Unschooling in 2015: Our Year
Homeschooling / Unschooling

“I could never homeschool…I need a break from my kids”

One of the first things you hear from other people when they discover you homeschool is ‘I could never do that…’ followed by a few different reasons, one of the most common being ‘…I need a break from my kids’. Then there’s a comment about how I must be some kind of super mum. I hate to ruin your illusions (and maybe I should just shut up now lol) but I’m not a ‘super mum’. I’m just a normal mum. In fact, there’s a lot of time in my day just for doing this…

"I could never homeschool...I need a break from my kids"Yep, relaxing with a cup of tea while the kids play and do their own thing. You might find it hard to believe but even though I have three girls aged 6, 4, and 16 months, I don’t find my life or homeschooling particularly hard, busy, or stressful. Sure, there are times that are busier than others or hard times when some/all of us are sick. But on the whole, things are enjoyable and I rarely get that ‘I need a break now!’ feeling. This is pretty much the opposite of what people expect. It’s not very common to have all of your kids with you 24/7.

So, how can this be the case? Well, just think about it. Most people have their kids in school. Although it seems like school might give you a great break it also often comes with added stress and rushing around. There’s trying to get the kids ready on time in the morning, packing lunches, school drop off, pick-up, homework, getting stuff ready for the next day, etc. That’s a lot of stuff packed into a few hours! So if you’re used to this lifestyle then spending all day long with your kids and never having a break can seem daunting.

The truth is, it’s very different. I don’t have anywhere to be at a certain time in the morning so our days can start as slow as we like. We can do as much or as little as we feel like on any given day. We encourage independence so a lot of the time the kids are doing their own thing with little involvement from me. Our home is set up so that they can access all of their things by themselves and don’t need my help. As far as the homeschooling side of things goes, well we unschool so that makes things a whole lot easier too. There’s no curriculum or timetables or deadlines. We move at our own pace and follow our own interests. Life is simple.

"I could never homeschool...I need a break from my kids"

You know that feeling of freedom you get when you’re on holidays? Well, it’s kind of like that.

So the truth is, I’m no super mum. I just have time on my side. Instead of having less time with all three kids home all the time, I actually feel like I have more. I feel like any spare time I might gain by having kids in school would not be worth it as it would actually be a big sacrifice to our lifestyle. Right now we can really slow down and appreciate life. I also get to enjoy my kids for the best part of their day, instead of being restricted to the morning rush and late afternoon/dinner time madness.

I can’t speak for everyone but I feel like the belief that spending 24/7 with your kids is difficult and unmanageable is yet another homeschooling myth. It’s actually very enjoyable and not that hard. I love spending my days with these little people.

Tell me, do you homeschool? Do you agree or disagree?


Rachel | Racheous - Lovable Learning
May 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Yes! Definitely! I have spare time to myself and the kids are less demanding of my time because they’re not used to having to fight for it.

May 7, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Totally agree! Would love to homeschool but don’t have the option. I am however lucky enough to be able to spend most of his preschool years with him whilst I study. He’s an only child but he’s recently beginning to spend some time playing alone-or we’ll sit and have a ‘break’ together! Just over a year until he goes to school so I’m trying to make the most of these free-flow days now!

May 7, 2015 at 8:45 pm

I unschooled until my oldest really wanted to go to school mid Year 2. We did occasional lessons and had some workbooks lying around for “playing school” but we mostly just chatted. We often had other homeschooled children stay for a day or two. Then she’d go off to their place and they’d play long involved games for hours and hours.
She was up to or ahead of her class mates – except in group sports!

May 7, 2015 at 9:14 pm

I really loved reading this. I’ve been reading your blog and other blogs you pass on and am intrigued with home schooling. My eldest is 8 and he’s in year 3 at school and my youngest leaves his part time montessori nursery and starts full time school in September. I’m always looking forward to school holidays and have always been envious of teachers who “get the best of my kids” while I get the rubbish rushed bits to get them to school and then the rubbish tired bits after all their “best behaviour” has been used up at school. That, of course, is not all of the story but sometimes it feels like it! I have certainly said many times of home schooling that I’d need to be a different person (more patient and motivated) to make it work. Thanks for sharing the real stuff and making it feel a bit more possible.

May 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm

I do love being home with my boys and unschooling!! Our only rushing is trying to get to groups or activities on time (I’m hoping to cut back next year). I do help run our family business so trying to fit in office time can be tricky but my boys are getting to be much more independent now (aside from the baby due this summer).

May 7, 2015 at 9:49 pm

Well, my life is slightly more stressful and we don’t unschool (we are somewhere in the middle) but overall YES!

May 7, 2015 at 10:41 pm

I don’t homeschool but it has always been in the back of my mind. My first four children have always been in school and when asking them, they always prefer the school life, maybe because that’s all they’ve known. But now we’ve got a few surprise additions, 2 1/2 yo twins and one expected to arrive in June. And honestly, I can’t bear the thought of sending them off somewhere. Perhaps it’s my age, I’ve settled a lot more and come to enjoy watching them expand their curiosity.
I certainly appreciate your post which offers me a glimpse of what can be. And a no stress option as opposed to the stuffy institution of schooling.

