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Anyone else regret homeschooling?


Melissa Louise

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12 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Interesting. Did they not talk to their non-homeschooled friends about it before? Or did it just not strike them? 

What did they articulate liking about it as kids? 

Presumably not. As I said in a different thread, while both my older kids were *friendly* with non-homeschooled kids and were in certain groups or on teams with non-homeschooled kids, they *never* really turned those kids into “real” friends (until they went to school themselves). The disparity in life and school experience between their hs friends and non-hs friends was too great, I guess. 

What my kids said at the time they liked about hsing was: 1) Friday co-op (the closest experience they had to school; the center of their friendships), 2) better timing; not getting the bus early, 3) they could eat “anything” they wanted for breakfast and lunch, 4) most often didn’t hs for as many hours as school consumes; no homework in evenings, 5) once April rolled around, we spent a lot of time at parks and/or hiking. My kids all love hiking. 

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This is timely! I was just having a conversation with my 69 year old friend (long story, I am an old soul and only have older friends 🙂 ). She said that she was feeling particularly ornery this week, because she has always been in a „caretaking“ role of helping others. Errands, chores, generally a „helping“ role. She said she felt that she rarely gets to just take care of herself and her purpose is doing things for family members. It was a very honest thought, and I can appreciate that many women end up feeling this way in later life.

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I would say no, I don’t regret it.  I really enjoyed learning with my kids and allowing them a childhood with a lot of free time, nature exploration, reading, field trips (a ton!) and time with each other.  I had way more mom friends and families getting together when homeschooling than now. It was fun.  
 

BUT- we didn’t homeschool all the way.  They went to private high schools and I am very glad not to be homeschooling these years.  But they talk to me constantly and keep me filled in with their school and classes and what’s going on.  And I can still help out.

Also, I was a late mom, almost 40yo.  So I had a career and lots of travelling and me time before getting married and starting a family.  I think that greatly influences my perspective.  If homeschooling had been my entire adult life, then I don’t know if I would have had regrets. It’s hard to compare when we all come from different places.  

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I think (and this is just my experience) the danger of looking back is that you can have rose-colored glasses or you can have mud-colored glasses.  Neither are objective.  It's only been after a few years post transition that I think that my glasses have gotten clearer.  I see both the good and the bad.  It wasn't totally one or the other.  (Though I stand by my feeling that on balance it was more positive than negative.) 

But - and I think that this might be a very big consideration for some - I have a solid marriage to someone who has had good health (and is now only a couple years from retirement) and any job I get now will not be necessary to pay the bills.  I am enough of an auto-didact that I can have plenty to interest me even if it isn't a career as such.  If I had been in a situation where I had had to work earlier in life it would have been my health and stamina that was a much bigger barrier than motherhood or homeschooling. 

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7 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

It's not about emotional security. It's about the sense that it matters (financially as well as in other ways) whether you screw up. 

I don't know... i don't tend to assume there's one right way to bring up children and that none of the other ways have ANY benefits. I think there are benefits to adversity sometimes, provided a person's personality is well-suited to dealing with it. Some people really do learn best from harder circumstances. Not all, of course. 

Now, does this mean I want to bring up my children to be deprived? No. We're very affluent, realistically. That's why I worry about it. 

I listen to some podcasts about people who are successful in business or what not, and how they got there. The ONE underlying thing is a supportive family to fall back on, if they needed it. 

5 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

😂

(I swear, I'd feel a LOT better about it if any of them evidenced memories of stuff we did and/or had kept reading!)

If it helps, I have VERY few memories of my schooling in public school. As in, I had to ask a friend lately if/when we took american history in highschool - as I had NO recollection of ever taking it! And I did early enrollment senior year, so I only went 3 years, out of that youd' think I would remember taking history! But nope. I remember my world history class, but that's because I had a huge crush on the teacher. I have no idea what we studied, if we did projects, etc, lol. I remember TWO science projects in highschool. One we rasied fruit flies for a genetics project and I only remember because they got loose in my locker. And the other one was something to do with fruit..actually I don't remember the project, I just remember the teacher getting mad at some of the kids for eating it. He paid for it out of pocket and was planning to take it home for his family..oops!

And elementary? I have like, 2 memories. 

That doesn't mean those teachers weren't an influence on me though! Or that they didn't matter?

Heck, my kids don't remember me nursing them, changing their diapers, rocking them for hours when they had colic or were teething, etc. But it still was important, and I'm sure had an impact on them in some way as far as growing up happy and healthy. 

3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

You know how we were just talking about whether grades matter, lol? DD9 cares way more about the grade I give her than she would about me appreciating her work. The possibility of a bad grade affects her behavior. The possibility that I'd be grateful that she worked hard or proud of her if she did (or any other emotional incentive I could give) wouldn't change her behavior an iota. 

That doesn't sound like someone you need to worry about as far as taking life seriously. At all. 

Edited by ktgrok
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I don't regret it for the most part.  But I think a lot of that is because I had planned to be a stay at home mom when we had children.  My vision had always been to be like my mom, where the kids were at public school and I would volunteer in the school, but then I decided to homeschool instead.

I think it helps that none of my children so far regret homeschooling.  My DD has told me numerous times how much she appreciates me homeschooling her.  My DS's don't really have strong feelings about it that I can see, but none of them feel they have missed out on anything.

I am now nearing the end of my homeschooling journey.  My youngest turns 16 in a couple weeks, and he has about 3 years left before he graduates.  I am having a bit of a mid-life questioning of what I want to do with my life.  I don't have any great answers.  The last 16 or so years I have dedicated to my children's education, and now what do I do when I am "retired" at the age of 50ish.

