yes a million times to the loss of friends for moms.  

 

I just stopped homeschooling and it's been such a relief to rekindle old friendships.  We made great friends homeschooling, but the amount of effort it took to maintain those was burdensome.  People live far away sometimes, you have to drag the whole crew out to drop one kid off at a friend's house, etc.  It's hard!

 

Nearly every social interaction I had included my kids.  I was not always able to really talk to people and be open about life with my 9yo daughter listening in the whole time.  

 

I agree that this socialization stuff is not BS.  It's real.  There are some weird homeschoolers out there.  And totally cool ones too.  

 

Other challenges that are not spoken of is how difficult it is to do things like go to the dentist, get a haircut, get flu shots, go to the doctor, run random errands.  When you have more than a kid or two, it's a TON of work to do them.  Dragging 4 kids to the dentist for one child to get a filling is maddening!  Need some q-tips but you're out?  Forget it!  It's just too much work!

 

And homeschooling with a toddler?  Maddening!

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I am asked about homeschooling frequently from people who are interested but not sure and from people who are making the leap  I tell them about the challenges I had that I did not anticipate.  It may or may not be a challenge that they encounter on their journey, but at least, they know it's a possibility.  Here are some challenges that I recently shared with someone about to pull their child from public school.

 

1.  Homeschooling will consume your life.  It's not a do school for a few hours and be done deal.  It's a lifestyle really.

2.  Find people who share the life style or you will go insane, quickly.  We lost all our public school friends fast because they're schedules were too full, too fast paced, and too inflexible.  If we were not involved with the same activities, we didn't see them.

3.  Your grocery bill will go up, because the kids are home everyday and the. food. is. right. there.  They cannot withstand the temptation.  My grocery shopping has drastically changed in frequency and what I buy to combat this.

4.  My house is less clean and less organized.  I thought before homeschooling that I would have MORE time to do household chores and projects when we started, but the reality is I have much less time.

5.  Do your research to find a starting point, but be prepared for things to change because they will... repeatedly.

6.  Make your budget bigger.  I know all the blogs say you can do it for free or you can do it really cheap.  The reality is the cheaper it is the more time you will spend organizing, supplementing, and tweaking it.  Also, you will find there are just some things you have no business teaching.  If I truly want my kids to learn art, music, and a foreign language then I am going to have to pay someone else to teach it.  I know enough Spanish to order a beer and ask where the bathroom is; I can draw a stick figure, and I played the clarinet 25 years ago (it's not like a riding a bike).  Everyone has their own Achilles heel; these are just mine.

 

 

I, also, shared what we have used, what worked, what didn't, and why, activities we have tried, who has the best homeschool days, etc... If someone is going to take the time to ask, I take the time to answer fully.  I don't sugar coat things.  I answer questions to the best of my ability.  If I can't answer, I refer them to a resource or a person that may be able to.  I am a huge advocate of homeschooling, and I love that people are curious and/or considering it for their family.  I don't want them to get bad information.  There are so many stereotypes and myths out there already.  Most people I meet think we sit in front of a computer all day, have to submit our work to the state, and have no social outlets.  When they find out what we really do, they all want to be homeschooled even the parents. lol 

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I think that homeschoolers in general can both focus too much on the challenges and make sound too easy. It seemed to me when we were starting out that there were people who were of the "Homeschooling is great! It's all perfect! You can do it! There are no problems! No matter what you do it's better than public school so just go for it!" variety and then there were people were  "It's the hardest job in the world but worth it. Homeschooling Moms work so hard and it's tough for xyz reasons." variety. 

 

It's kind of like marriage or parenting. It seems like people are either afraid to discourage your or think it's really important that you know it can be hard...to the point of making it seem awful. 

 

In reality, I think it is sometimes hard but most of the time it's fun for us. There are bad days and good days. There are things that are easier than public school and that we do better and things that I think we do worse and that are harder. It's part of life and so reflective of the rest of our life...there is good and bad, there are hard days and easy times. 

