For many families, homeschooling is becoming an option on the table of discussion when it comes to educating our children. Even though there are more families considering homeschooling, there are doubts and fears surrounding what may feel like a new topic to you in education. It may seem daunting to navigate, but it is possible. We just need to re-frame our thinking about education. I firmly believe no matter what the topic is in having a family–birth control options, pregnancy and adoption, delivery, feeding, sleeping, discipline and education and so on—we should learn as much as possible about it. Then, armed with knowledge and our worldview, we can make a choice we see best for child.
Try approaching homeschooling like being pregnant. There were fears and doubts and excitement, but you learned what you could to decide what you thought was best for your family. Would you have an epidural, c-section, vaginal delivery, midwife, OB and such? You made a birth plan. Now we need to make an educational plan. I am not saying that just because I home school my children, everyone should home school. Not at all. (Check out this post on preschools, if that is where you are leaning). Maybe if we can talk about some fears, you’ll know better if it is the choice for you.
Here are a few of my fears before we started 5 years ago.
I am not qualified
I have a bachelor’s degree and actually love teaching. When it came to my own kids, though, it seemed more than daunting. Two things helped me here. First, I was comforted by the knowledge that home school gets to be a situation of multigenerational learning. Let’s be honest. Most of us remember very little about our education. Now I get to learn things before my kids to teach them. Our history curriculum right now is fantastic. Holes in my own education are getting filled in as we explore together. Also, we are very well connected in this day and age. You can join a co-op where you share your strengths (say science) with all the children and another mother can teach all the children the thing you loathe (say economics). Here is a link to Eastside Explorers, a large co-op in the valley.
I am not patient enough. We’ll kill each other.
Intimate, close relationships tend to bring out the worst in us, don’t they? I would not change this for the world. We can root out some of those things and grow together. It gives me and my kids opportunities to learn forgiveness, responsibility and repentance. In a very short amount of time, it has led to deep, beautiful relationships for my children. They love each other in such a special way. We have all had to learn patience and flexibility as we manage lessons, a toddler and newborn. It does also mean getting creative with teaching approaches. I need to step back at times and be a student of the children. What do they need? How is this working? How can I adjust this to make it come alive to them? For instance, I have noticed that sometimes when patience runs thin or attitudes rear, a change in curriculum is sometimes in order. A change of approach or text can sometimes alleviate frustrations. That is freedom within home schooling. We aren’t bound to a particular book. We can change mid-year if something isn’t clicking.
I don’t know anyone that home schools! I don’t know where to start!
This wasn’t one of my fears because I happened to have a best friend that was in the trenches. She has a similar bent to me, so picking her brain was easy. I know many people feel this way, though, so I wanted to give you a couple of resources. If you know the rhythm of your family, there is a home schooling approach that will work for you. If you are hippie-laid-back about stuff, I can help you. If you are more structured or love organization, I know women that would be happy to talk to you. And everything in between. You can also attend the Arizona Families for Home Education Conference this summer. It is in June this year. They have speakers you can learn from and curriculum you can look through. Grandparents can also attend to learn about this educational path and support your journey if you choose it.
Home schooling isn’t always easy. Nothing I have found with my children really has been though. But just like everything else surrounding their sweet hearts, it has been so worth it.
Have you considered home schooling? What are your fears about it? Do you home school now? What do you wish you had learned before starting? Did you have fears?