Those of us who don’t homeschool are somewhat intrigued and awestruck by our mommy peers who do. Comments like, “I would go crazy!” or “How does she do it every day?” are often overheard at the park or neighborhood pool.
Behind the scenes, homeschooling moms are just like any other moms. We asked some to share their secret “confessions” about their homeschooling lives, and what we got was a bad case of the giggles.
Homeschool moms pull a double shift — mom and teacher. And just like any mom, they have stories from the trenches that they share after bedtime tuck-ins and out of earshot of the kiddos. And what mom can resist a little confession now and then? We love that these homeschool moms shared these tidbits — and we can all relate.
Think your child’s math homework is a nightmare? Imagine being the math teacher. “I use Teaching Textbooks (computer-based math) because it is the only math that doesn’t end in tears. Mine or the child’s,” says Kimberly, mother of two. Another mom says that math isn’t always her first choice of the day. “The biggest reason my oldest gets behind in geometry? Because I put him off when I don’t feel like doing geometry that day,” Tricia shares. Brittney, mother of four, admits to calling her own father to teach her kids long division. “And I have used Teaching Textbooks in the past to avoid any personal exposure to math, and now we use Life of Fred,” she says. “My kids are Fred-taught.”
Spell it out
Why worry about spelling when we all have spell-check? For some moms, spelling is where they draw the line. “I assigned a Wordly Wise book,” shares Kimberly. “And once the child in question completed the book, I never even corrected it.” Another mom isn’t a fan of spelling, either. “In more than 12 years of homeschooling, I’ve never once completed a single semester of spelling,” says Anne from Oregon. “Not with the now ninth grader, or the now sixth grader or the newly diagnosed dyslexic first grader.” It appears that spelling may be even more dreaded than math.
“I’ve only done spelling for one kid and that was my sixth grader this year,” says Suzanne. “I found an old spelling workbook in the attic, handed it to her and told her to do it. She did it and I never corrected it once. I hate correcting,” she adds. Another homeschooling mom admits she isn’t a fan of spelling either. “I’ve never taught more than three weeks of spelling.”
The art of language
Language arts and writing seem important — until you have to hone the fine details of grammar and usage. “I promised my kid a tattoo if he finished his reading lesson,” shares Jill. “Thankfully it was the apply-with-water kind,” she admits. “I reduced book reports to these nifty little bookmarks I found at a teacher supply store,” shares Nichole. “The bookmarks had a few questions, space for one-sentence-answer only (if that), and I had each old-enough-child use one of these bookmarks (and fill it in) for each school book read. I required no other writing all year that year,” she admits. Karen, mother of three, says, “I’ve let my daughter quit language arts workbooks before finishing almost every year we’ve homeschooled because I hate to correct them!”
Blind me with science
For some homeschool moms, it isn’t the math or the spelling that aggravates them — it’s the science. “I once decided that the Diet Coke and Mentos [experiment] could be a science experiment, and required a proper write up on it,” Kimberly shares. Jen says she hated science experiments. “I never once made the kids keep the science notebook you’re meant to keep,” she admits. Meg isn’t a science fan, either. “Alton Brown’s Good Eats counted as science on many occasions,” she says. “Myth Busters and How It’s Made is science,” admits Suzanne. One particularly funny mom claims, “I pay for a high school biology co-op only to avoid storing dissection animals in my fridge. Life is too short to have a fetal pig corpse in a crisper drawer.”
“Our history curriculum for the past two years has entirely consisted of Netflix documentaries,” says Tricia. Even the most diligent of homeschoolers can feel brain-drained at times. “History for today — pick any book on the school shelf, read any five consecutive pages, and tell me what they said,” is a favorite history lesson for Kimberly.
Jill works music in where she can. “Oh you just made a guitar out of a Kleenex box and rubber bands? Awesome. Music class.” Another mom farms out this subject. “I pay for band and choir because you can’t have a band or choir of one. Unless you’re Dick Van Dyke,” she says.
PE? Not me
Remember PE classes at school? Many consisted of jumping jacks and running laps, basic exercises. Hard to replicate in a homeschool environment? “Walking the dogs counts as PE. For real,” swears one homeschool mom. “PE for today: Go. Outside. Now.”
Keeping it real
“I taught my daughter home economics so I wouldn’t have to do laundry,” says Suzanne. “I homeschool because I don’t like getting up early. I’m only partially kidding about that,” Kimberly adds. Jessica found a weekly perk that works. “I enacted doughnut Fridays because it’s sometimes the only thing that motivates my kids throughout the week. It also helps that it’s the one day the kids don’t fight over what to eat for breakfast,” she shares.
Suzanne adds a homeschool twist onto regular activities. “I count our biweekly trips to the grocery store as a field trip.” And one mom loves that her homeschool has uniforms. “The uniform is jammy pants and a T-shirt,” she says. “This is a major bonus.” Anne even works her pregnancies into the curriculum. “Mom’s pregnant (again)? A year-long study on fetal development, healthy eating and life skills,” she says. “Life skills meaning that Mom is asleep on the couch, so somebody better figure out how to cook and do laundry.”
So give a homeschool mom a high five today. She’s obviously earned it.