Why I’m No Homeschool Superstar

Homeschool superstars. They’re all over the blogosphere: wildly inspiring women with endless stores of energy and beautifully written lesson plans. Their kids make elaborate lapbooks, go on exciting field trips, are involved in oodles of extracurricular clubs and activities. Their blog posts are full of glitter and paint, cutting and pasting, and no end of ambitious mama-led activities that make most of us shut our browsers with a whimper, wondering how they manage to do more in a single week than we do in an entire year.

Why I'm No Homeschool SuperstarEven though I’m not one of them, I don’t mind their glorious blogs. I don’t think they should keep their thoughts to themselves or hide their family’s lifestyle for fear that others will read them and then be consumed with self-doubt. If all that busyness works for them, why shouldn’t they share the overflow? Why not give us a glimpse into their joy?

So many homeschoolers feel guilty for not being the sugar-cube-pyramid building type. We see what other homeschooling moms are pulling off on a regular basis in their Pinterest-worthy homeschool rooms and we feel lacking, or maybe even lazy.

But I don’t really think it’s laziness, not really. It’s more like… “otherness”. I’m too busy with other things to be spending all of my free time planning and carrying out elaborate homeschooling plans. There are babies to grow! Meals to prepare! Photographs to take! Books to be read! Shoot ladies, there’s chocolate to be eaten, and one cannot eat sufficient quantities of chocolate if she’s all wrapped up in being SuperHomeschooler of the Year.

Several years ago I was told by a lady that she could never homeschool because she wasn’t a salt-dough-map-making kind of mom. But I am so not a salt-dough-map-making kind of mom. Nothing makes me groan so loud as to read, in a set of lesson plans, a complex set of instructions telling me how to mummify a chicken or create a raised relief depiction of Egypt.

Truth be told, I’m not all that convinced that homeschooling mothers need to engage in such elaborate activities to make learning worthwhile. Mama needs to be peaceful and happy! I don’t know about you, but I’m not very peaceful or happy when I’m running around like a madwoman, trying to find enough baking soda or vinegar for the next amazing science experiment.

I have become convinced that a peaceful and happy mother is the real key to successful homeschooling. Choosing excellent materials is important, of course. Establishing a healthy daily routine is enormously helpful. Developing an active social life is essential. We can read up on every curriculum on the market, listen to webcasts, devour articles, attend conferences, participate in co-ops or support groups, and otherwise get our ducks in a perfect little row, but none of this will have the same impact on the life of a homeschooling family as a peaceful and happy mother.

To become peaceful and happy, you’ve got to figure out what’s true about you. What creates an environment where you can be thrive? How can you work with your own innate strengths and weaknesses so that your homeschool will be happy and humming, even if you never construct a sugar cube igloo or help your kids put together a single diorama?

Yes, there are oodles of blogs where crafty moms showcase all the incredibly wonderful things they are doing with their kids. Good for them! I don’t mean that sarcastically at all, I really do mean, good for them. What a beautiful life they live! But if you aren’t a crafty mama- if the thought of letting your five-year-old loose with a can of glitter and a bottle of glue makes you break out in hives, then shut your internet browser and quit looking at that lady’s pictures long enough to figure out what would make your family thrive.

You don’t have to be a homeschooling superstar to feel good about the kind of education your kids are getting. Just be yourself. Embrace who you are. A reading mama? A knitting mama? A super-social mama? A mama who’s always whipping something tasty up in the kitchen or one who’s constantly on the prowl for interesting places to visit?

Figure out what drives you and then let your kids shine within that capacity. Trying to be something you’re not, trying hard to provide your kids with the education that the blogger-next-door is giving hers will just burn you out and inspire you to quit the whole project entirely.

I became a peaceful and happy homeschooling mama when I learned to be content with my own preferences, and no longer strove to be like the uber-blogging women whose strengths are different from my own.

That’s why I’m not a Homeschool Superstar. Because superstardom isn’t authentic to who I am and to how my family functions best. So instead? I’m just me.

And that’s just the kind of homeschooling mama I want to be.



Comments

  1. says

    I have been homeschooling for twelve years. And reading homeschooling blogs for at least seven of those years. And this post is The Best Thing I have ever read about homeschooling. Honestly. I’m not saying that lightly. The best thing. Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. sharyn says

    Sometimes I wonder that we don’t form this idea of the super homeschool mum out of several mums. At one blog we might see a mum who does lots of craft, at another blog a mum who takes her children on all sorts of exciting nature walks, another whose children are amazing writers etc. and out of all those different families we form the idea of super homeschool mum, and she’s the mum we ‘have’ to be and aren’t. We can’t be everything under the sun. What a wonderful comfort to know God doesn’t ask us to be all things, only to love Him and to share that love with others.
    That always makes me breathe a sigh of relief.

