homeschool mom who wants to quit, rubbing her temples with eyes closed

Inside: As a homeschool mom, you are absolutely going to have days when you want to quit. When you do, read this before you start filling out the enrollment papers.

It starts when you drive by a school randomly one day, and it all comes flooding back to you: the smell of fresh pencils and crayons, the joy of a new backpack, and fond memories of a new school year.

School couldn’t have been that bad, right? Not if I loved it so much?

Then your best friend mentions her older kids start school next week. She will only have her two-year-old at home…five blessed, quiet days a week.

Gosh, that sounds wonderful. You quickly wipe the wistful look off your face and try to remind yourself of all the school things you were jumping up and down to miss out on: the homework, the paperwork, carpooling, drop-off and pick-up, volunteering, catering to someone else’s schedule, the guilt when you drop your kids off late (again).

But it’s just not doing the trick.

Sometimes, It Feels Like Homeschooling Isn’t Working


The next day, your kids are having one of those days. You know the ones – the days when no one can get along about anything. They even fight in line at McDonald’s – McDonald’s! When you’re about to serve their faces nuggets with packets of sugar sauce and blessedly salty french fries.

McDonald’s was supposed to make the day better, not worse. When you see the grin on the face of the man behind you, you have to laugh out loud because really, what else can you do? Well, you could yell, but you’re in public. Not worth it.

A week later, you’re back at homeschooling, and you wonder whether anything you’re saying is getting through.

Your son gets up and walks away mid story, says he’ll listen to the rest later.

Your daughter still can’t spell worth a darn.

And you just realized that your almost four-year-old doesn’t know how to write his freakin’ name – all your husband’s previously unfounded fears are coming alive right in front of you, all with an adorable grin on his face.

That night, you see a job opportunity flash across your Facebook news feed.

Your friend’s company is hiring and needs someone with skills just like yours. You could even work from home! You light up for a second, and then come back to reality.

Oh yeah, you homeschool. You’re not going to be doing anything like that for say, the next ten years at least?

homeschool mom and daughter walking on the beach in winter

The Real Question You Might Be Asking (That’s Not” Should I Quit Homeschooling?”)

Days and thoughts like these really add up, until on one really low day, you find yourself really tempted to quit homeschooling. But the question that’s on your mind isn’t really, “Should I quit homeschooling?”, but “Will it be worth it?”

Twenty years from now, are you really going to look back and believe that the sacrifice was all worth it?

And deep down, all of us homeschool moms are more than just a little afraid that the answer will be, “No.”

We’re afraid that we’ll cross the finish line and realize we made the wrong choice. Even though all parenting is faith anyways, what if our kids resent it?

What if they missed out on opportunities they could have had? What if we regret our choice?

What if. What if. What if.

The Movie Every Homeschool Mom Should Watch

Right about now, you need to put the kids to bed early, crash on the couch and watch Mr. Holland’s Opus.

I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count. I grew up with parents as teachers who needed the pick me up at least once a year if not twice…ok, three times. If you think you need a reminder that what you’re doing is worth it as a homeschool parent, try being a public school teacher.

If you haven’t seen the movie (and I’ll try not to spoil it too much), it tells the tale of Mr. Holland, a composer turned music teacher.

Teaching was supposed to be a side gig, nothing permanent. Just something to earn a little money so he could return to composing full-time after a couple of years.

He was going to write the great American symphony that was going to make him rich and famous.

But life happened. Doesn’t it always?

Two years turns into five years turns into ten years.

Composing keeps getting pushed aside for one reason or another, and he ends up pouring the majority of his life into teaching instead. When the unexpected happens, and he is forced to retire, he wonders whether it was all worth it.

So, Is Homeschooling Really Worth it?

When you feel like you might be wasting your life? Mr. Holland’s Opus will remind you that “Maybe your greatest contribution…may not be something you do, but someone you raise” (Andy Stanley).

When you don’t know how you can have the patience for one more lesson? Mr. Holland’s Opus will help you remember that it only takes one encounter, one brief interaction to forever alter a child’s destiny.

When you chafe at the difficult financial sacrifices you’re making? Mr. Holland’s Opus will remind you that money isn’t everything.

And at the very end, you’ll remember all over again that the sacrifices you’re making are not unseen. You are making a difference in the lives of your children – you just can’t see it right now.

It’s just too close.

Your kids? They’re symphonies.

But like every symphony, it definitely doesn’t sound like one when it’s being penned. Each instrument’s part has to be added, layer by layer. But every single note is a necessary part of that symphony. Only after it’s all done, only when you listen to the whole thing, can you hear the genius of it all.

And that’s after hours and months, sometimes even years, of work.