May 8, 2015 at 12:24 am

I think your life sounds lovely. But the fact is that everyone’s experience won’t be like that. I homeschool (with unschool leanings) my four boys ages 10, 8, 6, and 22 months. And it is HARD – I regularly feel a slightly panicky need to get away. This is because of our unique set of circumstances, personalities, and traits. I have one child with SPD. Another with asynchronous giftedness and anxiety. Another who regularly throws amazing tantrums (and it isn’t the toddler). I myself have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and panic disorder, and I’m significantly introverted. This mix means that although I know we are doing the right thing for our kids and our family (and I know the school lifestyle is hard too – we tried it) our days are not easy. So if someone says “I could never…” She may be right. She may know herself and her kids and their unique blend of challenges and know that being home together all day is not the right choice for them.

    May 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    That sounds really difficult Emily xx

    July 3, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Thank you so much for posting your reply and sharing the uniqueness of your family. School isn’t for everyone, but neither is homeschooling. Thank you for highlighting that there are those of us who know we couldn’t do it, for a variety of reasons. Xx

    November 2, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    @Emily – We’re just going through this decision right now, and there are some aspects of your situation that definitely ring a bell! So hard to know what to do.

      November 3, 2015 at 4:44 am

      Stuart, there are so many angles to the decision! I wish you the best as you assess your own family’s situation. I did want to mention that this year we have found a “hybrid” that is TOTALLY working for us. My three older kids go to two class days each week through a charter school. They are taking “enrichment” classes such as musical theater, Lego League, Hands-On Science, etc…the kinds of things that are hard or impossible for me to do at home. Those two class days give me a much-needed people-break, and time to do toddler things with my little one, and the opportunity to catch up on errands. The other three days we homeschool at home, and I’m much more able to be present and focused with everyone!

      All that to say: sometimes there is a solution that isn’t all-or-nothing! Imagine what would be the very best for your family, and then see if such an option exists!

        December 20, 2015 at 7:13 am

        Yes- we do this too. I have a 6yr old who goes two days for music and art classes. He’s with me for the rest of the time- and is becoming the most magnificent illustrator- he’ll always choose to draw over any screen time. (I’m an artist and his father a designer so no surprises there).
        Keep in mind too- boys are absolutely different creatures.
        Emily; I used to be crippled with anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia- all sorts of accompanying issues. In the end I’m absolutely thriving after major diet changes. “Allergies”. (Poisoned food supply to be honest.) Wheat, dairy and seed oils wrought absolute pandemonium on my mental and physical health. I know nothing at all of your situation of course but I urge you to look in to the paleo diet, maybe even the AIP paleo diet (what I’ve been on for almost four years now) and reap the most amazing mental and physical health for you and your children. I will NEVER go back to standard wheat/dairy etc. diet. Such was the transformation and total lack of depression/anxiety now.

    December 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you for your honesty!

    December 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Yes to this reply Emily! I also have 4 children (3 girls and a boy 11-4 years) and honestly find the homeschooling life very very hard. I also struggle with depression, anxiety, inflammatory sero-negative arthritis and quite introverted too, so as much as I want to be with my kids all day, and can’t imagine being without them if they were in school, I also struggle so much with feeling incredibly overwhelmed and often DO think about school purely so I can get a break occasionally and have some quiet headspace. I have this amazing homeschool “ideal” in my head but our days are rarely like that… I wish they were.

    November 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    This! Homeschooling is one of the hardest things I have ever done. We have two ADHD kids, one on the spectrum, and another one who seems to need constant validation. Parenting all that is exhausting before you add in responsibility for their education.I have sensory issues myself and get overstimulated by all the noise quite frequently. I have anxiety that can spin into depression. It is HARD to be with my kids 24/7. I know it’s right for our family so I continue on. But everyday is a struggle. A lot of days I want nothing more than to run away!😂 I think anyone can do what’s best for their kids no matter how hard. But I understand the phrase. We put our kids in school for one year. It was a fantastic recovery year for me. I needed a break. Homeschooling can very much be a refiner’s fire. That means it’s often hard, uncomfortable, and you pray to be reminded of and embrace the big picture.

May 8, 2015 at 4:20 am

This is a great post and I hear this all the time. “I could never do that.” I hate hearing that. It almost insinuates that what I am doing is so terrible or wrong in some way. Or “I couldn’t teach my child” is another one. Hmm, who taught them everything from birth to age 5? My days are fairly unstructured and lovely, and while I work from home, that is usually what causes the most stress. Homeschooling to me is just an extension of parenting, and the days I am away from my children for a work function, I feel disconnected and irritable from a long day and missing so much. Blessed to do what we do.

    May 12, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Lesli , I agree 100% feel the same way.I came to homeschooling incredibly late , my daughter’s second last year of highschool. It had been an incredibly stressful journey in public school, so I could go no where but up.I feel blessed that I am able to stay home with her and recoup the damage that was inflicted on her ( in our particular case) Our days are unstructured as she is a special education student, and life skills are my current focus with her.I know feel blessed more than ever to spend this time with her in life.

      May 12, 2015 at 12:30 am

      Wow , this lady(me) needs to learn to type better and/ or change my glasses….it is also early here in Canada …need a little caffeine…lol

    May 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    It really does just feel like an extension of parenting to me too.