    I’m so thankful to all the mums whose blogs have been and are an inspiration to me. They truly are my sisters whom I cherish. What I do is find a few things I’d like to try and then go off and try to work on them slowly, taking a break from the Internet. A little is good, too much can be discouraging. It’s one thing to gather idea’s and another to have your uniqueness crushed by them.

    In general I do what I call ‘putting my blinkers on’ after I have seen what others are doing, whether the source is the Internet, or seeing what friends do. I see and admire and may even try to incorporate, but then I bring my focus back to my own goals and idea’s. I think you could call it developing detatchment. If I worry too much about what others are doing I’ll loose my sensitivity to doing what’s right for us.

    When we learn detatchment we can love others for who they are too without feeling bad in comparison to them.
    I love St. Therese’s description of us as being like to different flowers, and the beauty our differences combined make. We all have our own special gifts that make us who we are. Learning to value that is so important.

    Life is such a short journey, too short to waste on being sad at what we aren’t , but always long enough for us to flower into who we were meant to be. Unique children of God, heirs of heaven.

  3. Peggy says

    Absolutly true! I am sharing you on my facebook wall. I have a couple of friends that are really struggling.God bless you and the family.
    keep your feet up!

  4. says

    I have to echo your first comment in saying “this is THE best post” I’ve seen/read in a long time!

    I recently wrote “Why I Use Textbooks” (go to my blog and look under Homeschooling) about the reality of having other things to do besides teach!

    The reality is that no one can do everything 100%. Something is lacking in the homes of those who sit for hours playing and crafting with the kids. Some area is not getting done.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said that a happy mom is the key. Some of us need balance and that means that ALL areas are taken care of, which makes us happier and able to function.

    I call it moving from “Teacher” to “Administrator”.

    And, the part about February being the burnout month – so true!

    I wrote an article titled “The Winter Blues” for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine, last January, that dealt with that very thing.

    Anyway – great, great post and so true!!

  5. says

    You are so right. If mama isn’t happy, no one is happy, husbands included.
    Home schooling can be done in many different ways. We do have to find our own groove for sure.
    PS I HATE papier mache or any other messy things!!

  6. says

    Sarah-
    Oh how we have traveled this journey together! SO glad to be at this point in the journey with you. Another well written post that I am sure is going to help many!

  7. says

    I third the notion that this is the BEST homeschooling advice written in a long time! It took me a few years to figure out “what works for us” but I became a much more peaceful mama, as you say, when I did. And I think Sharyn is on to something too.

    You and I know very well that blogs are just a snippet of our lives and that when someone puts something on their blog, 9 times out of 10 it’s going to be something they enjoyed, something that works for them, not a huge failure. If lapbooks work for Mama A then she’s going to post all about her amazing history lapbooks but if nature walks work for Mama B then she’s going to squee all over the hedgehogs and hawks she saw in her backyard. But no one ever really notices that Mama A doesn’t mention too many outdoor hikes and Mama B keeps her history curriculum kind of out of the spotlight because maybe history just isn’t her passion. Lumping all of these families together under “homeschooling” can give one the false impression that we have to take the best from each one and incorporate it into our school room if we want to give our kids “the best” homeschooling experience.

    The best homeschooling experience is the one that works best for your family and keeps the mama sane!

  8. says

    I always appreciate your honesty about your homeschooling journey. I am at the starting point of ours, as I begin to homeschool my pre-school age son, and I already find myself stressing out way to much about trying to do EVERYTHING I see others doing. I have obsessed about the philosophies of Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, and Reggio Emilia, and tried to choose one and fit myself inside the box. What I have learned is that I am unique and my children are unique, and so our learning experience will be unique as well. Thank you for the reminder that I don’t need to constantly compare myself to others!

  9. says

    Fantastic post Sarah! Finding that balance and peace, between my big dreams and my reality, the path that God has set for us, is what keeps the burnout away (so far ;) Those amazing blogs, that seem unattainable, are! Those paths are THEIRS and we have OUR path. Once I finally let that sink in, our path was much more comfortable and peaceful! I’m going to have share this one!

