Homeschool Hubbub: How Can I Do This (Along with Everything Else I’m Doing)?

After reading this post entitled, Homeschool Hubbub:  Am I Qualified to Teach? Dani left this comment…

This post was so encouraging.  However, I have an almost 5 year old, a three year old, and an almost one year old.  Is it really possible for me to home school?  I really want to, but I’ve gotta tell you I AM SCARED.  There are just so many little kids around here.  I feel like I can barely go to the bathroom.  Scratch that.  I can’t go to the bathroom.  How can I do this?

I’m gonna venture to say that as the mom of little ones, you may actually find it easier to home school than finding time to go to the bathroom!  Really…it’s true. 

When you already have umpteen things to do during the day and feel ragged and worn out, it’s hard to see how you could possibly add something like home schooling your children to your day.  When in the world would you do it?  What will you have to give up in order to home school?  Will you have to sacrifice even more sleep to add something else in?

My kids were 5, 2 and 6-months when I first began to home school our oldest son.  In two years, we added another baby to the mix.  Our lives were busy, crazy and yes…it was hard to find time to go to the bathroom.

And yet, I don’t remember that adding home school to the schedule really threw me off very much.  I was hanging out with the kids all day as it was.  Now…I just turned some of that time into our school time.  We were already reading books together…now we read our “school books”.  We were already exploring new things together (because little ones can’t help but do that all day long!).  Now I recognized it for what it was…education in it’s finest form.

“Formal” sit-down school time with a child in his/her first few years of school can really take up about thirty minutes to an hour each day…and that’s it.  And…it doesn’t have to be consecutive time!  School work time can take place in five minute snatches of time all day long.

In fact…the longer I do this home school thing, the more I realize that “formal education” is not always where all the education takes place anyway.

Life is learning…learning is life.

Our kids are learning during all of their waking hours.  It is just up to us to help focus their time on learning things that they need to know in life (and about the One who gave us Life).

So, if you choose to home school…will every day be easy?  No way.  Will you accomplish everything you want to accomplish every day?  Nope.  Will you have days where you don’t even crack open a book all day long?  Yep.  Will you occasionally forget what day it is, lose the science book, break your favorite pencil, spill milk on the couch and want to run to your closet to hide and get away from it all?  Sure.

But will you get to watch the light bulbs go on in your child’s head when he/she first learns to read?  Will you get to watch them as they discover a brand new concept?  Will you get to be the one who enjoys their silly little antics all day long?  Oh yes.

And some days…sometimes…you will even make it to the bathroom.

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Comments

  1. Tami says

    A great post Laura! I remember when I was afraid to attempt homeschool kindergarten, and then three years later we pulled our ninth grader out of our magnet academic school, and guess what, he’s done even better at home! It helped me so much to think about the goals of homeschooling. It’s so hard to get out of the mindset that homeschool is just like school, except you do it at home. It isn’t, not at all. There is a very significant babysitting element to public (or even private) school that just isn’t necessary at home. Your objective is to teach your child to read, and do math, and love the Lord, NOT to keep him sitting more or less quietly on a chair doing busy work for six hours. THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, PEOPLE! Your child was made in God’s own image, and he WANTS to learn – it really isn’t that hard to teach him, like you said, in small lessons, all day long.

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  2. says

    I completly agree…We have a 6,5,3 and 1 year old and when we started two years ago, I felt like I didn’t know how I was going to find the time…guess what-It actually made our day run SMOOTHER!!!! PTL!! Our oldest is VERY active and needs to be kept busy or get finds trouble. This put more “purpose” into our day and things got better, so much so that I was able to get more done around the house! Shocking, but true!

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  3. says

    Excellent post. Describes my last year – homeschooling my 5-year old… while the 3-year old had her own “school work” she wanted to do every day (special coloring pages with ABC’s & such)… while I nursed the almost 1-year old. It can be done and it is tiring, but rewarding! Next year will be an even bigger adventure as the 3-year old wants to and can do more, the one-year old is mobile & getting into everything, and baby #4 is due in December!

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  4. says

    Thanks for your post! I have a 3 year old, and we’ve decided that we’re going to homeschool her when the time comes. I’m loving all the info I’m getting.