May 8, 2015 at 8:02 am

Totally agree!!!! I felt like an alien before I saw your text because most ,,mainstream” families try to convince me I must be exhausted and unhappy and veeeery creative thinking all the time what to do with them. I have 6yo and nearly 4yo…. I think about next baby but people think I am crazy.. thank you! because of You I dont feel crazy 🙂

May 8, 2015 at 9:35 am

I recently completed 28 years of continuous homeschooling that evolved into unschooling of my six children. I love what you have written. I think too many mothers put incredible pressure on themselves (and thereby on their children) when they home school. We do have time on our side and we can afford to allow our children to show us/reveal what their particular interests and gifts are and how we can give them opportunities to grow and enjoy those things while picking up the academics they will inevitably need in adulthood, like reading, writing and basic maths. Daily living skills feature in every home and these include relationships and being kind and generous to one another and appreciating our differences with understanding. From that solid foundation almost anything is possible and life can be full of fun, excitement and quiet times. I know who learned the most over those 28 years, it was ME! I learned to let go of my own unrealistic expectations of my children; I learned to trust my own capacity to create and inspire my children despite what the nay sayers constantly bombarding me with their negativity and even insults; I learned that I was indeed the person who loved them most and cared the most and invested the most and did so willingly.

I think it is sad that we as a culture have managed to separate ourselves from our children and their learning and leave it to strangers who consider it their job and rarely a calling. I respect everyone’s right to choose the path they and their children walk on, and I have no regrets about the life I chose, most of it as single mom, and I am infinitely proud of my now adult children and the families they have gone on to create for themselves.

Children grow up and another season begins. I am expecting my sixth grandchild later this month and I am engaged to be married later this year. Life is full of constant opportunities and challenges. I have not had a perfect life by any means, there have been struggles and hardships but I kept my children secure and loved and that has never changed while the world around us rocked from time to time.

Be true to yourself and to your vision for your family and respect others whatever their path may be. I thought I could change the world and you know what, I believe I have! You can too!

Thanks for inspiring myself and others to live their dream.

    May 12, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Wow that’s a lot of homeschooling! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Stephanie moore
    June 2, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    May I ask, have your children decided to homeschool their children? I have loved reading your reply, I have a 4 year old and I already know he doesnt want to go to school. I am on the fence but leaning towards homeschooling. Its a matter of convincing my partner. And at this present time I am struggling with needing space but I know once my children are older I will get my alone time also.

May 8, 2015 at 11:05 am

I homeschool my three boys and my oldest will be graduating this year. I really dislike when people say ” I need a break from my kids” I see them as a blessing and they won’t be here forever so cherish every moment with them and pray they raise there kids the same. I loved your article and will be sharing it with others.

May 8, 2015 at 11:47 am

I needed this today. As we near the end of the school year (in the states), I have been burdening myself with pressure and some guilt, thinking that “I must be doing this wrong, this is too easy.” My children are absorbing so much and my husband reassures me that we are doing fine, but I just felt like an oddball bc it isn’t insanity. It’s actually really enjoyable and I wouldn’t trade the freedom and time with my children for anything. Thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to enjoy this experience.

May 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Yes, we absolutely LOVE not leaving the house some days!! It IS easier and relaxing and wonderful. I love that I can read a book while my kids do the same — even the two year old 🙂 However, for us, since I have a very energetic and high needs child, it is a little less “relaxed” and I am on edge much of the time. We follow his interests during homeschool and play, but a lot of the day is filled with watering fires that he creates. So for those special needs parents (I think I am probably one, to some extent.) I see the desire for a “break.” We are always together which can fan the flames, but also calm them because I know him best. It is a total difference in lifestyle to staying home and going to school really can’t be compared, thanks again for a thought provoking post <3

senstive parent
May 26, 2015 at 9:09 am

Um…. I get it. I am that parent, who is considering sending my daughter to school because I feel I need for quiet is not being met. I can’t wait to read _the Highly Sensitive Person_. I’m actually reading her book, _The Highly Senstive Child_ right now. I feel that i need *a lot* of quiet time each day or my nerves are fried. I have an only child, and it feels like to me she talks _all the time_, and wants my attention constantly. After 5 years of parenting I am ready to send her to school, only because I feel I need a break. Three hours to myself a day sounds glorious, and may be what I need to get my sanity back. I’m sure I will gain a lot out of the book, and I think that many mom’s who say that may also be highly senstive and just not know it?! It’s so legit that parents do need a break! In most cultures I believe grandparents and aunties and other family were nearby. I honestly believe parents now have it harder than ever before, expecting way, way too much of themselves. I could never homeschool, I need a break (period).

    May 27, 2015 at 6:45 am

    I’m sorry you feel this way, but trust me I’ve been there! I sent my kids to school because it was the thing to do and a break did sound awesome! I now homeschool and realize that I truly was way more stressed when they were at school. Just because of the rush that the article talks about. I’m not in any way trying to diminish your feelings, I totally understand and sympathize with them. I have two kids and the only I can tell you is that they do grow up and need you less. My son was like your daughter and now he’s 10 and does everything on his own, including entertaining himself, which was hard for him to learn. Maybe you should put your daughter in school, but don’t ever fully discount homeschooling… it can be a blessing! 😉

    December 20, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Sensitive parent, I hear you- my mother was ALWAYS saying ‘Oh Cate, you’re just TOO SENSITIVE’.
    I am, still, even though things have changed dramatically for me. In that I’ve been figuring out WHY I’m so particularly sensitive. I know it’s related to some sort of chemical imbalance when I can’t stand the sight of my children!
    There is more too it. As I mentioned to Emily further up the post, dietary changes were MASSIVE in dealing with the worst of the cramped claustrophobic feeling of having anyone- not just my dear children- in my face 24/7. I had to deal with my totally destroyed adrenal glands, lack of iodine (thyroid gland), magnesium, zinc and whatever else deficiencies, and I feel truly renewed now at 42. One hundred percent better than at 22.
    The sensitivity hasn’t gone- in fact it’s so acute I can virtually hear what people are thinking. BUT the amazing thing is, I no longer routinely get wound up by it. No more panic- perhaps if it has gone on for weeks with no let up I’ll get short-tempered and snappy but we’re seven years in to parenting, just finished a major house build and haven’t had a holiday for three years nor have any help nor family. Sometimes I shout at my boy when he’s been climbing all over me with sticky hands and annoying the heck out of me, “Mama, Mama, Mama, um.. hey Mama..’ I agree with the needing a break. But I also think we need more time with our offspring than the government institution. Ahh good old internet. Everyone has an opinion!

