This is, undoubtedly, one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. I have cried a river in the last week while we were making this decision.
I am completely, utterly and totally committed to homeschooling my children. But I am also completely, utterly and totally burnt out. My health is getting worse, not better, thanks to a crazy schedule and work load. My family is concerned for my health, and rightly so. I’ve been working from 60 up to 90 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, for several years to keep us afloat through unemployment and some really tough economic times. And that’s on top of cooking, cleaning, laundry and schoolwork.
Homeschooling is a full time job. Keeping up with a house, cooking all the meals and doing the laundry is a full-time job. And on top of that, I actually work a full-time job with ample amounts of overtime, sometimes double time. I have 3.5-4 full time jobs. And I’m the only child of two disabled parents. My plate is overflowing.
Is it any wonder I’m not healing? Is it any wonder I’m getting worse? Stress can prevent you from healing and can even make you worse. That’s where I’m at right now.
For the first time, my children will be attending a small, private school this Fall. We’re going to take a break for a year and give me some time and space to slow down, heal and get back on my feet. At the end of next year, we’ll decide if we need to continue or bring them back home.
This has been a really hard decision to come to, and I’ve already had some homeschooling moms tell me I’m copping out or that I’d regret the decision. Other people have implied I’m not really dedicated to homeschooling. Some have implied I don’t love my children enough or that I’m not sacrificing enough. Funny enough, few of them have ever dealt with an extended illness or having no choice but to work if you want to keep your family fed, sheltered and clothed, much less both at once. I thought the mommy wars were bad, but truth be told, the schooling wars seem much more judgmental.
For as much as I love my children, the point of parenting isn’t to stick to dogma at all costs but instead of flex with the needs of both the individuals and the family. I am not so attached to homeschooling that I will continue it to the detriment of every person in my family.
My entire social network in real life is comprised of stay-at-home, homeschooling moms. And out of all of them, only two have shown support. Sometimes silence is golden, but sometimes it is also deafening. The judgement is brutal and I’ll full admit I find it hurtful. These women see how much I struggle with my own health, yet they condemn me for trying to do what is necessary to get better so I can parent and school my children as they do.
Sacrifice Now or Sacrifice Later
The fact is, most sick moms aren’t able to really parent the way they want to. When you’re sick, your children get less of you than they otherwise would, even in the best of circumstances. By choosing this route, I can be more available to them because my time and attention isn’t focused on their education, but instead recovering my health so I can parent as they need me to when they are with me.
I look at it like this- it’s better for my kids to have a mom who can homeschool them in the following years than it is to have a mom that is too ill to continue. A mom that isn’t there for them, isn’t around, maybe isn’t alive to see them graduate doesn’t benefit my children. Is a dead mom or a living mom that can’t participate in their lives better than a year or even multiple years at a school? Is one more year in homeschool better than having to enroll them somewhere for the rest of their education because I have permanently damaged my health?
For a long time, I bought into the idea that a mother should sacrifice everything for her children. Now I realize that sacrificing your health is taking something from your children because you’re stealing your present and your future with them. When you’re sick now, you can’t parent how you want and you might not necessarily be able to meet all of your children’s needs. When you don’t work to improve your health, you’re stealing your future together- your future with your children AND your future with your spouse. I want to see my children graduate, be able to attend my children’s weddings and hold my grandbabies. I had my great-grndmother until I was 24, I still have my grandmother now at 36 and it is a tremendous blessing.
I don’t want to teach my children that sacrificing myself for short-term gain but long-term loss is ok or that it’s ok to use someone at their own expense. We should value life in both the long-term AND the short-term. I don’t believe that some people are more valuable than others and that some are expendable. A women’s worth isn’t in her ability to rear and educate children, although when you’re in the trenches of motherhood, it’s easy to loose sight of that. Sacrificing myself to the point it effects my health is a form of selfishness and it can not continue. There are times and situations where sacrifice is acceptable, and there are times where it is not. For their long-term good and for mine, things have to change.
We have to keep in mind that one day our children will leave home. They will go out into the world to form families of their own. And at that point, you will be left with your partner to continue life and move on as a childless couple, once again. Childbearing and child raising is only one part, albiet it a very important part, of a life for both people in a marriage. My ultimate purpose isn’t to be a mother, it’s to be a child of God and a spouse to my husband. When he kids are gone, he and I will still be together. Life is a long journey and I want to have the strength to live it both now and in the future.
So for now, the landscape is changing. The plan is to have some time to rest while they are at school and re-arrange my working hours so I only do my job while they are at school. My goal is by Fall to only be working 25-30 hours a week, while they are at school, and to not need to work at all while they are at home. Then when they get home in the afternoons, I’ll be present for them. Once they’re in bed, I can go to bed, too.
It will be a bit of a challenge but we will figure out how to make it work for one year. Then we’ll re-evaluate and decide if we need to continue or return to homeschooling. But no matter where their education goes from here, I know I have given them a childhood full of exploration and taught them a love for learning. They’re both self-motivated learners, and they will go far.
Chris Munson says
Just wanted to leave a quick note of support. I was a stay at home mom for 11 years before going back to school and getting my Ph.D. Most/all of my SAHM “friends” abandoned me. I had a really good friend that didn’t at the time but we have grown apart now as I am not living where she is and I work full time and she doesn’t. So I would say the amount of friends I have is pretty small!
