Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

homeschool survival


It’s the middle of the school year, and your child is not thriving or growing. You think it is time to pull him out of traditional school, but you aren’t sure you can do this. You might be wondering, can I homeschool? What will my family think? What will my friends think? How do I start?

I found myself in this same quandary a few years ago when we took the plunge and started on our homeschool journey. Okay, it was eleven years ago, but time has whizzed by like a shooting star.

I felt like I was literally stuck “between a rock and a hard place” when my oldest son was in kindergarten. It just wasn’t working out—he was unhappy, and I was unhappy. It was really due to a combination of things, but I could see the difference in his attitude and in his enthusiasm for learning. School was a requirement, not a joy. It was a place where he was under the care and influence of others all day without me. I would ask him how his day went and what he learned and did each day, but all I usually got in response was, “okay” or “I don’t know.”

After meetings with the teacher and the director of the program, and talks with other students’ moms, I began to discover what some of the problems were. Basically, however, he was not thriving in the classroom setting, and it was doing damage to him.

So, here I was, seven months pregnant and with a toddler in the house, bringing my six-year-old home to school. What was I going to do with a newborn and a toddler while I learned how to “do school” with my son? How were we going to break the news to the grandparents?

Well, you know what? We did fine. After a month or so of decompressing from the school routines, we began to find a rhythm in our days. We started off slow, with a simple curriculum to guide us, and my son eventually found his joy in learning again. My only regret is that we didn’t start homeschooling sooner.

So, if you find yourself stuck in that hard place, I’m here to tell you that you CAN do this. And, there are a bunch of us who have been at it awhile who would love to share our successes and failures with you.

Anne CampbellAnne Campbell is the mother to three boys (in every sense of the word!) and a homeschooler for the past eleven years. She is the Managing Editor of Blog at Home Educating Family Association, columnist for Home Educating Family Magazine, and member of the Home Educating Family review team. As a former classroom teacher, she loves to share resources and ideas and encourage other moms and homeschoolers. When they started on their homeschooling  journey, her oldest son was in kindergarten. They decided to take it one day at a time, one year at a time, and now she has a high school student, middle school student, and elementary student, and all still at home. They fly by the seats of their pants most days, spending as much time as possible exploring nature, and seizing learning opportunities whenever they appear. You can visit her at her blog Learning Table. You can also find Anne onBloglovin’FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.



  1. This is great encouragement for those who are on the fence!

  2. Thank you Tammy! Sometimes we make life seem harder than it has to be! 🙂

  3. Jennifer Whitten says:

    Such true words! I can’t believe how much homeschooling has simplified and helped our lifestyle as a family!

  4. Isn’t it the best, Jennifer? I wouldn’t trade this precious time for anything!

  5. I admire your determination and courage to do what you saw as best for your children; difficult as it is at times. Stopping by from Family Fun Friday. Carrie,

  6. Becki Marshall says:

    I felt a great sense of relief when I read that it was the middle of the school year and your son wasn’t thriving, so you decided to homeschool. I immediately thought,’Oh good! I’m not the only one!’ My son is in fifth grade, however. I never thought I was capable of homeschooling, so I never gave it much thought until recently. My son has always struggled in school, has ADHD (and takes it to a whole new level may I add) and has had a 504 plan for a few years. It doesn’t help much and every year gets harder and harder. I asked that he be evaluated with the hopes of obtaining an IEP. Last year my request for an evaluation was flat out denied, and this year he was evaluated but I was told an IEP wouldn’t benefit him. Here we are 3 months later and he is failing 2 classes and below average in all his other classes except art. The schools resolution was to put him on academic probation! Instead of offering him the help that he clearly needs, they have punished him until he puts in “more effort.” Well that was the last straw for me and I realized that not only can I homeschool, but I must homeschool. I just wanted to thank you for your encouraging words and if you have any more advice, I am all ears! I’m still learning my way around on here, but will continue to follow your blogs. Again, thank you very much! 🙂

    • Hi Becki,
      I found that my son was being “punished” often for just being himself — not being disruptive or inappropriate, but just for having questions or needing help. I can totally relate to what you said. I know it’s is a kind of scary thing to take on the responsibility to homeschool, but YOU CAN DO IT! If you ever need to ask a question or simply want to vent, feel free to email me. My contact information is on the Welcome page of my personal blog:

  7. Thanks for sharing your simple thoughts on this! I think we sometimes get caught up in the details of the story and all the ins and outs, when sometimes all a mom needs to make that decision is the simplicity of exactly what you’ve shared here. I did it, lots of us have, it was a tough decision and felt weird, but… I did it, and it’s fine, even years down the road.

    I did it, too – pulled my oldest out, though I let him finish first grade in the school system rather than being brave enough to yank him mid-year. I wish I’d been a little braver, but also… that’s fine too. Things are great now, 8 years later. Best decision we ever made!

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