Welcome to my homeschool blog, which offers insights into loving learning, loving your family, loving history, loving homeschooling, and enjoying your life! With your cup of coffee in hand, take a break to laugh with me, to have your heart refreshed, to be reminded of how cool your kids really are, and to consider the amazing adventure of being a homeschool mom. AND, if you are interested in the History Revealed curriculum, be sure to check out my Teaching Tips!

Why quit homeschooling?

Enjoying Everyday Life

If you are a homeschooler, may I ask you an honest question? Here it is:

Have you ever wanted to quit homeschooling? 

I think if we could all sit around a table and talk together, we would be surprised at how much we have in common when it comes to this question!  We would laugh with deep relief as we discovered we weren’t the only ones harboring thoughts of an easier path. . . And, once we felt the freedom that comes from being real, once we knew it was okay to admit we had those thoughts. . .THEN we could think honestly about why we homeschool and if it's worth it to continue.

For me, my decision to homeschool came when I was pregnant with our first child. A friend handed me a book about homeschooling, and I found the whole concept utterly entrancing!  Pictures of perfect days with perfect children danced through my head. . . You probably know how long that image lasted!  Yes, it popped just after a few days of teaching my kindergarten student at home (with two younger ones who kept things hopping).  Though the dreams had been perfect, the somewhat painful reality was that kids learn differently than I expected, they struggled with things I enjoyed and they enjoyed things that were outside my comfort zone.  

And, being a novice homeschooler, I had simply followed the model of school in my head.  We had a desk, an apple, an American flag. I knew when we would have reading, writing and recess. I had all my ducks in a row at the beginning of the school year, but my son wasn’t a duck.  He was a little boy with all kinds of ideas and interests that were outside the kindergarten "curriculum."

After a month of strwhyquituggling with increasing difficulties, like making boring textbooks palatable, I was struck by my son's doleful question:  “Mom, do we HAVE to keep doing this?” I realized that I didn't like it any more than he did. So, I quietly put all the kindergarten books away, and discretely went back to doing the things we had been doing before:

reading books, playing with play dough, taking walks, cooking together, playing with music, and enjoying everyday life.

It took three years of trying this start-and-stop approach to homeschool before it dawned on me that he loved learning a LOT more when we quit doing artificial, fill-in-the-blank, desk-bound school.  When he had a chance to really engage with material, to freely ask as many questions as he wanted and dig into answers, and to follow his interests down the rabbit trails, my son loved learning.

Which brings me back to the idea of quitting.  In the three years that I tried to force him into a narrow educational box, I felt like quitting every day. It was hard, it was distasteful, and I was failing miserably as a “teacher.”  But, to my utter surprise, when we finally discovered the freedom to learn in ways that were appealing to my son, homeschool became an adventure and a joy.

And, who wants to quit when you love what you’re doing???

Need more inspiration to keep going?

Why engage your child's interests?
Teaching Tip 2—The Introduction
 

Comments 8

Guest - Stacy Clementshaw on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 13:39

This sounds wonderful for the first couple of years. However, what will you do for 3rd grade and up? High school? I have one in 7th grade that I am sure would love to just play Play-doh all day. But it just can not happen.

This sounds wonderful for the first couple of years. However, what will you do for 3rd grade and up? High school? I have one in 7th grade that I am sure would love to just play Play-doh all day. But it just can not happen.
Guest - dianawaring on Tuesday, 10 February 2015 17:10

Great question, Stacy! I'll be sharing some of the answers I found in the next blog. Here's the main thought, though:

Rather than allowing a child to just follow their own interests throughout the day, seek to engage a child's interest in the academic subject being learned. Lots of ways to do this. . . for young students all the way through high school! And, just to give you a taste of what I mean, check out this blog post: http://dianawaring.com/using-5-senses-bring-history-life

Great question, Stacy! I'll be sharing some of the answers I found in the next blog. Here's the main thought, though: Rather than allowing a child to just follow their own interests throughout the day, seek to engage a child's interest in the academic subject being learned. Lots of ways to do this. . . for young students all the way through high school! And, just to give you a taste of what I mean, check out this blog post: http://dianawaring.com/using-5-senses-bring-history-life
Guest - krin on Sunday, 31 January 2016 09:22

You can use the play-doh as a three dimensional tool to study math and geometry and spelling and vocabulary and physics and even history. I just finished reading about this kid who had a severe learning disability and hd been unable to read at a high level until the teacher made the letters something he could physicaly hold. I then even heard the same concept put I to a tv show which I th oughht was cool. But the idea is sound... to use these play tools to teach while they are playing. I even saw them using the concept with legos at a lego store. They would share astory (or history lesson wi th the kids while the kuds used the story to what they were buidling.). I even taught my kiddo some basic of chemistry about th e oxygen cycle and the water cycle using his buildibg blocks once. With the help of your imagination and your kids imagination you can create a lesson out of every playful tool/fun game.

You can use the play-doh as a three dimensional tool to study math and geometry and spelling and vocabulary and physics and even history. I just finished reading about this kid who had a severe learning disability and hd been unable to read at a high level until the teacher made the letters something he could physicaly hold. I then even heard the same concept put I to a tv show which I th oughht was cool. But the idea is sound... to use these play tools to teach while they are playing. I even saw them using the concept with legos at a lego store. They would share astory (or history lesson wi th the kids while the kuds used the story to what they were buidling.). I even taught my kiddo some basic of chemistry about th e oxygen cycle and the water cycle using his buildibg blocks once. With the help of your imagination and your kids imagination you can create a lesson out of every playful tool/fun game.

