When you are FREAKING OUT about homeschooling.


I get the calls for our homeschool group.

That’s kind of my main (volunteer) group job. (I get the emails too.)

And so, I hear from a lot of parents who are FREAKING OUT about homeschooling.

“No one told me this was going to be so expensive!” they say breathless. “A $1,000 curriculum? Who has that kind of money?”

“We’re getting done by lunch time, and I have no idea what to do the rest of the day.”

“He hates it. He hates it all. Everything. I think I made a huge mistake.”

I do my best to calm their worried souls. A lot of the time, people just need to talk to someone who isn’t going to judge or tell them they are crazy to  homeschool.


I try very hard not to push. I’ve met plenty of families who try homeschooling and decide it isn’t for them.

And that’s OK.

It’s for us, right now, but I never try to push homeschooling on anyone.

(I don’t work on commission.)

But the truth is, homeschooling can feel scary sometimes. Especially when you’re just starting out.

So this is what I try to tell people who are overwhelmed:

  • Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive. There are whole books written on how to homeschool for free.
  • You don’t have to buy a pre-packaged curriculum. Some parents really like the convenience, but you can absolutely piece your own curriculum together based on your child’s interests, your own strengths and how your child learns.
  • You actually don’t need a curriculum at all.
  • You don’t have to teach pre-school. In most states, kids aren’t required to start school until much later — usually 6 or 7. Play, read, bake. Enjoy your days together.
  • Homeschooling doesn’t have to take as many hours as traditional schooling.


  • You don’t have to replicate school at home.
  • If your child has just left public/private school, you both might need a little bit of time to “deschool.
  • It’s OK to dump a curriculum that isn’t working.
  • Not all curriculum are created equal.
  • There’s going to be a learning curve.
  • Finding support is huge. That can be family, friends, a homeschool support group, etc.
  • If anyone is crying on a regular basis (including you), something isn’t working.
  • Everyone has bad days. Even the lady on the internet who seems really together.
  • Don’t listen to the doubters. They lack imagination.


  • Relationships are more important than math. The math will come, but not if a kid is shattered.
  • Homeschooling is an industry. Don’t keep spending money looking for answers. Stop. Breathe. Say a prayer. Dream. Take your kids on a nature hike.
  • The worry will destroy you. It will fill you with self-doubt if you let it. Focus on love.
  • It gets easier.
  • Never quit on your worst day. Go out for sundaes instead.
  • If you are concerned about “doing it right,” you already are. Because the first thing you need as a homeschooler is love for your students.

In fact, I’d put that in the Homeschooling Basics Kit, right along with good read-alouds, a sense of humor, chocolate, tea, and friends.

I don’t actually sell these kits, but I think someone should. :)

Making hand sanitizer oil


This is a repost from last year. We’ve been using this hand sanitizer for a year now, and we still love it! Happy almost-weekend, friends!

We are not a neat and tidy family.

We make messes. We get dirty.

Like actual dirt.

We love animals.


And so, we get disgusting things on us sometimes.

A few weeks ago, that sort of disgusting thing was some chicken poo, after a very tiny chicken, eager for her lunch,  jumped in a puddle.

It went everywhere. The germaphobe in me sprayed herself in the face with a hose.

It still wasn’t gone, but sometimes, you just have to do something.


So when we got home, we made this hand sanitizer.

I used the essential oils recommended in this recipe, but with an oil base, so it was … free.

That meant combining just shy of 4 ounces of grape seed oil with about 40 drops total of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils.

It smells amazing — it’s like Clean Christmas.

I’ve considered making more, bottling it, and giving it away as Christmas gifts and actually calling it “Clean Christmas,” but then I would have to retell the chicken story.


Speaking of which, at this point you could be wondering why I didn’t turn to Purell when I got poo-blasted. If you google recipes for hand sanitizer, you can read about natural immunity and biofilm, and lots of other details.

But the skinny is that I didn’t have any of the stuff in the squirt bottle with me.

We try not to use it in our family, although sometimes, like when you’re hitting a fair or another event when you know hand washing is going to be challenging and there are portable toilets on site … well, a little “real” hand sanitizer feels like a very nice thing to have in your back pocket. We like this brand.

We just prefer to keep it a “back pocket” type of thing.

This stuff, on the other hand, with it’s skin-softening grape seed oil, and it’s Folgers-kid-comes-home-from-college smell?

It will definitely be our new go-to while out and about.

What’s working now.


This post contains affiliate links. When you use them, it benefits our family. Thank you!

And so it goes, that we’ve hit that point in the homeschooling year when I am starting to see what is working for us, and what we need to throw out the window, banish, ignore, unfriend, part ways with …

Perhaps we can have a big public show-down.

Or a car fight, like teenagers.

Or. Or. We could just scrap stuff and move on.

Yeah. That.

Because that’s the beauty of homeschooling.


I can’t even tell you how excited I am about the things that are working:
  • Teaching Textbooks has changed math in our home. I want to send them a muffin basket. Filled with diamond muffins.
  • Getting Started with Latin is amazing. Seeing my kids learning Latin — really getting it — is amazing. (Says the Ultimate Nerd Mom.) My newest homeschool mom fear: What the heck do we do when we finish it?



What isn’t so much working?
  • A “textbook” approach to history/science. I’ve got to rethink this. My feeling is that some historical fiction would help a lot here. We began the year with this book, which I thought the kids would love, but only one does. So I’m thinking about trying this one, which comparatively, skips over like a billion years.


  • Our morning rhythm. We are such cozy slowpokes around here. I still feel like I have to boot us into gear every morning, or we would ALL spend the hours until lunch curled up with our collective books.
  • Speaking of rhythm, I can’t remember the last time we’ve had Quiet Time without it being an emergency. It’s just been too busy.
  • And that ^^ leads to a bit of mama burn-out around here.


And so, I have a lot to consider as we move ahead.

But in the mean time, I’d love to hear what’s working in your homeschool!

Also, I’ve been sharing shorter stories about our days as well as books suggestions over at Facebook lately. So come by and say hi!

Happy learning, friends.

Kara :)