Homeschooling is Scary: Four Reasons Why I Didn’t Think Homeschooling Was for Me

by | Nov 21, 2017 | Christian Living, Grace

It’s been almost one month now since we did what is to some the unthinkable.  We withdrew our children from a great public school where they had wonderful and caring teachers and, by the government’s standards, were doing well academically. This was one of the most difficult parenting decisions we ever made…

In graduate school I thought that homeschooling made perfect sense. Then I had children and it made no sense to me at all.  I couldn’t imagine anything more frightening than being responsible for their education in addition to everything else.

Couldn’t someone else do that?  Just figuring out what to make for dinner each night was taxing enough for this mom.

Then God opened my eyes to the realities of what had become our family life. I spent some time with a homeschooling friend and watched her children intermix reading and playing. I watched them smile, laugh, and run around like, well, children.

In stark contrast, a few hours later I picked up two young-ins who were exhausted, grumpy, and emotionally and physically spent after a full day of elementary school.

There was no meaningful conversation about what happened during the day. No recap of all they had learned or experienced. There was little smiling. They didn’t want to run and play. They wanted to watch TV, play a video game…check out. I tried to engage them, but even after their favorite snack, they had nothing left.

I thought about how much happier and more relaxed my friend’s children seemed.  And, I thought, “Hmmm . . .There may be something to this homeschooling thing.”

But, I still wasn’t going to do it.

Why would I need to?  My son brought home stack after stack of school papers with the number 100 at the top.  My daughter’s kindergarten testing showed she was excelling.  They were fine. . .

Then, within the course of two weeks, God showed me otherwise.  We pieced together that, although grades were good, our children weren’t really happy. They were struggling.

My daughter shared that every morning when she entered the school building, “her brain told her, ‘I want to go home. I want to go home.'” My son shared struggles of his own that had turned into some level of anxiety. He had been complaining of stomach pain morning and night — I had written it off to food sensitivities but soon realized that it was nerves not dairy.

The homeschool option seemed so easy. And, yet, it seemed so absolutely and completely frightening.

What if people thought we were weird?

What if they wouldn’t listen to “mom” as their “teacher?”

And, what if they got behind and didn’t get into college and ended up living in our basement for the rest of their lives just because of this one, monumental decision?

What if . . .

I researched, prayed, and asked lots of questions. I cried. Then, I researched some more. Then I cried some more.

It seemed like the right thing to do. Both kids were begging for it. But, could I? Should I?

I didn’t even know where to purchase a denim jumper!

Now, four weeks into homeschooling, I can say without hesitation that it was the absolute best decision we ever made.

I feel like I have my children back. I don’t know that I had realized, fully, how I had lost them. But, I now feel as if I have reconnected with them and it’s wonderful. They play. They learn. Wake up when they want to.

They aren’t stressed. Instead, they laugh, smile. They are relaxed. In a word: happy.  

Isn’t that how you should feel when you are five, six, seven…?  Candidly, you have the rest of your life to be beat down, right?

The stomach pains are gone. They play outside…a lot.  It’s hard to bring them in at bedtime.  They want to learn.  They want me to teach them.  In fact, in rare moments when cooperation is a struggle the mention of going back  to school is all they need to shape up.

The most unexpected result of this decision: how much happier I am!  It’s ridiculous really. I never thought I would like it so much.  They say we lie to ourselves more than we lie to anyone else… It’s true.  There were lots of lies I had told myself about homeschooling, my abilities, etc… They all turned out to be just that: lies.

Here are the four top lies that almost stopped me from making what has been a life-changing decision for our family:

1.  I’m not a teacher…

My track record in the teaching department was sketchy at best.  I couldn’t get my eldest son to hold a crayon at age 4, yet alone write the letter “Z.”  He flat refused.  There is no way that I would be capable of teaching them to read or count.  That would certainly require a professional.  In fact, just one hour of teaching the elementary school class at our church requires me to take the rest of the day for recovery.

How could I teach them every single day?

But, here’s what I’ve learned.  Teaching my own children is a little easier than teaching a stranger’s.

