Seven Tips for Days When Homeschooling is NOT Working

Seven Tips for Days When Homeschooling  is NOT Working

Some people have this idea that homeschooled kids must somehow be easier to raise and teach than other children. Either by some innate goodness of nature or by the mysterious disciplines of their parents, homeschooled children must always be pretty well-behaved, at least, right? How (or why) else would parents decide to teach their kids at home (unless it was pretty easy)?

We’re not totally sure how this stereotype has been perpetuated, but you can go ahead and laugh.

Of course, homeschoolers realize that these are ridiculous assumptions.

After all, kids are kids; we don’t always have the answers, and- as much as it can feel like a blessing- homeschooling can also totally feel like guerilla warfare.

You know it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong: it is a blessing to be able to spend time with our children, to teach them at their own pace, and to discover the things that make them excited about learning. But we also know how big of a sacrifice this way of life can be in terms of time, potential income, and sanity. On top of all that, there are many days when things simply don’t go the way we expected. On those days, it can be easy to feel like a failure or to question your decision to even homeschool.




Every single one of us feels this at some point (honestly, let me rephrase that- many points) in our homeschooling journey.

You are not alone.

Whether due to too many other commitments, illness, or bad attitudes, we have all had those days when this homeschooling thing does not seem to be working out the way we planned.  Here are 7 tips to help when homeschooling is NOT working!

1.  Take a Moment

There’s no way the day is going to get back on course if you are upset and feeling hopeless about things. Give yourself a moment to get it together. Something as simple as washing your hands or face with cold water, stepping outside, or fixing a cup of tea can help you relax, refocus, and remember that one bad day is not much in the grand scheme of things.

2.  Pray Together and/or Regroup as a Team

Praying together is both a powerful and humbling act. In addition to asking for help, it is also a way of reminding ourselves that we are just mere people–not masters of the universe. Therefore, sometimes things get out of our control (like a day gone way off course), and we need help from a Higher Power. Praying together is also a good way to remind each other that you are on the same side. If you are not a praying family, an alternative might be to give everyone a chance to take a “time out,” and then have a family meeting to regroup as a team. Consider talking about things you would like to do differently to make the rest of the day go more smoothly! You can also do both of these things, of course!

HHM Stained Glass Art

3.  Do Something Creative

Nothing breaks up tension, stress or boredom like a creative activity! Whether you are painting, baking or having a dance party, all of these activities have the potential to act like a big “reset” button on the day.  Bonus: many of these things are also educational in their own right! Need inspiration? I got you covered! Here is an idea that I just love and it is using tinfoil.

4.  Change the Scenery

Another great and simple way to reset your day is to change the scenery! After all, a huge benefit is of homeschooling is the ability to do school anywhere! If it’s a pretty day outside, grab some blankets and throw them out in the yard to make a scenic study spot. How about a nature study?

5.  Go on a Field Trip

This is my favorite suggestion if your day of learning has been hijacked by errands, extracurricular activities and other out-and-about responsibilities. When this happens (because it will happen), use your phone to quickly learn a little bit about some of the interesting things around you. Then take the kids there and learn about why it is special!  Talk about your field trip in the car and have them write something about it when you do get home. No matter the size of the place you live, there are always fascinating bits of history or interesting businesses to explore.  It’s also a great way to find a new perspective on where you live!

When Homeschooling is NOT Working

6.  Get Cozy

If the weather is gross and you are having one of those days, it’s okay to take a break from traditional learning (every once in a awhile) and “embrace the cozy.”  Find a great book that everyone can enjoy together. I have an idea… here is a list of books that feature homeschooling families! These might just inspire you even more! Or maybe watch one of these 100+ movies based on books. Pop some popcorn, cue the fuzzy socks, and enjoy a little bit of downtime that enhances past or future learning.

7.  Learn from It

If you are reading this at the end of a day that turned out to be a total bust, then the very best thing you can do is learn from it. After all, a huge part of what makes homeschooling so unique is that it extracts learning from all parts of life. Therefore, a failed day is nothing more than a learning opportunity about when homeschooling is not working. Notice I didn’t say IF. Because it is going to happen. Sooner or later.

That’s it.

Give everybody a little grace.

We are all a work in progress, mama.

If we never experienced days that felt like failures, we’d never learn to recognize our successes!

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” ― Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery


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One Comment

  1. I love this post so much! Great advice and way to keep it real. Homeschooling is hard, and one thing I have learned is never try to teach through a potential breakdown. If you are seriously stressed or they are seriously stressed, you are in the danger zone. Back carefully away from that ledge, exactly as is said here. Back up, take a breath, say a prayer together, walk away – we like to get outside. Make sure you have diffused and then return to the classroom. I used to worry about wasting time this way but that is not the case. You need to be teaching from a place of confidence not frustration and they need to learn in a calm and focused environment. Time well spent. Thanks so much!

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