Anyway, when I was home taking care of little ones, I couldn’t imagine ever working. I see the other side of the coin now – have a cousin whose husband had a heart attack last year and is now unable to work so she is the bread winner. I have two sons with Asperger’s – I don’t know that they will ever be financially independent so I may have to support them the rest of their lives.
I give you that background to say everyone’s story is complicated and we have to make the best decisions for our family – even looking at another family from the outside, I can not presume to know what is going on in their family.
I get the feeling some people think I abandoned my children in the pursuit of my selfish interests – but truth be told, I knew I would be relatively young when my youngest becomes an adult and needed to plan for the rest of my life. I knew I wouldn’t be happy sitting at home waiting for my husband to come home (he works and travels a lot).
I see a lot of SAHM and Homeschooling moms that completely sacrifice themselves for their kids. I love and adore my kids and think about them constantly, but I have to trust that God loves them even more than I do and will watch over them even when I am not there. I can’t be there all the time – no one can.
I hope that this break is a fruitful one for you and for your kids – I will be praying for your situation.
Thank you, Christina. Finances are a major reason to consider working in some form. While I didn’t go deep into it in this post, I have had no choice but to work since 2009 to keep us from loosing everything while dealing with unemployment. My husband was unemployed two of the last three years. He’s working again now, but it totally drained our retirement and savings. We’re starting from scratch again financially, more or less, and I’m in my mid-30s and he’s in his early 40s. I know many people are in the same boat with the economy. For many folks, working is just a fact of life if they’d like to retire before they die, unfortunately. I’m sure with children who might need continuing support while adults, that burden is only heavier. Good for you for looking forward and counting the cost.
Heather Burris says
Hugs mama! Just wanted to be sure you knew there was some virtual support for you. Prayers for healing!!
Thank you, Heather!
Thank you for sharing your post. I have so much respect for your decision and I think it brings a layer of real honesty to the homeschooling relationship. I am a full time out of the house working mom who home schools two during the day. As we embark on the middle school years I have thought long and hard on the to what cost element. Multiple health issues impede the ability to implement all the heart’s plans. School is a loving choice and my heart hopes for you that your healing deepens and you continue to have the ability to make your best choices. I hope your support network holds you and nourishes you.
Vicariously Vintage says
This is one of those times you figure out who your true friends are. You can take that next step to heal by know knowing who you can rely on. You won’t heal when you have those in the background that are secretly pulling you down.
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Soozie Bea says
I applaud you!
You have not abandoned your kids and it’s been great you are that proactive in their education. You are showing them that sometimes a community needs to gather around and support someone in need – and it sounds like you need the break!
Kudos to you!
Kim Barrios says
Everyone has to do what is best for themselves and their families. I wonder if the people who are negatively judging your decision have faced any true life challenges? Or maybe they aren’t feeling convicted in their own life choices? Regardless, you can only do what you can do, and you have done A LOT, especially considering your health issues. Take your time to heal, Mama. The kids will be fine, and you’ll all have new life experiences and perspective at the end of the year.
Thank you. As a second generation homeschooler, it was a very hard choice to send my son to kindergarten at age 6 after a year of kindergarten at home. Severe ADHD kicked my butt and I am deferring to professionals for my sanity. We’ve even started a low dose of medication for him to allow him to function in a school setting. He’s done so well! But there are those that do not agree with our choice. I think I have more grace for others that make choices that I don’t agree with, because I’ve seen how each family must do what’s best for them in the moment.
I cannot tell you how much this post spoke to me, and what my family has gone through. My husband has not worked since 2008, so I too, am the sole income earner in my household. I work from home, so I am with my family 24/7, which sounds good, but it can wear you down as quickly as raise you up. We decided last year to homeschool our daughter as well. While we love the family time we get with this setup, I find that I am worn out! Everything in your post about the quality of life that you have now, and want in the future, is exactly what I have been telling my doctors in trying to get to the bottom of my health frustrations, but I am getting nowhere. I pray that the change in your lifestyle will be the best for you and your family! Best wishes…
Love and support from this fellow homeschooler.
The other day, while lying on my bed wiped out with my hypo-thryoid (compounded meds not yet optimized) and resting my spine (2 surgeries)… my 13 y.o. dd informs me that I am the best mom in the world. I had to ask “Why?” Her response: “Because you don’t hide your weaknesses from us.” For whatever reason, I felt like telling you that story. 😀 I pray you get exactly what your health needs in the year(s) ahead.
Judy @Savoring Today says
We have been part of the homeschool community for more than 14 years, the last three our youngest was in school and graduated from the local high school. When we made the decision to stop homeschooling some where very disappointed in our decision, especially since we had been leaders in this particular community.
Homeschooling is a choice, not a religion. We always encouraged parents to take it a year at a time so that they can best meet the needs of their child(ren), which can be a time in public/private school. All throughout our personal homeschool journey, we kept one toe in public school through enrichment classes or dual enrollment. Over those years, we developed a great relationship with counselors and teachers in bits and pieces. This not only afforded us to utilize what our tax dollars already pay for, it gave them (school faculty and administrators) a different perspective of homeschooling — one that wasn’t adversarial, but collaborative in parts.