  10. Sharla says

    This is a great post, Sarah — thanks for your honesty. I also found this to be true before we homeschooled formally, when my oldest was still a toddler. I always felt guilty for not playing with her more. She always wanted me to play Little People with her…sounds so trite, but I could hardly make myself do it, and I’m sure she picked up on the resentment when I did do it. I finally figured out, that I’m not a “Little People playing” mom…but tea parties — I can go all out on tea parties, and I enjoy them — and so did she! So while it’s good to stretch yourself, obviously, we can all find things we enjoy that our kids will too, and that’s what they want, as you said, just a peaceful, happy mom! Work with what you’ve got!

  11. says

    Me too! Me too! Me too! I have an allergy to glitter {at least that’s what I tell myself} & glure makes me cranky.

    I think a homeschool superstar knows who she is and then works with what she’s got…and her children benefit.

  12. Danae says

    Thank you so much for this post! It was exactly what I needed to hear at this point in our journey. Thanks for being honest! When we are truly ourselves, and not trying to live up to someone else’s standards, that is what makes our homeschool journey the best. My kids can’t get what I can offer from anyone else and that is what makes it unique and special! Thanks for the reminder!

  13. says

    Sarah:
    What a nice post today. So true for many of us! I was happy to read about how you got work that didn’t even always involve a teacher…that’s how I am. I guess we all need to be affirmed. I think of my own learning style. I need a book and I read. I don’t like to be lectured to…so I guess I keep verbal lessons somewhat limited around here. I think my kids know a lot, but I always wonder if I’m doing enough. I think that’s so, so common. Your piece gave me an extra boost of confidence.

  14. says

    My kids are now grown, but how I wish I’d seen these words while I was homeschooling. I learned my children, their strengths and weaknesses, and helped them find work. They were not called to be rocket scientists. But they all know how to cook, bake, mend and clean. And they have marvelous senses of humor. Thank God for Grace.

  15. says

    Dude, you are so wrong :) You ARE a homeschool superstar – because you have balance and wisdom and you have been an inspiration to me for years! I have a very short list of hs mama blogs I always go back to because they lift me up instead of crushing me with guilt. I so admire how you are true to yourself and have learned your children’s hearts, so you have a clear picture of what now works for YOUR family. That makes you a superstar to ME :)

  16. says

    Such wonderful, wise words!!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart – you’ve touched mine, and obviously many others.

  17. says

    Dear me, thank you so much for this post – for validating that it’s really, truly, okay not to do everything the same way others do…

    peace and blessings to you!

    (and so happy I found your blog!)

    ~LuAnne

  18. says

    Well my dear, you are a SUPERSTAR with me, and after reading this last post, your superstardom just went up a few notches!:) Love you!

  19. says

    I love reading your blog! Really, I do! And this post has been such a breath of fresh air. I spent most of last year growing a baby, and I wish I had had the good sense to chill out. Now that our #4 is six months old, I’m finally getting there.

  20. says

    Amen and amen. The less we do the better I feel. Books are good. What they ask for is good. Output for output’s sake is not necessary. This post is it, and I am learning!

  21. says

    Still impressed that you are so darn smart years before some of us;) Here, here. Hsig the way that nurtures me, lots of books and little craft here, God made me this way, He’s happy.

  22. says

    Ah, Sarah, you have this uncanny ability to put the things I’ve been thinking and pondering into much better words than I ever could! You rocked it with this one and I hope I remember to come back and reread this whenever I fall prey to the doubts and guilt that like to creep up on me every once in a while. (truth be told, I often think of YOU as one of those superstars…but I still think you are even with…and because of…this article ;) God bless!!

  23. says

    Dear Sarah,
    I am always encouraged by your posts. I love the very realness of them and find that it helps me to be a better HS mama. We are just starting our school year here and hoping the plans we have made will work simply and productively.
    How is the pregnancy going BTW?
    Can’t wait to hear about the little bundle of joy arriving.
    God Bless
    Gae

  24. says

    I am one of those bloggers with a million beautiful looking posts! ;) Soemtimes even I look at posts and think “this cant be us?!”. I love to take pictures and I love to craft with my kiddos, but playing…not usually! I feel guilty about that! I want to be the mom that does it all,but I cant be. I say no to things I should say yes to, we should turn off the tv in the afternoons more often, but the fits that come with that make me crazy! So I document only the pretty parts of my days! I bet there are alot of super moms out there who do! I for one, dont want to see pictures of the temper tantrums or the whinning when required to do some school work! lol! It all happens! Thanks for reminding us that we do what works for us and our kids will be ok! Its good to know that we arent going to scar them for life just becuase we craft rather then play, or read rather then glitter!