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  5. says

    I laughed at what Tarena wrote, because it describes my experience too!

    Thanks for this post, Laura. I think it is so hard as moms to arrive at that place of confidence with homeschooling. At first, if we’ve only known the school experience, we feel like if our kids’ experience at home is too much different from our school experience, we can feel uncomfortable and trepidatious. Yet I’m amazed at what my boys are learning, just from a fairly relaxed approach. There is a lifestyle of education all day long. Are we teaching them enough? YES!!

    One of the best things I ever heard was that learning is a God-given desire. One would have to shut a child in a dark closet to keep him/her from learning. It will happen, though not always at the same pace at the child next door. Whew! I think I’m working up to my own blog post, so I’ll stop now :)

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  6. Steph says

    I was so glad to see this post today! I actually just got home from the library, picking out homeschooling books! I have a 1st grader, a pre-schooler, a 2 year old, and a 9 month old. I am also a very stress-filled person :) I am very excited to start things but am overwhelmed by it all. I am going to do some super simple stuff this summer with the kids and start on my 2 year old next fall. I will also supplement my pre-schooler’s curriculum. I am just so nervous that I won’t have time! And that I will feel so much like I need a break from the kids. (Maybe that is what bathroom breaks are for!)
    This post was encouraging, thanks. :)
    PS…I CAN see how it can make things easier. Not having to ferry kids back and forth to all sorts of different schools can be a benefit!

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  7. Tiffany says

    Another great post! We are just finishing up our first year of homeschooling -I have a 6yo and 4yo. I can’t believe how EASY and FUN it was. We didn’t do a lot of “table work”. My boys learned to write letters and numbers in the sandbox, we camped in KY to check out the Mammoth Caves, and we even went to Niagara Falls for a weekend when my 4yo was really in to waterfalls. My oldest learned to read effortlessly (“Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”, if anyone is interested). The main reason we considered homeschooling is because in my area, kindergarten is all day long. My 5yo was not ready to be away from us all day long (we weren’t ready to be away from him, either!). It seems like we only spend a small amount of time homeschooling (because some learning activities feel more like “fun stuff” than “school”), but my 6yo is so far ahead we’re going to be starting him on 2nd grade curriculum. Homeschooling is one of the best decisions we’ve made :-) We really enjoy our time together as a family.

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  8. Missy says

    Great post Laura! Those light bulb moments are what keeps me encouraged on this journey. I love when I hear the kids say “ohhhh, I get it now”. It’s like those moments when parents hear their baby say their first word or see them take their first steps, only continued into their school aged years! Or when I see the kids sitting down to read and realize, they are reading at grade level, I was able to successfully teach two people how to read…ALL glory to God!!

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  9. Amara says

    Thank you for this! I am starting my first year of homeschooling in the fall, with ages 10,7,4, and 1. I am actually LOOKING FORWARD to the rhythm and purpose that homeschooling will give to our days. At least I *hope* the days will have a rhythm, perhaps the drumbeats of chaos? :)

    This post was encouraging!

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  10. cynthia says

    How completely true and wonderful. I wouldn’t stop homeschooling for anything in this world! Thanks so much for such a wonderful website, your recipes have been sooooo helpful!!

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  11. Alicia says

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have 5 children ages 13, 11, 8, 5, and 4. We are starting our 8th year homeschooling this year. Not only did I not want my children away from us so much, but also not away from each other. Once they are put into age segregated classes on a regular basis, they began to think that they can’t associate with other ages. They shun their siblings. I wanted my children to love each other and to have lifelong relationships. Those can’t be fostered if they never see each other.
    Homeschooling can be a challenge and others will question your judgment. But stick to your guns and you will reap the rewards in the end. I wouldn’t trade homeschooling for anything. It is not about education but about developing relationships with each other and God. Plus I have to be obedient to what God is telling me to do. I only answer to Him.