[…] mom recently asked me about the idea of following our kids interests. After reading Why Quit Homeschooling, she wrote, “I ended with the same question that I often do when I read about moms who've […]

[…] mom recently asked me about the idea of following our kids interests. After reading Why Quit Homeschooling, she wrote, “I ended with the same question that I often do when I read about moms who've […]
Guest - Sheri on Thursday, 02 April 2015 06:18

We have been home schooling for 16 years now and each year has been a bit different. As we have gone through health struggles and babies, we have used more textbooks. During other years we are more relaxed. Some days/years it might have been easier to send them to school, but I wouldn't want to give up all the "life" we have experienced together. So far we have graduated 3, with 1 in high school, 3 in grade school, a toddler and infant still at home. So we have another 18 years or so of educating, plus grandkids. I can't wait to see what's ahead!

We have been home schooling for 16 years now and each year has been a bit different. As we have gone through health struggles and babies, we have used more textbooks. During other years we are more relaxed. Some days/years it might have been easier to send them to school, but I wouldn't want to give up all the "life" we have experienced together. So far we have graduated 3, with 1 in high school, 3 in grade school, a toddler and infant still at home. So we have another 18 years or so of educating, plus grandkids. I can't wait to see what's ahead!
Guest - Hannah Svec on Thursday, 02 April 2015 10:08

How do you let it go? The idea of no structure is absolutely frightening to me. How do I know when school is done for the day and we can relax if there is no structured book time? I am not mocking, I really want to provide this style of learning for my children, but I am so structured, that it seems elusive to me. I don't like school and they don't either. I don't know how to be "unstructured" and still have assurance that they have learned what they need to know.

How do you let it go? The idea of no structure is absolutely frightening to me. How do I know when school is done for the day and we can relax if there is no structured book time? I am not mocking, I really want to provide this style of learning for my children, but I am so structured, that it seems elusive to me. I don't like school and they don't either. I don't know how to be "unstructured" and still have assurance that they have learned what they need to know.
Guest - dianawaring on Thursday, 02 April 2015 11:26

Hannah, I am SO glad that you asked. . . What I wrote about in this blog is not the same thing as having no structure. It is in rethinking what our structure looks like, rethinking how we approach learning. It is basically re-examining the model of education we have been using.

Here is a blog post that will give you more of a description: http://dianawaring.com/artificial-curriculum-part-2

And, to really dig into the concept of loving learning (in a way that fits you and your kids), I'd like to recommend that you read my book, Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant Life Homeschooling. It has far more insight than can be put into 500 word blogs. . . :)

If it's not available in your library or from a friend, you can purchase it here: http://dianawaring.com/store/books.

I'm with you!! I've been where you are—those first three years when my kids and I hated what we were doing in homeschool—and have found that there really is freedom to love learning and enjoy homeschooling.

Feel free to continue the conversation, either here or on FB.

Thanks!

(BTW, my kids all graduated from university, some are in post-graduate studies, and all are grateful that they were homeschooled. They continue to love learning (and love me!!). . .)

Hannah, I am SO glad that you asked. . . What I wrote about in this blog is not the same thing as having no structure. It is in rethinking what our structure looks like, rethinking how we approach learning. It is basically re-examining the model of education we have been using. Here is a blog post that will give you more of a description: http://dianawaring.com/artificial-curriculum-part-2 And, to really dig into the concept of loving learning (in a way that fits you and your kids), I'd like to recommend that you read my book, Beyond Survival: A Guide to Abundant Life Homeschooling. It has far more insight than can be put into 500 word blogs. . . :) If it's not available in your library or from a friend, you can purchase it here: http://dianawaring.com/store/books. I'm with you!! I've been where you are—those first three years when my kids and I hated what we were doing in homeschool—and have found that there really is freedom to love learning and enjoy homeschooling. Feel free to continue the conversation, either here or on FB. Thanks! (BTW, my kids all graduated from university, some are in post-graduate studies, and all are grateful that they were homeschooled. They continue to love learning (and love me!!). . .)
Guest - Donna on Wednesday, 21 October 2015 03:12

Your book, Beyond Survival, was a life changer for our family back in the 90s. I will be forever grateful for your journey and that shared it with us. We have three 'kids'. Homeschooled all the way through. Our oldest is back at uni for another degree. Our middle child has finished university and is currently a safari guide in South Africa. Our youngest is in her fist year at uni, a junior and going for a double major.
I am so thankful that we did school our way and didn't follow a traditional plan- it allowed each of them to discover their passions.

Your book, Beyond Survival, was a life changer for our family back in the 90s. I will be forever grateful for your journey and that shared it with us. We have three 'kids'. Homeschooled all the way through. Our oldest is back at uni for another degree. Our middle child has finished university and is currently a safari guide in South Africa. Our youngest is in her fist year at uni, a junior and going for a double major. I am so thankful that we did school our way and didn't follow a traditional plan- it allowed each of them to discover their passions.
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