      Emma Groves
      March 16, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Sensitive parent – me too! I just read the Highly Sensitive Child and I suddenly recognised my own childhood in the pages and my own behaviours instantly made much more sense to me. The book has changed the way I see myself so much! I am going to order The Highly Sensitive Person to read too.
      But I am 95% sure that we will be Home educating. My daughter is due to start school in September. But I have never been convinced that it would be the best option for her and the closer school looms the more convinced I become. She is highly sensitive and I remember that school was torture for me as a child, simply because of the environment. I don’t want that for her. So even though I do need some quiet time everyday for my own sanity I also don’t want to inflict my daughter with the same awful experience I had at school when there are other options.
      I can take an hour in the afternoons and let her play on my phone (whilst my son naps) and I also get some quiet time once they are in bed at night.
      So I would rather do that and give my daughter the very best start for her. The ‘school’ years will go by very quickly and I really think that overall we will be better off as a family if we home educate. The thought of the school run each morning and the rushed homework, tea, bedtime each evening fills me with dread.
      There is no easy answer. But I do think a lot of people automatically say ‘I couldn’t do it’ without really considering the pros and cons. For me the extra family time we will all have is a huge positive. And as a highly sensitive person myself, I know first hand the damage a school can do to a highly sensitive child.

      All any of us can do it consider all of the options and make the best decision for our family. 🙂

        October 27, 2016 at 4:22 pm

        I am also the person that needs ‘alone’ time and I’ve discovered that it’s not the amount of time, it’s the regularity. We will definitely be home educating when DD is compulsory school age, right now she’s 3. Here in the UK, at 3 we get 15hrs of early years ‘education’ until they are 5. I’m not using the whole 15hrs but I’m using some to send DD to an outdoor forest based nursery. She goes twice a week and there are other future home educated children there. When she reaches 5 she will have a regular ‘playdate’ with home educated friends whose mum is also a childminder. What I’m trying to say is, its totally doable, home education with the ‘break’ that school enables. Another plus is, our weekends are totally free for Daddy to join our adventures instead of catching up with house jobs.

T. Hollenbeck
May 27, 2015 at 5:30 am

Yes, I homeschool and I feel just as you do – even with using curriculum more than an unschooler does. I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, one of the reasons I homeschool is because I like my kids in addition to loving them and I couldn’t imagine NOT being with them each day.

May 27, 2015 at 5:34 am

Sensitive parent,

It’s ok to send your kids to school, really. I’ve done both school and homeschool, and I’m here to tell you that either is ok. Your child will be just fine.

Everyone’s experiences are different. We’re finishing up our first year of homeschooling after five years at our neighborhood public school. I love some parts of homeschooling (the slower pace, the lack of homework, the ability to focus on music and art or whatever we please). But there’s other stuff I don’t like… namely, that it’s incredibly lonely compared to our school experience. I don’t feel like I’m part of something; we’re just out here on our own, not working in concert with other families. I guess I’m just more of a group person than a soloist.

May 27, 2015 at 6:38 am

AMEN SISTER! My kids were in the “system” for 2 years and I now homeschool. I tell people that I was WAY more stressed as a parent when they were in school than I am now that I homeschool. I even hear other homeschool moms tell me how stressed they are and I think to myself, “am I doing something wrong? Should I be stressed?” But reading your article was confirmation that I’m on the right track AND enjoying it immensely as well! Thank you!

    May 27, 2015 at 8:00 am

    I homeschooled all five of my kids (one still at home w/ me) up until ninth grade. I have three in college and they all practice their faith and work hard at their academics. One is getting his Ph.D. in Engineering and the other two are in nursing. I am so grateful to be able to homeschool as I remember my oldest in public school kindergarten. It was a pain in the neck. He did not learn enough but was able to socialize well. The teacher even promised a special group to learn first grade material, but I think she was stuck in a system that couldn’t meet his needs. The special group never came to be.

May 27, 2015 at 3:28 pm

My kids are all grown and I really miss having kids to unschool. I enjoyed having my kids at home 24/7 No breaks needed

"That Mom"
May 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Yes I am “that Mom” who needs the break. Not all of us are born Moms and some of us struggle at it, especially with very demanding children. Not to mention, my kids LOVE school! They love going with their friends, listening to someone other than me all the time.

I totally see the homeschool route, I highly respect those who choose that this is best for their kids. However, some of us are just “that Mom” that really fired need a break! It doesn’t come easy to us, we work, we have illnesses, we have family issues, or we feel that traditional school is just what is best for our child. And that’s ok!

Emma Ingram
May 28, 2015 at 8:36 am

Yes! This exactly. .. well I have 4 boys aged 11, 8, 6 and 6.
I’ve home ed (whilst in a relationship with their Dad), then schooled and now we are Home ed (just me) and life is so much more relaxed generally, my “need” to escape is much reduced and we have much more fun together.

