Today, I’m excited to welcome a fellow homeschooling mom, Lisa Marie Fletcher, to my blog to share what she’s like you to know about homeschooling.
It’s just like any other day when you run errands. Pack up the kids and head to the grocery store. Except that my kids are 7, 9, and 10. And it’s a school day. Usually this means someone is bound to ask why they aren’t in school and my response that “We homeschool” is often met with the questioning eyebrow and a look of curiosity.
Homeschooling isn’t this mysterious, strange divergence from societal norms of education. At least, not any more. Every day, more and more families are choosing it as their best option—and it’s growing so fast that it’s almost a mainstream education method.
As a homeschooling mom, there are a few things I’d love for you to know:
1. Homeschooling IS an option.
Many times when parents are researching education plans for their kids, they look into public or private schooling options. They weigh the pros and cons of either and make a decision. Many times people don’t even stop to consider homeschooling—whether that be because it seems so strange, or not even in their realm of experience I’m not sure. But homeschooling IS an option.
If your child isn’t ready or suited for a room full of noisy peers and structured learning times, or if your child has been in school but is struggling with bullying or special needs—homeschooling is very valid choice. Don’t rule it out just because it’s not what everyone else is doing.
2. Homeschooling looks different for everyone.
Although we all fall under the generalized blanket with a label of “homeschooling,” every single family’s experience is different. For some, it’s recreating school at home, for others it’s lots and lots of reading, for others it’s all about learning through life instead of a structured plan and workbooks, and many combine qualities of each. It’s really all about how you and your child learn and what works best for you.
3. The socialization argument is invalid.
Some people who worry about homeschool kids lacking opportunities for socialization or being able to function as part of society obviously haven’t spent much time around anyone who homeschools. There’s this joke that often goes around—”Why do they call it homeschooling if I’m never home?”
Many families are busy and active in their communities—taking the opportunity to participate in classes and programs, co-operative activities with other homeschooling families, field trips, play dates, and more. Many families include volunteering in their school experience too.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to every family but even every day opportunities to interact between family members provide plenty of lessons on what is expected in your society. Socialization isn’t really a valid concern.
4. Homeschooling isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
When you first start homeschooling, all the choices, options, and decisions you have to make can be extremely overwhelming. Being together with your kids all day, every day can be trying to your patience and, frankly, exhausting.
Your house isn’t going to be immaculate—because you are home more than you would be if the kids were in school. There’s planning and prep work to do, and, if your kids are having a day where they don’t want to co-operate, you may have times where you wonder why you decided to homeschool in the first place.
You might suffer with that dreaded sense of guilt. It’s not easy. But it IS worth it. It’s those moments where the lightbulb goes off for your child and you see them grasp a new concept, or you just have a special moment together—it makes the rest of the challenges fall away.
5. If this is the choice for you, you CAN do it.
Of course, homeschooling isn’t for everyone but if you decide that it is the path you want to take—go for it. You can do it. Use the community around you—both on- and off-line. Find friends, build a support team, ask as many questions as you need to. Learn as you go. Understand that some things will work and some won’t—and that’s okay. There are going to be rough days and great days. But, the important thing is to keep at it. If this is what you want to be doing, you can do it.
As homeschooling becomes more and more mainstream, you are going to see kids out at the store in the middle of the day. Maybe there will even be less eyebrow raising. But, the important thing to know is that homeschooling my kids is the perfect choice for our family right now. It can be for you too.
Lisa Marie Fletcher is a homeschooling mom of 4 boys (and a baby on the way!). She loves helping other homeschoolers—especially those in Canada—by sharing resources on her site The Canadian Homeschooler.