I think a lot of it will be spent taking care of my elderly parents, and I am glad I have the ability to do that.  Both my sister and brother work full-time, so I am the sibling with the most availability.  It is not something I look forward to, and I hope they continue to be in good health and able to take care of themselves for many years to come, but I am glad I would have the ability to if needed.  Meanwhile I will look for things to fill my time like volunteering, working on writing, and other things that catch my interest.

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8 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Well, we just moved to a big apartment, lol, which is why I'm thinking about this. We've always had places that were too small and Ikea furniture. I'm sick of not having a bedroom and having Ikea furniture, so we're splurging. But is the splurging bad for the kids?? I dunno. I wanted them to be able to have their own rooms, like they asked, but we're in Manhattan and it's not that usual to have a big space here. So... it feels like the kids will be spoiled. But we've moved SO much and have had so little space on average that I really felt like we needed this... 

I always say that spoiled is how you act, not what you have. Because of Covid, the swim team couldn’t have our big Halloween party last year. As a consolation prize, I set up a table and was giving out brown paper bags with treats like microwave popcorn and pop tarts and junk like that.  There was a new teenager on the team. He was so shocked that I had a bag for him even though it was something like his second day. He was so appreciative and so grateful, and just so opposite of entitled. 
 

I decided right then and there I was going to make friends with that family. It turns out he goes to a private high school that costs more than many colleges.  His mom drives a Tesla with the butterfly doors and they are having a new house built on their 53 acres. Somehow they have still been able to raise amazing, humble, generous kids. I think it is their role modeling. His mom is delivering dinner to me tonight. I had to remind her that I’m not friends with her just because she is a chef but because I fell in love with the way she has raised her children   

 

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

It's not that they don't care, it's that it's not a primary motivator. Both DH and DD9 are very internally driven and aren't very receptive to positive feedback of the "I appreciate this" form. I'm somewhat driven by appreciation but probably less so than average in most things, since my internal drives are much stronger.

They are QUITE motivated by a sense of accomplishment. But it's not really a "people appreciate me" vibe. It's a "I want to do well and I'm competitive!" vibe. It's a different feel to it. 

DD5 is my social butterfly and is in fact driven by appreciation. But she's an outlier in the family. 

This reminds me of one of the various personality type tests we had to take in MBA school.  There is a scale that determines whether a person is more motivated by power, affiliation, or achievement.  I was highest on achievement.  It's not that I don't like appreciation, but it means nothing compared to the satisfaction of accomplishing things.  And I have always been comfortable as "the wind beneath [someone else's] wings."

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After my very zen response earlier, I've been obsessing over this all day. I mean...I think my 10th grader would probably do very well in our local public school, which is supposed to have a great theater program. But what was I going to do? start him there in 9th grade LAST year, of all years? I just asked him, and he said, "I think I would be stressed out all the time if I were in school." Then I asked my 12th grader, who said, "I don't know because I've never been to school, but it doesn't SOUND like something I would like." He also said, "I feel like you ask me this all the time." 😂 I do need to revisit this next year with my 3rd grader, who will be essentially an only child in a couple of years when all his brothers are grown up. But sending him to school would very much interfere with my, "maybe DH could teach online for a year so we could take the RV to Alaska and all the Utah national parks" plan. So. I don't know. There's a lot of management of social life that comes along with homeschooling older kids in particular, and that's sort of exhausting. But I think I always get back to my earlier response, which is that there's good and bad either way. And I hope they remember the good at least a little more than the bad when they reflect back as adults. Their childhoods seem way more magical than MINE was when I think about them...but I don't get to decide in the end. Maybe the things that I thought it was important to give them won't be the things they wish they'd had. For me, I don't have any regrets. I'm where I want to be. (I do think about how I'm not setting myself up super well for divorce sometimes. But I don't anticipate that (BIG old knock wood)). 

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2 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

You know people are just all so different. What @Quilldescribes makes total sense and I can see how it really was hard for her kids. I think I would have felt the way her kids did/do. I went to school but was always clueless because my parents were so strict. I hated it. 

I felt clueless and apart from a lot of kid-culture because I was the only kid in my class with divorced parents.  There was a lot of stuff I did not get to do because weekends were reserved for visitation with dad.  My parents weren't willing to communicate to figure out how to make visitation and activities work, so the "solution" was that I just didn't get to participate.  Since I wasn't available on weekends, friendships were limited.  One of my parents has very severe social anxiety and the other was strict, so things like "Can I go to the movies with a friend?" was a complicated question to ask.  

Everything was complicated. Movies, friendships, parties, trying to find a job in high school...super, super complicated in ways that my friends did not experience.  Attending school isn't a guarantee of an easy social life.  

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2 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

But my kids, even though they never went to school, just didn’t think that stuff was a big deal. The first time in school was de at a local university junior year. They had hiccups getting settled but they just shrugged them off. They claim it made them comfortable being uncomfortable and how to handle unfamiliar situations and how to ask questions and adapt. 

This is similar to what my kids reported when they started doing dual enrollment at our local CC.

But, I think college, even CC which to many people is just an extension of high school, is different.  I think in high school it is much more important to fit in, and the other students are watching and much more critical. 

Of course there is always the possibility that they lied about their experiences or feelings, to save face or whatever.

I do remember one of my kids admitting that they forgot to put their name on the first paper they turned in in their first DE class. The instructor knew whose it was, both by process of elimination, of course, but also because she'd had experience with homeschooled kids. She was very nice about it and no harm was done. There was never any more forgetting that. But let me tell you, I spent years reminding that one to write their name on the dang paper! It just never stuck.