  25. says

    Dear Sarah,
    Thank you so much for always being so inspirational and so real. I too suffer from wanting to do it all and reading and researching more than I need. I always feel that there is something better out there and perhaps I just don’t know about it yet, lol! With three little boys under ten, there really is not alot of free time to plan “it all.” This is our fifth year of homeschooling and I find that with each year, I get a little more relaxed and figure I should have this mastered by the time we are done ;)
    I always tell my non homeschooling friends that some days the behind the scenes prep part of it can make you a little crazy! I probably have at least 150 bookmarks of things to do that looks so cool! Anyway…I digress…
    Thanks for the great post when most of it need it the most. I am headed over to check out the Loveliness Fair now. Hope you are well and I cannot wait to hear all about that little blessing of yours.

  26. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sarah for this post! I think I needed to hear this. Although, I’ve been slowly coming to these realizations myself, it was nice to see them affirmed. =) I know I have fallen prey in the past to taking the best ideas from many sources and trying to combine it all into one “super homeschool experience” as Sharyn and Charlotte spoke of. But for some reason (wink) seem to fall short of that homeschool superstar status. I cannot even count all the “ideas or projects” we’ve started only to never finish them. And then the “guilt” sets in.

    But, I have really enjoyed reading your blog since discovering it in the past few months. Your honesty is refreshing, uplifting and entertaining. You seem to have found what works for you, and let go of the rest. I’m so happy for you – really! I am still working on what works and fits our family best. It seems to be in a constant state of change as we add babies every few years and schedules change and the kids need more or less of the teacher,etc. I am becoming more confident that what really works best, is putting on the blinders and letting go of the so-called expectations!

    So, this reality check is a great grounding that we don’t have to appear perfect or be perfect, except in the eyes of our Father in Heaven. He gives us the graces and strength to care for our family as it is. We can mess it up though by overextending ourselves, trying to keep up with everyone else, and forgetting that each family is unique. But He still gives us the grace to continue to try! I am so looking forward to continuing the journey discovering what works best, and allowing my children to flourish within our family setting. Letting go of expectations and the work of HSing can be daunting at times, but the rewards and joys of a being peaceful, happy homeschool mama will multiply abundantly if we allow it.

    God Bless you! You are in my thoughts as you wait for your little one’s arrival!

  27. says

    I am totally at peace with my textbooks and tons of read alouds. I would rather knit a hat with one of thme or take their pictures than make a salt dough map that was destined for the garbage or to fill up my newly uncluttered space. Today I am very ok with people who need to make maps instead though too.

    I always said this was more about finding out what kind of teacher you were than what kind of learner you had. They will take your cue and peace is most important.

  28. says

    Wow! you just made superstar status with this post Sarah. You have a way of taking all the realizations I’ve made in the recent past and make them inspiring. Thank You.

  29. says

    Thank you for this. It’s just what I needed to read today, and it will likely be what I need to read tomorrow and the day after and the day after…

    Blessings.

  30. says

    Since my oldest is only two, I have no experience with home schooling… I do have that nagging feeling that I am not doing “everything” I could be for my girl when I hear all the things other mommy’s are doing with their little though. Then I have to remind myself that I am not them. I am a working mommy that gets to keep my kids with me all day. I have to balance answering phones, scheduling appointments, invoicing, filing and billing all while feeding and caring for a newborn and keeping my toddler entertained while not trying to over-do the t.v. time as entertainment. I’m not the overly-clean mommy either. I don’t mind a little “dirty” but I am still dreading the use of paints, glue, GLITTER!!! But I am a mommy that reads, and a mommy that plays, and a mommy that dances, and a mommy that sings, although the last I don’t do very well… And it turns out, my toddler, she likes to dance! She sings when the mood strikes her. She plays “mommy” and “kitchen” and whatever imaginative other things with her toys. And she “reads”. Okay, so at two, she is not really “reading” but she will sit down with a book and go page by page looking at the pictures and words and sometimes she talks to me about it and sometimes she goes through a dozen books without saying a word! We will get to that “other” stuff later. Museums and bigger parks and zoo’s and whatever! I don’t know that I will be a home schooling mommy, but until I have to make that decision, I am still teaching my kids and encouraging them to explore, even if it’s just within my regular spaces.

  31. says

    “I have become convinced that a peaceful and happy mother is the real key to successful homeschooling.”

    And:

    “To become peaceful and happy, you’ve got to figure out what’s true about you.”

