Homeschooling reality

I’m having a little e-mail exchange with a hopefully-soon-to-be-new-homeschooler about the time involved in schooling.  A friend of a friend of hers schools for EIGHT HOURS a day for her 2nd & 4th graders.  Ack.  So, her question to me was, basically, “How much time do you spend on schooling?”

It reminded me, though, of a story told by the lady who introduced me to Sonlight, also named Karen.  Karen forever felt like a Lesser Homeschooler, compared to an acquaintance of hers, who also homeschooled, and who had five or six kids, but always had time for extended field trips, intricate projects, etc.  She seemed to have a neverending supply of time and money to spend on her kids’ education.  And here was Karen, just trying to keep her nose above water, schooling her own five kids, keep her house clean, food on the table, and herself sane, never feeling like she was quite up to par, and definitely not measuring up to her friend’s standards.  Karen’s kids were friends with her kids, and they often asked her why she couldn’t do x, y, and z.  Well, it came to Karen’s attention, after feeling like Lowly Worm for a couple of years, that her acquaintance had a MAID.  And a COOK.  And each of them came in FIVE DAYS A WEEK.  And, on Fridays, the cook would stay extra-long and cook Saturday and Sunday’s meals, too!  Holy cow.

Think how many “special projects” YOU could do if you had a maid and a cook.

Personally, I try not to think too hard about it, because I start feeling crabby that I don’t live in a culture and/or time where having paid help is fairly standard.  It’s similar to the feeling I get from knowing California spends $8,000/year per child and still has some of the poorest results of any state in the nation.  If only I could have a fraction of that money….

But, I digress.

I don’t know if this post has a point, other than that, well, you may hear of a fabulous homeschooling family who spends WAY more time or money than you ever could dream of spending, but there is likely more to the story, like:

  • maybe that mother has academically precocious children who beg to be taught
  • maybe she doesn’t and her kids will burn out because of being forced to do school for 8 hours a day and in another year (max, two!) she won’t be homeschooling
  • even if they don’t burn out, SHE will, unless…
  • she has a maid and a cook
  • or, her house is a perennial wreck and her family eats out five days a week and she’s fine with that, as is her husband
  • or, maybe her husband is NOT fine with that, and they’re continually at odds about how time and money are spent
  • or, maybe she has no friends
  • or, at least no blog.  😀

There is something to say for academic standards;  I’m not against them entirely.  But, you just have to find what works for your kids, your family, your own resources, and not worry about what Super Mega Homeschooler down the road is doing.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on August 14, 2009, in Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, Homeschooling, Housework. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. One of the mom’s who I was talking to as I was making the decision to homeschool this year said “Sure you can do it. I’ve got 6 kids and we do just fine! You’ll love it.” I was so encouraged! Then I found out she has a nanny for the younger kids while she schools the others…5 DAYS A WEEK! I felt snowed! I’m sure we’ll do fine…but it was a bump in my confidence that is for sure.

    Thanks for the realistic encouragement!

    • I have heard of mothers enlisting the help of a “mother’s helper,” a 9+yo homeschooled girl, who can play with the littles for 2-4 hours while you school. I think that would be DREAMY, and not nearly as pricey as an actual nanny. If any of your homeschooled friends live very nearby and might agree to you paying their daughter $1-2/hr to do this… might that work?

  2. oh my goodness I love this post! you made my day!

  3. Well said Karen, and this goes for your dinner guests tonight, and your heart! Kathy

  4. Great idea…I don’t know of anyone convenient. (Yet.) I’ll keep that in mind… it would be a good thought if I need a serious catch up time too!

  5. Can I just give an Amen to that!!

    It is so hard not to fall in that trap!

  6. happy to read this POST

  7. That’s the key: Mom’s who have all the time and money in the world don’t blog [smile].

    Very good post.

    And, just to throw this out there: During the early years of homeschooling we worked for 2-4 hours and then had free time. Granted, my dad would read some to us before bed too… but that hardly felt like school [smile].


    • Luke, I just counted up, and realized that with all my kids, I have started them with 1.5 hrs/day of school for K, and unwittingly increased their work by 1/2 hr for every grade level. Interesting!

  8. glutenfree4goofs

    Thanks Karen! I love this. Sometimes I’m such a perfectionist and I beat myself up about the things I don’t/can’t do and then I’m mad that I’m beating myself up and then I’m worse because I know I’m letting my environment be Lord and then it spirals and I believe the lies the devil tells about how I used to be more organized before kids and a husband (breeding resentment) or how the family next door is x y and z (breeding more resentment). Ugh! I’d love to have everything in order all the time. I live for tidy and organized but it isn’t realistic and in the end if I get to be the woman God wants me to be I bet it will have little to do with a swept floor! 🙂

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