I think it could be very different in high school. 

Heck, I didn't fit in at high school and I went to school from kindy on. 

Edited by marbel
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6 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I think a lot of women our age feel uncomfortable about praise. 

During a job interview, I was explaining a project and one of the interviewees asked me if I had done the project or if it had been a team project. She asked because I kept saying, "we." I realized then that I'm a "we" person instead of an "I" person and I wish that I wasn't. I feel like saying "I" is bragging but sometimes it is an "I" accomplishment, you know. 

Ugh. And that’s so tricky bc it can easily go in the other direction of seeming like you’re not a team player if you say *I* too much. Especially as a woman bc apparently we are all bossy in the eyes of some when we use *I* too much. Whatever that means. 😏

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5 hours ago, MissLemon said:

Everything was complicated. Movies, friendships, parties, trying to find a job in high school...super, super complicated in ways that my friends did not experience.  Attending school isn't a guarantee of an easy social life.

I’m sorry that was your experience. 
 

To everyone: it’s not that I think, “Everything would have been perfect if only I hadn’t homeschooled.” That would be the same trap I started with - thinking, if mostly subconsciously, “Oh, I won’t have X issue because I homeschool…” I mean, realistically, I can’t even imagine how different my life might be if I had gone career track rather than homeschool mom track. I probably wouldnt be on this board and, this board has influenced my life more than I can say. 
 

And, of course, there are things I loved so much. Elementary age in particular; the magic of a child really having reading click, especially the child who struggled. All the years I volunteered in the homeschool chorus, watching those kids grow up and sing like angels. The unusual ability to become solid friends with the moms of my kids’ hs friends. And just not being part of the rush-around madness of my career/public school friends. 
 

So it’s not that I’m sitting here wallowing in tears of regret daily. It’s just that, if I got a do-over, I am pretty certain I would not make the same choices. As my nieces have become moms, they have (but one) retained their career jobs, some with post-grad work - accountant, lawyer, speech pathologist, nursery owner/operator. As they each made those choices, I thought, “Good for you!!” I’m glad they have decided to keep their careers. 
 

Edited by Quill
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I don't really have regrets about homeschooling but 1)  I hated school, 2) the kids have no desire to go to school and often talk about how lucky they are, 3)  my kids are both not neurotypical so school would have been a rougher experience for them, 4) I was older when I had my kids that are homeschooled so already worked for many years, I went back to work for a few years in the middle, and now I run a business so I didn't miss out as much as many homeschool parents do, and 5)  dh makes a very good salary, is very supportive and we are happy.   I also never felt I had to homeschool or it was going to create magical relationships or went into it for religious or cultural reasons.  I homeschool because my kids aren't neurotypical and it's what (I feel) is best for them. 

But, there are times when I wonder if the kids would have more friends if they went to school (ds especially seems to be noticing the lack), I don't always feel like we've done as well as we could with the actual school part of it (I'm in unschool-land), I feel like we've missed some of the funnest parts of homeschooling due to my work but also my kids personalities.

Looking back, I don't regret homeschooling but I regret some things about how we did it.  

Interestingly, my kids are aware of things like bell schedules, lockers, school lunches, etc.  

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Regarding kids remembering what we did/read/etc..I also wanted to say that long term memories are usually linked to strong emotions - so mine are of things that were upsetting, scary, confusing or even funny. Also very unique/surprising things. But "contentment" and "peace" are not the same kind of strong emotion and are not going to trigger memory storage the same way. So in a way, that they don't have a bunch of memories of your homeschool time is a sign it went really really well. 

As another example, that history class I don't remember taking, and had to ask a friend about? She was finally able to job my memory by reminding me it was the class I got caught skipping. THEN I remembered the teacher - because my friends and I, in a desperate attempt to not have her tell our parents, wrote this ridiculous letter apologizing using the biggest words we could think of. And it worked. She cracked up, then told us never to do it again. So I remember that, because I was terrified she was going to tell my parents, and I was SOO worried. But that is my ONLY memory of that teacher and that class...other than a vague sense we covered something called Tammany Hall...and I remember that because it reminded me of something from Wind in the Willows. That's it. I mean, I'm sure a ton of stuff I know about American History I learned in that class, as I don't think I ever took another American History class in my life. But...I don't remember learning it. And until my friend jogged my memory, I didn't even remember who taught me, or when I took the class, or that I took it at all. 

So, your kids not remembering read alouds and projects and days at the park means they went well, and no one was worried about getting in trouble or freaking out about something. That's a good thing!

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I have very few regrets about our early years or about being a SAHM. Our later years have not worked out as I would have liked.

Homeschooling was a great fit for Dd and for me. Ds should have gone to school several years before he did. One size does not fit all.
 

 

Edited by ScoutTN
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3 minutes ago, ScoutTN said:

I have very few regrets about our early years or about being a SAHZM. Our later years have not worked out as I would have liked.

Homeschooling was a great fit for Dd and for me. Ds should have gone to school several years before he did. One size does not fit all.
 

 

What made the difference, if you don’t mind me asking?

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6 minutes ago, ScoutTN said:

I have very few regrets about our early years or about being a SAHZM. Our later years have not worked out as I would have liked.

Homeschooling was a great fit for Dd and for me. Ds should have gone to school several years before he did. One size does not fit all.
 

 

That’s how I feel about both my boys. 

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12 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

What made the difference, if you don’t mind me asking?

Ds is very resistant to instruction or direction from us, but is fine with teachers, coaches, and other authority figures. This kid has a fierce, even ferocious, desire for independence. It would have been better for our relationship for him to have been in school earlier. 
 