    Yes! Sarah, yes, yes, yes!

    Beautiful! Huzzah for knowing who you are and not torturing yourself because you’re not someone else. That is the only thing that I have found works for me.

    I’m sure you’ve brought a lot of peace to a lot of homeschooling mommies, Sarah.

    Keep being a superstar … errr, ummm … yourself. :)

  32. says

    Another blogging home school mom from Washington echoes your sentiments…

    A peaceful mom/teacher is key! My boys’ biggest home school project this week was damming the creek next door to our house. They are thrilled with the results (this activity may or not be…. legal). With our oldest now filling out his college applications, I had to text him to ask “What did you read your freshman year?” (he was away with his swim team) so I could compose his high school transcript to send off as his home school guidance counselor. My very put-together and super organized home school friends saved the day with transcript templates and offers of assistance.

    All this to say: keep the peace! Your children are blessed to have you as their mom and teacher!

  33. says

    A fellow homeschooler past this article along to me.. And I LOVE IT!!! Thank you!! Some of us under-achievers needed to hear this! ;) Now I can stop feeling less than perfect ;)

  34. says

    Thank you for this, I’m not a crafty person either. I can make things, crochet, but the whole crafty side of home schooling eludes me. Now building things, that I can get into!

  35. says

    What a great post! I am one of those ‘too-lazy’ homeschool parents – we don’t do lap books or projects, as my son doesn’t really like it and I am too lazy to push. We don’t really do craft at home – my son loves to draw so he does that on his own; we go once a week to a homeschool craft group run by someone else and I walk away for two hours; we have now discovered knitting but my son sticks to his loom for about ten minutes before he needs a break. And most importantly, he’s doing okay.

    When I remember what it was that taught me the most as a child (who went to school) and it was all the reading I did by choice. I learned so much of what I not only use today, but also what inspires me to continue to learn. And so I encourage my son to curl up with a book (or kindle) whenever he wants. That probably is doing as much if not more for his learning as 10 frustrating science projects or bags of glitter would.

  36. Jennifer Rogers says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! So wonderful a feeling to find like minded mama’s.

    We home schooled our oldest two for several years. Then, after heavy criticism from family and friends about the way in which I was teaching the kids, I enrolled them in public school, thinking I had failed them.
    What I hadn’t seen, is that this was working for us! The relaxed method. Take a day at a time. Finding a way to reach them in their groove that meshed with mine. This was working for us! My 8 yr old son read at high school level.

    After seeing them being held back from their thirst for knowledge, and realizing that I was spending as much time on helping them with their homework (some of which were the exact free printables which I had used in previous years) as I had been in their home school studies, we have gone back to home schooling. Our own way. No guilt. No worries that I’m not doing enough. If we want to go to the zoo, and it fits in, we go. Museums, documentaries, nature walks–whatever we feel like! There’s not one single right way. Each of my 4 children is different. I reach them differently.
    I’ve recently found that searching for the “right” curriculum for my family is impossible. This year, we started using an online site for just spelling. It saves me oodles of time, and sanity, and they love it!

    Crafts…HA! My daughter loves crafts, so I try to give her something special every so often, usually for holidays and if the other kids want to do it, there are plenty of materials, but it’s not for me. She loves it, and will gladly take on the teaching and how to!

    Hooray for teaching our kids in ways that suit our families. That fit and all for who they are, and what they want to learn.

  37. says

    What a great honest post!! I am often wondering if my kids are suffering too because we do not do crafts either. I am minimal on science stuff and I feel bad!!

  38. says

    Thank you, my dear, and I think I love you. More than pizza even. WAYYYYY more than salt dough maps though. Thank you for saying what a lot of us aren’t bold enough – or genuine enough – to say. I wrote something similar a few days ago and I’ll share the link, not because I’m self promoting but just because we have a lot in common! Whether or not you stop by, I’m enjoying your blog for keeps! http://www.thedazeofus.blogspot.com

  39. sonrisemom says

    I so needed to read this, I have been stuggling lately with theese same issues.