When they were in school I had 3 hours of rushing and encouraging and persuading to get them there. Then anything I was doing was curtailed at 2.30 to go and get them again. My eldest was struggling at school with his aspergers and anxiety and this also meant I could get a phone call at any time. It wasn’t relaxing that time to myself (and that was when I was still with my ex).

Illnesses incidents have declined since deregistration, stress has declined generally … I am moving house currently so this is relative. We are all happier with eachother and ourselves.

Best decisionof my life to home ed.
My 8 year old isn’t as rude or obnoxious on a daily basis. In his own words he is happier and more relaxed.
My kids play together and although they do still fight it really isn’t as often as they did in the hours after school.

May 29, 2015 at 11:25 pm

Agreed! It’s 9:14 am and I’m sitting here enjoying the quiet while browsing articles and drinking my coffee – while it’s still hot! I have 3 kids 8-14 and one of their [homeschooled] friends spent the night so actually I’ve got 4 kids this morning but they’re all still sleeping. My day will start soon as they wander downstairs looking for food but it won’t be frantic or upsetting. I might even make pancakes because… well, why not? I’m relaxed and happy and had my time to wake up (I’m *not* a morning person). They’ll probably all go swimming after breakfast before we decide on what to do today. I like our homeschool life and am often boggled by what so many other families go through in the mornings. I would be so stressed and brittle after the early morning hustle and bustle! I admit I often respond to the I-could-never-do-that comments with my own very heart felt one.

July 3, 2015 at 1:39 am

Definitely feel ya on that ‘feels like your on a holiday” feeling of freedom and relaxation. Recently left my job to be a SAHM. However, I also decided to go back to grad school to get my master’s so there are definitely times I get overwhelmed with taking care of the toddler and the 9 year old, the house, getting all my homework and studying in – & NEED a break. Thinking that feeling might go away once Im done with school.
If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you? Reason I ask is I would like to have 1 more baby (after I graduate), but, Im broaching 36, and wonder if I will have the energy to keep up with a newborn, 4- and 10-year old. Plus Im really loving the family dynamics with the 4 of us….my hubby does too. We are both a little apprehensive about how another nugget would change things.
Any advice? Please and thanks.
I know we have to figure out what will work best for us and go with our heart but Im just curious how People decide whether to have another baby or not.

July 3, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Hi, Sara. Can you tell me how you set the rules for the kids at home, because some parents think homeschooling is a ‘no rules’ life. I’m not asking for an arguement.

July 3, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Thanks for this… Weve just begun on the homeschool journey.. We have two so s and have been at home with them for just over a month after our eldest aged 6 was obviously not enjoying his life with school in it. So we decided to take that out of his life! Weve been unschooling since but ive been feeling pressure from myself and others to be more scheduled or doing more.. But my gut has been saying no let him be it will come when hes ready…. So thankyou for sending out the positive message about unschooling and yes we feel like our life is more natural anx more relaxed i feel i can breathe again! The future is exciting!

July 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm

We homeschool, and I *DO* agree with you!! I have often felt awkward when I heard other parents discuss how “difficult” it is to spend long periods of time with their children. I simply have never really had that much difficulty with it. Sure, I do appreciate time to and for myself, and sometimes I get a little over-stimulated after a long day of being with both children and a husband, but that’s mainly a result of simply needing a little time each day to recharge my batteries, and if I don’t take that time it can make me a little cranky.

We do some “unschooling”, or what I prefer to consider to be “child/interest led activities”, and some structures lesson work. Some weeks we have more of one than the other, but to be fair we mostly are a child/interest led kind of family. I find myself in search of those quantifiable items to tuck into the portfolio that also help me keep track of what we’ve covered and how they’re doing…moreso than trying to teach them anything. In fact, the structured activities are often a follow-up of skills learned through some other, more child/interest led activity.

For example, if my son watched a video on owls simply because he sees it on youtube and decides it looks interesting, I might follow that up with a worksheet about owls (or a coloring sheet or some other activity…such as watching a live-stream of an owl family or creating an owl out of craft materials).

I find my children are so much happier when they feel they have a choice over what is being learned, but having said that, I do sometimes lead us. I do like to ensure we cover the basic themes suggested by the state for their “grade level”. That doesn’t mean we go into exhaustive detail about each theme/skill, but I do like to ensure I’ve at least introduced each theme/skill to the kids before the year is up.

This feels like a good balance for our family, and as a result our kids feel a great sense of control and enjoyment over at least half of what they end up learning throughout the year. When the kids are happy, it makes for less stressful days overall, and therefore I am also happy and contented to spend all day, usually 7 days a week, with my wonderful kids.

July 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Agree! Four years ago my oldest son was about to enter high school and my two youngest were in primary school. After a discussion with my son and my parents, who are very involved in our lives, we decided that homeschooling my son would be beneficial to him. He is very well behaved and wise beyond his years, last year was his final year. His interests have grown to include Japanese culture and computers. One of his own projects that he did completely on his own was building his own gaming computer. I decided last summer, after watching my third grader needlessly stress her little head over EQAO tests, that my two younger children were going to be homeschooled as well. Homeschooling eventually became unschooling because it suit everyone’s needs so much more. Their interests involve writing, drawing and making home videos. It is easy to let them follow their own paths while providing them with everything they need to succeed. As for myself, I am a single parent and starting my third year as an engineering student, next year as a physics student. With this I don’t believe this makes “super mom” status.

