Does homeschooling feel hard right now? Exhausting, overwhelming, and monotonous? The kind of hard that feels like you’re dragging through the days? Sinking in quicksand? Do you want to give up and throw the towel in? What in the world are you supposed to do when you want to quit homeschooling!?
if you’ve found yourself wondering what to do when you want to quit homeschooling, you are not alone!
I SO get it!
In my early years, I doubted my decision to homeschool A LOT. Like, constantly. As a new homeschooler, I hadn’t yet stockpiled years of experience to reflect upon when things got tough. This meant that I often felt unqualified and incapable of homeschooling my children well.
When my daughter struggled with learning to read, I thought my teaching style might be to blame.
When my son wasn’t interested AT ALL in an activity I’d arranged, I figured the materials and curriculum I’d chosen simply weren’t working.
Self-doubt, insecurity, and overwhelm surfaced frequently.
I often thought that I was the problem.
And this led me to the conclusion that maybe homeschooling wasn’t the best decision for my family after all.
On days when nothing seemed to be going right, I dreamed of quitting.
I desperately wanted a seasoned homeschooler to look at me and say, “Here’s what to do when you want to quit homeschooling!”
Now, I’ll admit that I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person. And I’m often guilty of falling into catastrophic thinking.
All it took was a few tough reading lessons and I doubted my teaching abilities altogether.
When I felt uninspired, I figured I wasn’t providing enough enrichment for my children.
This left me wondering if quitting was the best option for my family.
Because what I really needed, more than anything, was support, sympathy, and reassurance from someone who had been where I currently was and who had survived. Someone to offer advice and let me know what changes I could make to ease the burden.
But the other homeschoolers I knew were in their early years just like me. I didn’t yet have a mentor with years of homeschooling and acquired wisdom under her belt.
And yet, despite the insecurities, overwhelm, and self-doubt, I kept plodding along.
These ‘whys’ included things like lots of family time due to the flexible nature of homeschooling. The ability to sleep in, travel during cheaper off-season times, think outside of the box, explore our own interests, autonomy, creativity, and time to explore.
These ‘whys’ were really important to our family, and homeschooling allowed us to prioritize these things.
I didn’t want to sacrifice any of our ‘whys’!
Now, as much as I’d love to tell you that I discovered a magic solution and never dreamed of quitting ever again, I’m afraid that’s not the case.
I know… bummer.
The reality is that my years of homeschooling have been full of ups and downs. There have been highs and lows and I’ve had plenty of days where I have wanted to quit.
But I began to recognize that instead of quitting, what I really needed to do was take a break.
Sounds simple, right?
But how often do we jump into dramatic, catastrophic thinking and opt to make a huge life change when what we really need is a break to simply rest up and gain some perspective?
If you’re anything like me, the answer is A LOT!
So the net time you feel like you want to quit homeschooling because you’re feeling insecure, overwhelmed, and exhausted, here’s what I want you to do:
what to do when you want to quit homeschooling:
Step #1 – Do a brain dump
Grab a piece of paper, your laptop, or your phone and get all of those nagging, relentless thoughts down and OUT of your head!
Consider the following questions:
Are you currently getting enough sleep?
Are you getting daily activity?
How is your water intake?
What do your mornings look like?
Are your homeschooling expectations unrealistic?
How is your homeschooling support?
Do you need to outsource more?
These questions are all directly related to self-care which is simply your overall health and wellness. So consider how your current physical, mental, and spiritual health are and consider ways you can improve your overall self-care
Do a brain dump!
Step #2 – Let someone you trust know you’re struggling
Think of someone in your life that you love and trust who supports your decision to homeschool. Your spouse, a dear friend, a fellow homeschooler… someone you feel safe enough with to let them know that you’re struggling.
Then talk with them about what you came up with during your brain dump and the answers to the questions listed above.
Reach out to a supportive loved one that you can lean on during this tough time.
Step #3 – Take an intentional break
I’d suggest a full week.
Set the math curriculum to the side, abandon language arts for the week, and focus on rest and enjoyment.
Do your best to let go of any “shoulds”, “have-tos”, or fears running around in your mind. Instead, focus on incorporating things you sincerely enjoy throughout the week.
I promise you that taking an impromptu week off from homeschooling will in no way wreak havoc on your overall homeschooling success.
So do it! Take a well-deserved break!
Step #4 – Identify ways you can outsource
Are you currently attempting to do WAY TOO MUCH?
I know that during my early years of homeschooling, and at times since, I certainly have! Trying to be everything to everyone while managing all of the homeschooling, housework, and errands is a recipe for serious burnout.
And yet we often find it so difficult to admit that we can’t do it all, (whatever “all” even means!)
So get honest with yourself…
If you can afford to have someone clean your house twice a month, DO IT!
If you can order groceries to be delivered to your house, GO FOR IT!
Sign up for a couple of online classes. Find a tutor to help with an especially challenging subject. Let your spouse know you need some time each week to spend with your friends. Prioritize taking a class at the gym. Grab coffee weekly with a friend.
Just start SOMEWHERE!
Begin by identifying ONE way you can start outsourcing today!
Step #5 – Look for ways to laugh
Homeschooling can feel really serious sometimes. I mean we’re taking on the huge task of managing our child’s education!
But guess what?
When we allow ourselves to admit we can’t “do it all”, then ask for support from loved ones, take intentional breaks, and identify ways we can outsource to lighten our loads, it all starts to feel more doable and MUCH more joyful.
It even frees up space to laugh!
What shows can you watch? What funny podcasts or audiobooks can you listen to? Who is someone you always end up giggling with?
Incorporate as many joyful, laughter-inducing activities into your life as you can and feel yourself lighten up!
I know how challenging homeschooling can be. I also firmly believe that it’s not the right path for every single family. It also isn’t necessary to decide to homeschool and then feel like you can’t EVER choose an alternative way to educate your children.
What I’m trying to say is that YOU’RE NOT STUCK!
I know plenty of people who homeschooled their children for a year and then began attending a traditional school. Other families have homeschooled through middle school and then their children went to high school. Some kids have gone to school most of their lives and then opted to homeschool in their teens.
Again, you’re NOT stuck and if you decide that homeschooling is simply not working, that is perfectly fine. There is nothing wrong with you, you haven’t failed, and there is no reason to feel guilty!
But I also know that oftentimes what’s needed instead of quitting, is the simple act of taking a break.
Because we all need time to reflect, rest, seek support, delegate some of our responsibilities, and enjoy time for laughter.
So the next time you feel like you want to quit homeschooling, follow these 5-steps and practice being kind to yourself. And feel free to reach out anytime! I’m always here to offer encouragement!
Wishing you clarity, rest, and inspiration for your journey!