Several of our friends are skeptical about homeschoolers working with public/private schools, as am I, but we saw it as an opportunity to be “in the world, but not of the world”.
I realize the laws/rules are different in every state and we were fortunate our local high school was so open to us. People speculate it is because they ‘just want to make money off homeschoolers’, but those we developed relationship with really did take an interest in helping our kids and we are grateful for them.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, you have to make the best decision for your family — the whole family — and if that decision includes a different choice than you ever thought you’d have to make, make the best of it. Your kids will learn a valuable lesson about decision making, to value every member of the family, that learning can happen anywhere you apply yourself, and living your faith in the world.
Aside from all that, I hope the guilt/regret is minimal. Us moms can’t help but pile it on ourselves, but that won’t help your health either. Trust God, let go of the guilt and let the negative comments fall away life chaff.
Blessings to you, KerryAnn.
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I am a homeschooling mom and at one point sent my special needs 3 year old off to the public school for four years. It was a very hard choice, but I knew it was the right thing to do for her and my other three at home. I was not treated well by some homeschoolers and then the moms of the public school kids didn’t treat me kindly because I homeschooled my other kids.But it was best for us to do what we felt we were led by God to do and I was at peace. I just wanted to say(not that it matters), you have my support! I know it isn’t easy to make these decisions. Joyce
Mandy Lancaster says
I applaud you in making the best decision for your family!
I have always said I will homeschool until we feel it is not the best for the children. That’s what matters most. And Mom being less than full capacity is not best for anyone.
There is a time for everything under the sun, a season for everything. The things we sometimes think will be the worst or just not the most ideal, end up the better than our wildest imagination!
No one has the right to judge what you are doing because no one is walking in your shoes. If Mom crumbles, the whole family crumbles.
I pray that you will find one or two strong women in your circle that will encourage during this hard season.
I’m a relatively new, and not a constant, reader to your blog. This post spoke to me, so I thought I’d lend what support I can.
We’re all different, with different strengths and weaknesses. I type 150 wpm, can make a mean omelette, hate sewing, have great research skills and absolutely abysmal people skills. I love children and hate conflict and drama. I homeschooled 11 children (5 mine, 6 fosters – some of them with court issues) for 6 years. On top of all the other roles in my life – wife, mother, homemaker, worker, etc. And one day, I just couldn’t anymore. I found myself short-tempered with the kids, annoyed by the record keeping, frustrated with the struggles – burned out. Then one of the older kids set me straight. They’d rather have me *really* there when they needed me than spread too thin and frustrated as their teacher. He used my own words against me, drat him: Play to your strengths.
I’m still a staunch advocate of homeschooling and homeschooling moms. But every situation is different, every person is different, and, at the end of the day, we’re teaching more than academics. I love my children. As a mom, sacrifice is part of the package. Martyrdom isn’t. I don’t want to teach my children to drive themselves into the ground. I do want to teach them to respect themselves. The most important lessons that we teach our children are not in the textbooks or answered on a worksheet. We all homeschool. We all teach. You’re covering a new chapter of some very important life lessons. I wish you all the best and support your choices. Be well.
Written over our front door: Be kind to others. We’re all fighting different battles.
Paloma, that’s *exactly* it.
Love this! Great comments and I’m going to borrow your saying about “playing to your strengths”. I’d like to know more about how you were allowed to homeschool foster children. I didn’t think you could.
Sandi B says
KerryAnn… my thoughts and prayers are with you. I can’t imagine what a tough decision that this has been for you. Shame on your “friends” to judge you. From reading your blog I’ve seen how amazingly well you juggle everything!
I hope y’all have a smooth transition and the kids will do fine. They are resilient and your health and being here healthy and happy for a long, long time is far more important xoxo
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Gina Malewicz says
I did the same thing this year. I think it’s very smart of you. People that can’t understand that, you don’t need in your life. I was homeschooling two kids, cleaning and cooking all the meals with adrenal fatigue and quite honestly, probably wasn’t doing a great job at any of them. It was just too much for me, but i wanted it so bad. Then I had a couple panic attacks (which ive never had before) and then generalized anxiety that just wouldnt stop. The last straw was my oldest had a panic attack. So we started seeking help. And thats where it led us, to stop homeschooling for now. The kids went to a small private school for the last half of this year. One liked it, one didn’t. One has decided they want to go to public school next year (2nd grade) and my 4th grader wants to stay at the small private school, so we are doing that next year. We also moved cross country twice, so that is a lot of stress too. I’m hoping to really take care of myself and heal as much as I can and just not be so hard on myself. You need people around you that support your decision, drop the rest! 🙂
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Just wanted you to know that I think you are doing what is best for your family, and that is what the best moms do!
Barbara Granter says
I just read your blog…well I skimmed it so I get the gist. I am not into God or prayer in any way BUT I also home schooled my daughter. It was for a year after she showed that she hated school and its ridiculous rules so much and it was making HER ill. I had by then had Rheumatoid Arthritis for about 20 years and was in constant pain and suffering fatigue. After a year she thought she might be able to tolerate secondary school and took the test.She got one of the highest scores in the area and they let her enter a year early (her birthday was 2nd Sept). I wanted her to go to school because I was so exhausted. Home schooling is exhausting for a well person, let alone a sick one, though I was prepared for her to continue with home schooling. She never liked school at any level but she was prepared to tolerate it, though she knew she could stop at any time. I was a better mother because I could rest while she was at school. So my message is, don’t beat yourself up. Life is not easy. You have and are still doing your best. All you can do is your best and your kids will realise that one day. Give yourself a break and let them go. You have to keep the family afloat. There is no choice. Like my daughter, they will be fine. Even if they don’t like it, they’ll end up being fine. Most people do.