    God created us all to be individuals, & that is one reason I homeschool my kids. Each child has strengths & weaknesses. Some are into sports & some not, some are into music & some not. Homeschool moms’ are no different. We all have different gifts. Figuring out what those are & sharing them with our children is going to benefit them more than trying to be something we’re not. Thanks for reminding me it’s ok to just be the homeschool mom God wants me to be. God Bless. :-)

  40. says

    This post is amazing!!! It’s very easy to feel like ‘all women/moms are crafty’ when you are homeschooling. It’s easy to feel like it’s just a given that you are that person. I’m.so.not.that.person. I prefer to be with my hubby in the outdoors. I’m not a baker, great cook, etc. I am working on it, for the benefit of my family, but I can’t say I enjoy the ‘womanly things’ just yet. I’d rather be doing sports or hunting or whatever else. I also love to read….so instead of feeling bad, I’ll encourage my children to do what THEY enjoy and if that’s crafts, great. They can teach themselves how to do them, in fact, my older ones already do. Isn’t that what homeschooling freedom is all about? Learning to love teaching themselves and pursuing their interests?

  41. says

    Ahhh, my Bear (or is that Super-Bear?) you are a superstar. You are a superstar to your children (you can see it in their eyes), your husband (you can definitely see it in his eyes), your mom (see her post above), me (always have been, and always will be in your own way), your siblings (I can tell), and dare I say, many of your blog followers. Being true to who you are is key…and you are a Child of God. His Grace is marvelous.
    PB

  42. says

    I am not a crafty mom, creative, not crafty. My kids work independently. I put their school online in the quiet hours of the early morning and then I can be with the littles while the school-age children do their work. Anyone can see what we do and can use my children’s curriculum online–all the materials are online and free. It’s great for anyone who likes short homeschool days where the kids can work independently and don’t need any special supplies. It’s free for all and covers it all. It’s the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool.

  43. says

    This is the best: “I have become convinced that a peaceful and happy mother is the real key to successful homeschooling.” In all honesty, the fact that I don’t believe I would be a peaceful and happy mother if I was homeschooling is the ONE reason I’ve refused for years to do it. But the Lord is working on my heart with this issue, and I might, might, try it just for kicks.

  44. says

    Wow. You have no idea how much I needed this! Thanks so much for writing such a wonderful post; you really have helped me feel so much better about our homeschooling.

  45. says

    A hearty amen! Especially to the part about chocolate ;) Thanks for sharing yourself with us here. You are so encouraging. And you have inspired me to be happy with myself and not be comparing myself to others.

  46. says

    AMEN! And thank you. I’m in the throes of our second year. I’m beginning to feel the “I’m not good enough” creeping in. I love the fun crafty things, but honestly, I hate the clean up. I love the idea of being a nature-loving, lapbooking family. Honestly, I can’t remember where I put the supplies.

    What I do know is my children are learning in spite of my weaknesses. They are growing. They are thriving.

    Besides, if they end up on national TV proclaiming I ruined their lives because I refused to make a dough map of Africa with them, I’ll just have them recount all the times I burned said dough…

  47. says

    What a great post! It is something I inwardly know, and encourage new homeschoolers to do, but I still struggle with the temptation to “do it all” myself! Thanks for the uplifting reminder!

  48. says

    Oh! You have said what I’ve been pondering. What if I can’t do it all? Am I holding my boys back? the best sentence, and it was hard to choose because you have so many things I want to underling and highlight, was, “I opted not to use curriculum that required very much teacher”. Yes! Yes, a thousand times, yes! Isn’t that what homeschooling should be after all, teaching our kids how to do things on their own. If we did it all for them, made things easier for them to accomplish, then we will indeed not be doing them any favors. Thank you for writing this! Bravo!

  49. says

    Very well said! I’ve been homeschooling for 9 years and am currently homeschooling 3 of our 5 children. I’ve never really struggled with all the crafty-projects that I’m not doing with my kids…for I do a TON of baking, real-life lessons in the kitchen with mine! =) However it was good to find out that there are other Moms out there who don’t get into the “supplies needed” projects either. =)

    Blessings on you and yours,
    ~Heather~

  50. Anonymous says

    oh wow. I needed to read this. This is my first year homeschooling, and while I actually like science experiments (the easy ones…especially because they make my little one happy) I feel guilty for skipping a lot of stuff we both find boring. Not only that but I do feel the burnout…bad right now in February! Why is that? I want to curl up on the couch and pretend I don’t have kids. I need some of that grace ASAP. I wish I knew how to summon it. I’ve been in a funk and the kids are feeling it and I’m worried they’re unhappy. I want to have more fun. Must think on this and figure something out. I’m bored and if I’m bored, they are.

  51. Julie says

    Excellent article. I have been home schooling for 14 or so years and you have made my day.I too have looked at blogs and books etc and wondered how on earth I can emulate everything everyone else does. Now I’m just being me and doing what happens. My kids are better off. they have a clam mum and are still learning.

