Can Homeschooling Make your Life Easier?

It’s been just over a week since Tommy started working with our parish friend during the day and I’ve made a surprising discovery: it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.

We’ve never really grown out of that college-kids-who-like-to-just-hang-out-together stage, which means it’s still fun for us to just sit around and discuss the subtle nuances of Enter the Dragon (yes, instead of doing housework).  I know not everyone would enjoy wasting time to the degree that we do, but we have this particular cross to bear, this cross of too-much-fun-havin’ (I know.  Pray for me, would you?), so I was a little sad to know that my partner in fun was going to be gone all day long again.

I mean, back in California, the weekdays sometimes stretched out before me like long roads into the desert.

It probably didn’t help that we actually lived in the desert.

An eight hour workday plus an hour for lunch plus two hours commuting means Tommy was gone for, let’s see…approximately three weeks at a time.  Definitely an improvement over his days as a police officer (those dark, terrible days.  Insert shudder here.), but still so long.

Why doesn’t it seem so long now?  Why does all of this seem manageable?  Why does it feel like we have all sorts of time together in the evening despite him working all day?  Why do I feel fairly relaxed and together when he gets home instead of a harried mess of stress and unfunniness?


It’s the homeschooling!

I know, I know.  The idea of homeschooling, especially to any who haven’t tried it, doesn’t generally conjure up images of unharried, unmessy, stressless, funny-filled wives.  Or does it?  It definitely didn’t for me when I was first considering it.

But here’s how it plays out- hubby leaves before anyone is awake and drives to a location not nearly an hour away.  They work for 8 hours without taking a real lunch break (by choice) so that they can make their non-commutes home as soon as possible.  Meanwhile I let the kids sleep in.  We take breakfast and getting dressed time slowly.  I don’t rush them (too much) or holler at them to quit dawdling (very often).  We do some chicken and goat chores.  Then we get started on school.

By this time in our previous life, we would have had a crazy morning of harping and hounding and school drop-off lines and where-the-heck-is-your-homework and don’t-forget-your-lunch.  The older ones would be at school and I would have already run an errand or two.  And now the whole day, with the kids who can’t really talk or tell jokes or come up with ideas would stare at me and say “what now?”

Not here.  No.  Here we’re barely easing into some school work.  Little ones are doing their “schoolie”, too.  Someone is practicing the piano.  I start a loaf of bread in the bread machine.  Now it’s time for a break.  They go outside and move the goats from the barn to the pasture and check that all the animals have water.  Someone notices that the daffodils have bloomed.

Another school subject, maybe this time at the little table outside if the weather is nice (and oh, has it been nice!).  And now it’s already time for lunch.  A late lunch at that.  Daddy will be home in just a few hours.

Eating. Cleaning up. The last bit of school work while the small one naps.  Now back outside!  Bikes and jump ropes and sidewalk chalk- the big ones and the little ones all playing together.  Then the crunch of gravel. The dogs barking.  He’s home!

And because the kids don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn, they can stay up later.  More time for all of us to be together.  The evenings are no longer a homework-dinner-pajama-bedtime race, just like the mornings were except in reverse.

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Dwija Borobia lives with her husband and their five kids in rural southwest Michigan in a fixer-upper they bought sight-unseen off the internet. Between homeschooling and corralling chickens, she pretends her time on the internet doesn’t count because she uses the computer standing up. You can read more on her blog house unseen. life unscripted.

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  • Sounds good to me. Something I’ve noticed recently: no more sickness. Not 100%, but not one cold or ear infection since they were pulled. Considering the youngest was going in every two to three weeks with an ear infection this is enough of a blessing to keep me from completely throwing in the towel when I get frustrated.

  •  You know, I forgot about that one and I totally agree.  They have definitely not been part of the “strep circle” from the winter, that’s for sure.

  • Michelle Lynch

    This coming fall we begin year 25 of homeschooling (8 or 9 years until our youngest graduates high school).  I cannot imagine what the past 25 years with my husband’s shift work, Navy reserves, traveling for work, etc…would have been like if I had someone else (a school district) dictating my schedule.

  • Marla Morgan

    Hey there, I live in the desert of Southern CA!  Enjoyed reading this, although I must admit I enjoy everything you write (I’m just not a commenter).  We’re homeschoolers too, and I’m loving your recent blog post about curriculum.  I’m getting lots of great ideas from that!  Thanks!

  •  Yay!  I’m so glad that comment thread is helping you out too.  So much great information there.  I see a spreadsheet in my future…. 🙂

  •  Moms like you are so inspiring to me, Michelle.  Thank you!

  • Colleen

    Sounds wonderful!

  • Karen

    Yep, we’ve been homeschooling for nearly seven years, and we get sick a lot less than other families…unless we go to children’s museums or homeschool group field trips.  Then we are felled.  This year we’ve been hermits because of a new baby, and we got through the winter with no illnesses!

  • It was your “we’re thinking about homeschooling” post that rang like a bell somewhere inside me, and made me begin to consider it too. My oldest is only 3, so I have a little bit of time to work it out, but I love what you’ve written here. I hate the hurry-rush-fast life. I can’t live that way. The more I read, and think, and look, and listen … the more I think homeschooling will be in our future. Although not goats. Never goats for me! We’re city dwellers, and never a chicken shall cross my path, I hope! But all the rest of it sounds lovely.

  •  Famous last words, Katy.  Famous last words…. 😉

  • schuppepartyoften

    Good article!

  • Love this! Yes, we’re kind of night owly here and we can live a bit more by our own rhythms. My husband teaches in a public school, so we still live with certain aspects of his schedule, but one of the things I love the most about homeschooling is that we aren’t living by the dictates of someone else’s idea of a normal day! 🙂 

  • olivia demkowicz

    YES! Right now we are part of a lovely homeschool co-op three days a week and even that is just too much. Too much everything…rushing, packing lunches, rushing to the car, “where are your shoes, your hair isn’t brushed, don’t forget your paper, where are your shoes, we’re going to miss chapel, WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES?”  Last week was spring break an it was like a breath of fresh air. so much school work got done. so much cooking got done, so much of everything got done and no one hurried the whole time. This is the life!  I can’t wait until next year. I will miss our community VERY MUCH, but I will not miss the rush.

  • Thanks for sharing this.. such a happy post!