He is also very strongly extroverted and has ADHD. School is helping him address executive function deficits that he would not acknowledge as a homeschooler.

Because anyone not-mom is an expert. 😉

 

I would have done a few things differently in our early years and had him in school by 4th grade.

Edited by ScoutTN
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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

When would you have sent them, optimally?

I think 4th or 5th grade. Young enough to understand the social landscape before it becomes so important, old enough to have gotten a firm foundation in basic three Rs. (Also, few enough years that I could have rejoined a career.) 
 

In the past, I believed that middle school years (6th-8th here) were the most crucial time to homeschool, *specifically* to side-step all the social snares. And remember, I was chucked into public school mid-year, 6th grade, so my memories of that block of time were fraught with pitfalls. But I see now that a lot of that was driven by my intense conflict avoidance, which I also learned from my parents, who are, even now, very conflict-averse. I didn’t understand then that, “The only way out is through.” Conflict is a part of life and neither we as parents, nor our kids are well-served by just arranging life so that all bumps can be sailed over, obliviously. I did not *realize* that’s what I was trying to do, but I see it now in retrospect, and I see it in the choices of many other homeschoolers I have known. 
 

For example, I always wanted to avoid hyper-scheduling my kids, however, I did see value in having them in stuff. So hsing made that pretty easy to achieve, because, after having been at home all day, they were happy to go to soccer or gymnastics or chorus or youth group. But I was also sort of teaching them fragility, as if they could never survive a busy week or a few late nights finishing a book report due the next day. They did all figure this out and “toughened up” in high school and college, but I think it was a rude awakening and I think it contributed to the attitude I recently discussed in my youngest kid. Like he can’t believe anything would ever be less than ideal and if it is, it’s because everyone is “stupid.” It’s like I’m trying to mitigate it *now* by trying to introduce some hardship - looking at plans to hike a section of the AT and do a white water rafting trip, lol! - so he can stop fixating on everything being perfectly idyllic and can just *roll with it* better. Maybe. 

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Hindsight is a funny thing.

My most difficult child to homeschool and the one who is likely to have resentment and lingering bitterness is the one who gets me thinking of what I could have done differently. I start down that path and then I remember that this particular child was/is most difficult about everything. He is prone to negativity and resentment in general and if it wasn’t homeschooling it would be something else. He’s nice enough now not to have specifically expressed regret or resentment about homeschooling but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is there.
 

Also, I remind myself that this child was homeschooled and sheltered intentionally to protect him from himself, honestly. Middle school and early high school would have been wrought with bad decisions. He would have been attracted to the wrong crowd and been in trouble all the time. Possibly to long term consequence. So while he was unhappy to have a limited social life, a more active social life would have been a disaster for him. He just had a few years there of immaturity/risk taking/rebellion/rejection of authority would have had way too many ways to go wrong in a public school setting. By 17 or so he had come out of that and went to college and did well and now is pretty risk adverse and responsible for a 21 yo. He just had a few years there where he needed extremely limited opportunity to go off the rails while his brain caught up and he settled down. 
 

So who knows what could have gone differently? When I think of the troubles we possibly avoided just because he didn’t have opportunity I am pretty grateful. And I don’t think I can quantify that in any way. But I also think the other 3/4 of my children would have done great in school just as they did at home.
 

 

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I do have some regrets and started having them when each was in 5th grade, so they both went to ps starting in 6th grade. There just weren’t any homeschool groups that weren’t super conservative where we lived so the social aspect for both dc was difficult. Neighborhood and friends’ kids only work well so long and it was around 4th/5th grade that they needed more. Oldest had a rough first year of middle school but then had lots of friends through the end of high school. Youngest does best with just one or two friends and hasn’t had much of an issue.

I think homeschooling them through elementary school was the right decision academically for sure, and I think putting them in to ps when I did was the right decision for other reasons.

As far as family/Dh stuff, I have no regrets with any of that in regards to homeschooling. Dh actually gave up a lot too in order to be home with the family as much as possible. He purposefully changed his career and passed on promotions for many years while they were growing up. When things started getting rough with oldest, dh proposed working from home and thankfully his employer was on board. Dh still works from home and has no desire to move up the ranks anymore. He’s happy with where he’s at and his employer is happy to let him keep going on as he is.

ETA: Youngest did end up homeschooling senior year as well but that was really just doing dual enrollment at the local CC. The high school here just wasn’t doing enough in regards to their autism and youngest was miserable and wanted out. 

Edited by Joker2
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I'm probably too far from finished to really count yet but not really. I think finance plays a big part - if you have enough money to go around homeschooling is a pretty nice lifestyle choice really.  Or at least it is for someone like me who is introverted, enjoys thinking and spending time in my own company, and flexibility.  Where it gets more complicated is when you need money and you’ve been out of work for a while.  I think it will be easier for the next generation of homeschoolers because workplaces are becoming far more flexible and family friendly.  
 

I think family life and meaningful work need to be more integrated somehow so it’s not a choice between family time and career.  I’m not sure what that looks like but I know it doesn’t look anything like what most people have.

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If I were to weigh the pros and cons.....not sure how I could come out.   I do know that it screwed up my retirement considerably.   If I had worked those 10 years I homeschooled, I could have retired from the NC state retirement system in much better shape.   Of course, if I had stayed in CA, I would have done even better and could have still taken off 10 years.   So it wasn't just homeschooling that messed me up.

My oldest needed something other than the local PS, and NOW there are options for him, but there weren't when he was younger.   So, I am glad I HSed for him.   My younger two would have done fine it school and I probably should have sent them sooner than I did.  

