Homeschooling Expectations vs. Reality

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I can still remember being a brand new homeschool mom.  I was terrified, excited, and overwhelmed all at the same time.  Looking back, my idea of homeschooling was very different from the reality of the situation.  I was frightened of things that are simple, and wasted time worrying about things that turned out to be unimportant. Then the first year hit me like a wrecking ball, along with a healthy dose of reality.  What homeschooling expectations did I have that weren’t true?

What homeschooling expectations did you have? Did they end up being reality?

Expectation:  The teaching will be the hard part.

I can vividly remember being in fear over teaching Algebra, despite the fact that I was only homeschooling a kindergartener.  (We will just say I was planning ahead, instead of saying that I was crazy.)  Reality –  The teaching is an easy part for me.  Sure, I have a struggling reader, and there have been days that have ended in tears for us both.  However, for the most part, the teaching is open and go.  If I don’t know the answers, there are many resources available for me to find it.  The teaching is the least of my worries now.

Expectation:  You will hit the books eight hours a day.

In my head, my homeschool day would be set up just like the public school system.  I imagined that my little “students” would spend a full eight hours a day with their noses buried in books.  Fast forward to the first day of kindergarten.  My daughter finished in about an hour.  I was so sure that I missed something vital.  Reality – A homeschooling day NEVER equals a public school day, at least not in our house.  My 5th grader spends somewhere from 3 – 5 hours on school, depending on her focus and the required projects for the day.  My second grader spends even less time.  Time goes faster without bathroom breaks and a teacher having to explain a concept to 30 students. When we are ready, we move on and when we aren’t we slow down.  We can work at our own pace.

Expectation:  You will have trouble being the “teacher.”

Maybe from your “student’s” perspective, it does take a while to see you as the teacher.  However, I usually don’t have a problem being the teacher.  Reality – The mom thing is the hard part now.  For example, I once attempted a unit study of ocean life while we were at the beach. Yeah, that sounds great, doesn’t it? Only it wasn’t because we were on vacation.  No one wants to talk about what’s living in the sand while you are on vacation.  I have a MUCH harder time taking off the teacher hat than I do putting it on.  Sometimes I have to try extra hard just to be a mom.  

Expectation: Your kids will be weird.

Weirdness is the stigma that we most likely associate with homeschooling.  What if our kids end up unsocialized?  What if they grow up to be strange?  This fear kept me awake at night before we started.  I was so sure that I was going to turn my kindergartner into a gothic loner who had no real-world experience.  Seriously, those were my thoughts in kindergarten.  Reality – Will your kids be weird?  I honestly don’t know.  Are you weird?  Then they may be.  In my opinion, kids reflect their parents.  I’ve seen some super odd homeschooled kids.  However, I’ve also seen some super weird public school kids.  My girls probably don’t stand a chance with us as parents, and we are okay with that.  I don’t want my kids to “fit in” with society anyway.

Expectation:  You will need unlimited patience.

I hear this all the time, “I would never have the patience to homeschool.”  Yeah, me either.  I just have a calling to homeschool and God provides the rest.  I will admit that since we started this homeschooling gig, I have grown some in the patience department.  However, my kids have also learned what I expect, so that makes it easier.  Reality – You don’t need unlimited patience, but you do need persistence.  Homeschooling is like anything else; practice makes perfect.  Your patience will grow over the years.  The key to homeschooling is just to keep going.  There will be days when you want to quit.  It will be your job to push through the hard days.  Persistence is an essential character trait for homeschool moms.  The patience will come in time.

Expectation:  Your kids will be the only students.

When we started, I never imagined the change in ME.  I knew from the beginning that my kids would be learning and growing, but I never considered how much I would change.  Reality – You will learn more than they ever will.  Sure, they may gain book knowledge, but you will start to see the world through the eyes of a child.  You will learn that you are capable of more than you ever thought possible.  You will grow and stretch and learn.  In the end, you will be a better, stronger person for undertaking this homeschooling gig.

What homeschooling expectations did you have in the beginning?  Did you find them to be true or was the reality much different?



2 thoughts on “Homeschooling Expectations vs. Reality

  1. Deanna Ray

    I was jus saying to another mom considering homeschooling that I have become more patient since homeschooling! I totally agree with your expectations! I have also learned to be more flexible (which is also not one of my strongest charter traits). I know I am doing what God wants for me and my family and continue to learn in our homeschooling journey! Love your site!

    1. Erin Post author

      Thank you so much for the comment. I struggle with flexibility as well. I find it amazing how much we can grow and learn on this journey 🙂