I am so sorry that you have received judgement among the people you live with. I find it tragic that we cannot support one another with the journey God brings us on individually. Stay strong in the Lord and He will give you the strength to stand up in the task He has for you at this time.
God brings different things into our lives all along the way and it can be totally different from what we were doing, but all He wants from us is our love to Him and to others. I just want to encourage you to not let others’ judgments tear you down, but remain faithful to what God has for you now. As we all know, life changes and we don’t end up doing the same thing for the rest of our lives.
Melanie Christner says
I respect your honesty. I was home-schooled and fully expected to be a SAHM and homeschool my kids. But the financial pressure was too much to lay solely on my hard-working husband. So I am growing my nutritional therapy and GAPS consulting business, I work more than I ever have, but I am certain the rewards will pay off. We are fortunate to have great small schools for our 4 kids to attend.
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Good for you! I competely understand as I’ve been dealing with an extended illness and am not getting much either. My plan was to homeschool my 5 year old this fall but now I’mnot sure its the best route feeling the way I do and not to mention I’m 5 months pergnant so will also havea newborn in the fall.
I think you are making the right decision. You have to take care yourself. your children need you and you can’t be fully present If you are not well. God bless you and i pray God leads you were you need to be to heal.
I just wanted you to know I completely support your decision. You are doing what is best for your family. I know how stress and bad health can affect your life and the lives of those around you. With all the health issues I am going through right now it has been hard to do schooling like I need to. I know it would have to be even worse to work and be in bad health all the time. Will be praying you will heal!
Whoever those people are who are outright saying or implying that you are somehow “less than” by taking these steps to improve your health and well-being are absolutely wrong and should be ashamed of themselves. They don’t understand what our health challenges are like. Don’t give them another thought. You are doing what is right for you and your family. PERIOD.
Bethany Carpenter says
Sorry to hear that you have faced so much judgment. Unfortunately, that is not uncommon. Thank you for writing this post and for putting your health AND your children first.
Barb @ A Life in Balance says
Your mention of the silence from fellow homeschooling moms reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my sils who I thought of as supportive. I had been through 2 post partum depressions, and was trying to express to her how much I felt I failed my kids by not being present while I was sick and struggling. She just dismissed my concerns like they weren’t real.
I think as moms, we always struggle with making sure we do our best by our kids. We’re human. We want to do better, and we can’t always. When we’re sick, I think it feels even more overwhelming and unachievable to do our best. Yes, your children got to experience a sick mom who couldn’t do things that other moms do. But, your children learn valuable lessons like compassion, helping others, being sensitive, and how important health is.
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I am a homeschooling / SAHM to 4 and I think you are absolutely doing the right thing for your kids and your family. It takes courage to make big changes in your life, let alone share them with the world. You and your children will be better off because of this decision. So, just ignore the naysayers – there is a reason that you are the mother to your children – they need you, and your children will not be any worse off for a year in private school. *hugs*
Hi there, I just wanted to say thank you. Reading this post has encouraged me, because I am a SAHM, homeschooling 8 kids and have had some issues with hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue which require lots of diet changes, and more rest. Trying to keep up with it all has been so difficult, and there have been many times I have thought of putting the kids in school. I can only imagine how much harder it would be if I were also doing another full-time job! There are people who will judge no matter what decision we make. It is hurtful, but I try to remember that usually it is insecurity or simply lack of understanding on their part, since they have usually not been through the same thing. I am ashamed to say that I have been on the judgmental side and have slowly, with the grace of God, and through the trials I have experienced, been humbled to the point where I am now more compassionate and less judgmental of others. I am more able to see that life is not a “black and white” thing, and that the right decision for me may not be for others. I applaud you in both your discernment of what’s best for your family, and in your willingness to share. God bless!
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My sons went to school for 10th-12th grades, 8th-12th grades and my daughter for 4th& 5th grades.Don’t add guilt to your burden. Your kids will be fine. School won’t kill them (really!), and you can bring them back home when it is best for the family. Mom being sick is not good for the family. Take care of yourself and share the care of your kids for a while. Bless you!
Katherine Berlier says
I wish you the best in healing, and please DO NOT FEEL AN OUNCE OF GUILT in placing your children in school, private one at that. They will be fine, thrive, and learn. I have two kids in the public school system (they are very nice where I live, I have one a full grade-level ahead in reading and math and they meet his needs and continue to push him. My other kid has autism and his teachers and paras have managed to get him to do and learn more than I ever thought possible!). My kids’ teachers send home notes on what they are learning in class and I find enrichment activities in the community or at home to build on what they are learning so you can always supplement your kids’ learning however you wish, just without the stress of doing IT ALL. I really enjoy your menus and videos! Praying that your health improves soon.