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Same here.  I never mention socialization because it was never on my radar when hs'ing and that worked fine for our family.  We just saw people when we saw them.  And that's the truth - not a lie or dishonest.

 

My DD was in public school, for 6 years. She never made a friend until that last year. She was never invited to any birthday, was actively bullied for an entire year - there was absolutely nothing positive about "socializing" in school. 

 

My DS was in public school for 5 years. He had one single friend whom he saw infrequently after school.

 

Homeschooling has improved their social situations dramatically. Being in school means you are around people all.day.long - it does not mean the interactions are enjoyable or lead to actual friendships.

Edited by regentrude
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Nearly every social interaction I had included my kids.  I was not always able to really talk to people and be open about life with my 9yo daughter listening in the whole time.  

 

I agree that this socialization stuff is not BS.  It's real.  There are some weird homeschoolers out there.  And totally cool ones too.  

 

Other challenges that are not spoken of is how difficult it is to do things like go to the dentist, get a haircut, get flu shots, go to the doctor, run random errands.  When you have more than a kid or two, it's a TON of work to do them.  Dragging 4 kids to the dentist for one child to get a filling is maddening!  Need some q-tips but you're out?  Forget it!  It's just too much work!

 

I am not sure how homeschooling makes this worse compared to sending the kids to school and working. You'd socialize with other adults in the evening after kids are in bed. Of course, sending the kids to school and being home while they are at school, free to socialize with adult friends who are also home, would be different....but that is not the reality of anybody I know.

The non homeschoolers schedule dentist appointments for the after work and school and take all their kids as well or get a sitter. or are lucky if a spouse is home early to watch the kids.

Edited by regentrude
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Yes a million times to the loss of friends for moms.  

 

I just stopped homeschooling and it's been such a relief to rekindle old friendships.  We made great friends homeschooling, but the amount of effort it took to maintain those was burdensome.  People live far away sometimes, you have to drag the whole crew out to drop one kid off at a friend's house, etc.  It's hard!

 

Nearly every social interaction I had included my kids.  I was not always able to really talk to people and be open about life with my 9yo daughter listening in the whole time.  

 

I agree that this socialization stuff is not BS.  It's real.  There are some weird homeschoolers out there.  And totally cool ones too.  

 

Other challenges that are not spoken of is how difficult it is to do things like go to the dentist, get a haircut, get flu shots, go to the doctor, run random errands.  When you have more than a kid or two, it's a TON of work to do them.  Dragging 4 kids to the dentist for one child to get a filling is maddening!  Need some q-tips but you're out?  Forget it!  It's just too much work!

 

And homeschooling with a toddler?  Maddening!

 

One thing that got me through at times was professional friends. I had a department head when mine were little who became a very good friend. Even retired and many miles away now, she keeps in touch, and I know that she cares. She got me contract funding when our family needed more income and helped me make contacts when I was trying to change to a different college that was a better fit. That sort of thing encouraged me.

 

I have only two, but scheduling appointments for me was difficult. For many years DH worked long hours far from home, and we had no relatives or friends close by. I had a hairdresser who cut hair at 8am on Saturdays. Mine usually slept in then, and DH was home if they got up early. I'd get my hair cut and then come home to make breakfast. When we had a "daytime only" dentist, I'd stagger the times so I could get the youngest settled in the chair and then get my teeth cleaned. The kids would finish first, and they'd bring them to me. I'd have a bag of toys and books for them. Later I switch to both a dentists and doctors with office hours from 7am-7pm. That way I could have an early appointment where DH could get to work just a little late, or he could come home a little early. I also hauled them to the gym with me for years. One local one had childcare, but during the day it was all preschoolers. So I joined a gym that had no childcare, but there was a small conference area next to the receptionist. They did their schoolwork there and were fine.