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  12. Kimberlee says

    Thanks, Laura, for another great post. Even though I have been homeschooling for awhile, it is nice to be reminded that I can do it. I have learned to go with the flow and follow my kids’ lead. WHen they get bored with one topic, we move onto something else and dive in to it. I love being able to be flexible with topics, dates, hours and methods of schooling because life happens and every kid is different. When a life crises happen, I do not have to pull the kids out of school and worry about them making it up. We just adjust our schedule and get back to schooling when things are more settled. Plus, this way, I get to learn along with them. Thanks again!

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  13. Kelly says

    there is more time to homeschool than time to send your child to public school. my daughter went to public school kindergarten and i always felt so short on time when we all came back together at the end of the day. there was dinner to prepare, baths to get and then off to bed and that just didn’t leave enough time for family. we decided to homeschool her for first grade and we have truly enjoyed it. my son age 4 even gets his supplies and wants “to learn” too. how precious for a child to “want to learn”. we have learned so much more than when she was in public school. we now have time to learn how to garden, watch and learn about the wildlife on our property, learn life lessons, how to keep a home and much more we were trying to jam into our already packed evenings. it was a bit stressful just adjusting to and finding a homeschool schedule and getting into the groove of things but boy was it worth it!!!

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  14. Sandee says

    my husband thinks its hilarious to ask me once i finally break away for the bathroom just how long ive been “holding it.” its funny… but not. ;)

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  15. says

    Thank you for this! I needed some encouragement. I feel that God is calling me to homeschool my girls but I am scared! I have a 5yr old, 2 yr old, and another girl coming in October. It is so nice to hear the positive comments and know that others have done it, and enjoyed it!

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    Christy Reply:

    Morgan, you remind of myself over a year ago as I approached my first official year of Homeschooling my oldest for kinder arden. She is 6, and back in the fall my other kids were 4 (who was newly unofficially diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum), 2, and our 4th born in Sept. I was feeling very I’ll-equipped, overwhelmed and inadequate. And actually, I have felt that way at times through the whole year. But in a study I did this year, I was reminded that God equips us for what He calls us to do. Go God! Wahooo! Now for us to walk in faith doing what He has called us to do trusting He will equip us EVEN IF we don’t FEEL like we are. You can do this in His wisdom and strength. If He calls, He equips. You are gonna do awesome! I am cheering for you!

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  16. says

    So true! I have a 10,6,4 and 3. We’ve been homeschooling for a few years now. I’m so thankful. I can second the ‘light bulb’ thought. I LOVE seeing them finally ‘get’ something they’ve worked so hard for. AND I get to celebrate with them! What a great thing.

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  17. Josie says

    Thanks for the encouragement! We just finished our second year of homeschooling, with a 6, 5, 2, and 4 month baby. Surprisingly enough, it was fairly easy to do, even adding a new baby into the mix! I can hold/nurse the babe while we school, the 2 year old like to do her school (toys/art supplies/lacing/etc) activities that are only allowed out during school time. Once we get into a rhythm and routine, homeschooling actually added order and structure to our day. AND the kids LOVE school time!

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  18. Tara says

    I find the thought of homeschooling intriguing, but I feel that one of the greatest educations, social interactions with peers from every walk of life, is sorely missed when you keep them at home. I feel that children need, in order to become loving and accepting adults, to be exposed to the world and people with other beliefs and family lives.

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    Amy Reply:

    Homeschooling doesn’t mean you never leave your home. Or we’d go crazy! :) My daughter is in a Bible club, takes dance lessons, and plays YMCA soccer. She’s around other children at least 4 days a week. This summer, she’s taking an enrichment class through the public school. I was there today for about 10 minutes & was stunned at the lack of maturity in some of the children. The teacher had to give instructions very slowly, and repeat herself when students wouldn’t listen. It felt like a waste of time. I prefer that my daughter spend most of her time out in the “real” world and not a classroom.

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    Kelly Reply:

    i think people think that because kids are homeschooled they aren’t socialized. this just simply isn’t true.
    in our homeschool group we have kids of different ages, race, and even those with disabilities. Simply sending
    my child to public school to be in a room full of 20 other kids her same age isn’t exactly socializing with every
    walk of life. my kids get to experience learning from those older and watching their examples, which thankfully
    are good examples, and also experience the joy of teaching those that are younger and leading in example for them.
    so the social interaction excuse just isn’t so. homeschoolers probably get a wider range of social interaction than
    those in public school. we aren’t at home 24/7. we do have lives outside of our homes.

