10 Things About Homeschooling I Didn’t Expect
Now that we’ve been homeschooling for a bit, I can tell you that we’ve certainly experienced some things about homeschooling I didn’t expect. Whether you’re considering homeschooling or are a seasoned homeschooling parent, there’s a good chance that some of these things could apply to your situation. Let’s go through those experiences together, shall we?
When we first started homeschooling, I was both scared out of my mind and excited at the same time. Even though I was a teacher in a previous life, we were entering a new time in our lives that was full of opportunity and possibilities. Would we be successful? Would we fail? Would the kids go right back to public school or would they thrive in the homeschooling experience so much that they’d decide to continue doing so?
I’d love to hear about your homeschooling experiences – your successes and the learning experiences. The things you anticipated and the things you didn’t quite expect to happen. Definitely leave a comment after you read through the things about homeschooling I didn’t expect!
Also – a disclaimer. In writing this article (or even publishing this blog) I am not saying that somehow homeschool families are better than families that choose more typical forms of schooling. This is just my experience and I’m sharing it with you.
10 Things About Homeschooling I Didn’t Expect
1. The Amount of Money We’d Spend
When I pulled my kids from public school, one of the first things I thought was “yay! No more fundraisers!” Since we wouldn’t be dropping $60 at the book fair twice a year, or buying overpriced wrapping paper, or paying for logo school apparel (my boys had some amazing school spirit and wanted to represent) I seriously thought we’d be saving money by homeschooling. Ha!
Don’t get me wrong, homeschooling can certainly be budget friendly but we don’t seem to be saving any money homeschooling vs. sending to public school. The fundraisers were replaced by homeschool curriculum purchases and we’ve spent a good bit on our own homeschool field trips.
It’s ok. We figure out a way to make it all work. There are certainly ways to take homeschool field trips on a budget and there are plenty of free & low-cost educational opportunities out there (like free books and ways to earn free pizza!), but, in our experience anyways, homeschooling is not necessarily easier on the wallet than public school.
2. Family Support…or Lack Thereof
Want to find out what your family really thinks of you? Homeschool your kids. *insert eye roll*
Every family will, of course, be different. Deciding to go against the grain and chose an alternative form of educating our kids really gave us some insight as to who our “through thick and thin” family members are. Not everyone is open to atypical educational options and some seem to be willing to risk relationships to voice those opinions. We’ve made our choice and they’ve made theirs – everyone is different and that’s ok.
You and your kids may be approached with questions like “will they ever go back to regular school?” or “how will they socialize?!” or even”do they know their multiplication facts,” but don’t let that keep you from homeschooling. Prepare yourself with some
snarky appropriate answers ahead of time if you’d like.
Like I said, every family is different. What works for your family might not be what other family members would choose to do and that’s ok.
On that note, as you start (or continue) homeschooling, keep in mind that family isn’t always blood. This brings me to #3…
3. Awesome Friends!
We do still keep in touch with some friends my kids (and I) had while they attended public school, but I can tell you that we have made some amazing friendships within our local homeschooling community. I never would’ve thought I’d see a group of kids, with ages ranging from 6 to 14, happily playing and learning together, but it is totally possible!
Finding a homeschool community has made our homeschooling experience pretty amazing. We get together for lessons and field trips, the kids have a blast playing together and are genuinely invested in forming and growing friendships.
In addition to my kids having new friends, I have new friends, too! It’s so nice to have a group of fellow homeschooling parents to bounce ideas off of and and share experiences with.
4. Quality of Life
Before homeschooling, we were BUSY. On a typical school day, we’d wake up at like 6:30 am so the kids had a chance to eat breakfast, get dressed, and take care of “hygiene stuff.” I’d drop them off to school and then would rush back home so I could get some work done (I published a different blog at the time), eat lunch, and shower before driving back to school to wait in a car line to pick them up. Then, we’d rush to some after-school activity before heading home to make and eat dinner, do homework, and spend some time with my husband before the kids had to take showers and head to bed early so they could start the cycle over again the next day.
