Have you ever had a conversation with a mom who homeschools her kids? Perhaps, you met at a park or happened to be invited to the same birthday party.
“Where do your kids go to school?” you ask.
“Oh, we homeschool,” replies this stranger.
You’re thrown off. Within a flash your thoughts go to judgment mode. I’m referring to judgment of yourself and judgment of this mom who until 10 seconds ago, you thought was a fairly sane person. She seemed nice…
I could never homeschool my kids!
I don’t have the patience for that.
I was terrible at (math/reading/science/writing) in school.
I’m so disorganized.
This woman must be a saint or maybe the weird cultish type. She dresses pretty normal, though. Hmm?
How does she do it?
Is homeschooling even legal?
I was once the woman looking at the homeschool mom cross-eyed thinking that homeschooling was a completely outlandish idea. I never thought of myself as a qualified teacher.
I had found memories of singing good morning songs in kindergarten, playing “Red Rover” at recess, and performing in school plays. If I were to homeschool, my children would miss out on those experiences and many more.
They might end up socially awkward, without friends, and a watered down education because of my lack of knowledge. Scary thought. I’d been good at school, but only had some college credits under my belt. Was I enough?
A Change of Heart
But then, I kept meeting homeschool families. I watched them with extra care waiting for something weird or questionable to occur and it didn’t. I noticed how polite and well spoken the kids were. They zero qualms carrying a conversation with me.
The siblings genuinely seemed to like each other. They played like regular BFFs despite their age gaps. Somehow, every one was included in games regardless of their size.
Admittingly, some of them were a little different. To be honest, they probably would’ve been bullied in public school because of their uniqueness, but they were happy pursuing their interests at home.
As for the moms, the more I got to know them, the more I realized how far from perfect they were. Their homes weren’t exactly tidy, yet they were welcoming. In fact, if they had been spotless, then I would’ve been suspicious.
Some had college degrees, while others had a trade or home-based business. Most of them were on a spiritual path, but not in a fanatical way. When I asked how they were able to teach more challenging subjects, they’d name various homeschool curricula or online resources that made it possible. They also leaned heavily on their faith to carry them through challenging seasons of schooling.
I was reminded that it takes a village to raise a child and many homeschool families band together to teach in small cooperatives. Where one mom lacked skill or talent in a given area, another with that very gifting would step in. They were a lot like me, simply trying to do their best for their children.
I couldn’t seem to get the idea to homeschool out of my head as it had already been planted in my heart. After agonizing over the decision (I had a social butterfly of a daughter), our family gave it a try. I, too, wanted a sweet well spoken child who could be herself and pursue her passions in the comfort of our home.
We began our homeschool journey when my eldest was a kindergartener. I took the responsibility to teach her one year at a time, telling myself that if need be, we’d put her in school the next grade. This year, she’ll be entering the eighth grade and we’re still homeschooling. We’ve even added a fourth grader and first grader into the mix.
Who am I?
It’s funny because now I’m the insane homeschool mom that people run into at the park. When I’m met with comments such as, “I could never homeschool my kids!” my response is this:
Teaching my children at home has been an extension of what I was already doing as a parent. What began as teaching them to say “please” and “thank you” became letter sounds, then multiplication facts and so on.
I may not be as knowledgeable as a credentialed teacher, but it doesn’t matter. There is not a single person on this planet that is more invested in my children than my husband and I (even when he slacks off!).
I believe that you CAN homeschool your child(ren). There’s not a person in this world that knows them better than you. Period.
There’s no one else that will worry about them, lose as much sleep for them, love and sacrifice for them nearly as much as you do.
You are the best teacher that they could ever have.
Let’s face it. Things in the public school system are a little wackadoodle right now. Homeschooling has quickly become a more viable option. The number of families who filed an affidavit in order to school privately doubled within the past year.
That being said, I realize that homeschooling isn’t for everyone. I understand that for many families it simply isn’t an option. Financial situations and family dynamics may not allow for such an arrangement.
The interest to homeschool might not be there. Families have varying goals for their children. I get it.
This message is primarily for the ones who are curious about teaching at home and could benefit from the encourage words, “Yes, you can.”
If you’re reading this as someone who’s considered providing a home education, but you don’t know where to begin or perhaps you have a friend in that situation, comment below.