We were struggling with math today so I got out my son’s Legos and, thus, started speaking his language. My daughter has no problem doing math papers if she can write the answers in pink crayon and color the page as she likes when she’s finished. We follow a curriculum that is a classical style of education and my children love it. It’s extremely different than the style they had at public school, but the focus on memory work and learning facts to music is perfectly suited for them.

The truth is: I’m not a school teacher. I could not do what the amazing men and women who teach other people’s children everyday do.  (And, God bless them because they are special and necessary!)

But, here in my own kitchen, I don’t have to be “that” teacher. I can just be me.  My children don’t have to conform to a classroom either. They can do their own thing. They can recite the answers while chasing each other around the table. Work on school for an hour and then go do something different when they lose focus and come back to it when they are ready.

We have amazing freedom to learn in ways that suit all of us well.

2.  I must be “called” to homeschool.

The first thing that many of my Christian friends tell me when we talk homeschooling is that they don’t know if they are “called” to homeschool.  I could write a whole post on how I believe Christians overuse the word calling…but for the sake of space in this post, I’ll say that I do not know whether or not I am “called” to homeschool.  I feel like a lot of times we overuse the word “calling” to include anything we aren’t sure we want to do, are equipped to do, or would enjoy.  We act like God gives us happy feelings for things we should do and unhappy feelings towards things we shouldn’t.  I just don’t think that’s true. We are sometimes called to hard things.  We are often commanded to do things that are very difficult (loving others and staying married come to mind as easy examples…).

God didn’t write on my bathroom mirror that I was supposed to homeschool.  Instead, we had to use the wisdom He’s given us to assess the situation we were facing and the options that were out there.  I feel like God revealed to me, AFTER, the decision was made that I had been negligent in the arena of my children’s education.  (I didn’t know what they were learning.  I barely read the weekly newsletter and made it through the take home papers).   I was relying on someone else to take care of it.  Now, I would be in the driver’s seat.  It would be up to me to steer them down the road of what they would learn.  Ultimately, it would be better.   Yet, I don’t think God showed me that until we had them home for a full week.  I felt no conviction about my previous lack of involvement in their schooling until well after our decision was made.

3.  Homeschooling will make my days harder (and boring)!

I’m selfish. I like my free time.  I have four children, half of whom were in school for eight hours a day.  Making the decision to bring them home seemed like it would be a killjoy to that three hours of “mommy” time I had every afternoon while the younger kids napped.  In just a few short years I would have an empty house and I could pursue *my ambitions* again.  Homeschooling would take us in the other direction…

Would I ever have a free moment again if we decided to homeschool?  What about ME???

Then there’s the fact that I like some flexibility…I’m scheduled but I had no desire to wake up and do the same thing every single morning.  That. would. kill. me.  I couldn’t do the “school every day” thing. Yikes.

The lie was that school offered me more freedom.  The truth has been that not having them in school is extremely freeing.  I don’t have to set an alarm clock.  I don’t have to stress that they’ll be too tired to get up at O’dark thirty, if we don’t get everyone into bed at 8pm sharp.  I don’t have to wake up and pack lunches everyday.  I don’t have to plan my whole day around a 3pm pick up time.  I don’t have to worry about signing reading logs, projects I missed in the take home folder, or where little readers are hiding.  I am free.

Oh, and our days it seems are also free!  We get up and get around when everyone’s ready.  We eat breakfast leisurely.  I don’t have to yell at anyone to hurry.  I let them play and then we do school when I think they’re ready to focus.  If I have something going on personally, we can take a day off.  Or, if we just need to get out of the house, we have that freedom… like the day we went to the zoo.

As for my ambitions. . .My children have this amazing ability to entertain themselves and that does give me some freedom to do things I enjoy, like blogging!  I feel like I have MORE free time. I also feel like the time I do have with my children is the BEST time of both of our days, not the end-of-the day “anyone got anything left” scraps. (2017 Update: Homeschooling afforded me enough time that first year to write a BOOK! No joke!)