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  19. Kika says

    Ok – the honest truth is with three kids aged 14, 10, and 5 – homeschooling and managing a home (etc.) I still find myself ‘holding it’sometimes! Yikes. When I began formally homeschooling 9 years ago I also ran a part time dayhome with four extra children all four and under. My own children at the time were 5 ys and 18 mos. It is certainly doable, depending on what homeschooling looks like to you. If it involves lots of reading, play, crafts, music, nature walks and so forth it will be easier than all ‘workbooky type’ schooling with three little ones. I must be honest and also admit that by 5pm many days I just wanted to veg out for one hour with no one talking to or needing me. Just to keep it real;)

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  20. says

    Great post, very encouraging! I would love to be able to home school my daughters but unfortunately that’s literally impossible right now. All you mama’s that have that chance are very lucky :)

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  21. Tami says

    I agree with Tarena also – our days go much more smoothly when we have a (loose) routine to follow. The year before we began homeschooling, I drove four kids to four different schools, in two different directions, none of them closer than 20 mins from my house. My oldest had to be at high school (25 min away) at 7:15 – thank goodness, my husband took him in the mornings. Our second son was in elementary school only 20 minutes away, he started at 830am. Our third was in a church kindergarten 20 min away in a different direction, which started at 8 am. The fourth was in another church preschool only about 10 min from the kindergarten, and she started at 9 am. I would leave home at 7:40, drop off the kindergartener at 8, drive 30 min across town and pray for no accidents on the expressway, drop off the 6th grader at 8:30, drive back 25 min to drop off the preschooler at nine, and get home at around 9:30. Then at 11:30 I left to pick up the preschooler and book it over to the kindergarten 10 min away, as they both got out at noon – thank goodness, the kindergarten always ran late. We got home around 12:45. Then at 2 we left to pick up the 9th grader at 2:30. Then we had about 30-45 mins to wait to pick up the 6th grader at 3:30. We were usually home by around 4pm. So I spent FIVE hours in the car driving around every Tues & Thurs, and a little less on M-W-F when the preschooler didn’t go. It was absolutely insane, and looking back, I can’t believe we ever thought that was a good idea. The next year, I still drove the preschooler and the jr high and high schooler, and we had no trouble fitting first grade into the remaining time in the day. Now, four years later, our oldest is in college out of state, and the other three are at home. There is still driving, for homeschool classes on Tues mornings, and high school tutorials on Mon afternoon and Thurs morning, and horseback riding and piano and golf and basketball and guitar, but it is nothing like the five hours a day year. Our life is so much more relaxed and enjoyable now. There is a lot to be said for not having to deal with exhausted kids too – do you know what a three-year-old is like who is strapped in the car for hours every day? Do you know what her mom is like? I’ve been a very thin person all my life, but that year I gained 20 pounds. WAY too much stress.

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  22. elizabeth says

    You can do it!

    I am a schoolteacher and HOPE and PRAY that my DH will allow me to come home and homeschool our children.

    Just through talking with your kids and answering their natural curiosity, you will be teaching them.

    I want you to know, from a teacher, that we have MANY, MANY wasted days – due to the extreme misbehavior of other children, interruptions, fundraising assemblies, picture days, fire drills, tornado drills, sudden meetings that teachers are called in to. You get the picture. Even if you have days where you think you did NOTHING – you will have done more than had they been in school – because you were with your children subtly teaching them your values and beliefs, which is an education for eternity, not just a lifetime.

    You can do this. :)) God Bless.

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  23. Verena says

    I’ll throw my two cents in, even though all you other ladies have expressed things so well. I love the order homeschooling brings to our life, my girls do so much better and are so much happier when we have focused learning times. And it CAN be done. My husband prefers that we do a more “structured” type of school (school at home) with workbooks and tests and such, so that is our style, and it has taken me trying a lot of different approaches and methods to make sure everything gets done that needs done, but to me that is KEY, keep trying different things until you find what works for you and your family!

