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Why Homeschooling Is Difficult: Our Homeschool Experience

Charlotte is a homeschooling mother of two children who has first-hand experience with both the hardships and joys of homeschooling.

Art Done in Our Homeschooling Curriculum at Home

Art Done in Our Homeschooling Curriculum at Home

Can I Homeschool?

I'm a homeschooling mother of two children. I was nervous about homeschooling. Many thoughts ran through my head.

  • What if I fail at this?
  • What if my children don't learn anything?
  • What will my in-laws think? (My in-laws are difficult.)
  • What if the police or child protective services come knocking at the door, asking weird questions?
  • What am I forgetting?

I was a mess. I had to mentally return and ask myself why I started to homeschool in the first place.

Why I Started Homeschooling

My son wasn't learning much in first grade because his peers fought too much. The teacher was more preoccupied with breaking up fights and disciplining the offenders than with teaching. I volunteered in her class, and many children didn't know how to write numbers or letters or do any basic math. My son was ahead, and he wasn't learning.

My daughter had been accused of having ADHD in third grade, and the principal threatened that the only way she would get extra tutoring is if I had her diagnosed and medicated. That was not going to happen because of the extreme dangers of ADHD medications, especially on young hearts.

Our public school hid experimental, failed mid-term scores that showed a lack of progress in certain areas. Schools sometimes 'pad' scores by having the class redo failed assignments to earn a higher grade.

I began to make a case against the school. The principal apologized for hiding test scores that qualified my daughter for tutoring, and I always got the 'stink eye' from that principal afterwards. My daughter still struggled in math, and it was because the teacher and school hid mid-year test scores. They said that an above-average score is 52% or above. That is abhorrent.

I was appalled that their standards were set so low, and I felt, no, I KNEW, that I could do better for my children.

Acellus Helps You Customize Your Child’s Curriculum

I felt that my children were a bit 'ahead' in many areas because of their exposure to ABC Mouse when they were younger. It was an app that was quite educational and customized to the student's age. The app had fun in-game activities that issued tickets to earn prizes for their virtual classroom.

At ages 8 and 9, my children were still very much into tablets, electronics, and computers, so I decided to try a few educational apps on their Android devices. I experimented with many of those apps—some were great but several bombed.

The app that was the absolute best for my children was Acellus, an app that tracks student hours, attendance, and scores, and breaks everything up into semesters when used in Homeschool Mode. The price was extremely reasonable, and the classes cover everything from kindergarten to college preparation.

Acellus shows videos of teachers instructing on grade-level-appropriate subjects. Each teacher presents questions that need to be answered. Each subject has a different teacher.

The beauty is that Acellus allows a homeschooling child to study at a lower grade level or learn at a higher grade level. I had my daughter taking 3rd-grade math to catch up on everything she missed. I noticed that my son was a bit behind in spelling and phonics, and I was able to customize his curriculum by adding helpful supplementary material.

Other Helpful Apps:

  • In addition to Acellus, I gave them workbooks that I found online on Amazon and Lakeshore Learning. These workbooks included cursive practice, journal writing, math, word ladders, grammar, and more. They each have about six workbooks to work on before or after Acellus.
  • On their tablets, I added other beneficial apps for part of their homeschool curriculum. I added meditation apps for both, Monster Words and Teach My Monster to Read to help my son with spelling.
  • My daughter has an art app that shares a new piece of art every day, and she also has a diary app so she can record how she's feeling.
  • I also bought more Lakeshore products that helped, such as the multiplication machine and blocks to help with place value.

Why Homeschooling Is Difficult for Us

This is my first year officially homeschooling, and it has not always been a success for us, for these reasons.