Lisa C says
You are doing the right thing!! I really want to homeschool my almost five year old, but I just don’t have the strength and vigor that others have. Two years ago I got rid of the stress in my life and that has helped heaps in recovering my health–in fact, one of the things that helped me was putting my son (3 at the time) in preschool two mornings a week. At the end of that year I was sad that I had missed those hours with my little boy, but at the same time I knew I had needed the time to myself to help me heal. Motherhood and educating our kids just isn’t a clear-cut path. Being sick makes it harder, for sure. It sounds like you’ve figured out the difference between wise sacrifice and unwise sacrifice.
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jen a says
School, unschool, homeschool–you have to do what’s best for your family.
jen a says
Ugh, what I mean is that it you need to get healthy (best for your family) so that you can go back to what schooling choice is best for your family (homeschool or school). Our lives change, we go through seasons, and we need to learn how to accept that to do what is best for our family. You are doing what is best
My thoughts and prayers are with you, KerryAnn! I’m so glad that you have the opportunity to give yourself some time and space to heal, and that you found a school you’re comfortable sending your kids to. Having read your story, and then imagining what the upcoming school year will be like for you . . . it feels like a big sigh of relief. Peaceful in many respects. I don’t remember where I read this (Little House On the Prairie?) but there’s a saying about “cutting the coat to fit the cloth.” We can’t control all of our circumstances. We just have to do the best we can with what we’re given, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve found that trials like this bring the most amazing lessons and growth, and with that greater faith and strength. Hugs!
Just a note of support and encouragement. You are doing the right thing!!! It’s right for you to take care of yourself so that you CAN take care of and be there for your children and spouse! It will do no one any good for you to make yourself sick trying to do it all. I know because I’ve been there. I finally had to quit my out of the home job to recover my health. Trust me. It may be hard but its worth it! I’m still recovering but am now blessed to watch my first grandchild while my daughter works. Do not worry over those judging you. They obviously have never been in long term pain or illness. God will bless your choice. ❤
A friend of mine once gave me great advice when she asked a single question while I was having a seriously marital issue – Would I rather my daughter be from a broken home or in one? I made decisions to ensure she would be from one, not actively in one, and that I would do my best to be a positive role model. That carries over to many different situations we, as parents, find ourselves in. We (collectively) are always running ourselves ragged. It takes strength to stop and slow ourselves down, to reevaluate our choices in order to make different ones, hopefully better ones.
Karen Wright Duncan says
I am so sorry that you are receiving little support from other homeschooling mothers. You absolutely have to do what is best for you and your family. My pastor once told me, when I was caring for my terminally ill husband, taking my mother to her doctor’s appointments, and my grandson while my daughter went to college, “If you don’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone else?”
I know their lack of support hurts, but we are all in your corner 😀
Kerry Ann, I want to be another voice supporting you and telling you that you made a good decision. We recently made the same decision and have felt judgement from our homeschooling friends. Your kids need a healthy mom! It’s okay! big hugs!!
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Cathy Fitzpatrick says
I can only imagine how hard a decision this was for you & husband. Good for you to realize the need to reorganize your time & energy for healing. Praying for you & your family. God bless.
I’m so sorry you feel like you have to justify your decision to ANYONE! And I’m indignant on your behalf at those moms who have suggested you’re not as good a mom as they are! Humph!!! You might as well assume the silent ones are just too darned overwhelmed with their own lives to notice what’s going on in yours.
They’ll take the educational advantage you’ve given them into their new school and flourish! The good mom you are to them will continue to form them forever!
God bless you!
Proud of you for making the hard decision. I am a ‘retired’ homeschool mom. I didn’t have to go through…or didn’t realize I WAS going through what you are going through now. I am sorry people are not supportive and feel they must run you down or over for making prayerful family decisions. If you and your husband have talked it over with God and each other, that’s the important part…Then move forward one moment at a time. God’s best blessings to you as you heal and move forward in HIS will, not anyone else’s.
You said it all yourself, if you’re not well, you can’t BE a mother to your kids in any way. It’s not the end of the world if they have to go to public or private school. Plenty of us have gone through the system and come out OK. 😉
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D' Ann says
I just wanted to let you know there’s no need to feel guilty or let others impose it on you.
I was ‘metabolically broken’ in 2008 and suffered a very long list of degenerative illnesses…all painfully disabling. By this time, I was single and my girls were grown and on their own. But I just wanted to assure you that healing IS within reach, even though I know you believe it, yourself. Today, I am healther than I was even before 2000! I have not pushed myself to exercise, believing that I would get back into being physically active when my health was sufficiently restored. This year, I am gardening again! I don’t live in constant pain, most of the symptoms of my many illnesses are gone. And I am confident that this improvement will not only continue, but continue faster because I can now get outside and use my body…both essential for complete healing.
As for the home schooling: I home schooled my girls for several years, until financial necessity and mental burnout sent me back into the workforce. At the time, home schooling was so new that the local school board had NO rules or regs, except that one parent had to have a college degree. And there was no one else in my circle that stayed home, nevermind home schooled; everyone was convinced I was making a mistake with my children’s development and future.
We place the girls in a private school, then transitioned from there to public school at middle-school level. They are amazing women, made straight A’s all the way thru school (in spite of some extremely difficult circumstances), and I am convinced the home schooling they started with has given them a lifelong advantage in every aspect of life.
