Breaking up is hard to do

My husband isn’t the first guy I dated (sorry, honey), so I know a thing or two about failed relationships—those tension-filled moments toward the end. The avoidance, arguments and angst that come with the ending of something that was once so beautiful and fun.

I am starting to feel like homeschooling is my dying relationship.

Every day I vow that things will be different: We will wake up and have a good day. I won’t raise my voice before breakfast. I won’t sigh heavily (or worse, cry) when things aren’t going according to plan. We will finish early and then lie around and read or bake or play, not run off immediately to an appointment or lesson because “school” has dragged on and on and on.

As if sensing they are near a wounded animal, the kids’ behavior has gotten worse; it’s like they are trying to finish this failed experiment off. The bickering, the name-calling, the outright refusal to do work is making me question my competence as a teacher. As a parent.

When did this all go from pretty great to unbearable?

I know February is a sucktastic month to be a teacher—it is probably why there is a school vacation week planned in the public schools—-maybe everyone is ready to jump ship? But, I’m not sure if this is just the regular February blahs or a sign of something bigger than what a week off from school can fix.

Today I asked my second grader if she’d like to try public school for the rest of the year. She said yes. I’m not yet sure if this is the right thing to do because I‘m not sure the next relationship (with the school system) will be any better than the one we’re in right now.

And I don’t want to spend the rest of my days wishing we had stuck it out with the “relationship” we’re in right now and not given up when things went downhill. My oldest says it in a way that breaks my heart:

I don’t want to give up on you, mom.

Before my phone starts ringing, let me say that we are not 100% sure about sending any of the kids to school at this point. Something has to change, though, for this to work in the long term—-it may mean leaving the virtual school or leaving homeschooling entirely—or maybe we’ll find our groove and be ok. We’re committed to this virtual school through June, and after that, we’ll reassess what our options are.


  1. Nan | WrathOfMom says


    I haven't any advice to give, and my response purely selfish since I'm beginning to feel like the last agnostic, pro-evolution, non-polygamist homeschooler left on the net.

    I'm sure you'll come to the right decision about your family's education future.

  2. I admire you. I know that I could not homeschool my children. For my sanity and theres, but there are some people who find a way to make it work and I fully believe that if you want it, you can find a way to make it work. 🙂

  3. Transitions can be especially difficult for adults as well as children. Take a break and do something fun today. Enjoy your children.

  4. Sounds like you need to take February vacation early. Take a day off for home ec. Or better yet, get OUT and go to the science museum. Something to remind you how wonderful your flexibility is. And that your kids are really great.

    (And I heard that Feb vacation was to air out the school and separate kids during flu season, but I think The Crazy just makes more sense.)

    And if one or all of your kids want to try school, is that so bad? It's not that YOU failed your kids. Instead, they may need perspective and the ability to decide what learning path they prefer (or to appreciate how good they really have it at home!)


  5. Boston Mamas says

    Oh C, my heart aches for you. I so admire what you do and I can only imagine that with it comes daily (or wait, hourly?) challenges.

    Maybe it would be helpful to embrace the flexibility you have with homeschooling and take Feb. vacation NOW. Regroup, breathe, etc. And perhaps try to sit down with the kids (if it seems reasonable to be this verbal about it) and express honestly that things have felt pretty un-fun and brainstorm together about ways to make it more fun.

    As you know, my daughter is not the greatest with transition so I'd be nervous about inserting her into a school system mid-year, when kids have already formed their patterns and groups. But if you decide to do that (or really, whatever you decide to do), I'll be rooting you on from this corner!


  6. I'm sorry you are having such a hard time. The Mid-Winter Bad-Attitude Crazies have hit here, too. 🙁

  7. I admire your parenting, writing and general life-living style. I am sure you and the kids will come through this in fine style with the requisite personal growth that comes with it. As the father of a son who is 3, school decisions are looming large for me. It is nice to have your perspective. Good luck!!!

  8. Michele/Midlyfemama says

    I guess as with any relationship, it is worth figuring out why it isn't working before deciding how to fix it. I am sure you have given that thought, does your daughter have any thoughts on why she would rather try the public school? It isn't as if she won't have to do the work. Maybe she is finding it hard to have this much togetherness as a family. I know I liked the separation of my school life and my home life as a kid. Too much time together with any one person or set of people can wear out a person. Maybe she wants a teacher who isn't her mom and a mom who isn't her teacher. Kids are funny creatures. It isn't a failing of you or your process, it may just not be the right fit for her.

