As we wrap up this school year, and excitedly look towards the next, for some of us there is also an element of worry and wondering. Is it time to quit homeschooling? Have we come as far as we can? Are my children getting everything they need out of our homeschool life. I’d say this is a pretty common thought amongst homeschoolers generally, but when you pair this worry with having anxiety disorder – it can be overwhelmingly difficult. So just how do you decide if it’s really time to quit homeschooling?
Taking It Year by Year
Our plan, right from the first day we decided to start down this homeschooling journey, was to re-assess every so often. Make sure everyone is still feeling good about what we’re doing, make sure that I am feeling like we’re on the right track.
One of the commitments I made to myself when we started was that if, at any time, I felt like my mental health was at risk then we would re-assess. If I felt like the anxiety was too much, or that I was not able to give the kids the experiences they deserve and want, we would consider making the switch back to brick and mortar school.
Understanding Your Anxiety Monster
Even though I made that commitment, something I’ve had to keep in mind is HOW my particular anxiety works. Understanding my own anxiety disorder, not just the triggers but also the manifestations. Knowing the ways that it affects my decision making, my energy level, even how it affects my outlook on things – this is key to knowing how to make a decision.
I know, after 30-some years living with this anxiety, that it makes me physically tired. It makes me feel like I’m being suffocated. It sometimes make me feel hopeless and defeated. As a result of these, my anxiety also makes me feel like quitting.all.the.things.
When my anxiety rears its ugly head, and things all feel like just…too much – it always seems really tempting to just quit. The thought of walking away from all the things that are weighing down on me, always seems like it would give me space to breathe and lift the weight of the world off my shoulders. Even if only momentarily.
This is something I have to keep at the forefront of my mind whenever the conversation comes up about whether it’s time to quit homeschooling.
Is Is Time To Quit Homeschooling?
Recently, along with my always-with-me anxiety, I’ve been tackling some chronic sleep issues and some other small-beans health stuff. Simultaneously I’m also dealing with an almost-teenager and a tween in the throes of hormonal changes and budding independence.
It’s like the Perfect Storm over here, you guys. The conditions are ripe for overwhelm, anxiety, exhaustion, and toe-to-toe battles between parent and child. I’ve had more than a few moments recently where I’ve wistfully daydreamed about the Big Yellow Schoolbus whisking my kids away to a place where they could toss their negative attitude around like confetti – and it wouldn’t be ME picking it up.
I’ve had more than a few moments where I’ve looked at my kids and thought “Why am I doing this to myself? Why can’t I be happy being Just Mom, like other families who don’t homeschool?” I’ve had many moments where I think that I’m not doing a good enough job, not teaching them everything they need to know, not making fun and enchantment a big enough part of our homeschool.
Moments where the anxiety is suffocating, crippling, and heavy.
I wonder, also, if it’s time for them to spread their wings, leave the nest. If I’m holding them back or depriving them of experiences. I wonder if we’ve come to the end of our homeschool journey.
Then I wonder if they go back to school will my son’s anxiety regress, will my daughter lose herself in the crowd, will they be able to keep up with the academics, will they fall behind, will they be able to handle it? Will they feel like I’ve given up on them, or guilty because they must have done something wrong for their Mom to put them back into school?
I wonder if I’m only considering that it’s time to quit homeschooling because it’ll give me a temporary reprieve from the anxiety, from the worry.
Making the Final Decision
So, then, how do we make the decision? How do we know whether it’s truly time to quit homeschooling or if we just need to work through it?
Well, here’s what helped me think through this:
- Remember – it’s not just your call to make. That means the burden for making this decision is not solely on your shoulders. Let some other people in on the decision, people who you love and trust.
- Talk to your kids – I mean, REALLY talk. It’s absolutely okay for you to be a human in front of your kids. Make it a fun family meeting, or go out with each child over ice cream sundaes to just talk about how they feel about this school year. Tell them your thoughts, and then LISTEN to theirs. Hear their heart, not just their frustrations.
- Self-care needs to be a priority. This just goes without saying. If you’re feeling worn down and drained, don’t immediately jump to homeschooling itself as the blame. Make sure you are taking care of your own needs, interests, hobbies, and HEALTH.
- Don’t rush the decision. You don’t have to decide today. You don’t even have to decide next week. If you’re feeling frustrated and edgy about homeschooling – sit on it for a while. Really take your time, think though all the possibilities. Think about what life would be like if you DID decide to quit, about what it might be like if you stuck it out. If you tried another curriculum or resource just to change things up. Just…breathe, rest, journal, write, talk to people. Take your time. Making a rushed decision because your anxiety is breathing down your neck will often be disastrous.
- The grass is not always greener. Will life get easier if your kids go to school? Maybe. But, then again, maybe not. Think about the realities of what your day to day life will be like – if you have friends with kids in public school, ask them about their days. Remember that just because it’s different, may not mean it is going to be better.
So What Did I Decide?
I went through the steps above, the thought processes, and I took the last couple of months to sit with it and process and make my decision.
I’ve committed to this homeschool life. I’m all in. After a wonderful heart to heart with my children, asking questions and listening to their answers, I realized that they do want this.
The days may be hard, my anxiety may be taking a beating with two kids in middle school – but we’ve decided to keep on keepin’ on with this homeschool journey.
Have you ever considered quitting? How did you make that call? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!