Today, my girls validate every hard decision I’ve made about family relationships and how I have chosen in the past to handle multiple, stressful demanding circumstances.
You are the only one who can genuinely evaluate the true priorities of your family. Do what you must, do the best you can, then pray that God will ‘take up the slack and fill in the gaps’. I promise you, having prayed that prayer, He will do just that!
Linda Hendrex says
Kerry Ann, I homeschooled for 17 years even though I was ill and our family was going through trials that were almost too heavy to bear. As one who has been there and done that, please allow me to applaud your decision. One of the most serious mistakes I have ever made in my life was being so determined to “soldier on” when every shred of common sense in me demanded that I send the little ones to school and stop trying to be all things to all people.
If God isn’t giving you the strength to continue, then it is wise to consider the possibility that it is because He wants your kids in school and wants you to spend your time seeking Him and getting well. I didn’t heed those warnings and am now facing old age with a dysfunctional family, adult children who have lost their way in life, and grandchildren who will never know the values and ideals that I held so dear when I started.
You may think it is painful to have your so-called “friends” turn away because you refuse to destroy your family for the sake of a dogma that they worship. I have been there. Just remember that it is infinitely more painful to realize too late that you were unable to run the rat race without irreversibly damaging your self, your health, your marriage, and your children. Home schooling isn’t for everyone, and pride goeth before a fall. I heartily agree with your decision and encourage you to rejoice in the adventures God has planned for your little ones in school while you have time to recover and get a better perspective on what is really important.
Don’t grieve what is lost when your kids go to school, because if you do, you will miss many of the advantages that can be had from parenting with a good school to back you up. Instead, be thankful that you are being shepherded into a new walk that is very likely better than the one you left behind. Everything you said about being there in the long term is so true. As long as you are able to go into this with a rejoicing and with a thankful heart, it will show in every aspect of your life. I wish you and yours all the best.
Wise advice, Linda. Thank you so much. I always appreciate your comments.
Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I have walked a similar road but made a different choice. I chose to put my children in public school to give myself time to recuperate from years of burn-out, divorce, financial upheaval, etc. For various reasons it has become impossible to reverse the situation and now I am watching them walk away from all the values I started out trying to instill. That’s just the briefest of overviews but the pain is immense and having been there I think I “heard” a similar pain in your story.
Perhaps it is not whether our children are in public, private or home school that ultimately will decide their future walk with the Lord. I have seen children from all three situations choose different paths. Perhaps more important is that we consistently obey the Lord in our walk and that we provide a loving, safe, refuge in our homes where we, our husbands, and our children can fight the good fight together and support one another.
You mentioned pride. That seems to be a big issue for all of us. We soldier on without help because of it. We demean our husbands because of it. We drive our children to unrealistic goals because of it. We refuse to ask for help because of it. And we judge each other mercilessly because of it. May we all repent of it. THAT will make a huge impression on our children’s spirits.
Anger is another biggie. We’re angry at ourselves for not being able to do more, angry at husbands for not supporting us, angry at our children for not living up to our expectations, angry at each other for making it all so hard, but most of all, and underlying it all, angry at God. We lash out, yell, sulk, berate, backbite, criticize, complain, and get sick, depressed, and burned out because of it. Let us put off anger in all its various forms and instead put on prayer with thanksgiving and peace. Peace instead of anger in our homes will REALLY make an impression on our children’s spirits.
And then there’s fear. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of loss. Fear of tomorrow. Fear of man. Fear makes us angry. Fear makes us fretful, anxious, stressed, depressed, apathetic, and immobilized. May we repent of fear and walk in faith and humility and utter dependence on God. Notice I said walk, not sit down and wait for Him to fix everything for us. We have to get it right at the root. Our health, our provision, our abilities, as well as our husbands’, come from God. Let us look to our Provider for all things and do the things He gives us to do. Then we can laugh at tomorrow. And LAUGHTER will make a huge difference in our homes, our health, and our childrens’ spirits.
I’m not directing these comments at you or anyone in particular. It was just your post that touched a deep place in my spirit and I hope that some of my musings, mistakes, and hard learned lessons can benefit someone.
God bless you and one last thought… God is not finished with us yet. It is never too late, for us, our children and even our grandchildren. As my children reach childbearing age I am ever aware that my own sinfulness is about to impact a whole new generation. Anything I do now to repent and repair things in my home and with my adult children will be a blessing to my grandchildren. Whether our children are in public school, home school, private school, or grown with their own children, WE are still homeschoolers. Everything about us and our home impacts them for eternity. Every little step in the right direction is a ripple in the pond that will go on for generations.
Thank you for your post and much love in the Savior from our home to yours.
I just want to encourage you to ‘rest’ in the grace of God. When we can’t any more and finally put our hands down, He can step in and give us the best help and support we could ever have. I’m a mum of 2, fighting a chronic bowel disorder, trying to raise two kids to be the most healthy examplery kids, run the household, study full time,. And lately I just hear the Holy Spirit speak to me ever so softly..” be lead by the ‘unforced’ rhythms of grace. I’m on that learning journey to let go and stop trying to control my kids and my life. Your kids will be just fine at school. They will have that social interaction without ‘mums influence’ that they probably are really in need of. Relax and enjoy your free time and let the kids enjoy their free time!