 

It was such a relief when I could leave them for short periods of time, and even better when they could get their own meals and finish their work for the day without me! 

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I have only two, but scheduling appointments for me was difficult. For many years DH worked long hours far from home, and we had no relatives or friends close by. I had a hairdresser who cut hair at 8am on Saturdays. Mine usually slept in then, and DH was home if they got up early. I'd get my hair cut and then come home to make breakfast. When we had a "daytime only" dentist, I'd stagger the times so I could get the youngest settled in the chair and then get my teeth cleaned. The kids would finish first, and they'd bring them to me. I'd have a bag of toys and books for them. Later I switch to both a dentists and doctors with office hours from 7am-7pm. That way I could have an early appointment where DH could get to work just a little late, or he could come home a little early. I also hauled them to the gym with me for years. One local one had childcare, but during the day it was all preschoolers. So I joined a gym that had no childcare, but there was a small conference area next to the receptionist. They did their schoolwork there and were fine.

 

But again, if you had the kids in school and were working, you'd also have to take the kids to the dentist or the gym, or go get a hairr cut at night or on weekends. It has nothing to do with homeschooling.

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When I was researching, I could find information about the pros and cons. This was 7 years ago and there is probably so much more information now, so I don't think that is a problem for newbies. If they want to know what it is like, the info is out there.

 

I also agree that a problem for one might not even be an issue for another.

 

Socialization isn't a huge issue for us. I'm an introvert and have 4 girls, 3 of which are within 3 years of each other, so they have friends that live with them.

I totally agree on the problem of taking your children everywhere. It doesn't help that dh is a medical resident who works crazy hours and is completely unavailable and inflexible most days. Last year when I was pregnant, all 3 of my older girls came to each and every OB appointment. I need to go to the dentist but I can't figure out a good time to do it because there's no one to watch my kids during business hours. DD8 has quite a few doctors appointments because of her various health issues and we all tag along. Those types of things are an issue for me. Not insurmountable, but present. The iPad is my best friend for these situations, but still...

 

Oh, and I never get on top of the mess. We could all clean all day and it would still be a mess 20 minutes later. I do what I can, but it never ends.

Other than that, homeschooling really isn't a problem for me at all. I love how flexible we can be. I enjoy the challenge of finding curricula that works for us and I have a reasonable budget to pay for it. I love that when dh has a month off in September because that's just the way his schedule worked, we can all take that month off with him. I love that my children can sleep as long as they need to. I love how non-stressed and hurried our lives are despite my husband's crazy work schedule. I love that my girls' best friends are each other.

 

But I recognize that other people have different personalities and situations. For us, it is pretty ideal though. 

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This is highly individual - I always tell people it's nonsense for us because it is. Socialization is so silly - my kids have friends and so do I, that's never been a struggle for any of us. That doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat, but others aren't lying or being dishonest by representing their situation that way, either.

 

Where do they meet these friends?  Do you go to church, belong to homeschool groups or co-op, or have friends through religion or work/DH's work?  We have none of these opportunities, by default.

 

I agree that they aren't lying or dishonest by saying socialization isn't a  concern for them when homeschooling - in fact,  I think I stated that in the previous post.  I think our situation is different from the average homeschooler because we don't go to church and we don't have homeschool or co-op group options (because we are not religious or liberal).  

 

So for us it has been a struggle, and if I had said to myself (when people said socialization was no big deal), "are their situations similar to ours in this way?" I might have been more prepared for how hard it was.

Edited by ananemone
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But again, if you had the kids in school and were working, you'd also have to take the kids to the dentist or the gym, or go get a hairr cut at night or on weekends. It has nothing to do with homeschooling.

Well my friends who work full time, including my husband, tend to handle these types of things by leaving work a little early or taking a long lunch. The kids are at school or after school programs. I cared for a couple different children before I homeschooled and those parents almost always handled appointments during the day because I was watching their children.