  • I have had to hide homeschooling from my father-in-law and mother-in-law, as they both hate me because of my skin color. They wanted their son to marry a caucasian woman, and since he didn't, I earned the brunt of their insults, schemes, and threats. My husband mentioned once, to his father, that he was thinking about homeschooling. The father, of course, said it to the wife and she threatened to call child protective services and mention that homeschooling was child abuse. I lived in fear in my first months of homeschooling because of her threats. We had to tell them that we enrolled the children in public school, even though it's not true. I hate 'living a lie,' but it's what's best for the safety of the children and our family at this time.
  • Before homeschooling, I had so many amazing plans. I thought I had to be scheduled, organized, and have everything planned. I thought that on Fridays, we would learn about a new artist, and then paint on a canvas in the style of that artist. It worked out that way for three weeks, then life happened. My children's biological father came into town and other events occurred, and those events flushed my great homeschooling ideas down the porcelain throne.
  • I had to do a massive amount of research to find out how to legally homeschool in Texas. I signed up for two leagues that fight for homeschool justice and provide a lawyer if the police or child protective services show up.

Why We're Still Trying. . .

Even though most of my best-laid plans didn't happen, some of them stuck, and the children are thriving because of it. I am blessed to say that my children are now in the routine of doing their schoolwork as soon as they get up and have breakfast. I created a breakfast bar in the kitchen with many healthy snacks and drinks that they can help themselves to. When they eat, they start their work in whatever order fancies them, and they take about four hours to finish everything.

Can Parents Who Work Also Homeschool?

Granted, when I was working 40–60 hours a week and had no choice but to work and send the kids off to that awful school. Now, my supportive husband has made it possible for me to homeschool the kids.

On the side, I write for HubPages and have started my art business selling resin beach art and oil, acrylic, and pastel artwork. I also did some delivery services for Favor, Postmates, and Joy Run for extra cash on days that my children would spend at their grandmother's home.

Sometimes I miss the long drive to work, listening to music, and accomplishing high-intensity career goals. Sometimes I miss chatting it up with co-workers about water cooler gossip. Sometimes I miss having time to myself. I do appreciate that I have been able to dabble in art more, now that I homeschool. I do appreciate that I can write more, instead of spending so many hours in a confined office space. I also enjoy the fact that I can focus on my Master's degree coursework for college more than I was able to in the past, while my children do their school work. I do appreciate that my children are with me, instead of at a school, especially with all the negative press focused on schools lately in regards to safety and efficacy.

How to Socialize When You Homeschool

Socialization is somewhat of an issue, for me and the children. That’s still something I'm working on, but I forgive myself because it is my first year and it's not fair to be hard on myself when the children are becoming independent and doing so well in homeschooling.

I tried socializing the kids through church, but the church children were unkind. I tried enrolling them in scout troops, but they are very exclusive and have a 'clique' mentality. I saw one of the older kids bullying other children by hitting them over the head with rolled-up paper, and none of the adults in charge addressed it. So again, socialization is still something we are working on, but it's something that I (at the age of 32) struggle with myself.

Reasons I Love Homeschooling

  • Customized Curriculum. The best part about homeschooling is being able to customize your child's learning experience instead of throwing them into a one-size-fits-all machine. Different children learn in different ways, and they each have individual, unique needs, and interests. Homeschooling allowed me to focus on the areas that my children are excelling in, interested in, and struggling with.
  • Field Trips. Homeschooling allows me to take the children on whatever field trip feels good that week. Do they want to go to the science museum or the botanical gardens?
  • Flexible Schedules. My children are to the point where they wake up at any time they want, and it's usually between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the latest. They are rested, relaxed, and ready to go at their own pace. I do not miss waking up at 5:30 in the morning just to have the kids fed, dressed, and ready for class at 7:30. Those days are over for me.

I am enjoying homeschooling, and my children are benefiting from it in countless ways. They are creative, inquisitive, and always motivated to learn. I feel that homeschooling has inspired them to be themselves. Public schools forced them into a mold and dared to say that ADHD is the automatic diagnosis when one doesn't fit into societal standards. In homeschooling, we enjoy ourselves, we get up from the chair and be silly. We do homework on the couch, on the bed, or on the kitchen table.

In homeschool, we can be ourselves, and it's a beautiful thing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Charlotte Doyle