I think I’ve already mentioned this in commenting to another of your posts, but we met in the Cary Towne Center parking lot several years ago waiting for a co-op you had organized. I was amazed at all you were doing then and I’ve continued to be amazed at what you have accomplished.
I just graduated our youngest from our homeschool. He went all the way from K to 12 while I recovered him and myself (while my husband worked out of state). As you can imagine it wasn’t pretty at times. You are being brave to let go and do what is best for all of you. I am sure that you will heal much faster and it will be a blessing in many ways.
Oh honey, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. I feel like you were defending yourself and I would say for all of the same reasons that we shouldn’t feel like explaining our reasons for homeschooling, you don’t need to explain your reasons for NOT. Those choices are between YOU and your God. Hang in there and I pray you will find the relief, comfort and wellness!
Kerry – as a fellow homeschooling mom your post touched me deeply. If you are like us, we homeschool because we want what is best for our families. Yet, sometimes, going to school is best for the family – even if it is temporary. Do not feel guilt, just do what you need to to take care of you and when you are where you need to be you can care for them. Take care!
Alison Wormald says
Hi Kerry, I too want to say be kind to yourself and do what is right for you. That’s a much better example to your children. I’m in the UK and all my children went through mainstream schooling, despite some misgivings of my own as I had a somewhat alternative approach to education. I was able to support them as I only ever worked part time and from home, so I was around a lot for them. They have all said they enjoyed the experience, they weathered the down sides and became stronger for it. They mixed with a much wider variety of children and their parents, had some wonderful teachers, (and not so, and that too was a learning experience)
I think there can be almost too much control in some homeschoolers approach, which can be authoritarian in it’s own way. These parents negative comments about you are evidence of that as if they are saying there is only one way of doing things. It’s the same with the food thing – “you must be vegetarian, vegan, only eat raw food……. blah blah blah.” I was so relieved to return to the old traditional way of eating after finding out about the GAps diet and your blog. It felt right for me. Thank you for sharing this and all the best, Warmest Wishes,
Betty Mallorca says
Dear Kerry, I finally made it back to read your post. I wanted to share what my minister had to say about parenting, in her mother’s day sermon: (heavily paraphrased!) “Let go of your guilt. Your children are on their own journey, as you are on yours.” You must care for yourself, at the same time as you love and care for others. It’s all about balance. Make your best decision, and go for it. You can always change course, whenever you want to. It will all be all right. Blessings to you!
From Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord wants to say to you:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
Please be encouraged KerryAnn, even when many around you don’t understand, the Father knows your heart, and you can trust His heart; He is for you.
May He restore you to health. Blessings on you sister
Hey Kerri, You know I don’t participate in any of those groups or pages anymore, but as FB friends, I feel I have come to know you and wanted to comment here.
As for all those unsupportive people, literally — block them out. Do not look, do not read and if need be, do not participate in those group/pages if possible. If it’s not, block those (if it’s FB) that are causing you stress.
Our lives are short and we only get one, surrounding yourself with so many unsupportive people that could care less what happens to you, is not only toxic for us, but will make us sick. Why? Because sensitive people like us take that to heart and obsess about it, go back to posts/msgs, engage them, etc… It’s just not good for us.
It’s why I quit all of those groups and pages and will never, ever go back.
With all of that said, I am sending you loving, healing light and also remdind
Gah… didn’t finish and it sent. 🙂 As I was saying I am sending you loving, healing light and want to remind you that you are not alone. <3
We are also struggling in these economic times, albeit in Europe, it's still a huge struggle. Just stay focused on your health, your family and YOUR life. Let no one derail you and you will be fine. This is your life and your life alone. At the end of the day, FB and groups and strangers will go on without you.
You are a good person, mom and wife and will be ok.
My mother is a public school teacher, I went to private school for 6 years and public for 7. I was never homeschooled. I have friends who homeschool, friends who don’t, friends who were disappointed with public school and switched to homeschool, friends who were frustrated with homeschooling and switched to public or private school. You have to do what is best for yourself and your family. From my experiences as an educator, I find that the best students I see are those who have parental involvement. If you are proactive in your children’s education they will thrive in school. Always help them with their homework, school projects, etc, keep in close contact with their teachers and administrators, and supplement their education with home activities. If they are learning about ecosystems for example, spend an hour outside and have them observe and relate it to what they learned in school. YOU ARE A GREAT MOM and your children will succeed in this school because of that. Good luck!!
I put three of my children into school this year after 6 years of homeschooling. I felt like I was betraying my homeschool group, but I just felt like it was something that had to happen for my children’s health. The first few months were hard and I nearly pulled them out a few times, but then they made friends and started thriving. They make A’s and B’s (and we were unschooling even) and one is going into the challenge program next year (5th grade was the first year this child ever attended school and she rocked it.)
It was hard for me to let go of some ideals and deal with some arbitrary crap (normal stuff) from the school to do what was best for my kids. It was and is still hardest for us when we meet up with our old homeschool group friends and realize how much we miss them. It was the best thing for the balance of our family life. We can always go back to homeschooling, but we won’t let our ideals hold us hostage again. When something has to give, change things up.
