My Biggest Homeschooling Challenge

The other day, someone wrote to ask me about my biggest homeschooling challenge. I referred to it in a post I wrote about five years ago: Why We Homeschool. I thought my response to Barb might resonate with other passionate, intense homeschooling women who frequently fight their high expectations, so I wanted to share it here. The image at left is meant to be humorous and NOT indicative of our homeschooling days!


Dear Barb,

Hello! Thanks for reading! I had to go back and read that post from five years ago–and that’s what took me so long! (Finding time is a big challenge!) I hope you’re doing well, as is your family! And homeschooling is thriving! You asked about my “biggest” challenge.

My biggest challenge. Yes! My biggest challenge is overcoming myself. Homeschooling forces me to overcome MYSELF. My inherent tendencies. My little hang-ups. My natural (and developed) habits. These children are people, and they’re amazing! But (at least mine) they weren’t born neat and tidy. They weren’t born quiet. They weren’t born believing that mom is right. They weren’t born wanting to do their work. Mine weren’t born knowing how to express themselves. And so on and so forth.

And I feel like I WAS born to be neat and tidy. I WAS born to be tranquil. I do think I’m always right (ha!). I was born a worker. I’m super expressive and make friends easily. I’m sure I wasn’t born this way (Haha! Right!? Or was I?…), but it sure feels like it now! I am a perfectionist set in my ways who likes to succeed. (Oh, my. That sounds horrible.) So forcing myself to step back patiently, yet persistently, to reach our goals without squashing who each child-person was (is)—was (is) super hard! I want to jump in like a Tasmanian devil homeschooling mommy and whip them all into the little beings that they are to be. But, alas, I know in my heart that’s not possible or desirable.

Learning to cut myself out of the picture, while still pushing the children so they could (can) bloom, grow, and succeed in the future all alone without me (and my husband), was (is) really hard. Dealing with the chaos. Noise. Mess. Stubbornness.  Lazy bone-ness. The inability to be able to share what’s on their minds/hearts because they’re still learning feelings and words for them. Accepting the mundaneness that sets in when the thrill of all the new learning and teaching is over. (Because homeschooling is exciting at first, with all the new things to learn and ways to get your child to learn. But then after a time, 90% of the day, you kind of go on cruise control. You’ve got it mostly figured out– how the day needs to go and how your children learn. Then, it gets a little mundane. And you kind of question what you’re doing.) Are you really making a difference in the world like you meant to back when you were 20?

And there are other hectic, frenetic days. Where nothing goes right at all. And nothing happens the way it’s supposed to. And this goes on for a week or two (or more). And panic sets in because there’s no “good” school. And I feel mad and angry and controlling. Learning to rein that in with love and compassion and a heavy dose of reality checking. (I mean, seriously. In public school, there are tons of days where classes are not structured and linear. Snow days. Holidays. Fire drill days. Teacher institute days. Picture days. Substitute teacher days.)

So my challenge is ME. That is it. That is my challenge. It’s not an exciting challenge. It’s not anything risqué or mysterious. But it’s my biggest homeschooling challenge. Controlling me, my fears, my perfectionism, and my expectations! Letting my children become amazing adults on their own terms and not mine, while still educating them according to the standards I think they’ll need to have a job they excel at and enjoy one day. (So I can finally sit around and eat bon bons.)

Hope you have a great weekend and that you love homeschooling as much as I do!

Terri F

Image attribution: Hans Holbein [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Page:

8 thoughts on “My Biggest Homeschooling Challenge

  1. kasenyabogg

    Loved your post! It’s exactly how i feel most days; conflicted, passionate, often overwhelmed (quiet and tidiness are so NICE) protective, demanding and bit by bit dialling me out and them in. Are you starting to see how their educational experience is making is making any differences yet? Because they’re are always “signs” along the way to the “long run”.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Hello! Quiet and tidiness are so very nice, aren’t they? 🙂 Alone time is kind of nice too. But I can’t remember what that’s like. Ha!

      You asked: Are you starting to see how their educational experience is making any differences yet?

      I really feel like we’re on a good track! I sure do! In nearly every single area! It has been worth it for us! All of it! My oldest is a freshman and my youngest four-years-old. I’m still not sure if it will matter or not for the youngest ones that we didn’t do so many crafts, attend so many field trips, or have as many playdates (we still have plenty!). I’m waiting to see! But our family is happy, content, likes each other. The kids have each chosen their own extra-curricular paths (each one different!), and I’m very pleased with how our schoolwork is progressing for all! They have outside interests, like politics (eeks) or Lego, and seem to have their own identities. I love that I am here by their sides to cheer them on and coach them through fear. I wish I had had someone to do that for me! So many limitations set due to fear for me. 😦

      Did that answer your question? Or not?

      Take care and best wishes!

  2. Been There with Kids

    As we have been considering homeschooling, I have been thinking this same thing. I’m a type A perfectionist. I become obsessed with things. I worry about what that would mean for my girls. I have calmed considerably since becoming a mother & I think that is of benefit to this situation. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in considering myself my biggest challenge. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Britt Laux

    If this isn’t the truth… And I have to stop myself from repeating learned public school expectations. That’s the point of homeschooling!


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