It was exhausting. I’m tired just thinking about those days.
Now? We wake up when our bodies are ready and get school work done on our own time. I can get some work done while the boys are doing their independent lessons. Some days we have activities to go to, some days we just stay home in our pjs. After school, the kids are free to explore their own interests or play outside for hours on end (yes, even in the cold – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad outfits!). We’ll eat dinner together and then the boys will go to sleep around 10 or so after we have family time.
Our quality of life now is SO much better than before we started homeschooling and that is one of the more surprising things about homeschooling I didn’t expect.
One of the biggest myths of homeschooling is that the kids aren’t socialized. Every child is different but, when it comes to my experience, my kids are FAR from missing out on opportunities to socialize. Between all the online & in-person classes they take, field trips, and even running an errand here & there, I’d argue that my kids have MORE opportunities to socialize now that they aren’t in a classroom for 6 hours a day.
In addition to being well socialized with their peers, I’m finding that my kids have more opportunities now to socialize with adults and kids of different ages as well. This has resulted in some pretty well-rounded kids who can carry on a conversation with practically any human being of any age.
6. Finding Myself
Yes, homeschooling is more about the kids, but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t grown to be more comfortable in my own skin these past few years.
I grew up in an…interesting…home. I was taught to be a people-pleaser and wasn’t encouraged to have my own voice or stand up for myself. I’m certainly still a work in progress (aren’t we all?), but homeschooling my kids has definitely made me more confident in my decisions. After all, if I want to raise confident kids, I should do my best to give them an example of a confident parent, right?
7. Increased Sibling Bond
Quite possibly one of my favorite things about homeschooling I didn’t expect is how the bond between my kids has only increased. Sure, siblings do have their quarrels here and there, but my boys are 100% best friends and I credit that with homeschooling. If I had kept them in public school, they wouldn’t be spending as much time with each other and wouldn’t have such a strong bond.
8. Independent Kids
I thought my kids were pretty independent before we started homeschooling, but they have since grown in SO many ways. If they set their sights on a goal, they work hard until they achieve that goal. If they run into an issue of some sort, they’ll look through our books or search online for answers.
Sure, some of it comes with age, but I certainly don’t remember being so independent when I was little. I love that they’re confident enough to trust in their own abilities.
9. The Exhaustion
I mean, I’ve been tired pretty much since my kids were born, but “homeschooling parent” tired is a different level of tired. Not only am I doing what I can to take care of things at home (I will admit that my husband takes care of the laundry and dishes!) and run my own businesses, but I also get to figure out the education of my kids. On top of that, I still get to worry about society possibly thinking they’re not learning “enough” or that I’m not “good enough” to be both their mom and their teacher. Stigmas, I’m telling you.
Let it be known that I am not complaining. Now that we have been in the homeschooling world for a few years, we’re happy that we’re here. But still…it’s exhausting.
Fun fact: ever been called out for “looking tired” on TikTok? I have! Oy. Keyboard warriors, I swear.
10. Wardrobe Change
Before we started homeschooling, my wardrobe definitely wasn’t fashion runway worthy, but let’s just say that my wardrobe includes more elastic now than it did before. My collection of lounge-wear has definitely increased and my footwear is more flats than heals. I dress more for comfort and function and am more comfortable in my own skin. As with independence, I’m willing to bet that wardrobe changes also come with age, but I’m just saying…homeschooling was a big influencer.
And that, my friends, are ten things about homeschooling I didn’t expect. Heck, if you told me 10 years ago that I’d now be homeschooling my kids instead of teaching in a public school, I would’ve thought you were nuts. Life has a way of surprising us, though, huh?
Until next time, stay safe & enjoy quality time with your family,
Elizabeth Dukart is a proud born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.
Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.
When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!
Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!