 

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1 hour ago, ScoutTN said:

Because anyone not-mom is an expert. 😉

 

I wonder if that's what helps us homeschool teenagers - my kids think I am an expert.  🤣😂😅

I teach science, have science and teaching degrees, so they assume I know what I'm doing.  Ds in particular has some hypochondria/medical anxiety stuff so he's constantly asking me if things are "normal" to help relieve some of his anxiety. 

1 hour ago, Quill said:

. But I was also sort of teaching them fragility, as if they could never survive a busy week or a few late nights finishing a book report due the next day. They did all figure this out and “toughened up” in high school and college, but I think it was a rude awakening and I think it contributed to the attitude I recently discussed in my youngest kid. 

I have been wondering about this lately.   We had a discussion with ds just a couple days ago about how much free time they should be able to expect to have in a day.  Right now, they have a TON (partially Covid, partially other things) and he was shocked when we said something about most people not having 5 or 6 completely free hours on a weekday, and pretty much 24 hours a day free most weekends.  

We are looking at him starting classes at our local CC and possibly getting a job in January (missed the cut-off for CC for Fall, and decided Christmas season was not the time for his very first retail job), which I think will help with both social interaction AND getting a better feel for realistic time management and expectations. 

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No, because my plan was to be a stay at home mom all along and then do something on my own as an emptynester, but I didn't know what back then.  Homeschooling as a seriously considered option was a requirement to date me, although we seriously considered private school and magnet ps schools too. All of those had to be on the table.

My husband did a significant chunk of the homeschooling (logic, problem solving, math, science, and statistics) with the older two before he started his business, so it was a very even spread of homeschooling responsibilities when the kids were at Jr. High level concepts until the year they turned 15 and 17. Now he teaches civics to our 16 year old and I outsource almost everything else because I'm tired and youngest has never been academically minded or motivated. We started 21 years ago and have 1-2 more to go. We'll see about early cc for youngest like my older two did.

My next career is full time gardening as we've started a permaculture food forest and ornamental garden from scratch. No one pays you to do that.  My husband's income and skill set are in high demand, so I don't have to worry about income to do the things I most want to do. We don't need a second income and others do, I'll stay out of the job market. The food forest/moving toward more self-sustaining living/leaving the land better than you found it came up about 10 years ago.  I didn't know what I wanted to do after homeschooling before then other than maybe writing, and the food forest idea got more specific over time. It's something husband and I do together part time on weekends and I do part time during the week and during school breaks now. We moved across the country 3 years ago to make it a reality.  Our adult children moved near us for work and school opportunities with their spouses, so I have quite a lot of support for my future goals.

When I had to have emergency neurosurgery on my neck and a couple of months of recovery at the end of Feb. 2020 and we were prepped for a huge garden renovation project due to drainage issues with a massive truckload of dirt for raised beds, heavy moving equipment, and a shipment of fruit trees that were waiting to go in.  I was in bed in a medication fog and all the kids, their spouses and husband spent 2 days getting it all done according to my plan.  I poured myself into them for decades and they worked hard to help me get set up for my next couple of decades.  They even carefully dug up and replanted the bulbs I love as a little surprise-I thought those would be lost in the garden reno.

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My career was in church work, so while we are certainly poorer due to these years without full time pay and benefits, it is not as though I were a doc or CPA, giving up a large income.

I treasure the years I had as a SAHM when my children were young and I am glad for the foundations we built then, for the gentle pace of our lives, for the the zillions of hours spent reading together, playing outside, and listening to music, for the mid-September weeks on uncrowded beaches, for the freedom to nap, and for the ability to witness all the milestones.

I do think that Dh and I built with gold and silver in our kids lives during those years, to the best of our ability.

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12 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I think (and this is just my experience) the danger of looking back is that you can have rose-colored glasses or you can have mud-colored glasses.  Neither are objective.  It's only been after a few years post transition that I think that my glasses have gotten clearer.  I see both the good and the bad.  It wasn't totally one or the other.  (Though I stand by my feeling that on balance it was more positive than negative.) 

I think you are exactly right. I remember oldest DD’s first year of college. I missed her terribly and, I suspect, resented to some degree that she was off and getting to do wide and interesting things, learning from others.  Then my niece graduated - valedictorian and a really lovely girl who loves God, and I admit depression and frustration got like a hurricane. My sister and brother in law has not homeschooled, sacrificed an insane amount of money and time... yet got a great “result” both spiritually and academically. Here I was, eleventh baby born, keeping my head above water, teaching endless reading and math, at a huge cost, and I felt, truly, that maybe I’d wasted my life. 
 

And it’s weird what was the pivot. My daughter got pregnant and for her baby shower, she wanted books - all the books I had read her 1,000 times. For me, things fell into place. It wasn’t about the academics. I had offered her time to soak in truth, beauty, and goodness. I realize these things are now trendy in homeschooling, and I am not sure I could have worded it as such. But it was deeply gratifying to see that she had received these things and wanted them for her own child. 
 

i think being a grandparent has given me the most insight? I see these babies growing and I want nothing for myself in them. Their success can’t “make me look good,” so it’s totally altruistic. I want them to have time, spend time outside, be curious, read endlessly, explore their passions. It’s like wanting a great environment for your beautiful ride because the pleasure of watching it grow strong and healthy and bloom brings incredible joy. 
 