  9. dampscribbler says

    Looks like others have the same idea I did — take that vacation now, around town, doing fun physical things (indoor playgym or outdoor snowshoeing/tubing/skiing?) and fun educational things (local museum, remember many are closed on Monday!) Then maybe let them direct some of their learning after the break by connecting to something that was interesting about their vacation that they want to know more about.

    Our schools don't take vacation til the third week of March. February sounds pretty nice! 🙂

    You have my sympathy and cheers. Homeschooling sounds really hard, and I don't think I could do it if I had to.

  10. I am obviously wishing I didn't hear about this on your blog, but please don't feel like you are alone. I'm not sure I could have come this far without your moral support, so please know that I'm here. If you want to do some co-schooling fun days with us, you know we're here.

  11. I'm sorry to hear you are thinking about this, Christina! I think the February Yuck is getting to everyone – this stupid weather makes me want to start hiding in the coat closet with a bottle, ifyouknowhwatImean. It doesn't sound like the virtual thing is going great, either. Maybe after a nice long break over the summer, you can find a solution that will work for your family.

    (see how hard I tried not to throw a tantrum right there and be all, "No, you can't quit! Don't leave us!" ? Cause, that's what I was doing on the inside!)

  12. You'll know what is right for your kiddos and from what I understand it may not be the same answer for all three. Good luck in whatever you decide, but know this… YOU did not fail. They are smart, fun, bright little girls. They fit in anywhere and I KNOW you have a lot to do with that. ((HUGS))

  13. It definitely is not easy most times. Selfishly I hope you don't stop homeschooling but I totally get it if you do.

  14. K12 is eveil!!! My kids wouldn't stop arguing, I was frustrated, and Sam was sad all the time. It was nice in the begining……but after a while we were just done. As soon as we went back to school as usual all of the fighting stopped and calm returned to mama. I think we need a moms night out 🙂

  15. Oh…Mimi is what all the little people in the family call me (Miriam).

  16. Oh dear.

    I hate it when Benjamin says something to me that makes *me* feel like the child & he, the wise adult.

    I'd love to have some sage words of advice but I feel crazy almost 99.9% of the time now (it's lack of estrogen, really).

    Whatever you do for your kidlets, I know you'll do it with 100% love & support…so no matter where they spend their days, they will be fine!

  17. Chicky Baby says

    Another admirer here.

    I have no advice only a shoulder.

  18. Did you say you needed to go out for a drink with the ladies? I'm your girl…oh, this was about homeschooling…sorry, my selfish behavior emerged again…

  19. Suburb Sierra says

    By the way…my alter ego Christine was logged in for that last comment. Odd, she must be craving a girls night out, too!

  20. When we hit the homeschool blahs in February, I decided it would be creative month. So instead of doing lessons, we would write our own stories, make them into puppet plays or real plays, get them into doing something they enjoy and sneaking in the learning on the side. Usually by March my dd would be asking to "learn" again after a month of plays, dioramas, inventing games etc. Don't know if that helps, perhaps you've tried it already. Good luck!

  21. Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog says

    Sending you love, babe. February sucks. For everyone. I cannot imagine having a ticking program telling me what to do, when to do it, and giving my kids GRADES. YUCK. I hate grades.

    Take some field trips. Come visit us!

    Nan, I am an agnostic, evolutionist, monogamous homeschooler. Yo.

  22. Mothers Day Flowers says

    I couldn't homeschool my children but admire anyone who does. I do the odd bits and then of course helping with homework but i couldn't do it full time. Well done to anyone who does!

  23. Hey – I've been at this for um, 12 years? Something like that.

    February is always OMG something has to change/I'm going walkabout/to Australia/for 6 months/who ARE these kids??/who thought this was a good idea??????/if I don't leave this room right this instant we will all regret this…. & on & on.

    As for why not try school, I'll point you to my old LLL bud's blog post on this very same subject:

    Hope you see some sunshine & find your groove soon. For me it changes really fast. Tweak the schedule, plan some field trips, get all the DVD's that are remotely educational & have TV school ….. it will all of a sudden feel so much better.

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