October 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

I think “making it work” is a very fluid concept in homeschooling or in becoming educated in general. I think what makes parents say they could never do it is that they imagine doing “school” at home. That’s how I started and it was awful. My kids hated it which made me hate it. I kind of looked over my own shoulder and asked,”What are you DOing?” So I backed off. Not completely but I stopped trying to do things like a classroom.

I spent the first three years reading EVERYTHING I could acces which I would advise any beginning homeschooling family. Our methods changed many times and my philosophy now is of organic learning.

The important thing is, that we have a choice. And one thing I tell parents who say they could never is, “Yes, you could. If it was your conviction that homeschooling would be the best thing for your kids, you would and could do it.”

I loved this post and many of the comments from veteran homeschoolers. I would love to use these in my blog.

W/a Smile, Tiana

December 21, 2015 at 5:53 pm

I was homeschooled/unschooled and while maybe my mom didn’t need a break from me (she was definitely co-dependent on her children) I would have loved a break from my mom and siblings. I know now that I thrive in a classroom environment. Homeschooling was easier for my mom but it would have been better for me and my siblings to have gone to school. My husband was also homeschooled and we have chosen to put our children in public school and love how it’s turning out. In my extensive homeschool experience “homeschooling myths” are, in general, based in reality.

    December 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I’m sorry that you had that experience. I’m sure there is unfortunately bad experiences whichever method of education is chosen, and if it happens to you it definitely impacts how you view it. Fortunately, so far none of the homeschooling myths reflect the lives of me or any of the other many homeschoolers I know. Modern homeschooling in most cases is fabulous and very successful. I understand if you haven’t experienced the same though xx

March 11, 2016 at 8:13 pm

We home educate. This is an age old thing I hear all too often. Maybe people should have cats instead?!

We both work and home educate. Maybe me going to work us my break from the child?

Andie B
March 12, 2016 at 12:42 am

Is it just me (and my PC) or are the typos in the above comments just a little bit too frequent? And basically consist of just one letter missing (the letter i). This is a test post to see if it happens to me too – my typing is careful and correct…if so, maybe there’s an issue…I have no idea what kind!!! PS I totally agree with this post btw…I sometimes feel like unschooling is my guilty little secret – I have loads more time for my own projects than any mum of schooled kids I know. Ssssssh!! 😉

March 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

All around the planet humans at every age are awakening…I am very gentle with those humans who are programmed very deeply by ‘modern western thinking.’ It is a haze they are slowly being pulled from and it is scary to for most–“What?! Having it all (material wealth and power) wasn’t the point of all this?! And I have struggled and fought and sold my soul and actually we are all on the same level, there is NO behind or ahead and I wasted mine and my childs formative years?!!! AHHH!!!”
Imagine that? I think most mothers know what is healthy, most humans know, but the illusions we create are very strong and to awaken can be so shocking to the system. So shocking that some fight against it. So shocking that they might still scream out that the Earth is Flat. Love and be gentle with these people…they are going through hell. They are fighting the Self and it is an impossible battle–they don’t know it yet, so be there to pat them on the back and say ‘there there, its alright” when they do finally open their eyes. (BTW, i don’t mean to say that when they awaken they will homeschool or unschool…i mean when they awaken they will no longer be saying violent things like “I need a break from my kids!”…they will realise that time alone is precious and of course more necessary when we engage in the violence of industrial living and they should spend more time alone in the garden whenever possible)
I also spend a lot of time Being. I sit, I drink tea, I read. I encourage from a distance. I get down on the floor and build Lego for what my mom would have called an inordinate amount of time…and when I ‘need space’ i say to the boys, I am going to be in the calming chair reading my book if you need me….(the calming chair is a joke in our house….it was created by me, for me:))
Namaste sisters!

June 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm

Yes I totally agree! We are unschooling, I have a five and a three year old and people are always asking me how I do it but it’s honestly not hard and I get loads of time in the day when they are outside or upstairs playing. Plus like you said there is no rushing around so everything can be done slowly 🙂

June 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

I really enjoy your posts. I work full time and my husband part time so we are busy. By unschooling (3+5 yo) we feel we really get the best out of the kids, we get to see them at every moment we are not at work and get to see their best (and worst) moments. The more we unschool, the more the kids seem to learn. We are surrounded by stories they are writing and art work and craft. We are able to discuss everything we see at a time they are keen to absorb information. Our weekends are no longer busy as we go out during the week, and chill out as a family during the weekend. It’s just wonderful.

June 16, 2016 at 8:22 am

Life is far more stress free now that I homeschool. Wish it didn’t take me until my children were years six and four to realise this. ‘Quitting school’ is the break for me! There are so many other benefits of homeschooling. The relief it has given me in terms of time was unexpected. I expected it to be difficult and constant having my children at home. Pleasantly surprised to find myself with more me time as well as more time with my kids.

June 21, 2016 at 3:02 am

I love reading your blog. I absolutely agree with you, I hear it a lot as well and I give the same explanation! Take away the school rush, the uniforms, the homework etc and everything is so much more chilled.
I have had parents telling me they couldn’t do it because having their children around 24/7 would do their head in…. that makes me feel sad, and says more about them than anything else in my opinion.