So have I ever deeply regretted homeschooling? Yes. But I’ve had some distance from it now. I’d say the hardest year was around the time the youngest was born. I went through what I’m now sure was my first and last battle with post partum depression and, by some miracle, survived. So I’d sayi tend to be very introspective so it’s not a shallow analysis. But I’ve had time to move past the disappointments and expectations to evaluate from perhaps a less biased position?

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I’m sorry the op mentioned regretting this thread. I’ve finally caught up, and I love that there’s real digging into all aspects!  I wish I could quote and respond to about 20 different things, lol. 
 

We have homeschooled both poor-ish and statistically wealthy. Ish. I think it makes a huge difference in my outlook for myself. It’s had less of an impact on the kids, but maybe would have had more (on the olders) if they’d been in school.   
Though they’ve never been cut off from the mainstream, I’ve managed to mostly convince them from the get go that it’s lame to “fit in”. They tend to befriend outsiders and mouth off to haters. Two of my big kids never achieved the level of math I sought for them to attain, but I consider their individuality to be a bigger payoff.

My four youngest have a lot of ps friends jealous of them. No matter how much they try to explain that homeschooling isn’t as great as they think, they’re regularly told how lucky they are. In the high school years, when my dds heard about some of the non-academic garbage their peers put up with, they were glad they weren’t there.  
(Which is not to say they loved homeschooling, lol. They just appreciated not going to school. Different things!)

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2 minutes ago, Carrie12345 said:

(Which is not to say they loved homeschooling, lol. They just appreciated not going to school. Different things!)

DD9 went to baseball camp this summer and got a taste of that, I think… she asked people what subjects they liked at school, and everyone was like, “recess” or maybe “art.” It was illuminating for her, because she LOVES her schoolwork. She loves math and Russian and piano and having lots of books to read and time to read them.

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2 hours ago, Quill said:

...They did all figure this out and “toughened up” in high school and college, but I think it was a rude awakening and I think it contributed to the attitude I recently discussed in my youngest kid. Like he can’t believe anything would ever be less than ideal and if it is, it’s because everyone is “stupid.” It’s like I’m trying to mitigate it *now* by trying to introduce some hardship - looking at plans to hike a section of the AT and do a white water rafting trip, lol! - so he can stop fixating on everything being perfectly idyllic and can just *roll with it* better. Maybe. 

If it makes you feel any better, I have a relative who is exactly like that, and he was never homeschooled.  He is really really good at some things, and at least when he was a teen / young adult, he thought everyone and everything was stupid because they didn't match up with the way his brain works.  (He was almost certainly undiagnosed ASD, but in his mind, everything atypical about him was superior, because average people were stupid.)

Well, part of this was probably because he was self-conscious about some of his differences.  (Like his well-known forgetfulness about hair combing or zipper zipping.)  But be that as it may.  Only stupid people care about those things.

Thing is, he had his fair share of difficult moments.  Probably more than his fair share.  The "other people are stupid" was more of a defense mechanism than anything else, I think.  So I don't think that cutting him down to size would help that.  The best thing about adversity is that it teaches us we can succeed even when things are hard ... and that working with / relying on others is a strength, not a weakness.

Not sure if any of that applies to your son.  I really just wanted to say this is not necessarily a result of homeschooling.  🙂

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Let me see if I can unpack some additional thoughts. 
 

I taught in public and private schools for a number of years before having my own kids. I can unequivocally say that I provided educational and “emotional “ supports that they wouldn’t have gotten in brick and mortar schools. I think that the fact that I could do that was a blessing and a luxury and I am grateful that I could do that. If I hadn’t been able to provide that, things would have been fine but I don’t regret providing what I think was the best for my children. Even as the kids got older and homeschooling did have some negatives attached, I had looked at those and the benefits still outweighed the negatives for our specific family. I would make the same decisions. 
 

Second thought:  (and this is unabashedly Christian- but I think that you could find secular equivalents) but I think that each of us have responsibility in how we respond to the life we were given. We have both responsibility for the circumstances that we carve out for ourselves and for how we respond to those many circumstances over which we have no control.

 My own experience as a child was objectively less than ideal (though of course there were things mixed in which were good). I chose to be bitter about that as a teenager and young adult. Then I realized that bitterness was hurting me like a cancer eating away at my insides. And I chose to forgive and to see how God worked even through difficult circumstances.  My kids also have responsibility before God in how they respond to things- both the good and the bad in their life because I never had the power to shield them from all bad.  I can (and do) feel like I did the best I could, prayerfully and thoughtfully as a mom and homeschooler but my best is an imperfect best. 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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Here are some of the things that I think influence regret of lack thereof. 
 

I didn’t get married until I was 25 and had finished college and worked for a few years. I didn’t have my first child until I was 27 and I had my last at 43. I had the aptitude for law school, but knew that I wanted to stay home with my children so I went into education instead so that if I ever needed to work, I could still spend afternoons, vacations and summers with them. What I’m trying to say is that I never had a vision or goal of me being some kind of high powered career woman that I had to let go of. Other than the messy house, I am really living the life I wanted most. 
 

Also, in terms of making a difference in the world, I don’t think that needs to be just through a job. I get a lot of appreciation from friends and from my kids’ friends about just being there for them to listen to their problems and to lend a hand when I can. That kind of service would be much more difficult if I was working outside the home. 
 

My husband is very supportive and puts absolutely no expectations on me, so I have someone to lean on who isn’t all up in my business telling me what I could be doing differently. Also, aside from this past year when we were getting our house in Texas ready to sell, we have had enough money for all of our needs and many of our wants. It is much more fun to stay home with kids when you can give yourselves treats, and don’t have that heavy financial dread hanging over you. 
 