 

This may not be something that was difficult for you, but it is something I have found challenging specifically because of homeschooling. My husband travels frequently so late afternoon or evening appointments are still challenging for me as I still have my kids with me. They do pretty well at the hair salon though and I get my hair cut infrequently enough that it isn't too inconvenient to take them. They were even fabulous for a 4 hour eye appointment. However I would rather they didn't have to hang out in the lobby at the eye doctor for 4 hours while the ophthalmologist tried to figure out what was going on with my vision. An 8 and 6 year old aren't quite old enough to be home alone for an afternoon and daytime sitters are also difficult to find.

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I am not sure how homeschooling makes this worse compared to sending the kids to school and working. You'd socialize with other adults in the evening after kids are in bed. Of course, sending the kids to school and being home while they are at school, free to socialize with adult friends who are also home, would be different....but that is not the reality of anybody I know.

The non homeschoolers schedule dentist appointments for the after work and school and take all their kids as well or get a sitter. or are lucky if a spouse is home early to watch the kids.

My hubby socialize during lunch with friends. Many meetups are weekday lunch time. He has lunch out with me if our kids are at a full day summer camp.

Many tech companies here are generous with paid time off for doctor, dentist and optician appointments for family. One year my DS10 had many dental visits and hubby just drive us for every dental visit which was during weekdays office hours. He had no problems taking paid time off for every prenatal and postnatal obgyn visit during my 2nd pregnancy in 2005.

 

ETA:

I am lucky in that we travel if hubby travel and his employers are all pretty generous with family time off partially because of so many split families. Also with all the late evening conference calls without overtime pay, none of the supervisors are counting hours rigidly.

Edited by Arcadia
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It seems that the hard things and easy things are both sides of the same coin...

 

I love having my kids around. I get to be there for the big things. Then again, I get so so very tired of being ON all the time. In a professional job, I'd hire on someplace where I didn't have to be around people all the time.

 

You can save money by eating at home, don't have to buy office clothes, etc. But then you do have to invest in school stuff and you lose the potential earnings of one parent.

 

Your kids can make lifelong friends with peers whose families you know and understand. School friends are kind of luck of the draw. They could choose great friends or have awful ones, or none at all. But in homeschooling, you have to be intentional about pursuing friendships. Because if you don't they probably wont happen.

 

You get to teach your kids the fun little kid stuff like reading...and the not so fun big kid stuff like long division.

 

You can challenge your "reading at 3rd grade level in K" child with developmentally appropriate materials. But when they get to 6th grade and want to back off and take the easy road, you may have to push them to reach their full potential.

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Well my friends who work full time, including my husband, tend to handle these types of things by leaving work a little early or taking a long lunch. The kids are at school or after school programs. I cared for a couple different children before I homeschooled and those parents almost always handled appointments during the day because I was watching their children.

 

This may not be something that was difficult for you, but it is something I have found challenging specifically because of homeschooling. My husband travels frequently so late afternoon or evening appointments are still challenging for me as I still have my kids with me. They do pretty well at the hair salon though and I get my hair cut infrequently enough that it isn't too inconvenient to take them. They were even fabulous for a 4 hour eye appointment. However I would rather they didn't have to hang out in the lobby at the eye doctor for 4 hours while the ophthalmologist tried to figure out what was going on with my vision. An 8 and 6 year old aren't quite old enough to be home alone for an afternoon and daytime sitters are also difficult to find.

 

I found that kind of thing challenging too.My dh works alot. So appointments were hard. I had strep for 8 days because the thought of packing up 4 kids and taking them to the dr was more than I could bear. I just lay on the bed and suffered. I finally called him and said. "You need to come home so I can go to the dr." and he did. I've only had to do that once or twice. :)

 

Several of my kids were really awful about being good while I had to manage haircuts and dental cleanings.

 

I'd have loved to be able to take an hour's vacation time and get that stuff taken care of.