June 21, 2016 at 11:50 am

I agree, although we don’t unschool, we are indie homeschoolers so we’re basically enjoying more free pacing and time

October 27, 2016 at 7:15 am

I’d like to homeschool/unschool, but we live in Italy and here is different. It’s been two months that my firstborn is going to a public school, she is almost 6. She would like another kind of school , democratic, libertarian, but the only one is too far for us. I’m really torn. She’d really like to learn things but nothing that a public italian school could teach her, and I hope she’s not going to loose the will to learn…

October 27, 2016 at 7:44 am

Agree. I was actually saying to my friend last night some of the points you made. I amnew to homeschooling and I am loving it! I love being able to hang out with my daughter and spend these special days of her life with her rather than, like you said, rush through the mornings, send her away for the day and then rush through the afternoons. I was stressed and I felt I was a part of her life in such a limitted way. I am so lucky at this point in my life!

October 27, 2016 at 7:49 am

Yes! When I need a break, it’s probably because I’m trying to do too much. Having the homestead with the animals, and the blog ( http://www.downtownhomesteading.com ) and the gardening, cooking, cleaning, 3 kids, a hubby and my own interests… it can get kind of crazy, but it is so worth it for my kids freedom. If I was doing curriculum, I would die lol. Unschool or bust!!!

    October 27, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Hear hear! Sounds like we’re in a similar situation Hilary.
    Seems to me if my mother/parents had chosen a situation whereby I could stay home and learn the homestead, I wouldn’t be struggling to cope with all its never-ending demands and massively steep learning curve.. and perhaps me, my sis and/or fav. brother would have found a positive groove ‘at home’, maybe each of us hooking up with with a handsome, single, and capable neighbour (dreams are free) and we’d either still BE on said homestead in our new cottage (or something… modern equivalent could be a converted shipping container, hahaha..), helping our aging parents, helping to raise each others children, just helping each other in general.
    Instead we’ve all pulled away from each other at an increasingly young age through school, stupid opinion-pieces in the media about how to ‘self-settle’ one’s child who inconveniently cries from the other room in the middle of the night (still peeved at my mother for this, watching her shadow on the wall outside my bedroom while I screamed for her arms), or telling us how to ‘have it all’ by sending them to government institutions at 3 months old (FFS!!). It’s all separation trauma, and I for one think it’s a tragedy that we’ve been falling for it in droves. Just because it’s widely accepted, doesn’t mean it’s right.

Erika Burris
October 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

I unschool a five year old and I have a one year old. I totally agree! Thank you for sharing.

Anna Vaschina
October 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Yes, couldn’t agree more. Less busy, more play. It’s a wonderful life. I have to write my first report next year. I’m anxious about it though.

Amanda @ Raising da Vinci
October 28, 2016 at 5:14 am

I hear this so often and I feel exactly like you do. Maybe it’s because our kids are around the same age, or our philosophies are similar. I could have written this myself (expect it wouldn’t have been as beautifully worded)

Great post Sarah! Sharing it now! ❤️

Sarah C.
January 19, 2017 at 7:29 am

I love this and it is so true. I decided to do this because I felt like I was always rushing around and everything was crazy and chaotic. I refuse to believe that’s just the way it is, and now I know it’s not. 🙂 I have four kids ages 14, 12, 9, and 3, and this is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and for them!

Lili B.
February 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Hi, Sara!
I came across homeschooling in 2009 in Dallas, TX, after observing a family that was very different than the rest and debating whether to send my 5-year old to Kindergarten. Having been raised in Guatemala, where kids go to a pre-K (18 mo to 4 yo) to prepare to be admitted to the elite private schools in the City, I had never thought of the possibility of homeschooling.
We gave it a shot and have seen good results. My kids are now 13, 8, 4, and 2. I always get compliments that they are kind and respectful children. Nevertheless, I had kept the authoritarian approach to parenting, following simply the way I was raised. My husband reminded me that the same things I resent about my parents my kids would resent about me if I was impatient with them. His Dad was very loving and trusting, so he kept telling me there is a better way.
I had read lots of parenting tips, but nothing really resonated with me. Until last December, when I came across your blog and respectful parenting. I have really seen a significant change in MY behavior. I have noticed how well we work together as we strive to respect each other. So I wanted to say thank you for posting your points of view even when they seem strange to some people.
And like you say in every post, we learn by example. That is why I was drawn to your blog: HAPPINESS IS HERE.
Thank you again!

May 10, 2017 at 11:54 pm

We homeschool 🙂 we are #filipinoamericanhomeschoolers

I have ADHD, so it is great that I can go at my and the kid’s pace for the whole day. It used to be so overwhelming to follow up with all the school’s requirements at their time table. We function better without the deadlines and busy work

June 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Hi! I’ve been following your blog and loved this piece in particular. I do have a question though… Would it be possible for my children to join mainstream schooling at college level if they were home schooled all the years prior? Will having been home schooled make it difficult for them to enter a good college? I’m exploring options and reading up but have doubts too…I’m based in New Zealand. I’d appreciate your thoughts if possible. Thank youu!!

June 29, 2017 at 5:55 am

Oh, but you only have girls. My boys make me crazy. While just today my 5 year old smeared poop all over the bathroom door (2nd time this month), then he and his twelve year old brother tried to flip a porta potty, finally dump out the lunch meat and kick it across the floor. I’m living in a perpetual state of frustration and starting to think I “need a break from my kids.” My girls are so easy to homeschool. They love it. My boys, on the other hand, keep me praying for patience and help to just get out of a funk enough to try to teach them anything. I feel like a wicked witch anymore.