4.  Homeschoolers are (well, you know) . . .WEIRD!

I might just have to come to grips with the fact that maybe I’m ALREADY weird and I just don’t know it. I mean the Bible says that Christians are a peculiar people.

Candidly, it is WEIRD (defined as unusual) that I want to spend time with my kids. It probably is weird that I really like watching them learn and having the opportunity to figure out how they learn and what areas God has given them special and natural abilities.

But, beyond that, I don’t think that being a part of a formal school environment is what classifies a child as weird or not-weird. I’ve known some pretty weird kids that go to school. I’ve met some weird kids that stay home. There are really fantastic adults who were homeschooled and other successful adults who were products of a public school education.

The REAL question is: Will my children have friends now that they are homeschooled? I’m planning on it….  They go to church, have extra curricular activities and actually belong to a homeschool co-op which offers them a chance to do school with other kids every week.  I don’t think that not being with kids their exact same age for eight hours each day is the training they need for life success.  Watch this video if you don’t believe me.

I read the most awesome blog post ever on that “s” word that everyone stresses about in relation to homeschool…you know…socialization.  (Read it here — if most of the people that asked about socialization actually understood what socialization meant they’d never ask about it…I digress…read this post.)  But the bottom line is — why do we place so much value on having our children become like their peers?  Is that really what we want?  I think I’d rather have my children learn how to stand apart from the crowd… I’d rather affirm their uniqueness and help them discover the special ways God made them different and the specific purpose for which he created them.

Is it weird that my first grader is learning to write cursive, memorizing Ephesians 6, and can almost flawlessly sing a song reciting the top 200 major events in world history, in order, after just three weeks of homeschooling?  Yes.

Is it weird that my kindergartener is learning Latin and loves it. Yes, that is weird. I’m cool with that.

The truth is: I have little control over what other people think of me and my kiddos.  It’s a personal choice and if others can’t respect it, that’s out of my control.

Do I now believe that everyone should homeschool?

Not necessarily.  Just like I hope others will respect this choice we made for our family, I can respect their choices.

But, do I completely understand why homeschoolers are such zealots about it?  Yes, absolutely.  And, when I hear others recite any of the above reasons as the “why” for not doing it, I get sad. I know they are missing out!

Homeschooling has changed our lives for the better.

If you are thinking about it and some of these lies are holding you back…Don’t let them.

You’ll be missing out.

UPDATE: If you want to read an update on homeschooling is going for us two months in…click here.

**Mommas – worry about your body image every now and then? You should really subscribe to this blog for Christian women wrestling body image. Do so here:

[mc4wp_form id=”4141″]

what to do if you are scared to homeschool


  1. Chelsey

    Just came across your blog. Currently our kids are in private Christian school, but one of our kids has extra challenges that I’m not sure the school can accommodate for. We have been discussing homeschooling. Do we do just him? All 3 of our littles? I feel like I’d want to do all or nothing, but have ALLLLL of these same fears. So thank you for writing your feelings. I feel like everyone I know who homeschools, actually went to school for teaching, which makes me think…..yeah…I can’t do this.

    • Heather Creekmore

      For us it was easiest to keep them all together. The thought of getting someone off to school AND trying to homeschool all day, then getting some home in the evening and doing homework -that overwhelmed me. But, my kids’ ages are all very close together. So we’ve been mostly at similar stages in learning. I have many friends with kids who will drop one or two at school (or two different schools!) and then come home and homeschool! I think you could do it anyway you feel like! Look into co-ops though. They make a huge difference. Not just for your child, but for your sanity. I needed the accountability of some place to go each week to keep on track and also – one of the biggest benefits of all-having other moms (especially those first few years) to say “IT’S OKAY! You’re doing just fine!!” I can say that all the things I worried about with my oldest never came to fruition. He’s thriving. Every child is different so we may look at Christian school for high school for one of our younger ones to play sports . . . or we may not – because we have a ton of homeschool sports teams here. Anyway, I’ll pray God will give you clarity and the confidence to see you can TOTALLY do this, if you want to! 🙂

  2. Adam S.

    1) There is no God; 2) Prayer does not do anything; 3) Getting “called” is your imagination; 4) homeschooled kids lack socialization; 5) segregating your kids into a Christian-only social group harms them in multiple long-term ways; 6) your kids getting tired and seeming unhappy is like judging climate change by the weather on one random day. I found your post irksome.