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I think what people usually do not talk about is whether the husband is on board. I have two friends who were thinking of homeschooling and their husbands expects better results with little/no cost if they pursue homeschooling. One family was financially tight at that time and honestly would have to go with an independent study charter that pays for resources, even home internet access wasn't a given.

 

It is such a sensitive question. Especially how do you guarantee to a spouse who is neutral or against that you can do a better job homeschooling than the decent performing public school for a neurotypical kid that isn't bullied or unhappy at school.

 

ETA:

It is probably worse if the spouse is against homeschooling and expects a clean house and dinner ready.

Edited by Arcadia
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Every single thing I was warned about being a possible issue with homeschooling was also possible with public schooling, people just seem to want to ignore it or pretend it's some kind of initiation experience.

 

PS also didn't cure anyone I know of being a weird kid (something I was told homeschool causes) or having poor social skills by forcing them to assimilate, they just stayed alone or, if they were really lucky, found other ostracized weird kids to be friends with.

 

My DD was in public school, for 6 years. She never made a friend until that last year. She was never invited to any birthday, was actively bullied for an entire year - there was absolutely nothing positive about "socializing" in school.

 

My DS was in public school for 5 years. He had one single friend whom he saw infrequently after school.

 

Homeschooling has improved their social situations dramatically. Being in school means you are around people all.day.long - it does not mean the interactions are enjoyable or lead to actual friendships.

This was my exact experience with PS, and a reason I refused to rely on it for my DS. There's no guarantee it'll go perfectly, but at least with homeschooling he isn't forced to deal with those kinds of situations daily should it go poorly.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I'm not a newbie but I think of a veteran as someone who has graduated a student, so I am not that, either.

 

In retrospect, the books I read and talks I heard when I started learning about homeschooling twenty (?) or so years ago were a little too far on the rosy side, IMO. But it was a mix, and depended a lot on who was sharing the information. At that time, the books, articles and reading on the web tended to be super optimistic about how wonderful it all was and how every single one of the children will be better educated and equipped for life and turn out great. Conversely, the people in the trenches I met, who were mostly the reason why I decided to do it, were more realistic that it was a good option but had its positives and negatives, joys and hard parts, but that kids grew up and went to college and had friends, significant others, and gainful employment with homeschooling just like kids who attended school.

 

I am not sure if there are large differences in how homeschooling is portrayed now, because I don't read or attend things targeted at newbies much anymore. It seems like more people use classes and co-ops, which might imply that homeschooling is seen to be harder and something not everyone can do on their own. I also wonder if the blogosphere with the picture perfect portrayals of homeschool life tend to also make a good homeschool seem harder to achieve. But I don't know, because I think the mom-guilt and competition thing has existed throughout our culture for a very long time, and has little to do with homeschooling or even with the Internet.

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I don't mean to imply that people for whom the socializing issue is easy peasy are lying. It's easy for us. But the phrasing often feels misleading to me, in part because of the strength of it and the defensiveness that I've heard in it. So when people say, "Well, ahem, I'm kind of worried about socialization..." the responses that I often see aren't usually, "Oh that's not an issue for us," but are, "There's a million ways you can make friends, there's this and that and co-ops and 4H" and they're all, "Oh, it's so not an issue - they'll interact with kids of different ages, which is so much better, and they'll escape the dynamics of school socialization and bullying, which is so unhealthy and blah blah..." It's just very, very positive. And it often assumes that someone will have that sort of myriad of groups available to them. But geography or beliefs or lifestyle can close you out of that. As can just being a shy parent. Even if it's easy for you (which, hey, it was mostly easy for me) I think it's nice to acknowledge that while "socialization" - learning to interact with others - is hardly ever a challenge for homeschoolers - social opportunities absolutely can be one of the leading challenges depending on your situation.

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Like going to the dentist, socialization isn't a homeschool issue. If your child is the social butterfly they will be whether you homeschool or not. If your child is the strange geeky outsider, he will be whether you are homeschooled or not. Spoken as a person for whom school was just 12 years of torture because I was one of those weird homeschoolers who happened not to be homeschooled ever. My younger boys have lots of friends my oldest struggles.

