Have you ever had one of those days? Ya know, the kind of day where you wonder why in the world you ever thought it was a good idea to homeschool? Or why you thought it was a good idea to have kids in the first place? The kind of day where your kid(s) just will not do their school work and it turns into a major power struggle and before you know it you have taken away all screen time, all Legos, and all fun and happiness ever?

Yeah, I had one of those days last week. I wanted to give up on homeschool.

Homeschool help and encouragement for the most difficult days. What do you do when you have a tough day in homeschool?For whatever reason, Tommy woke up on Wednesday determined to do everything except what I wanted him to do. He refused to do his school work. He said all sorts of nasty things. I tried to be kind and understanding, but secretly I wished I could just send him off somewhere – anywhere – for the day.

There was a lot of crying, mostly from my end. We ended up going to the gym (aka My Sanity) and I cried to my husband on the phone for a good 30 minutes while the kids happily played in the child care. I felt like a bad mom. I felt like a horrible teacher. And I seriously wondered if my kids (and me) would be happier if they went to school.

Now, I recognize that homeschooling is not the right choice for everyone, but for those of us who do homeschool, how do you get through days like this? How do you not go running to the nearest public school in a frazzled mess and enroll all your children on the spot?

This is how I got through this week to get our homeschool back on track:

  • I recognized that all families experience difficult days, whether they homeschool or not. If my child doesn’t want to do his homeschool work, what makes me think he will happily do his homework after a long day away at school? And what makes me think that sending my child to school will make him more amiable and more obedient at home?
  • I called my husband for support. Everyone needs a cheerleader, right? Sometimes it’s my husband, sometimes it’s my mom, sometimes it’s a friend.
  • I asked some questions. Does he need a little brain break? Is he feeling a lot of pressure? Is there something else that is stressful in his life that is making him act out and resist? It turns out that he was super worried about an impending dentist appointment (which he rocked, BTW) and was taking it out on my efforts to give him an amazing education.
  • I switched things up a little bit. Does he need more/less structure? Does he need a different curriculum? Does he need to do school at a different time of day or in a different place? I’m still pondering these questions.
  • I wasn’t afraid to take a break! This time we got out of the house and went to the gym, a place the kids love to play and I love to work out my frustrations. On other days we have taken the day off or gone on a field trip. Some days it’s as simple as turning on some music and having a dance party in the front room
  • I came up with an incentive. This isn’t a bribe. Tommy doesn’t do bribes. There is a huge difference between, “If you are good, you get X,” and, “We can get through these hard days because next week we get to go to this really cool place you love!” This gives us something to look forward to when school gets rough.
  • I remembered that I know my child better than anybody else. I also love him more than anybody else does. I have confidence that I can meet his needs more effectively than anyone else can.

Have you had days like this? What would you add to the list?

By | 2016-11-18T11:44:08+00:00 January 7th, 2015|Homeschool|16 Comments


  1. Jennifer Dawn Oliver Shelton January 14, 2015 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Great post! I had one of those days last week! It’s good to know that I’m not alone. Thanks for the tips and encouragement.

    • Crystal January 14, 2015 at 6:54 am - Reply

      I think we all have those days once in awhile 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Samantha January 18, 2015 at 2:39 am - Reply

    A great post to read when having “one of those days”. Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you stop by again next week!

  3. Tina Marie Ernspiker January 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post! You are not alone. Thanks for sharing at #laughlearnlinkup. We are featuring you tomorrow. Stop by and visit us 🙂

  4. Natasha Johnson January 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    Seen this at laugh and learn. It was right on time, I’m at the end of my rope today.I took the kids outside and sat and read your post. Thanks for letting me know that I’m not alone.

    • Crystal January 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Oh yes, you are absolutely not alone! Outside time sounds like a great way to deal with a tough day. Keep up the good work, Mama.

  5. Lisa Nelson January 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Well, I kind of have those days. They are not so dramatic, but I don’t have a problem just saying – let’s take the day off. In my experience, school has been a lot more productive when we just go ahead and take a day off here and there. This way, there are no power struggles or crying. I guess I’m weak. I just can’t stand the drama.

    Sometimes I just say, let’s watch a movie and eat some popcorn.

    Thanks so much for sharing this very inspirational and encouraging post on the #homeschoollinkup.

    • Crystal January 25, 2015 at 4:19 am - Reply

      I so appreciate your comments! And I don’t think you are weak; just the opposite, actually! It takes a lot of strength and humility to bag the day you had planned in favor of meeting the kids’ needs at that moment. We all need a break sometimes, and it’s better to take it rather fight through it. Good work, mama!

  6. Tim February 28, 2015 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Have one of those day? I have those days AND weeks AND months! Well, maybe not really weeks and months, but I do know what you mean. One of the joys of homeschooling is being able to take days off when things get too stressed out. I don’t base my homeschool on public school schedules, but it is good to remember that public schools have snow days and other vacations that homeschoolers don’t always have to take, so it will all work out in the end. Don’t feel guilty over taking a few hours or even a day off if you or the one of the kids is having a hard day.

    Just recently the owner of our house and attached ministry building decided to sell them so we had to move our home and our ministry belonging. During that time a good friend passed away and my wife’s grandmother. Needless to say there days on end that hardly, if any, school got done. But, I didn’t stress because we homeschool year round anyway and it will work itself out.

    Great post!

    Tim @ Families Again

    • Crystal March 2, 2015 at 1:30 am - Reply

      What a great comment, thank you so much! And yes, I love the flexibility of homeschool. We homeschool year round, too, which allows us to take days off without guilt or worry when we need to.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  7. Helen Neale April 19, 2015 at 2:49 am - Reply

    A great post, with some wonderful advice for those who are feeling the same. I can assure you as well that whether you homeschool or not, there are still tough days; but as you say, you know your child better than anyone, and sometimes no matter what you do, it doesn’t quite work for them. Sure that would have been true whether or not they had been at school or at home. Thanks so much for linking up to the 100th parenting pin it party.

  8. Inna February 11, 2016 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Oh my I wish I knew you personally and could talk about this haha. This is my first time on your blog (came across it on Pinterest) but GOODNESS this is my first year homeschooling my oldest, a kindergartener. And I honestly feel like giving up almost every other day. But on the other hand I LOVE him being with me and having freedom from public school. It woul be so nice to have some girlfriend who understands lol

    • Crystal February 16, 2016 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      I know, right? Homeschooling is so hard some days and so wonderful most days. For us it has become easier as time has passed and we have established a routine and a rhythm. Some days are still impossible though!

      I love that the internet allows us to connect with like-minded people from all over the world and I wish we could go get coffee together and chat, too! I wrote a post about finding and building a homeschool network that you should check out here https://sciencekiddo.com/homeschool-network/ My homeschool group is my salvation, not only because my kids have consistent friends, but also because I can talk openly with the other homeschool moms about the joys and the challenges of homeschooling without being judged or being told that I ought to put my kids in public school just because we have some rough days at home. Everyone, EVERYONE, has rough homeschooling days and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t homeschool or that you are doing it wrong. Just know that when you have a hard day you are in very good company.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving such a personal comment 🙂

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