    • Paul

      I just read her post and found it helpful to me in the exact moment I needed it. Call it what you will. My wife homeschools our kids and as their father I have some struggles with it. Try to have a parent/teacher conference with your wife. What I DO know is they are happy, learning, and get up when they want to. It makes me crazy the lack of order. That is why reading this post has helped me “lighten up!” at least for now.
      I was surprised and saddned to read your comment. I’m guessing you may have been raised in the church. I was. Sounds like you may have some unresolved resentment. Anger toward God or someone who represented him. I can empathise. I felt she was very specific about not necessarily agreeing with it being “a calling” but a choice they made as a family first.
      I guess your comment indirectly ended up helping me as a Dad of home schooled kids, the husband of their teacher, and a Christian.
      Thank you.
      I wish you all the best.
      Ps. I won’t say I’ll be praying for you. That ticks people off.
      I lied. I will.

    • DG

      Homeschool lacks socialization? Neurodiverse kids in class with neurotypical kids can be spared the bullying/criticism that occurs everyday from both the teacher and their peers. Socialization skills are one flavor for all, I completely disagree with you on the socialization front. Some kids know they don’t get it from an early age and homeschooling can help them learn how to communicate with their peers at an older age, when they understand the give and take of a cordial relationship. This completely bypasses the hurtful memories before neurodiversity was recognized. Self-esteem intact. Socialization is nuanced and not a cut and dry issue, it is the conforming “socialized” kids/teachers who are unaccepting of diverse behaviors. It’s the “socialized” that only want other properly “socialized” people in their groups, much like the other groups you touch on, like Christian only circles. Like you said only exposure to limited circles……well I agree, and your guilty of it by the mere mention of socialization.

  3. Sarah

    From the time I had my first of four children I knew I wanted to homeschool. I pictured it being so beautiful. However I was scared and my husband was not excited about it. So I put our kids in school. They did ok, but they too came home exhausted and wanting to shut down. So a couple year ago I pulled them out and finished the school year at home. It didn’t go well.
    The following school year I put them back in and they have worked their way through elementary. I was so scared of failing again, but also disappointed we weren’t homeschooling. They had good teachers, they were doing good academically, I shouldn’t mess with that right? The thought of homeschooling terrified me, I didn’t want to fail again. Then we found out my second child, a soon to be 4th grader, was dyslexic.
    We didn’t put him in school this year. He is happier than ever. Tummy aches gone, reading at his pace, and so happy. We joined a homeschool group for field trips. I stopped stressing, which was probably he biggest factor. Now my oldest daughter, a 6th grader in pre ap classes and gifted classes, is homeschooling as of today. She was so stressed moving to middle school for 6th that her grades began falling. She went from being happy to stressed every morning. Again, I was terrified to make this jump. Could I teach I a gifted child? I have two degrees and am still terrified in many ways.
    This morning I found your blog. Thanks. 🙂 Needed so many of the things you wrote.

    • Heather Creekmore

      Awww . . .I’m so thrilled to hear that Sarah. You can do it. I know you can. God will be faithful to help you fulfill his calling on your life in this way too. Prayers for your journey!

  4. Lisa Hurley

    Heather, I found your blog on homeschooling and it has give me such confidence. We have decided to home school our children starting next academic year but have all the fears and foreboding. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

    • Heather Creekmore

      That’s great Lisa!! I pray you have a great experience too!!! There will be hard days, but on those days I keep reminding myself that every schooling option has its hard days. At least with this one we have the option to adjust our plans and regroup if need be! Praying for your journey! 🙂

  5. Kristen

    I am scared. I hs’ed my 3 children when they were young and then ended up having a bit of a breakdown. We sent them to a private Christian school but my one son (now in 4th grade) is struggling so much. He has never liked school. He finds it so boring. He has started to have a lot of anxiety. My heart is breaking but I am so scared to try this again b/c of what happened last time!! I also just don’t even know where to begin figuring out how I will teach him. Praying, and afraid.