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It may just depend who's doing the talking. I mostly hear moms underplaying the work/preparation/frustrations when talking to others with littles. The mantra seems to be to just let them play, though there are serious challenges for that age even if you're just doing a few hours of school each day. 

 

I'm in the process right now of serious re-evaluation. Not because I've fallen out of love with homeschooling but because I wonder whether I'm best serving my younger two given that I'm now actively writing and working. It's meant that school looks different and my after-school hours look different. 

 

Every time I begin to run through the disads with homeschooling, I could put it's co-equal under traditional schooling. Will I really gain an extra 5 or 6 hours a day or will I just shift my workload to helping with hours of homework in the afternoon and evening? Will those 5 or 6 hours get whittled away by early release, volunteer expectations, teachers days off, etc. 

 

 

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Like going to the dentist, socialization isn't a homeschool issue. If your child is the social butterfly they will be whether you homeschool or not. If your child is the strange geeky outsider, he will be whether you are homeschooled or not. Spoken as a person for whom school was just 12 years of torture because I was one of those weird homeschoolers who happened not to be homeschooled ever. My younger boys have lots of friends my oldest struggles.

 

I disagree. My child is strange and geeky (as you put it) with high social needs which she was able to meet in a public school setting but not a homeschool setting. She simply didn't fit in with the typical homeschoolers in this area, who, as I mentioned above, can be quite cliquish. There is absolutely a difference in my daughter's social opportunities, which is just a shame. There's no reason that it should be that way but it is. She wanted to make friends desperately but no one could be bothered. It's been a few years and I'm still sad about it. I just think, if a couple of those girls had given her the time of day, maybe we would have continued to homeschool her. But I digress.

 

I get that you're saying that public school is not a cure for social isolation and that some kids are lonely whether they attend school or not. My husband was one of those kids. He endured enough bullying that he never wanted his kids to set foot in a public school. But your post reads like you're saying a change in schooling situation will generally not lead to a change in social opportunities and that's absolutely not true in many cases.

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I disagree. My child is strange and geeky (as you put it) with high social needs which she was able to meet in a public school setting but not a homeschool setting. She simply didn't fit in with the typical homeschoolers in this area, who, as I mentioned above, can be quite cliquish. There is absolutely a difference in my daughter's social opportunities, which is just a shame. There's no reason that it should be that way but it is. She wanted to make friends desperately but no one could be bothered. It's been a few years and I'm still sad about it. I just think, if a couple of those girls had given her the time of day, maybe we would have continued to homeschool her. But I digress.

 

I get that you're saying that public school is not a cure for social isolation and that some kids are lonely whether they attend school or not. My husband was one of those kids. He endured enough bullying that he never wanted his kids to set foot in a public school. But your post reads like you're saying a change in schooling situation will generally not lead to a change in social opportunities and that's absolutely not true in many cases.

 

 

My comment was in response to someone saying they have met homeschooled  kids that are "weird" because of their homeschool setting. I don't think changing the setting will change who you are fundamentally. If you struggle to speak to someone, have different tastes than the average teen, or awkward mannerisms you struggle with I don't think those are caused by being homeschooled. It makes it harder to find friends and get to know people no matter what the setting. And yes, some of us have to be trained in how to deal with all those other people out there. 

 

I didn't really intend to imply that they may not have different opportunities for friendship. Obviously, if you are exposed to a couple hundred more people there just might be a chance you kick it off with someone. Not always though. It didn't work for me but that certainly doesn't preclude it happening for someone else.  

Edited by frogger
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As a newbie one thing I've not heard talked about much is how homeschooling can make it feel like you are all alone raising your child. For my son at least I feel like it would be very beneficial for him to see that other adults expect certain behavior from him, on a regular long term basis.

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