Homeschoolers get noticed when the other crowd of kids go back to school. While a few years ago, I would be riddled with questions about my children’s social skills the questions now revolve around the fact that homeschooling is “too hard” to do. In fact, I noticed that many parents want to homeschool but don’t know how to start and in the back of their mind believe it’s “too difficult” for them.
Here is why homeschooling isn’t hard.
#1- I’m not planning lessons and managing time for a large group of children. I don’t have to create lectures, or draw out lessons on a chalkboard for 15+ students. In the younger grades, ages 4 to about 8, I am directing learning in both math and reading until the natural age of reading on their own begins at age 10. This age group, also learns more learning from play time than school so I keep lessons short to allow for more playtime. Homeschooling is about self-directed learning in the upper grades. I simply am here to supervise and occasionally explain a concept.
#2-You don’t have to do school 8 hours a day. This is where I lose parents because in traditional school, kids are there 7.5-8 hours a day learning except that they aren’t exactly being educated all those long hours. In our homeschool, we have school in the mornings for a few hours all year around. Our year runs from August 1st to July 31st. Yes, we take off for breaks here and there around holidays and really nice days that we want to be hanging around outside hiking and learning about nature hands on. Homeschoolers have that freedom and flexibility. An additional benefit is that we don’t have to review for 6-8 weeks at the beginning of the school year math lessons that were learned then lost because of the 3 month summer vacation. My children are 1-3 grades ahead in math because those concepts are being reviewed, everyday, all year around.
Traditional school provides a place for children to be while their parents are working. You can thank the federal government for sticking their noses into education for the additional hours of homework that gets sent home because they value test scores above actual education and giving your child a desire to want to learn. Your child’s teacher, bless their hearts, don’t actually have much of a say in what your child learns.
#3- You don’t have to give your child a test to measure their learning status. This one really blows off the lid with parents because they have difficulty understanding how to measure ability without a test. I will give you something to think about. Success is not measured by tests, or the size of your bank account but by the the amount of lives you impact. Believe me, true success is when you make so much you can write a million dollars to different charities while living without any debt yourself.
#4-You don’t have to set up your house to look like a classroom. Basically, the world is our classroom. You will find my kids doing their school outside, inside, in the car on the way to martial arts class on the benches at martial arts class if we are there for 4-5 hours. Much of our learning is done hands on in the grades below high school. I am in fact a very visual learner as are most people. I am not saying you can’t have a fun place in your home to have a classroom or that you can get on pinterest and get ideas for making your own IKEA organized schoolroom but that you don’t have to be inside all the time in that one room for 8 hours.
#5-You don’t have to buy expensive curriculum. There is FREE online resources for all grades from Preschool to FREE courses from colleges and universities. You can buy used curriculum off ebay and homeschoolclassifieds.com or even craigslist. Did you know MIT has free classes online? I want to make a distinct difference here between the Virtual Charters schools and homeschools. Virtual school which is generally a FREE public school that is done at home is NOT a homeschool. It is a public/private school that is managed by public school teacher employees that students can do at home. The difference is that laws that pertain to homeschoolers do not pertain to virtual schoolers and vice versa. Many virtual schools are run by private business and parents have no say in how the school is run whereas parents have a say in how and whom is running the public school district. P.S. I am all for school choice and you as a parent having a say in your child’s education whether it be public, virtual school or private.
#6-You aren’t limited to what you teach. Depending on the state you live in, there maybe requirements on what you teach or a minimum hours that you need to have school in session but you aren’t limited to just teaching those subjects. Freedom and flexibility are truly the cornerstones to homeschooling.
#7- You aren’t alone homeschooling. There are so many support groups both online and locally among homeschoolers compared to when my mom homeschooled me in the late 80’s. Not only are there homeschoolers local to you but there are homeschooling tribes among the different types of homeschoolers. What the what?? There are many homeschooling philosophies that homeschoolers are drawn to such as eclectic, trivium, unschooling, Thomas Jefferson, Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason and more. I’m not going into detail on these but feel free to google those terms to learn more about those different styles of homeschooling.
#8-You don’t have to dress like the people on Little House on the Prairie. This is meant to be funny, but homeschoolers aren’t necessarily settlers living in off-grid housing wearing braids, long frocks and making homemade butter. Yes, there are numerous stereotypes of homeschoolers out there and you may even know somebody that might fit the description of what you think a homeschooling family looks like but you are allowed the freedom to embrace whatever type of learning style, clothing style, living accommodations and yes, feel free to cream your own butter from the milk you got from the cow your spouse hasn’t noticed in the back forty. Yes, I do know a few off grid homeschooling families but I swear you don’t have to live like that but I can’t promise you that you won’t end up liking the freedom lifestyle.
#9-You don’t have to worry about college not accepting your homeschooler for a higher education. Colleges nationwide accept homeschoolers and have homeschooling requirements and are in fact, happy about having homeschool graduates in their program. Just check out their websites and contact their admissions counselors for details. I graduated from homeschooling in 1990 and was accepted by several private universities without any problems.
#10-You don’t have to be a teacher to homeschool your own children. As a parent, you have already taught(yes, you are a teacher already) your child a foreign language(speaking), basic fine and gross motor skills, manners, self control, the ability to interact with others, conflict resolution, listening, mathmatical thinking, reading, writing, the arts and how to love plus much more by leading by example. You have 4 years of teaching, under your belt, before your child ever steps into a classroom. I think you already deserve an award! Way to go, Parents!!
and lastly, you don’t have to homeschool to give your child a good education.