Enhanced – read by the author
Black coffee mug
Hifalutin Hints
Caricature of Jennifer Cabrera holding a coffee mug
Jennifer Cabrera
Caricature of Jennifer Cabrera holding a coffee mug
Stuck on Stupid…
Pushing Past Paralyzing Homeschool Mistakes
So you made a mega homeschool mistake. Not just a small blunder such as choosing the wrong math curriculum this year or forgetting to teach Latin accidentally on purpose. I’m talking about the blunders, failures, and choices that feel like real ship sinkers. The kind that haunts your homeschool nightmares, and you hope the kids don’t bring up at co-op or Granny’s house.
“Well, Granny, I’m not sure if I’ve ever written a five-paragraph essay. Let me ask mom. M-O-M! … WHAT’S A PARAGRAPH?!”
Part of homeschooling is overthinking and second-guessing. However, if you are mentally flogging yourself for your screw-ups but doing nothing to right the ship, you are choosing to be stuck on stupid.

Maybe you were too lax for far too long, and now you feel there is no way to catch up. Or maybe you are too demanding and controlling, and your kids beg to go to “real school,” hate the Narnia books, all unit studies, and even their own living room.

Whatever your untold homeschool crimes, you may feel guilty, ashamed, helpless, and stuck.
You set a bad precedent—or no precedence at all! And now the writing’s on the wall and all over the homeschool transcripts that you haven’t even gotten around to creating yet. You are certain you’ve ruined your children completely. Not even the garbage company would give them a job now, or ever.

Psst… Keeping a full-time job, paying your bills, and providing for your family by collecting trash is respectable work. Feeling like trash about your work as a homeschool parent, not so much.

person has their face down on a table while there is a laptop and coffee mug nearby
Psst… Keeping a full-time job, paying your bills, and providing for your family by collecting trash is respectable work. Feeling like trash about your work as a homeschool parent, not so much.
woman holding her hand in mid air at an angle in a clueless, shocked or worried emotion
…I’ve ruined them completely and there is no going back!
Stuck on Stupid Starts Like This:
I should have set a bedtime/morning routine. We waste so much time in the mornings just trying to get started after staying up late doing nothing important. But we’ve done it this way for years…

Why didn’t I set limits on screen time long ago? They have no interest in other things. But it would be impossible to suddenly set boundaries, and the kids would be outraged…

My kids didn’t do enough writing the last few years. Now they are struggling in their group classes. I should have pushed harder and expected more…

We did every lesson in our curriculum and five book reports last year. They are burnt out and have no personal interests to learn anything at all now…

We are already several grades behind in math. There is probably no way to catch up now. They will never be able to have a career in math or science…

woman makes a angered facial expression by putting her hand on her chin
Face Your Faults and Forgive Yourself
The flowery thing for me to do in this paragraph is to pat you on the back and tell you how awesome you are for simply choosing to homeschool, but I won’t. It would be aiding, abetting, and providing false assurance if I were to tell you, “All will work out fine. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Have a bubble bath and some ‘me time.’”

When you decide to homeschool, you put yourself on the hook to ensure your kids get a good education. Clearly the definition of a “good education” is relative and can mean different things to different people. However, if you are feeling guilty, it is likely you know your actions or inactions have you falling short of your family’s goals and expectations.

Now you need to do something about it. Wallowing in self-pity is not that something. You aren’t the victim here. Your ship is just stalled in the water. It’s your kids’ education and future that need you, so throw them a flotation device already!

Let the kids know what homeschool mistakes have gone on for far too long and ask them to forgive you for not doing better (even if they don’t see a problem because gaming till 2 a.m. was working fine for them).

Now face your faults and forgive yourself so we can move on.

Go ahead. I’ll wait…

Fix It and Never Forget It. Do it Now!
Great, welcome back. You’re looking lovely and hopeful! It’s now time to start fixing the problem. Contrary to your assumptions, all is not lost. But all defeatist talk and deflecting excuses need to stop here. It’s not the end of the world or the end of your chance for homeschool success.

One of my favorite movie quotes of all time comes from Ever After, A Cinderella Story. The cruel stepmother, played by Anjelica Huston, said this: “Darling, nothing is final until you’re dead, and even then, I’m sure God negotiates.”

Ha! I’m not sure about that last bit, but there’s always something that can be done. Figure it out. Be honest. You probably already know what it is you need to do but have been reluctant to act.

When we ask for forgiveness, we also vow to change. To maintain that change and honor the forgiveness given, never forget where you went wrong so that you don’t return to those old ruts of homeschool destruction.

The time to fix the problem is now. Not next semester. Not after you get your back-ordered curriculum and new coffee maker. Not after another week of pjs, popcorn, and TV bingeing. Not after you force your kids to finish one more 2,000-word essay for good measure.

Not even next Monday.


Monday changes (like starting a diet) never work out anyway. Right, Mom? Waiting to start on a Monday means you aren’t ready to change yet. You want to indulge a bit longer in the behavior(s) that are keeping you from reaching your goals. Which is why when you slip, you will claim you have to wait until the following Monday to start again, since you’ve already sabotaged the week. Sigh. Pass the Twinkies.

Nope. Make a change now. Start now. No time like the present! And when you slip, right things immediately.

Fill in the blank and repeat after me: “We used to __________ and it was a mistake. So, now we __________ to improve our homeschool days, to mature and learn, and to reach our goals.” It’s not enough to say we’re going to do __________. That talk just kicks the ball down the road to the next Monday or after the next time you see pigs fly.

Forge Ahead with Consistency and Faith
Hold yourself accountable going forward. You can’t expect your kids to do what you don’t expect of yourself. Because you love them and want to see them succeed, model expectations of yourself for your kids. You only get to raise them once, and that is your number one job right now. You won’t be perfect, but you can be productive and awesome. When you drop the ball, pick it back up, wipe the coffee stains off and admit your mistake; adjust and keep going.
And Now a Biblical Pep Rally:
I Corinthians 13:7 “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Proverbs 21:25 “The desires of the lazy will kill them, because their hands refuse to do anything.”

Proverbs 14:23 “There is profit in hard work, but mere talk leads to poverty.”

Psalm 128:2 “You will definitely enjoy what you’ve worked hard for — you’ll be happy; and things will go well for you.”

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that we don’t have to wait on anyone else to fix what isn’t working. So don’t get stuck on stupid and paralyzed by homeschool mistakes.
Jennifer Cabrera

ennifer Cabrera, the Hifalutin Homeschooler, is a writer, author of Socialize Like a Homeschooler: A Humorous Homeschool Handbook, Revolting Writing: For Boys… and Girls Who Dare!, and Gross Out Grammar. She’s also a speaker of homeschool truth, help, and humor. Her writings, insights, and memes poke fun of life as a homeschooler (and those who know nothing of it). She hopes to bring laughter and inspiration to get through the hard days. She also wants “to empower parents to be headstrong and take pride in looking out for their family’s education, future, and freedom.”

Jennifer homeschools their three boys deep in the heart of Texas and says “It was everything I never knew I always wanted to do.”