Good on you for taking care of you. How else can you be there for your family? Your homeschooling righteous ‘friends’ are the losers. And you never know what gifts going to school will bring you & your kids. I didn’t home school but I did stay home with my 4 kids until they were in Grade one and we sent them to a private school until grades 5-7. I have supervised a summer drama camp for kids for many years and I will confess that to varying degrees the home schooled children have a tougher time adjusting than the ones who have experienced regular school. You might just find this offer everyone the best of both worlds!
I am so sorry for the treatment you have received from your “friends” . When the chips are down is when we know who we can count on. Everyone’s situation is different and who are we to judge someone’s choices for their family? It makes me sad that women act like this. You are exactly right to be looking to the future when it is just you and your hubby. Our kids are not ours forever, they move on and make their lives. That is our job to get them to that point.
Kudos to you and prayers!
Glory Wong says
Just remember one thing – you set an example of ‘how to live’ to your children.
If you show them that it’s ok to run yourself to death and sacrifice your own health for others, then that is what they will learn to do as they grow up.
You are of no good to anyone if you are no good to yourself! I had to learn that the hard way and I see my grown up kid behaving like me. I finally had to learn to be selfish.
When flying (on an airplane), they don’t tell you to put on the oxygen mask for your children first. They want you to put on yours first!
Perhaps this is another test that the Universe placed in your life to weed out the ‘fake’ friends. True love is unconditional and so is true support.
Trust that all changes are for the better – God would not let you fail.
Be confident in yourself and your decision!
As a former homeschooling mother suffering from a chronic condition who now, gasp, sends her kids to public school, you have my sympathies and encouragement.
My heart goes out to you. Sometimes the hardest sacrifice is giving up our ideals and making the sacrifice for what is truly best for our families. I applaud you for doing this even though you find it painful and have to suffer alone. Doing what is truly best for our children is why most of us homeschool in the first place, and no one else can know what is truly best for your family. I have never been in the position you are in. God has blessed me with three wonderful, healthy, intelligent children that I home school and a husband who is truly supportive, both emotionally and financially. I hope that if I ever am faced with the challenges you are, that I won’t let my pride stand in the way and make the decision which is best for my family. Please take care of yourself and have Faith that you are doing what’s best.
I have refrained from comments for months and blocked a lot of people from my facebook as a result of experiencing some of the same harshness and judgement you have received. I’ve been very facts oriented and more of a surfer than a poster lately but I just came across your post on homeschooling a year after you wrote it and feel compelled to reply.
First of all, you sound like a great mom, a great wife, and a great daughter of the Father. Thank you for all you have shared and your heart to help others. Shame on anyone who has treated you harshly or with unjust judgement. Shake the dust off your feet and press on.
It is not my desire to judge you or advise but only to re-engage the discussion your post started. In reading through the thread I noticed a commonality among your readership. There are a lot of homeschoolers, and those who want to, and there are just as many that are struggling, or have struggled, to make it work. I know that’s a patently obvious statement but sometimes the things we need to notice the most are right in front of us and we don’t see them. What I am seeing is that we are all part of the human condition and as such all struggle with the same temptations. Our Savior was subjected to all the same struggles and understands our weakness but He was victorious and in Him is our victory. Our ability or inability to overcome those temptations will impact our homes, our health, and our children for generations to come. This is NOT a judgement of your or your choice. I only say this because it has affected my ability to homeschool and I sense is an issue in ANYONE’S decision to homeschool. We have an enemy who does not want to see us succeed. The enemy attacks from without but also from within. We have to weather the storm from outside but we have to find victory over the struggles that come from within. Please see my reply above to Linda.
Having said that (in combination with my reply to Linda), we are all equals on this journey. Some of us seem like super moms, some of us feel like super failures, some of us seem to have it all together, some of us feel like we’re hanging by a thread but ALL of us are in this thing together and if we have wisdom, victory, insight or knowledge we have it by the grace of God and we should be sharing it, which brings me to the point of the discussion I would like to engage:
Is there a way we can more effectively support one another in this journey? Is there a way we can join with one another to enable those who are struggling to get through it without putting their children in public school if they don’t really want to? Is there another alternative besides private or public school? What if we as homeschoolers could find a way to provide “crisis support” to those in our community? May I toss out a few ideas and invite comment from your readers? How about a way of publishing financial needs within a local homeschool community so those who are prompted by the Spirit can contribute financially or materially to a family’s needs? How about a group of nutrition and alternative medicine (God-given herbs) enthusiasts who would be willing to come alongside and offer help to those struggling with health issues. How about those that have wisdom about the relationship between sin and health making that information more readily, and less judgementally, available? How about homeschoolers being willing to open their homeschool to another family for a season to give a mom a break? What about an army of “retired” homeschoolers ready to step in with prayer, support, encouragement, meals, teaching, etc. in times of need? I’m sure we can all come up with a long list of reasons all these ideas are naive, impossible, wouldn’t work, etc. but maybe those of us who have been on this road for a while can bring our strengths together to creatively overcome those objections and be a practical help to a struggling family – free of any expectation of recompense and free of judgement – because we’ve all been there ourselves at one time or another.
This was my first visit to your page so I haven’t followed your story over the last year. I would love to know how you are doing and I would be honored to help if I can in any way. I’m in WNC too. I can cook, clean, teach, research, play, pray, listen – you name it. 🙂 In the meantime, God bless you, your family, and your readers.