August 22, 2017 at 1:56 am

Agree 100%!!!
This was basically my only fear of homeschooling- not getting to have free time. But I’ve come to learn that I do actually get free time.

October 19, 2017 at 12:00 am

Hi there this is all new to me but I am doing lots of research. So is unschool the same as homeschooling?

November 1, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Please revisit this article when all 3 are being “unschooled” and no one naps anymore or you move to a state with stringent homeschooling laws. When it takes all day because you are juggling 3 grades. Someday you will want/need to be at lessons on time or you spend multiple days going to dentist, eye, well Dr visits because they will only see 2 members of the same household or you’ll waste a whole morning going to a specialist an hour away.

November 2, 2017 at 2:41 am

5 kids and 24 years later I’m very glad I had/have all that time with my kids. Only one left in homeschool now. They are grown and gone so very fast. I savored every crazy, frustrating, happy, blessed moment with them and and still do.

Amy Beck
November 24, 2017 at 1:01 am

It almost feels like I wrote this myself… so so so spot on! Coming from a family that used to go to school, who now unschool, I have lived both sides and can say with experience that this lifestyle (mixed with minimalism) gives me way more me time and way more time with my kids. It doesn’t sound possible, but it is!

January 6, 2018 at 7:22 am

Can I ask what unschooling looks like for you on a regular day? I homeschool my four kids, we use a curriculum. I’ve heard of unschooling, just wondering what it looks like in the day-to-day process of things. Thanks!

January 16, 2018 at 12:36 am

I home schooled my 7yr/o last year from feb-Sep I re-enrolled her in school because I found our days revolves around my baby. Often my daughter would be watching YouTube while I put the baby down for his nap or activities were cut short due to the baby needing something. I felt limited on places we could go and overall I didn’t feel either one of us were getting what we needed. I miss her at school and she got a sticker the other day for ‘walking smartly’ which says it all doesn’t it but all things considered it’s actually the best thing for our family at the moment. I’ve met other families that have little ones too who homeschool but it wasn’t working well for us unfortunately.

March 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm

As someone that homeschools how do you feel about Secondary School? I’m in the UK and would love to unschool, although at the moment my partner is not on board.

I’ve always wondered how you would go about gaining qualifications if you decided to work in profession that required you to have mainstream qualifications. In the UK we have primary school 4/5 years to 11 then Secondary School 12 – 16 (sit GCSE’s) and then 6th Form, college or university. One of my husbands worries is about further education and employment in the future.

Obviously people that are homeschooled go on to do many exciting things. I just don’t know
How to answer his specific question / concern

November 4, 2021 at 1:04 pm

I think what makes it hard for me is that my children are not independent players. It’s not completely bad, but they depend on me so much as a playmate because I was always so involved and that’s what they’re used to. Now I have my 4th baby on the way and wish I allowed for a little more independent play, especially as they are starting to branch out in what they are interested in and want to play/learn different things. At the same time, I love being there to play with them. It’s just some balance would be nice and we’ve been working on that.

March 23, 2022 at 8:50 pm

My daughter is only 18 months old but I follow all of your articles to learn as much as i can about unschooling. Currently, I work 2 days a week now as a nurse, while my husband works FT. As it relates to your article, I have to say I am a better mom, wife and person in general when I do not have to rush 5 days a week to a paid job! Similar to having to rush for school days! Getting clothes ready, packing lunch for me and her, getting both of us dressed and groomed, getting her into the car when she just wants to explore and take her time….Then the rushing home to make a semi healthy dinner and having anything left to give my family….No wonder people are so stressed and kids don’t always get the best most patient version of their parents. I am way more patient since I’m in the driver’s seat of my day, most days of the week. Yes, it’s a pay cut and I know not everyone can do it but some people don’t realize how much they don’t actually need.

I don’t think unschooling is legal in the USA or at least not in my state of MD. However, so many studies i have read said kids are not ready for a classroom setting until age 7! We have kids going to preschool school at age 4 for 8 hrs a day here in USA in certain states. For example the country of Finland doesn’t start school until that age of 7, with only 5 hr school days. No homework and those kids are thriving educationally more than kids in other counries w more stressful school settings.

Keep spreading the word about unschooling. It’s definitely a difficult concept for most people to think about doing because of what society has put in our brains about school, work, money and things.

March 24, 2022 at 12:30 am

I agree 🙂 Howeever I can only talk about the preschool years – it is really relaxing if I let go of being the perfect energetic mum. From time to time I can have an off day or be sick – and it can be tough being together with my kid. But I know it is just a couple of days. Fortunately my son is quite understanding it is only my own inner critic that isn’t. And it would probably be hard no matter if I were at home or not. And like some of the other commenters I am also trying to start a business – and it can be tough handling that on top of being there for my son all day – it is tiring too like a day at work.

They'll learn it
May 3, 2023 at 12:10 am

Parents beware of these blogs, this homeschool mom is a nut job, read her other topics on discipline, she basically has no kids by letting her kids be the parent, she discredits old fashion parenting, ignores it being the reason why decades like the 70’s-90’s were way better with more respectful adults than today, that’s because people actually parented kids, and didn’t raise sissy’s too scared to even go work a freaking job. She’s a coddling buddy to her kids that never even confiscates belongings like t.v, video games when there’s bad behavior. Kid’s will learn disrespectful behavior from the world that you can’t hide them from, it’s your job to teach them respect, a well raised kid will have respect enough to know they deserved the discipline fit for their behavior.

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