And finally, it just happens that my youngest 2 kids are pretty extroverted, but they are in a sport where they see their friends every day all year long and have parties or events every weekend. So they get the social rewards of school without actually having to go to school. 
 

All this is to say that I don’t think not having regrets means that a mom is more selfless or a better homeschooler or more evolved or superior. I think it comes down to circumstances and a whole lot of those circumstances are pure luck. 
 

P.S. I have to address early education as being lame, because that is my passion. I remember once, in a job interview, the principal asked why someone as clearly intelligent as I am would want to teach Kindergarten. I told her that very few jobs can offer me the challenge of teaching complex concepts to children who can take in no written information and very little verbal instructions. Also I feel like one good preschool or kindergarten experience can set a kid on the right path all the way through their educational journey. For me, teaching young kids takes every bit of my flexibility and problem solving skills. But I get that it isn’t thrilling for everyone. LOL
 

 

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I don't know that I regret it but I do have a sense that it was not worth it. 

The opportunity costs were pretty high for us- in order to homeschool, we moved from a house we owned/were paying a mortgage on to a small apartment.  We assumed that we would get back into the housing market within 5 years but here we are, 10 years later and in our early 40s still in that small apartment.  I don't mind being in an apartment or that it's fairly small.  I do mind that we don't have a house or condo we could pay off as we careen towards retirement age.   Between forgone income, home equity and the loss of my full retirement contributions, homeschooling was a very, very, very expensive schooling option.  

The other thing for me is that my sons both have special needs.  Homeschooling felt very  necessary at the time because the local school district didn't really meet their obligations under the IDEA Act.  I feel that I provided a home/family solution at pretty high cost for something that the school district should have been providing. 

2 years ago we sued the district and the district almost immediately offered private school tuition.  We didn't want that (we wanted our son to be able to attend the local school with appropriate supports rather than a long commute to a specialized private school) and we prevailed.  The district now provides that support at the local school and that son is in 7th grade, on ASB and the cross country team.  Had I known how cost effective it would be to sue the district (the district ended up covering our legal costs), I honestly would have done it back when we started homeschooling as the facts in our older son's case would have probably made for an open and shut case.  

I don't know that homeschooling was a mistake, but I do think we should have held onto our house and I don't think I should have just been home/out of the workforce for the better part of a decade.  We live in a HCOL area and the opportunity cost of a SAHP was too high here.  Staying home was also NOT part of my plan, it was something that I felt I needed to do in order to address the mess of the district not accommodating our older son.  We are looking to buy a house again in the next 1-2 years or so and will have a lot of catching up to do on retirement and paying down a mortgage.  

 

Edited by LucyStoner
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These reflections are very interesting. Keep them coming!

One thing I've been thinking about recently is how my motivation for homeschooling has changed. Early on in DH's career, we moved around and traveled a lot. It was great to just pack up a box of books and go live in another state for a few weeks or months. We spent three months in Israel, time in Germany, visited the Netherlands, etc. We moved a lot for training and it didn't disrupt the children's schooling.

But now, with two big kids in high school (and doing exceptionally well; the older one is #1 in his class in a 2000-person gifted high school), we can't just travel the world or spend time here there and everyone. My husband's job is steady and in one place; we're not going to move for a year-long post-doc again. Hubby muses about spending a year somewhere else on a sabbatical, but I don't think it is likely to happen as the cost to the highschoolers would be too much. This has taken a lot of wind out of my homeschooling-sails.

Also, our neighborhood has really gentrified. When we moved into our house, we were surrounded by liberal arts and humanities people who were awesome, nerdy, and thrifty. Now we're surrounded by economists, management consultants, and finance people. They get their laundry picked up to be done by others, for goodness sake. I'm glad we own our house, but it doesn't change the neighborhood norms. When we all were thrifty, it was easier. 🙂

Emily

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I had already given up my career for my marriage. I do regret that our schools are not good enough, but there is nothing I can do about that. I don’t I regret homeschooling, but I do resent paying taxes to support the broken public school system.

Edited by Janeway
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I should also say that while I do not regret homeschooling because it was what needed to be done at the time. I do regret that we moved here. Had we moved elsewhere, we could have enrolled the kids in late middle school.and high school at a competent PS with Ap's, DE, Honors, science electives, etc. I would have been back in the workforce 10 years sooner. So that regret is there. We didn't know that the district we were moving to would absolutely gut the high school after we got here. Still, we did know a couple of amazing school districts in another county at the time, and should have pursued housing there, and told the elders in the family who were heavily pressuring us to move here, to pipe down and live with it.

Hindsight.

I always tell people now that before they bite off that big chew, have a plan in place in case they can't homeschool...health, financial devastation, death, etc. Make sure the kids can stream back into the PS without too many difficulties.

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4 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

.  Where it gets more complicated is when you need money and you’ve been out of work for a while.  I think it will be easier for the next generation of homeschoolers because workplaces are becoming far more flexible and family friendly.  

I think my in-laws and my husband’s siblings did not envisage that there would be multiple unemployments for my generation. My SIL and BIL could only get contract jobs in between unemployment. Even my DS15’s public school teacher was retrenched. The school district at that time retrenched 1/3 of the K-3rd teachers. One of our friends is single income because her husband has been unemployed for years.
There is a homeschooled young adult (mid 20s) in my husband’s dept who recently married another homeschooler. They don’t intend to become single income. My teens at the moment isn’t keen on marriage and it is unlikely they would risk being single income if they marry. My friends are telling their kids to aim for public sector jobs and hope for the best. 