  52. says

    Thank you for this! I have been reading up on homeschooling, trying to pick our curriculum and I’m relieved to come across this post! I was getting a little nervous thinking, maybe I am not cut out to be a homeschooling mom. Thank you.

  53. says

    Great post, but you neglect to mention directly that homeschooling families are also different because the kids themselves are different. It’s not just what makes Mom peaceful and happy, it’s what makes the kids’ hearts sing, too. I don’t know about you, but the “dance” of homeschooling, child and parent taking turns at leading, responding to each others’ cues, has led me to some places that I never would have chosen or aspired to or predicted.

    For example: “Dance Mom.” Yick! Still, my youngest LOVED LOVED LOVED to dance and wanted to dance. So I found myself supporting that. Since there is a large age gap between this child and the older two, I ended up being able to devote a lot of time to supporting the dancer in her dancing, and it definitely took me to some activities, habits, and even homeschooling practices I wouldn’t have chosen on my own! (I unschooled the kids, but when she was 15 my youngest wanted to join the local high school’s dance team, so we had to do formal academics in the school district homeschool program. Yick again…but we made it work.)

    The upshot of me going out of my peaceful-happy place, here and there, on account of my kids’ passions is that I stretched myself, developed new interests, changed and evolved. Looking back, even the parts that were hard ended up being good stories, good growth, good experiences. I wouldn’t change even the yick parts!

  54. says

    I am that super high energy alway running and doing home schooling momma…because it’s what I thrive off of and my lil man got that same “gene.” The hubby on the other hand is way more “peaceful ” and laid back. It is so wonderful that is we stop for a second and pay attention to what makes us smile, peace quickly follows….now, I’m off and running to find that glitter! Happy and peaceful homeschooling to all!

  55. says

    Amen. Loving your declaration and joining you in it. I could write a response post on my blog to your article regarding my long series of failed science experiments alone but I’m too lazy. :) You’re awesome!

  56. says

    HOLY COW WAS THIS GOOD! Did you pick up on my feelings just now? Thank you, thank you for being real. Anyone called to homeschool can do it, but we all do it differently and that is ok! I started out this year with enough projects for twenty kids and I was exhausted.

    We have decided that we will go at our own pace, not look at the clock, and not look at what other people are doing. Grace, mercy, patience, submitting and learning. I needed to learn this year before I could teach my kids, and what a year it has been.

    You rock, your new reader- Tanya :)

  57. says

    THANK YOU! I have been thinking a lot lately how I am not, nor will I ever be a “perfect homeschool mom. I am an underacheiving homeschool mom. :-) Not really but my goals are different than those moms that plan and do so much. For them that works, for me, what works is not working so hard at providing all that and being more “flowing” and not getting upset if my plans aren’t what my daughters ends up doing. For our family, educating our daughter isn’t “work” and it doesn’t consume us, its not who we are. For others it works, but being able to recognize it doesn’t for us and having the freedom to do what does work right now is the key.

    Thank you!

  58. says

    Encouraging words. Though I’m not as generous in thought as you towards those super-mums lol!

    I can do the crafts and the hands-on projects. If anything that’s the easy bit for me. What I can’t do is be a housewife, student and part-time worker as well as do that sort of Home Education. Something has to give and unless you are a genius at multi-tasking, you’ll end up like me, doing one or two things well and ignoring the rest, or doing all of it, but badly :)

  59. says

    I absolutely love this. I have been homeschooling for close to 10 years and feel the same way. IN the beginning I felt like I had to be that “super homeschool mom”. I made lesson plans and always did great science experiments, crafts, etc. But then life happened and I was no longer homeschooling 1 but 3 children. All on different levels and very unique personality wise. Although we still do projects and my kids love to homeschool, I am confident in knowing that what I am doing is great; even if its not in hyper-drive.

    Thanks for sharing & making us all feel “normal”

  60. says

    Oh my goodness…thank you so much for this! I came across this post while scouring the internet trying to see if something was wrong with me because I’m about to have a breakdown with the myriad crafts in my sons KINDERGARTEN curriculum. Yep…we’re just getting started and I’m already doubting and failing. I’ve been so looking forward to this experience but allowed pressure from outside cause me to choose a curriculum others would recognize as schoollike when I know it’s just not me. We want to play and read lots and just be home learning as we go. Anyway, thanks so much for this encouragement!

  61. says

    Amen.

