Unlike cases of abuse, neglect can arise in well-meaning homeschooling families. Neglect is failing to provide children with necessary support, including educational support. Sometimes neglect is intentional and cruel, but in many cases neglect may arise due to stress or medical emergencies. For example, if a parent develops a life-threatening cancer, that can throw an educational regimen into disarray. Or if two parents are processing a divorce, feelings and realities of abandonment, anger, and disorganization can arise.
In some cases homeschool parents may burn out even without additional stressors. Homeschooling is hard work! In some cases changing the way you homeschool—perhaps finding a tutor who can come in several mornings a week or setting up more play-dates or co-ops with other families—may be enough to relieve stress or burnout. Other cases may call for bigger changes. If you need a break from homeschooling, whether temporary or longterm, that need is valid.
When you homeschool, your children’s educational wellbeing is typically entirely dependent on you. The structures that institutional schools provide—whether public or private—may not be available to you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, or if you can no longer provide a supportive learning environment, you should feel no shame in making changes. Sometimes in homeschooling communities a decision to stop homeschooling can feel like betrayal to other families. However, your children and their well-being should always take priority.
If you need to take a break from homeschooling, or enlist the support of a tutor or a co-op, you should do so without hesitation.
There are many resources out there for making homeschooling less stressful, or flexible options for giving yourself a break from shouldering all the responsibility. Whatever decisions you need to make to ensure your own well-being, you need to ensure your children’s well-being as well. If you need resources, advice, or someone to listen, you may benefit from calling the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-427-2736.