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22 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I think my in-laws and my husband’s siblings did not envisage that there would be multiple unemployments for my generation. My SIL and BIL could only get contract jobs in between unemployment. Even my DS15’s public school teacher was retrenched. The school district at that time retrenched 1/3 of the K-3rd teachers. One of our friends is single income because her husband has been unemployed for years.
There is a homeschooled young adult (mid 20s) in my husband’s dept who recently married another homeschooler. They don’t intend to become single income. My teens at the moment isn’t keen on marriage and it is unlikely they would risk being single income if they marry. My friends are telling their kids to aim for public sector jobs and hope for the best. 

Yes. None of my kids are willing to take the financial hit. But, our grandson also cannot safely attend PS at this time due to heart condition, and the fact that nothing they are zoned for is willing to even handle a K age student reading at 3rd grade level and doing 2nd grade math. Actually, no school in Huntsville that they visited was willing except private schools which wete unaffordable. I mean, the PS could not have stopped her from enrolling him, but they also weren't going to lift a finger to educate him either. So the trade off for them financially is she and her dh aren't spending a lot of time together. He works during the day, she homeschools, and then four nights a week she works. So they have the 2nd income, she is still earning social security credits, and grandsons' optimum restrictions are being followed. Not easy. Not.at.all. But Dd knows we didn't take that big of a financial downturn because I kept up at least a little performing, and had 30 piano students. She remembers well, her dad making dinner, doing baths, whatever, and putting them to bed each night while I taught or was at a performance. But a lot of folks do not have the option of something like that, and have to work fairly inflexible jobs or lose a major source of income all together. Not pretty.

Around here, regardless of household income level, banks are getting pretty unwilling to loan money to single income households. Too much risk on the mortgage if that person loses their job, and there is no other household money. I think that will be an issue for my kids' generation.

 

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41 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Around here, regardless of household income level, banks are getting pretty unwilling to loan money to single income households. Too much risk on the mortgage if that person loses their job, and there is no other household money. I think that will be an issue for my kids' generation.

Banks were already wary when we bought a condo in 2006. Now they are even more cautious. Property prices here are still on the uptrend so with 20% down payment, banks are still interested to discuss prequalification. What we could qualify for is about five times my husband’s base pay before tax and that is for a 30 year loan. 

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6 hours ago, Quill said:


 

For example, I always wanted to avoid hyper-scheduling my kids, however, I did see value in having them in stuff. So hsing made that pretty easy to achieve, because, after having been at home all day, they were happy to go to soccer or gymnastics or chorus or youth group. But I was also sort of teaching them fragility, as if they could never survive a busy week or a few late nights finishing a book report due the next day. They did all figure this out and “toughened up” in high school and college, but I think it was a rude awakening and I think it contributed to the attitude I recently discussed in my youngest kid. Like he can’t believe anything would ever be less than ideal and if it is, it’s because everyone is “stupid.” It’s like I’m trying to mitigate it *now* by trying to introduce some hardship - looking at plans to hike a section of the AT and do a white water rafting trip, lol! - so he can stop fixating on everything being perfectly idyllic and can just *roll with it* better. Maybe. 

Oh god. I am dealing with this now with both kids. One in PS completely falling apart at the pace (overly academically prepared but can’t handle the volume of school at all), and a homeschooled junior who for the first time in his life doesn’t have a significant daily downtime. Just today I was discussing with him dropping the class to make sure he isn’t overwhelmed. I have no way of knowing judging any of this since I have no reference point. 
Your comment is spot on. 
 

edited: I can’t type. 🙄

Edited by Roadrunner
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1 hour ago, Arcadia said:

My friends are telling their kids to aim for public sector jobs and hope for the best. 

This is interesting. My generation (at least it seemed to me) dreamed of working for themselves, owning their own business. My uncles coming up on 70 have found this a hard road. Both run physical businesses and aren’t at the time where they can just hire people to run it, but neither is the job easy on their bodies. My DH always wanted to own his own business but it wasn’t feasible... medical insurance has been huge. Knowing what I know now? I’m not sure I’d encourage any family to be one income where the income was a home business. That scares me from a financial/medical POV. 
My daughter (#2) homeschooled and married a homeschooler. She’s in school for nursing - a job she can go anywhere with, work three days, and readily find a job and homeschool. DD#1 is married and they are planning on homeschooling. But, she has a degree “in case” and he works in manufacturing in the Midwest - so far reliable as far as income and insurance. But truly, who can foresee the future? Surely not me. Get life insurance is the one thing we have crammed down our adult kids’ throats. 

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12 minutes ago, Roadrunner said:

Oh god. I am dealing with this now with both kids. One in PS completely falling apart at the pace (overly academically prepared but can’t handle the volume of school at all), and a junior who for the first time in his life doesn’t have a significant daily downtime. Just today I was discussing with him dropping the class to make sure he isn’t overwhelmed. I have no way of knowing judging any of this since I have no reference point. 
You comment is spot on. 

Just FYI, junior year is brutal! If he can swing it, see if he he can punt a class to senior year.

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11 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

This is interesting. My generation (at least it seemed to me) dreamed of working for themselves, owning their own business. 

My late grandparents, some of my uncles and cousins own manufacturing businesses. Their children aren’t interested in taking over though they would help out when free. My relatives always joke that in a marriage, one spouse should have a stable income and the other spouse could take a risk. My husband was self employed for two years and made a loss. He gave up and went for a PhD program on a scholarship. 
My mom was a nurse and my dad was a teacher. Both of them could easily get re-employed. My dad taught until he was 75 because demand of teachers remain high. A friend went through a nasty divorce and she went back to being a full time teacher. 

Edited by Arcadia
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