So put down your composer pencil for just a minute. Get out the chocolate – the good stuff you hide in your closet – and watch the movie (just get it already – you can thank me a few months from now when you want to watch it again).

Oh, and don’t forget tissues. I’m not a crier, and I cry. Every. Single. Time.

Then wipe your eyes, take a deep breath, and commit to pick up that pencil again. Remind yourself why you decided to do this crazy homeschooling thing in the first place.

You’re composing a symphony, homeschool mama. Every note matters. Some notes might sound discordant and completely wrong, right about now.

But when you put those notes with all the rest? I promise, it’ll be an opus, and there will be nothing in the world just like it.

P.S. Know another mom who really needs this right now? Pin it, share it on Facebook, send it in an e-mail!

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  1. I needed to read this today. Our homeschooling year so far has pretty much sucked. I’m going to watch the movie…not tonight, but I am going to watch it!

  2. Thanks I was about to give up. My son is NINE and doesn’t write his name (can but WON’T) and has about two outbursts every day. If he had his way, he’d been in the lake 365 days a year, I can see the obvious thought but we have freezing temps from October to May, so that’s NOT an option. I have been praying for enough self control for him to at least do half time at the private Christian school, but they can’t handle and neither can the public school due to his meltdowns. It’s cheaper to home school, my husband says, but I have been pitifully TERRIBLE at it. I had great success with our daughter until she went to high school and she graduated tenth in her class and in the top ten percent in the state and country. But my son is a totally different and really hard By the time his older sister was his age, she was writing short stories, essays, book reports, doing paintings, knew most hymns, had read 90% of the Bible, was doing simple Algebra, was practically an expert at rock identification, cow, cat, dog, and other animal breeds, understood human anatomy and physiology and “sex ed” from PERSONAL STUDY, had read Moby DIck and the unabridged version of Robinson Crusoe for the first time, and was cooking meals, mending her clothes, crocheting,and a mild temperament and could babysit children. My son is the polar opposite. He failed first grade at a private school, though he got an A in music (singing or instrument playing runs through both sides of our family), he has daily rages twice a day, doesn’t fully communicate though he’s shown amazing improvement over two years ago, and has the basic maturity of a 4-5 year old and the mental understanding of a 7 year old, though sometimes with his mood swings that seems to go back to age 2-3! Other times he will say something profound now and then that shows us his understanding is NOT REALLY age 2-4, like the “experts” in our lives claim. He really benefitted from being in school part time but they want 10,000-20,000 per year while at even the public school they say he HAS to have a FULL TIME attendant and being in SPECIAL ED. and that would cost us at least several thousand per year, even if its not 10,000 or more and they would ask for him to be put on meds, if “appropriate”. If appropriate? They pretty much said they would demand it by what they said. We feel like we’re between a rock and a hard place. Shell out LOTS of money and do 25-50% at home anyway, or accept drugs and indoctrination and personal blame for having such a child and whatever else they can think of that I’ve “done wrong” (believe me, for me that would be the EASY PART!) and permanent special ed with the possibility that they won’t really try to teach him anything. I would PREFER the private school with teaching at home, since that seems to work best, but the private school wants lots of money for trying and possibly also by now wants him “on something”. I guess what I am really asking for is PRAYER more than anything. I also had Babiosis and Lyme disease last year and am about to turn 50, so I am not as spry as I used to be. I am working on it but it only adds to all the difficulties. It would seem like a MIRACLE if my son could attend Christian school and I could volunteer there and work a part time to supplement OR be able to teach him like I taught our daughter at home. And some time alone to CLEAN the HOUSE and organize things like the rest of my family likes would be AWESOME, but I NEVER really get to, because I am always in charge of SOMEONE. If not him for an hour or so, then I am working with my mother in law on the weekend 1 or 2 outings. It hurts that I am not like my mother in law was, or my grandmothers, who either worked and could get things done at home and raise kids at the same time, or could home school perfectly well, like some of my friends and make some money for the husbands at the same time. I find myself these days barely able to even homeschool and keep up with just the laundry, beds, meals and dishes!!

    1. Author

      I am so sorry life is a struggle right now. Praying! Battling illness is so tough, even without all the challenges you mentioned. I know several people with chronic Lyme’s and it’s no joke. One recommendation I do have would be to point you to Brave Writer. I love everything they have to offer! You can start with Julie’s videos on the Brave Writer Channel and everything else you can find HERE. Facebook has proved to be such a great support for me through meeting other like-minded homeschool families and trouble-shooting different challenges. The other is a book recommendation: Different: The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him. It’s by Sally Clarkson – I love her and she homeschooled all her kids all the way through and one of her kids – Nathan – had some significant learning disabilities and other struggles. They wrote this book together now that he is on the other side and a self-sufficient, successful adult. I hope it encourages you today!

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