What to Do When You Feel Like a Homeschool Failure

Jan 18, 2016

Sometimes life makes homeschooling difficult. Learn what to do when you feel like a homeschool failure.

Stressed woman at computer desk

Life is going along smoothly. Homeschool plans and schedules are in place. Then suddenly, you find you just can't find the time to homeschool.

Or perhaps the picture looks like this: Maybe it's not a sudden change in life, but a slow progressive change that you barely notice. One day you realize you haven't done lessons in weeks!

It can happen to anyone at any time.

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My friends, I have been there more times than I care to mention. Life happens. Struggles happen. Sometimes, even a death happens. I've done them all.

For a few years, bipolar depression plagued my youngest for many months, making it nearly impossible for her to function. There were even years when there was no money for homeschool curriculum.

When nothing is going according to plan in your homeschool, it's stressful. You feel like you're failing your kids. Maybe your kids have made remarks about how long it's been, or that you're not even homeschooling them properly.

So what do you do when you feel like your homeschool year is a complete failure?

Try another homeschool method or style.

The first 10 years of our homeschool journey were spent unschooling. 

Even now, using the Charlotte Mason method, we're are very unschool-ish in our ways. I do implement the Charlotte Mason principles and methods, for the most part, but we're incredibly relaxed.

Unschool and eclectic homeschool styles can help when you can't find the time to do formal lessons every single day.

Use free homeschool resources when you can't afford curriculum.

In the case of financial struggles, you'll find yourself looking for free curriculum. Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool and Easy Peasy All-in-One High School are great for this situation. 

That's what we did.

Also see What if I Had No Money for Curriculum? and 
How to Homeschool When You Can Hardly Afford It for more resources.

Get back to the basics of education.

While I'm all about art and nature studies around here, considering those core subjects, sometimes getting back to the basic of basics is necessary.

History, math, science - what do your kids need to do? Get back to that. 
Maybe you could take this time, as I have, to identify and fill in gaps.

In fact, it's a good idea to do that regularly - check for gaps and fill them.

Use local resources in your homeschool.

  • Are you a part of a homeschool group? 
  • Are there inexpensive classes being held at the local science center or zoo?
  • What free field trips could you arrange?
  • What about free museums?
  • How about your local 4-H club or county conservation group?
If you take a little time to look around, you can find fun educational opportunities all around you. Many times, there are special classes for homeschoolers at zoos and museums. Many museums have low-cost or free entry for local residents.

Take advantage of what you have locally. Going places is great for getting out of the house, meeting other people, and learning about things you might not have considered before.

Books are the best homeschool tool.

Books are the foundation of a Charlotte Mason or other literature-based education. Literature works for all homeschool styles and methods.

Just break out your library card, find some good book lists and start reading. 

Experience is always a best teacher. 
By reading with your kids (and having them read on their own), you're giving them an opportunity to travel to other places, experience other times, and meet other people.

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Simplify your homeschool with unit studies.

If time or cost are the issue, try these cross-curriculum unit studies. They're inexpensive and cover everything from science to art. 

Don't beat yourself up when you feel like a homeschool failure.

Life happens and there's not always a way to change it. You have to work with your circumstances. 

Don't become so paralyzed by guilt that you can't more forward. Do a little each day and appreciate what you accomplish. Enjoy this unique time you have with your children. 

And just keep moving along!

See More Homeschool Tips


  1. Thanks so much for these awesome tips! When things get boring, both me and the kids get bored. It helps to change things up a bit. We just had to do this - and it has been working great!

    It keeps things interesting.

    Thanks so much for sharing these awesome tips, Michelle!


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