Oh really? Are you unequipped to homeschool? But you’re terrified to send your kiddos to school, or you found the e-learning model super frustrating…
Well, I’m here to offer some encouragement. You are equipped to homeschool IF you are ready to throw away your ideas about school. School at home is NOT homeschool. It’s an adventure. Here’s some encouragement as to why you CAN do this…
Fear Isn’t a Good Decisionmaker
I experience the fear that I’m going to fail my kids every August when I watch my friends (from a distance) sending their little ones and big ones off to school. My kids get a bit sad about not going to school. We usually fix that with a field trip and new school supplies.
I question my decision to own my kids’ education every single year. That’s a good thing. It means I’m doing something right. I’m thinking critically about the decisions I’ve made.
And I come back to the same conclusion every year – I’m in this for the long haul no matter where my children get an education.
Education is Only One Part of the Child’s Upbringing
I’m the facilitator of their education and upbringing. Education is PART of the responsibility of my job as a parent, not the total of my job.
My job as a parent is to work with my husband and my children to grow them up to be functioning adults who own their own lives – not a sum total of facts and figures.
For instance, my 11-year-old does not know how to write a five-paragraph essay
, yet she knows how to make one heck of an argument.
She’s a kid who doesn’t see the point of busywork. I find that refreshing and a starting point as a teacher. So instead of panicking that she doesn’t know this incredibly important life skill (sarcasm intended), I have gently guided her through discussions and thinking strategies for the past two years.
She now has the maturity and grit to master the writing beast, but we’re doing it in a way she will enjoy. She’s going to be taking a course on being a reporter for a small-town newspaper. That’s the best writing training I could give a child. It makes them effective, thoughtful writers, and exposes her to real-life usage of her skill.
I told you that story to give you some hope.
You will not fail your children if you decide to homeschool this year. You may have some hard days. I’m betting on the hard days. These are the days where you both grow.
This Will Be a Major Adjustment for ALL of You
Having your children around you all the time is an exercise in extreme refinement. You’re going to be challenged. You’re going to be in tears. You’re going to want to throw them in the car and take them to the nearest bus stop for boarding school.
When you homeschool, you need to rethink how learning happens. School is a different environment than at home. Home learning requires a different strategy.
I’m working on a list of resources for my friends who want to homeschool because I’ve tried all.the.things. I’ll share that in my next few posts because I want to equip you with HOW to homeschool as well as encourage you that you CAN do this.
What to Do First…
If you’re seriously considering this, I recommend three exercises before you purchase anything:
Watch your children play.
Do they act things out? Do they draw? Do they have heated arguments? Do they construct things?
If they are older, play a board game or video game with them. You’ll learn how they communicate their thoughts through this. These activities are KEY to how they learn.
Ask your kids what they want to learn about this year.
If you have a science-driven kid, you can build an entire education around that.
If you have a crafty kid, God bless you. Your house is going to be a mess, but they do learn through all these silly crafts.
If you have a reader, go buy a Kindle. They will bankrupt you on book purchases.
Think about how YOU learn something new NOW.
Do you watch videos, listen to podcasts, read books, Google at 3 A.M.? This is a new century, and we have LOTS of resources at our fingertips. Your learning will influence their learning.
Your learning style will influence your teaching style, and you may have to change for your kids. It’s okay. This is part of that refinement process.
Figuring out how to explain a topic to someone different from us is a skill we can all use.
Know That Struggle Is Part of the Growth
A very wise junior high counselor gave me the best education advice ever when I first had kids.
Kids need to work when they are struggling. She often said her students were better off working on farms and planting trees when they began puberty. She said their brains switch off. That’s totally true.
When kids are developing physically, they often switch off their thinking. If something isn’t working, take a break!
My big girl struggled to commit her addition facts to memory when she was 8ish. We stopped all other math for two months so she could work on that. We played War almost every day with a deck of cards, and I taught her to bake and grocery shop.
Know what? She was right where she needed to be on the other side of that stop. Her brain just needed some time to mature, and she grew two shoe sizes and two clothing sizes. We had the time to do this because she was home.
Get Ready for an Adventure…It’s Worth It!
Finally, see this as an adventure and not a burden. When you keep your mindset positive, fear doesn’t have much room to grow.
If you are invested in your children, they will flourish. It may not look like it, but the struggle is part of it. We grow through the struggle and learn.
God bless you, my friends. You can do this.