My heart dropped down into my stomach. My hands got clammy and my mouth started to feel dry. I could hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears. I started to feel that all-too-familiar feeling swelling up – the homeschool mom guilt. Someone was about to ask the dreaded question…
“So, tell me kids…what have you been learning in school lately?”
That One Question
Whether you’ve been homeschooling for a day or a decade, we all have that one question – the one someone can ask with the best of intentions – that we know is going to send us into a panic. For me, it’s whenever someone asks my children what they’ve been learning in school lately.
I get it, people are interested – and they really just want to hear all the great things the kids have been up to. They see my posts on Facebook, they read my blog posts, they may catch a live broadcast I’ve done here and there. They know we do some pretty fun things – so they want to hear all about it from the kids’ perspectives. I get that, I really do.
The thing is, this question is problematic for a few reasons. Firstly, it makes the kids feel like they’re being quizzed or , particularly for my anxious son, like they’re being put on the spot. Secondly, because I am always certain they will simply respond ‘oh…nothing’ – it sends me into an instant panic and overwhelming wave of guilt.
Or, at least it used to.
Homeschool Mom Guilt
If you’ve ever felt that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you’re not doing enough, your kids aren’t learning enough, you’re not keeping up with that ‘ideal homeschool’ vision you’ve got in your mind? I guarantee you – you are NOT alone. That ‘homeschool mom guilt’ can be downright suffocating at times.
We all have those days. We all have those moments of fear and worry that we aren’t ‘good enough’. I’m not anywhere close to being a ‘homeschool veteran’, but what I do know after just about 4 school years at this homeschool thing? I don’t think that the guilt really goes away. I don’t believe that we will ever stop having those moments.
What we can do, however, is learn to manage it and try to not let ourselves get bogged down in the homeschool mom guilt. We can feel it, acknowledge it, and then let it move on.
How I’ve Learned to Handle The Dreaded Question
I’m going to get real here for a minute. One of the times when this particular question bothers me the most and really sends me into that ‘guilt spiral’ is when the children are talking with their dad.
The kids’ father and I divorced quite some time ago, and we really have worked hard to develop a true partnership when it comes to raising our children. I keep in pretty close contact with him, and even though he lives in a different part of the province than the kids and I do, I do the best I can to keep him fully in the loop about what we’re doing in our homeschool.
And yet, whenever I hear them talking with their dad and he asks “So how’s school, what have you guys been doing?” – and the kids say “oh, well…not much really” – I just die a little on the inside. I know he knows that we do school work. I know he sees the pictures I send, and he gets the emails of what the kids have been up to. That does not stop the guilt from piling in on me, the self-doubt, the worry that he’s going to feel concerned that the kids are ‘doing nothing all day’.
So how did I finally work through this ‘homeschool mom guilt trigger’? I found a neatly worded, one line answer that I can pull out of my pocket when this situation comes up. Something I can say confidently, with ease and a smile, and it works because I believe it.
“Well, one of the reasons we homeschool is because we believe that learning doesn’t have to happen at school – so I am relieved to know that they don’t equate our homeschool life with ‘school’.”
And it is true – I am so grateful that my children don’t connect all of the things they’re learning as ‘school work’. I am grateful that they don’t feel like learning happens in school hours in school-y ways. I am grateful that for them, their learning and education is just…life. It’s just woven into our days and experiences together.
So this is what I remind myself in those moments when I sense ‘the question’ coming, when I feel the homeschool mom guilt bearing down on me. I remind myself that this is a good thing, that this is exactly what I want for them. So I feel the panic and guilt coming, I let it have a second of my time, I acknowledge it, and then I let it move on again.
None of us are alone in this ‘homeschool mom guilt’, so what about you? What’s something that someone asks you or your kids that sets you into guilt-mode? Share with me in the comments – so we can acknowledge it and let it go!
This post is part of the Homeschool Mom Guilt Bingo linkup at iHomeschool Network. Click the photo below to hop over to be encouraged and supported through ANY of your mom-guilt triggers. There’s also a chance to win a prize!