Unexpected Loneliness and Jealousy in the Life of a Homeschooler.

Unexpected Loneliness and Jealousy in the Life of a Homeschooler.

It is back to school time again and I am seeing all kinds of posts in my Facebook feed about it. From pictures of kids dressed and backpacked with eager faces to posts about how sad parents are their kids will be gone most of the day. This year back to school season has had a surprising effect on me. I wasn’t expecting to feel this way and honestly I am struggling with it a bit.

If you follow us and this blog you know that we value our freedom above all. We organize our lives to have the freedom to ski or go to the beach at the drop of a hat. We have a patchwork income approach to work and a seize every opportunity attitude about life in general. So putting our kids in traditional school hasn’t really ever been something that we thought would work for us. Beyond that we have a lot of issues with the way public school is run and how kids learn so we wouldn’t send them even if we had “regular” jobs and didn’t travel a crazy amount. But…these past few weeks I wasn’t expecting to feel the loneliness and actually a bit of jealously that I have been experiencing.

Jackson-on-the-beach

Our kids are school age now. This means that their friends are in school. So no play dates with my friends and their kids. No neighbors outside riding bikes, no meeting friends at the beach or park for some playtime. It has been lonely. I have found myself refusing a lot of my kids requests lately to play with friends because “they are in school.” I guess I should have seen this coming. It wasn’t a surprise, but I didn’t really think it through. In the past all my friends had their kids home too. I could call someone and go over for an impromptu playdate. Now those moms are home without their kids doing “adult” things like journaling, exercising, gardening, cleaning even. Not that I am jealous of cleaning, but honestly having 6 or so hours a day to do whatever I needed to sounds pretty nice.

This seems to be compounded as Clark and I are in an extremely busy time with our work, and because of that we have decided not to travel right now. We are desperate for some time to devote to our projects, but the opportunities for that time are scarce. As Clark wrote in his post last week we used to be able to switch off watching the kids and working, but now we need to work together. So I have been looking for some activities for the kids, but summer camps are over, lessons and practices are all scheduled around school schedules, and the people I used to do kid swaps with now have no kids to swap.

So here we are. Still committed to homeschooling/unschooling/world schooling, whatever we are going to call it, but having to adjust.  I know my son would not like school. He is very shy and quiet. I can’t imagine dropping him off at kindergarten and leaving him there all day. He would not do well. I am confident this path is a good one for us and I am not complaining. We choose this life. We still believe it to be the best path for our kids and our family, but having to rethink our life yet again. It seems like when we have things working and in a good groove life changes and we have to change too. Some of these changes you expect, like a new baby, but this has taken us off guard.

I don’t know what our solution will be. We aren’t gurus. We are just going on this journey step by step trying to figure out as we go.

I would love to hear from other homeschooling families as to how you adjusted if you remember. Did you have these feelings? What worked for you? I’m open to any suggestions.

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Hi, I’m Monica.  If we’ve not met before, let me introduce myself.  I am a wife and mother to 3 kids 5, 3 and 6 month old. We lived in Santa Barbara for many years and after losing everything and moving into my parents’ garage, my husband and I began the exciting process of reinventing our lives.  As J.K. Rolwing said, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation from which I re-built my life.”  We’re now living a life of our own design, which includes our quest to work less, live more, and travel the world with our family.  You can check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

  • The solution for us was to find other homeschoolers to be friends with. We now have a large network of families/friends that we take field trips with, have play dates with, even travel with! See if there is a homeschool co-op of some kind in your area – ours has been a blessing.

    • Anne

      This is what I was thinking. You need to find a group – maybe check Meetup or something – for other homeschooling groups. The challenge for you will be the fact that you are working but if you can move some of your work to the evenings to allow for a few hours during the daytime to meet up wiht the other homeschoolers… Also, maybe charter school is an option for you – one or two days a week and the rest at home?

    • I do need to look into outside resources. I have several homeschooling friends, but they all have large families and seem so self-suficient. It is just so strange to be in this new season.

  • Jenny Scanio

    We’re experiencing the loneliness for the first time this year. It’s also the first time my seventh grader is expressing wanting to go to public school. She is wanting the social aspect of school (I guess that is to be expected from a 12 year old girl.) Sometimes coordinating with other homeschooling families is difficult since one reason we homeschool is to keep our own schedule and we’re often going in different directions, vacations, activities. For us, a happy medium would be awesome, homeschool 2-3 days a week, ‘public’ school 2-3 days a week. We are going to play it year by year and if she still feels this way in eight months we may consider public school – sigh 🙁

    • It is tough. I don’t think a lot of home schoolers open up about this. Thanks for sharing. Let me know what works for you guys.

  • Rob Davis

    Like Shannon said, get connected with a homeschooling network if there is one in your area. It has been a lifesaver for Jenni, not only for things like playdates, but also for the support of other moms. These groups can also afford you opportunities for co-op classes for the kids to teach them in subject you might not be confident to teach. Look for Artios Academy or Classical Conversations in your area. These are a once a week 1/2 day school where the kids are taught art, music and history from a Biblical world view, and gives them a chance to learn with other kids. Jenni has a lot more info I am sure she would be happy to share with you, just give her a call.

    • Thanks Rob. I will look into these. Tahoe is a really small community so I am not sure what is around. That Aritos sounds great. Hope you guys are well in your new life!

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