    (just found your blog today, and have been reading all your ‘popular posts’ and just had to say something here)

    I’m also NOT a superstar homeschool mom. I was just telling a friend today that other moms always ask me how I do it with 8 kids … and my answers always have them staring at me with open mouths. :0

    fantastic post!
    kathi

  62. Anonymous says

    Thank you! This is my first year and I actually googled “homeschooling when you aren’t a crafty mom?” God really blessed me with finding this!!! Thank you, jennifer

  63. says

    I just need to say… I love you. Thank you for writing this, I’ve been down on myself lately because I haven’t been keeping up with the 5 science projects a week that my curriculum says are “not optional” and require me to spend 30 minutes preparing for while my kids spend 30 seconds looking at something they already know. I never seem to have time for the elaborate “fun” things that other people seem to have time for, and again, are recommended by the curriculum. It’s like I’m spending so much time with school projects when all my kids and I need is just some couch cuddle time, and yes, chocolate.

  64. says

    Thank you. I must admit that most of the time I avoid homeschooling blogs like the plague. Most days I just feel lazy when compared to other homeschooling moms out there. It’s so wonderful to see that I’m not alone & that I don’t have to take on every project under the sun. I needed this affirmation at this moment & am so glad that I stumbled across your blog, very inspiring. Our children just need us to be the best moms we can be & that doesn’t have to mean that we do every craft or science project out there. If we are true to ourselves our homeschool will thrive. So I thank you for sharing your thoughts on why you aren’t a ‘homeschool superstar’.

  65. says

    You’re going to love the series coming out through the iHomeschool Network. I came up with the idea but MANY homeschool moms will be writing on the topic.

    I wanted to call it “Keepin’ It Real” but we went with another title. May 9th. Stay tuned…

    :-)

  66. says

    Enjoyed this post, even though I AM a super crafty, hands-on, lap book or big project person. You are so right that you need to operate your homeschool in a way that makes you and your children happily thrive. Today my husband came home to me out in the backyard, making plaster of paris shields with the kids (for upcoming gladiator training school) LOL and he looked at me kinda strange and said, “I’m realizing this isn’t a chore for you–you actually really and truly love this stuff.” And he’s right. I thrive on creative expression and nature walks with the kids and all that hands on craziness and conversely, I feel stifled by textbooks. But it’s really and truly WHO I am. Reading posts like this (and the occasional comment on my FB page of “you make me tired”) reminds me that I need to be sensitive to mamas who may feel guilt that THEY are wired differently–not worse, just differently! Each of us are our children’s own best teachers. And however we’re wired, one thing I’ve realized is that we all need balance…my house is not as clean as it used to be before I homeschooled. But I know that “this too shall pass” and so for now, we’re doing what we enjoy and what makes our home thrive, and share the cool stuff with the intention of inspiring, and never to heap guilt.
    blessings, Joanna

  67. says

    I wanted to scream and jump with joy reading just the first few sentences! Someone like me! I’m still searching for curriculums that work for us as I go into my second year schooling the kids but I’m switching from the search for the academically and catholically perfect curriculums to what’s best for mama and then the kids. Everything you wrote is sooooo true! Happy mama is happy kids! My new school mantra. ;) we moved into a new house and now I’m trying to set it up with everything I need. As a person who needs order and cleanliness to keep my head above the chaos of kids, I find art and science experiments to be tedious and time consuming….I need my “me” time for my own sanity! And my kids ARE happier when we get schoolwork done, house is in order, they have free play time, and mommy is more playful. Then maybe we will get to sewing or a craft for a major feast day or holiday. Just not every feast as some bloggers do! Whew! God is in charge…I have to trust that I’m doing His will!

  68. says

    I just started homeschooling. I can’t tell you how excited I was to have read this at this point in our journey. I AM NORMAL! I am just 3 weeks into homeschooling and some days I wasn’t doing all those ‘blog-next-door’ exciting ideas. I have plans… oh, do I ever have plans! But, sometimes those plans just don’t happen. I have to say that you’ve ‘saved’ us. And I can still say YES I CAN!!!

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!!

  69. says

    85 comments and counting?…yeah, girl, you’re a superstar-mom-blogger-homeschooler. It kinda speaks for itself. ;)

    And by the by, it’s okay to be a superstar-mom-blogger-homeschooler. I’ve looked to you MANY times for not only ideas and inspiration, but also *encouragement*. God love you, Sarah.

  70. says

    I am guilty of trying to be project queen and super homeschool mom – but it is tiring. I do those things mostly to give my kids some fun memories, but who knows if they will remember that stuff? Thanks for this post – next time I am trying to keep up with myself I will remember it! :)