Wondering what you see as the most difficult part of homeschooling?

by | Homeschooling | 6 comments

When I was homeschooling, one of the most difficult parts was being able to afford curriculum. There wasn’t much available in the 80’s, but I needed to buy the math books (we used Saxon — I only recommend the books for grades 6-12), the chemistry, biology, and physics books/videos/equipment (Apologia didn’t exist at that time, but later on we were able to help Dr. Wile with testing the Biology curriculum), the Latin curriculum (we used Artes Latinae), the logic books (Critical Thinking Press), and music lessons. For the rest of the subjects I used a variety of sources such as libraries and old books — which is actually how I preferred it. It’s my observation, though, that figuring out how to afford curriculum is one of the most common difficulties of homeschooling.

Another difficulty was the cooking — how to get meals on the table, especially since I was pretty particular about what we ate. No sugar, no white flour, no pre-prepared foods — I think I might have been a bit overly particular. I solved that problem by teaching my three girls how to cook (starting at age ten), and they took that job over completely. I gave them total jurisdiction over the kitchen, which suited me just fine.

Also, it seemed like we had to spend a good deal of time in conflict resolution — addressing problems as they came up. How to live peaceably with one another when you’re living in close proximity with brothers and sisters and mother and father 24/7 — that is a true challenge. It’s hard for all of us, and those who don’t appear to have this problem are just good at hiding things.

Here’s another difficulty — one that can drag even the strongest person down and is especially hard for women to handle — dealing with the rejection and disapproval of friends and relatives. When we started homeschooling in the late ’70’s — well, you can probably imagine what most people were thinking. I don’t remember being too bothered by it, though, mainly because my husband and I were 100% united on the issue plus we quickly made many friends who were also homeschooling. If you surround yourself with people who oppose and disapprove of what you do, you will quickly experience homeschool burn-out.

I have two special “wishes” for homeschooling families — no, wait, I have three:

1. Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it, and EVERYBODY needs help once in awhile — help with an academic or learning difficulty, help in a marriage, help with a personal problem, help with an addiction.

2. Read to your kids, even when they’re way too old to sit in your lap.

3. Don’t just study the “regular” subjects. Mom, study things that interest you. Like pottery or genealogy. Bring the kids along with you as you learn.

OK, I guess I have four:

4. This is one you won’t want to hear but I’m going to say it anyway……. maybe I’ll save it for another time. You probably know what I’m going to say anyway. It starts with a T and ends with a V.

What do you see as the most difficult part of homeschooling?


  1. Candace Bauer

    Ok, I am going to have to admit that I don’t know what you are going to say, and now I’m dying to know what you are going to say!! Also, I have a question. I am almost through your Trivium book. I have decided to take Latin now (going by what your book said). My oldest, of 3, is 4.5. As I teach him the English alphabet, and how to write his letters, is now the time to begin teaching him the Greek and Hebrew alphabets (going by what you have said in your book). And then as he learns to read and write English, teach him to read and write Greek and Hebrew? And then let him learn to speak Greek and Hebrew when he is old enough to follow his own course of study since I won’t be able to teach him that. Or, do I only teach him the Latin alphabet and how to read and write and speak, as I learn it? Help!
    Hi Candace, At this age I would just help him to experiment with alphabets. This web site http://www.theclassicalmommy.com will be helpful to you. And the answer to your first question: TV.

  2. Elisabeth

    This was an encouragement to me! It’s so good to know that other families spend lots of time making meals and resolving conflicts. (Also training little ones in obedience!) Thanks so much for posting this!

  3. Megan Volmer

    A very encouraging post. We spend lots of time in conflict resolution and it is easy to think we are alone. I think my two biggest challenges (which I would love input on) are spending individual time with each child while keeping others busy about their work and dividing time between reading to 10, 7 and 6 year olds as well as to 4 year old and almost 1 year old. I feel that I do not spend enough time reading picture books to 4 year old. She listens to our history and Science and our chapter books, but one picture book a day is about all I ever read to her and little guy gets a board book a week. I want to incorporate more, but we are reading between 1.5 and 2 hours a day to the older ones. Did I mention dad is deployed?

    I would be remiss if I did not thank you for all of your work. I have loved TTT and benefited. I waited till my daughter was 10. Well she will be ten this month and we just started with Saxon math. She is understanding it and I love how each lesson spends so much time reviewing. I knew it was right to wait and I knew I had only so many hours – which made waiting easier, but it is nice to see that early formal math is at its best unnecessary. For the record, said 10 year old is not one gifted in math and has a much more artistic bent and yet she has adjusted very well and gotten A’s on her first three tests. When in doubt wait!

  4. Carolyn

    Thanks Megan for the reply you posted… I have an 11 year old, 9 year old, 6 year old and a 7 month old baby.

    And your scenario regarding feeling torn between reading to the different age groups is EXACTLY what I go through… I hadn’t heard anyone discuss it before. Its so encouraging to know others struggle in this same way!!!!


  5. Anna

    I struggle with many of the things already mentioned, but the heart issue I struggle the most with is comparing myself and my children to others. It is a source of burnout for me if I don’t recognize it and submit it to the truth of God’s word.

  6. Beth

    It must have been the Lord’s leading that brought me to this post tonight. I was feeling discouraged today about our homeschool… We are “right on track” with all our work, so I don’t know what was bothering me today. This past year I have set aside Monday as the day for the whole week’s cooking — everything for the week. The girls help as they can, but they are only 4, 4, and 6. 😉

    It helps me to get all the cooking and baking out the way in one day. The rest of the week is devoted to homeschooling and keeping up with the household chores (laundry, sweeping, etc.). We also always read aloud after cooking time on Monday, but otherwise don’t do any schoolwork.

    I’ve been wondering how I will manage to “keep up” with homeschooling AND cooking as the girls get older and they need more from me for school.

    You have the solution — bringing them in on the cooking NOW will pay off in the long run, when we can all pitch in and work together to get the week’s cooking and baking done in maybe HALF a day. 😉 Thanks, Laurie. It was a good reminder that this is a real life we are living.


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