    • Heather Creekmore

      I’ll certainly be praying for you too. Have you looked into any types of co-ops or anything? I know I couldn’t do homeschooling without the help of my Classical Conversations community. I’d feel way too alone. But, having other moms to wrestle through the issues with each week is a huge help. Mine is in 4th grade now -the one from this story. I just told my husband last night that taking him out of school was the best thing we ever did. We have a really close relationship now that could have never happened had he stayed in public school and he’s thriving. Praying that you find what is BEST for your child and that God will give you strength and courage and peace about whatever option you choose. 🙂 Hugs!

  6. Rachel

    Oh wow. I stumbled across this researching homeschooling. My husband & I have three daughters 3, 5 & 6. The two eldest just wrapped up a school year at private Christian school. So their next school year will be grades pre-k 3, 1st & 2nd. And my husband has finally decided he wants to try homeschooling. And the nerves set in for me. No idea where to begin or how to transition my babies. Then The Lord led me to your article. I became teary-eyed reading this article s it was dead on describing me!! Thank you first of all for your transparency. You have given me hope. Real hope. And peace has come in. I know Im nearly three years late but I’m GRATEFUL I found this. THANK YOU a million times!

    • Heather Creekmore

      I’m so glad to hear that Rachel!! Just make sure you have a support system! Find other homeschool moms pronto so you don’t feel alone -but I think you’ll love it. And, you CAN do it! 🙂 Just take it one day at a time and the Lord will help and guide you! 🙂

  7. Ruth

    First, I want to thank you fir sharing this post. I googled about being scared to homeschool and this was the first thing to cone up. It is very encouraging to here that you aren’t disappointed with the public school system. We are not either. My now first grader is exactly how your children were when the came home from school. She has a two year old sister that she played with beautifully in the summer, but now has no patience for her. You touched on every single one if my fears. I’m encouraged by your words. I haven’t had a chance to go through the rest of your blog. I was wondering what your thoughts were on homeschooling with a two year old and 5 month old at home. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to balance it all. Thank you

    • Heather Creekmore

      Hi Ruth. Thanks so much for your comments. I’m so happy that you found the post encouraging. I wrote that almost a year ago and I can say with full assurance that we still love it and are happy we made the decision to homeschool. As for your question- how to do it with babies at home, I’d say you can definitely do it! Remember, you don’t have to work for 6 hours a day. She’ll probably be able to get through everything in an hour or two. So, take advantage of nap times (assuming your littles still nap). You can probably find some work that she can do somewhat independently while your youngers are awake and juggle keeping them occupied with checking on her and then plan time for the two of you to work together on harder subjects while your youngers are busy. If all else fails, you may even be able to plan your days where you work with your daugther for an hour in the evening if your husband is home then or if you have other help at that time. All that to say – you can do it! I know you can! It may just require some extra flexibility and a committment to experimenting until you find out what works best! 🙂

  8. Ericha

    Thanks so much for posting this! We just recently made the decision to homeschool out kids as well. I thought all the same things you did but this article brought really good perspective. Would love to get in touch with you. Seems like we’re taking similar paths and would love to bounce some ideas off you!

    • Heather

      Sure! We are about 3 months into our homeschool adventure and I love, love, love it. Best decision we’ve made. I’m planning to post again about it this week as an update because I’ve had lots of people tell me they are nervous to do it and request a status update! I think you’ll love it too! Do you still have my email? It’s same as always been …texasheather at yahoo. 🙂 Would love to catch up!

