Homeschooling Is Hard

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent chap. I’ve got qualifications, a degree in Modern History no less, and I’m pretty good when it comes to quiz show general knowledge. I read and I write and I like to think I’m fairly eloquent when it comes to conversation. When my nerves or shyness don’t get the better of me I can hold my own in most company. Fionnuala always tells me I could have been a teacher, given my intellect and temperament.

So when it came to homeschooling Hannah and Rebecca this week I thought, yeah, I can do that. How hard can it be? What could possibly go wrong? Schools in Northern Ireland will be closed until at least mid-February due to restrictions aimed at curbing the latest coronavirus surge. All teaching will be online until then and exams scheduled for later in the year have been scrapped. A heavy burden has been placed on us parents.

Battle commenced around our kitchen table this Tuesday morning. Hannah was tackling a module on Human Rights legislation which was drier than a cream cracker in a desert during a particularly dry year. There was history, law, ethics and politics all rolled up into one nasty set of documents and videos, following which we had to prepare several information leaflets and PowerPoint presentations. By Friday I was ready to wave the white flag and call in the United Nations peacekeeping corps.

While Hannah’s topic was a relentless war of attrition to grind me into the ground, Rebecca’s work consisted of more blitzkrieg tactics. In one whirlwind day I was hit with food nutrition, the story of Moses and crosswords. In French! By the end of the day all I wanted to do was lie down and never have to face another workbook as long as I lived. But I know I have another five weeks of this, at minimum, as Fionnuala simultaneously battles to keep the house in some kind of order.

The last four days have made me regard teachers and homeschooling parents in a whole new light. It’s no cushy number and require huge amounts of patience, concentration and diplomacy. Hats off to those who choose this as a career or have made the decision to educate their kids from home on a permanent basis. Although at least now I know how many articles there are in the UN Declaration of Human Rights…and the French for ‘raw vegetables.’

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

28 thoughts on “Homeschooling Is Hard

  1. Yes, my girls have been at home for school since March of last year. We are in Canada. I agree with you 100%. I have waved the white flag. Our oldest is 13 and will do her homework when asked but our 12-year-old is fighting it tooth and nail and I have lost that battle.


  2. I feel your pain. I teach adult immigrants in the US. Last spring, when everything suddenly went online, we ALL struggled terribly. I rely a lot on having students interact and discuss and learn together. Suddenly there was none of that and we were all learning new computer programs in order to maintain a semblance of learning. Some of the students were working parents, suddenly thrust into helping their children with nearly incomprehensible lessons after (or before) working their 8 hour shifts. Believe me, the teachers are struggling too and may not know exactly how to get the best out of the students or how to present the required information in a format that can be completed (and absorbed) online. The kids are struggling too. They miss so much of the in class situation. Yikes. Somehow we will all bungle through this, praying (or screaming!) all along the way.

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  3. In homeschool for the first 9 weeks. I used Abeka for my 9 year old granddaughter. It is not for the faint of heart! It tests EVERY fruit of the spirit! 😂😂I’m sending prayers to you!


  4. My mom helped me homeschool my son from 1st – 3rd grade, but this year we enrolled him in private school. She did not want to anymore – and I certainly did not blame her! – and I cannot because of my disability. His first semester was virtual, and his teacher was in charge of all the work, I just had to help him turn in documents (and police the epic meltdowns that happened 🙄). It has made me realize I truly don’t want to be a homeschooling parent, despite being homeschooled my entire life. My baby brother, who is 16, is in a co-op, and my mom just has to make sure he does his work…but doesn’t teach him. I respect homeschool parents, but I also respect teachers, both private and public.


  5. Kudos to you for taking on the challenge—and getting stuck into the learning yourself too! From your writing here on this blog I can see how wonderful you both are as parents, and how close you are as a family. ‘Tis wonderful to see in these still trying times. 😊


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