Welcome to the "What's Your Secret Struggle Homeschool Mom?" guest post series. Today, I'm sharing my own struggle with wanting to homeschool my kids, but not wanting to teach. You really can homeschool without teaching!
We are finishing up our eleventh year homeschooling. At year ten, I was done. I was no longer interested in teaching my children, and I felt horribly guilty about it.
I don’t know if I was burned out or lazy or overwhelmed or...fill in the blank. I had no idea what the problem was, I just knew that I was over homeschooling.
When we began homeschooling I had a middle schooler, a high schooler, and a 2-year-old. By year ten, I had a 5th grader and a 1st grader. Our two older children had finished school and moved on to adult life, but I still had the two little ones at home.
My youngest was having a lot of trouble learning to read and nothing I tried seemed to be helping. I had all of these nagging questions and guilt-laden self-talk going on in my head.
Was it my lack of knowledge that was holding him back?
Maybe it was my lack of desire to teach?
The truth is, I’ve always disliked teaching. It’s not my gift.
Let The Search Begin
After talking with my husband, and crying on his shoulder for what seemed like days on end, we decided to look into local private Christian schools. YOWZA!! The cost was way more than we expected and not something that we could really handle.
So, we started toying with the idea of sending them to public school. That really wasn't a great option because I knew our youngest would never make it in a classroom setting. He can’t sit still for more than 5 seconds...literally.
Add hopelessness to all the guilt over not wanting to teach.
I fell on my face before God because, like so many times before, I had exhausted all my own efforts before turning to Him. I didn’t know what else to do but lay there sobbing. I might someday learn that He has the answers and should be my first stop.
I felt trapped...and hopeless...and overwhelmed with guilt.
Guilt Is Debilitating
God showed me that I had to deal with my guilt first. I had to try to understand where it was coming from. After quite a bit of prayer and “Releasing Thoughts” I realized that I was most worried about what other homeschooling moms would think of me. I hadn’t really told a soul how I felt, but God was showing me that it was time to do that.
So, I spoke up, though I was terrified to do so. I admitted that I hated teaching, that I wanted to quit homeschooling, and that I felt horribly guilty about it.
It wasn’t my strength that got those words out.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13
Know what happened?
She didn’t judge me. She asked questions that helped me work through my guilt. She encouraged me in my search for alternatives. She was so understanding. I thank God for that friend. He put her in my path and used her help me exactly when I needed it most.
God continued to be faithful, as He always is, and showed me that there were other options out there that would allow me to continue homeschooling without the burden of teaching the kids myself. Ways that would allow me to be “just mom” for a change.
And let me tell ya, that was an amazing feeling! I so wanted to just be a mom again. To help them with their schoolwork instead of being the primary teacher of all the material.
You Do Have Options
If you want to homeschool, but you don’t WANT to teach, or you think that you CAN’T teach, you’re not alone...I promise. You don’t have to feel trapped or hopeless or frustrated or like your only option is to take out a second mortgage to pay for private school. There are options!
Online Self-Paced Options
This is the option that we chose. We went with BJU Press Distance Learning Online (DLO), and...WE LOVE IT!! It has been the best option for us in this season of life.
With distance learning, students watch videos made by professional teachers and then complete assignments. The videos are not interactive, so if the kids have questions you are the one to answer them. That was perfect for me because I still want to be involved with what my kids are learning, I just don’t want to be the one solely responsible for teaching it to them.
Here are a few distance learning options.
BJU Press Distance Learning Online
I am, obviously, completely biased to BJU DLO because it’s what we chose to use, but it truly is a wonderful option. My kids adore their teachers and look forward to learning from them. I have complete control over the lessons and can even opt to skip lessons completely if I choose. I also have control over grading - I can grade on a curve if I wish, change the grading weights, or even remove or change grades completely. I can also step in at any point and take over the lesson, should I choose to, by using the teacher’s manual instead of the video. It’s an amazing program.
While the Abeka program seemed to be somewhat similar to BJU DLO, there are some major differences. First, the video lessons are in a classroom setting. There’s a teacher and an entire classroom of students on the video. The students ask questions and interact with the teacher throughout the video. Secondly, lesson tracking is done on paper rather than an online portal. And lastly, it was more expensive, and they charge a fee to use their payment plan. It is a sound program that many people use in their homeschool, so check it out.
The Time4Learning online learning system combines interactive lessons, multimedia reinforcement activities, printable worksheets, learning games, and assessments with reports into one homeschool curriculum. We didn’t choose Time4Learning for one simple reason - there are no physical books.
This one was a VERY close second for us. I love the ease and flexibility of this program, and it is very affordable. They provide a lot of features that are wonderful for parents, such as automatic record keeping of attendance and grades, real-time monitoring of what your kids are doing that shows when they might be struggling or need help, and the ability to change courses at any time. For students, they watch a video lesson, answer some follow-up questions, and then watch some additional teaching videos if they struggle with the concepts on the questions. If they don’t, then they don’t see the extra help videos. The reasons we didn’t choose this program were (1) it is a secular program with no mention of God anywhere, and (2) there are no physical books.
Home Learning Institute
This one is a mastery-based program. Students study the topic by reading material onscreen via a slideshow, then they practice what they’ve learned, finally they are tested on the material. They have up to 3 chances to score 70% or higher on the material before they can move on to the next lesson. We didn’t choose this one because (1) I didn’t want my kids reading onscreen all day long, and (2) I don’t consider knowing 70% of the material as mastery of it.
Monarch is the online digital version of Alpha Omega’s Switched-on-Schoolhouse program. With SOS you had to install software to access the course, but Monarch puts everything online and makes it accessible anywhere. It is very affordable and gives you access to 50 online homeschooling courses in five subjects: Bible, history and geography, language arts, math, and science.
Online Public School
Finally, you can do a Google search for “online public school in [your state]” to find any and all freely accessible online public schools available in your state. There are several available in our state. They typically offer live online classes with a state certified teacher. Some even offer field trips and other social gatherings like proms. Most are completely free including books and in some cases a computer to access the live classes. We decided against this option because I wanted to maintain our freedom to school whenever we wanted rather than having to keep a strict schedule of live classes.
There are so many options available for us moms that want to homeschool our kids but don’t want to actually teach.
We don’t have to feel guilty...the simple fact that there are this many options tells me that I am absolutely NOT alone in this.
Is not wanting to teach something that you’ve struggled with? What are you considering for your family, or what did you choose?
More posts in the series:
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