Sometimes You'll Fail at Homeschooling

 Photo by  Bernard Hermant  on  Unsplash

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

As a single mom homeschooling a disabled tween, I do my best, which, for the record, probably isn’t as good as a lot of other homeschooling moms.

Most of my job as my daughter’s teacher is helping her stay on task and making sure her work gets completed.

We have an “unschooling” routine that involves some computer work on a homeschooling website, daily reading, supplementary projects, and blogging — free writing that has done wonders in getting my daughter to open up about her feelings and her life, not to mention it taught her how to type properly, which is more than I can say for a lot of typical adults these days.

Some of these things Elise likes. She doesn’t usually complain about blogging, which, as a writer, makes me incredibly happy, and it isn’t usually too hard to get her to do her reading without complaint, but that’s where the easy part ends.

Most of the time, honestly, she just doesn’t want to do anything at all.

In some ways, she is a typical kid.

She doesn’t want to go to school.

She doesn’t want to do everything her mom tells her to do.

She just wants to watch TV and play on her devices all day.

Sometimes we have days where she gets all her work done without too much complaint and we can move on, and sometimes…we don’t.

Sometimes there’s nothing I can do to keep her on task, because she’s melting down about how hard it is, or that she doesn’t want to do it.

Sometimes it’s a battle of wills and she will just sit there and refuse to do anything at all.

And sometimes there’s not much you can do to work with that.

That’s the kind of day we’re having today.

We all have our bad days.

As parents, as teachers, as human beings.

We all have days when we just don’t want to do what we are supposed to do.

We rail against the responsibilities and sometimes even sabotage our own well being to stop from having to do something we resist.

Even when there are consequences for avoiding our responsibilities, still, sometimes we choose to take the punishment instead of sucking up the work and getting to the reward.

I don’t imagine there are too many teachers out there who throw up their hands in the middle of the workday and say they’re “done” with trying to get kids to do what they’re supposed to do, but that’s the beauty of homeschooling.

Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and surrender.

White flag to the fact that things aren’t always going to get done.

It’s you against a classroom of one, your own child, the most brutal student a teacher could ever have because it’s up to you to cultivate their entire life.

It’s an almost impossible responsibility.

That’s why it’s okay to give in to it sometimes, give in and let it go.

Is it worth it to keep trying to get work done when there are tears and screaming involved?

I ask myself all the time, is it worth it to keep going today when we are already in such a bad headspace and negativity is floating through the air like smoke?

Sometimes it isn’t worth it.

Sometimes you’ll fail at homeschooling.

You won’t be able to keep your child on task.

You won’t be able to keep your child motivated to keep working.

You won’t be able to convince your child that they are smart enough to do the work, that they can do it, even if it’s hard.

You will give in to the tears and the pleading.

You will, once in a while, fail at homeschooling and give up for the day.

And that’s totally okay.

For one reason or another, you decided that the typical path of education wasn’t right for you or your child and you decided to take their education into your own hands.

Deciding to homeschool is one of the hardest — and bravest — choices a parent can ever make, and the doubt and second guessing that goes along with every choice you have to make can make you feel like you’re going to drown in the responsibility.

Give yourself a break.

You’re not always going to get everything done in a day.

Sometimes you’re going to fail at homeschooling, and you’re going to let your kid watch TV instead.

I’ve been there. I’m here to tell you it’s okay.