    One more thing- My 6 daughters are 7, 6, 5, 4, almost 3, 1, and I am due again in November!! I school the oldest 4 (2nd, 1st, K, and Pre-K). I repeat, it CAN be done! And it’s WORTH IT :)

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  24. Heather says

    I would also like to add that it is MUCH harder to drag babies and toddlers back and forth to school pick ups and drop offs every day. I did that one year when my oldest was in Pre-K. I realized for year two I would be driving back and forth between two schools. (With a newborn and a toddler who both hated the car.) That is when we began learning at home.

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  25. Liz I says

    Thanks for this post! We are still deciding between homeschooling and Christian school for our children. My oldest just turned 4, and I’d like to start doing a small amount of schooling with him at home each day. Do you have any suggestions on some Christian, affordable curriculum for his age group? I’m really looking for something that will guide me a bit and some sort of workbooks for him to work out of…just basic things, like learning to write his letters and numbers, recognizing shapes, etc. Thanks!

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  26. says

    i love this post!
    we just wrapped up our first year of homeschooling our 10 yr old daughter. what an amazing year and a gift, to spend days with my daughter, learning and loving and discipling and experiencing.
    we had a little end of the year celebration and i compiled a journal/scrapbook, in which i wrote the “highlights” of the year and then included a section on academics. i actually just blogged about this, as it’s been fresh on my mind. =)

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  27. Cecelia says

    I looked thru all the posts and don’t think I saw anyone mentioning homeschooling children with disabilities. I DO NOT homeschool but have always wondered if I should consider it. I don’t know how it would be possible for me, honestly, b/c I tend to be highly stressed; I’m also a writer and a crafter; and constantly struggling to get time to finish my projects. It is now summer and I’m going a little stir crazy with the kids at home cause I can’t get anything done. They tend to require a lot of attention or else I have to stick them in front of the TV and that makes me feel like the worst mom.

    I have a boy, 7, and girl, 5– both adopted. They both have ADHD, overall developmental delays, and sensory issues. Thankfully to the outside onlooker these issues appears mild or nonexistant (until you sit down to work with them or have to deal with their out of control antics EARLY in the morning!). We go to OT, PT, and speech twice a week; on one day I take them out of school early to get them to a high quality therapy center (that is my most stressful day). Once a month they must be taken to the psychitrist for ADHD drug management. [we tried the natural route for managing behaviors and impulsiveness but that didn't work for us; my son has drastically improved his reading skills in one year from nonreader to reading above grade level since we started him on meds; my daughter recently started meds and life is SOOOO much easier with her now; but I fear she's going to struggle more than he did to catch up] Though I mention my son has improved greatly in reading, all other areas are delayed in development. Same for my daughter.

    When school is in session the bus picks them up (two different buses right at my front door to take them to two different schools). They both are in small, self-contained special education classrooms. Having work in a special ed discipline for many years before deciding to stay home with the kids (been home 2 yrs), their being in special ed isn’t daunting to me, but it’s heartbreaking to me that they may not ever attend the same elementary school (b/c of the way our metro area has to divide up the special classrooms so they’re not all at the same school; different grades housed at different schools). I always hoped they could “look out for each other” in school, but they may not get that chance. Also, difficult to take is that they may likely move to a different school each year due to the way the special classrooms are housed.

    Anyway, forgive the long post, but would love to hear about anyone’s take on this from their perspective if dealing with similar issues.

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  28. says

    I’m going to be starting my 15th year of homeschooling and I still have a moment of panic at the end of every summer wondering how on earth we’re going to make it fit in! The schedule really does help and I usually get more done during the school year than I do in the summer. It works, though sometimes I can’t exactly tell you how or why.

    Also, to Cecelia. Some of my children have some learning quirks… I have a combination of PTSD, extreme learning delays, and ESL issues. I find homeschooling to work well for us because it gives up the flexibility to fit in therapy appointments and to tailor what we do to each child. My child with PTSD (which often presents as looking very much like AD/HD) can take the needed breaks to jump up and down or run around the block or stop for a protein snack as needed. Being home also keeps his anxiety level at manageable levels.

    Sometimes it feels a bit crazy, but not as crazy as trying to get all 9 children out the door and off to school.

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