  9. Velma

    Found you through Christine Hoover’s blog. I resonated with all your words. I’m exhausted with this traditional schooling routine and to make matters worse I am a teacher and I want to check out when I get home. I have wanted to homeschool, but my husband is church planting and we were relying on my paycheck. He is now drawing a salary, so we hope to homeschool next year. I’m praying God will make a way financially. What curriculum are you using? Also, how do you live on one salary as a church planting family?

    • Heather

      Thanks for your comment Velma! Homeschooling has definitely been a huge help to us in the thick of church planting because our schedule is so much freer during the week– when my husband can actually take a day off — versus on the weekend when he can’t. I would recommend all church planting wives consider it for that benefit alone!! 🙂 I needed a relief from stress somewhere in my life…and homeschooling has given me that. As for financially making it…I quit my (well-paying) job…as a step of faith…before we started seminary because we felt strongly that I should stay home with our children and that God would provide for us. He was miraculously and incredibly faithful to do that –above and beyond that which we could have expected or hoped for — through seminary and our first three years of this church we are planting. So, I’ve never returned to work…with the exception of some part time blogging and work at the gym! We are using Classical Conversations and I’m about to start Math U See because it has been recommended to me. I love the Classical Conversations program because it includes community every week -but it does have a minimal cost. There are lots of great programs you can do though…I know you’ll find the one that resonates best with your family! As a teacher…you’ll have an EDGE!! 🙂 Best to you as you pursue this new direction in the year(s) to come.

  10. Becky Myers

    Heather ~ nice to ‘meet’ you! Found my way here after talking to your mom … she was so excited for you! We’ve been homeschooling a looonngg time here in PA. Our oldest is 19 and amazingly graduated without one of us hurting the other 😉 ha ha We have 5 more children (ages 16-6) to go so we are certainly in this job for the long haul. So many rewarding days ~ they truly do balance out the challenging days. One thing I remind myself when things get tough (like repeating pre-alg 3 years in a row with our oldest) is my relationship with my child has eternal value ~ algebra really doesn’t.

    Praying for you today!

    • Heather

      Hi Becky – Nice to MEET you too! Thanks so much for sharing your story and your encouragement! We are loving it so far…and I’ve only heard wonderful things about your children as a fine example of how great kids come out of homeschooling!! 🙂 You are so right – eternal value…we lose sight of that so quickly in today’s society. Thanks for stopping by the blog! 🙂

  11. Sylvia Jue Taylor

    Heather, this is so great. I have thought about homeschooling and have all the same questions and concerns you addressed! In a few years I will have to make a real decision and will be referencing this again!

    • Heather

      Ahhh…it was a tough decision Sylvia – so I hear YOU! 🙂 But, it’s been really great! 🙂 Call me when you get to that point and I’ll give you our 3 year update (or is L 3 already…maybe 2 year update…time is flying!)! 🙂



  1. Why You Need Friends (Rant Against the Insanity of Socialization) - Compared to Who? - […] I homeschool, in part, because I’d rather decide what norms, values, and behaviors my children learn. […]
  2. Homeschooling is Scary Part Two: Update & How We Hack School - Compared to Who? - […] received such great feedback from homeschoolers and aspiring homeschoolers about the Homeschooling is Scary piece I wrote in November.  It…
  3. Why We Are Always Hungry - Compared to Who? - […] mantra echoes in our home, hourly. We homeschool, which means my children are home to eat around the clock.…
  4. Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: Homeschooling Resources - The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide - […] Homeschooling is Scary: Why I Didn’t Think Homeschooling Was for Me by Compared to Who? […]
  5. Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms: Homeschooling Resources - The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide - […] Homeschooling is Scary: Why I Didn’t Think Homeschooling Was for Me by Compared to Who? […]
  6. Best Christian Workout Songs - Compared to Who? - […] Proud mom moment. (Especially for a pastor’s wife. We homeschool now.) […]
  7. Homeschooling is Scary Part Two: Update & How We Hack School | Heather Creekmore is Working Out Love - […] received such great feedback from homeschoolers and aspiring homeschoolers about the Homeschooling is Scary piece I wrote in November.  It…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

compared to who podcast for Christian women body image and insecurity

Buy Me A Coffee