We all have experienced loneliness. There are all kinds of situations that cause us to feel alone: a recent move, changing churches, getting a cancer diagnosis, dealing with infertility, living far away from family, starting a new job. The homeschooling lifestyle is also an area where loneliness can seep in.
Just when I think we are doing well and the kids are enjoying homeschooling (as much as kids can enjoy any schoolwork) and our groups are meeting our needs for friendships and educational opportunities, somebody gets sick. All of a sudden, our life screeches to a halt. I have to cancel our plans and we all stay at home until we are healthy enough to leave the house. That’s when it hits me. Isolation! Fatigue from sickness sets in and mixes with seeing the same four walls for a few days at a time. The days and nights seem endless.
Even though most people, when they find out you are homeschooling, respond with astonishment and praise for your super-human abilities to spend all day every day with your children, there is still that twinge of being different. Here in NY, homeschooling is far from the norm and I still get raised eyebrows and questions. As a homeschooler, you don’t fit in. If you are new to homeschooling and are trying a co-op or other group for the first time you might feel like you are the oddball out until you’ve had time to get to know others.
We all know that kids learn at different rates. However, a parent struggling to homeschool a child with any learning issue can easily feel like a failure and on the outside of their fellow homeschoolers.
What to Do?
What are the answers to homeschooling loneliness? If only we could just snap our fingers like Mary Poppins and feel better! Loneliness takes time to work through but you have to want to work through the thick mud of it to get out. Can you call or text a friend to talk when you are stuck at home with sickness? Finding a place where you do fit in is essential to fighting that type of loneliness. There are co-ops, support groups, and blogs that offer a community for homeschoolers. LEAH is an organization that offers support to homeschooling families in NY state. For more information: https://www.leah.org. Do an online search to find a homeschool support group near you. Joining a blog is an easy way to feel a part of homeschooling. Post your comments and see what others are saying too. If your child has learning issues, look for other parents who are also struggling. Finding one other homeschooling parent who has been teaching at home for a number of years is an invaluable resource. They have been there before and can give you genuine support and understanding.
The key to loneliness, in general, is reaching out. It may be hard at first, but it’s worth the effort. You truly are not alone on your homeschooling journey.
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.