I’m in the throes of my second year of homeschooling our two compulsory aged sons and wild non-compulsory preschooler. When my husband and I first decided to homeschool we were asked a lot of questions. How are you going to manage? Are you qualified? What about socialization? These well meaning queries caused a lot of harm to my first month as a homeschooler as doubt crept in. Now, however, I am able to confidently clear up many misconceptions about homeschooling and am happy to share some of the truths I’ve learned.
1: Homeschooling is not always fun and whimsy.
After my dreadful first month of homeschooling, things pulled itself together and I rode a wave of euphoria and excitement for months until we unexpectedly reached the shore of Stuck in a Rut. I changed lesson plans, scheduled field trips, even brought in the help of a different teacher (my mother in law). Nothing seemed to help and eventually it started to feel like we were not getting anything done. I crowd sourced, and learned this was a common occurrence! More so, there will be times where you doubt your abilities, or an entire week goes awry. This is all very normal, and you will rebound from it.
Every once in a while the kids get an extended weekend just for this purpose, we all regroup, I change some of the lesson plans, we head back refreshed.
2: It looks different for everyone.
Everyone’s homeschool process varies. Some families school only at nighttime, others adhere to a rigid daytime schedule. Some spaces are chock full of file cabinets and shelves, others are literally the coffee table in a living room.
We homeschool in the dining room. My very important paperwork is backed up on the computer and in expanding folders in case I ever need to present them, but everything else? Everywhereish. Do what works for the space you have. Our days are partially scheduled, but we’re always ready to fly by the seat of our pants if one lesson segues into something else entirely. It’s comfortable for us as a large family that’s full of different personalities. Everything is an adventure here, and homeschooling is no exception! Comparing your way to another could lead to disaster.
3: Homeschooling is social.
Contrary to popular belief, homeschoolers do Between co-ops, community classes, volunteer opportunities, story time at the library and so many other events, homeschoolers are actually quite social. Socialization was a huge concern for my husband when we originally considered pulling our sons out of school, and it was the easiest quelled.
Everything turns into a social event for my very talkative, dynamic bunch. They’re able to interact with children and adults in various age groups and from all walks of life, they remember their manners and know how to differentiate between appropriate conversation and inappropriate. We’re often impressed by how remarkably well adjusted they are in social situations.
4: You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to teach your children what they need to know.
I lived in Hawaii for a number of years, and when I moved back to New York in my Junior year of high school discovered that I lacked much of the formal Social Studies education due to Hawaii’s curriculum. I was able to scrape by the Regents exams, but still left high school without the comprehensive knowledge. It was one of many fears I had when going into homeschool, how would I teach my children the things I didn’t know?
Simple; I’d learn with them! I research anything I may find troublesome, but more often than not, we learn together on the spot. I want my children to understand that people are flawed and imperfect, and that learning never ends. If you have the capacity and desire to learn, you are qualified to teach your children. And if you’re still not confident in a specific area, there are tutors and homeschool co-ops with many knowledgeable comrades willing to assist.
5: You’ll need to learn to carve time out for yourself again.
Homeschooling is a sacrifice of the time that you’re already feeling like you don’t have enough of. Sometimes I spend hours teaching and by the time school is over it’s time for me to make dinner, get kids into the bath, bedtime routines and stories and then shuffled off to bed. The hours can easily take over your entire day, and leave you depleted. Remember that you are an important piece to your family’s puzzle, and finding time for yourself is crucial to maintaining the remaining scraps of sanity you have. It sounds impossible, but I promise it’s not! I am still able to find time for myself and my marriage with, it took some juggling at first but now it’s second nature. Lesson planning in the bubble bath counts! Homeschooling is worth the sacrifice, and you are worth the time you carve out to remind yourself that you’re more than a homeschooling parent alone.
Monique Caraballo is a stay at home mom of one daughter and four sons in upstate New York. A cloth diaper convert, secular homeschooler, and hobbyist photographer among other things, she finds her place is somewhere (way, way) off the beaten path. Her personal blog, Blackhearts and Bliss, serves as an informal chronicle of life as a large blended family, DIY abominations, and the rapidly decaying state of her sanity.
19 Comments on “5 Homeschooling Truths”
Great info, thanks for sharing!!
Yes! Homeschooling is worth the hard work! Great post.
I was home schooled for 1 year as a kid because I was sick. I missed the other kids to much.
Very great points, and myths that I thought were true about homeschooling. Great read thanks!
My eldest daughter was bullied out of school (well, I took her out) and we homeschooled for about a year and a half until she decided she could go back, to a new school!
You made some excellent points!
It would be so nice though to be able to teach at home, and be with your kids all the time, teaching them the way you want to!
I spent a portion of my childhood being homeschooled by a nanny because my parents traveled for work; I found it extremely socially isolating, but reveled in the ability to have an adapted and adjusted curriculum based on my own interests and focus. There are definite perks and bonuses and drawbacks (like everything in life); thank you for being honest in your article!
Interesting post. I’ve never been homeschooled so it’s nice to see the myths debunked!
I really enjoyed Monique’s post very much. As a former schoolteacher and Mother of five, I also realize that the important qualities of a good teacher are: a strong desire to teach, a curious mind, and patience. I did not ‘home school’ as such but, for two years, I taught my son in the evening because he wasn’t being taught in school. This really helped him and it was the only two years he needed help at home.
Great set of information on Home Schooling. I wasn’t home schooled and I don’t think we will do home schooling with the kids, but the tips picked up from this post will be useful at home during the summer and even for everyday.
As a former teaacher and having some ezperience with homeschooling myself, I can tell you that formal schooling is not all fun and games either. Some days, weeks, are better than others. Sick children, poor weather, family problems can really make formal teaching a struggle. However, if given a choice, I would choose home schooling every time.
Homeshooling-It looks different for everyone.
\just as Classroom teachers are different in their teaching methods, so do parents. Children are individuals and will respond differently from one another, depending on how they are feeling that day. The most important lesson is to build up their self-confidence. They need to have an “I Can do that’ attitude
Home Schooling is Social;–Indeed I think it could be very social. Since lesson plans are usually finished more quickly, there should be time, one or two afternoons a week, to visit some of the places or jobs you are teaching about. It is much easier to take one or several children on a ‘field trip’ than a roomful of 25 or morel
Home Schooling no.4–\you don’t have to be a member of Mensa…
I think perhaps this is the biggest myth of all about home schooling-That you have to be very well educated wiith years of formal education to home school.
Personally, I think the desire to do so and a thirst for knowledge are probably more important than formal education. We are learning all our lives and we should be able to recognize this and pass it on to our children.
Homeschooling-no.5.-You need to learn to carve out time for yourself again.
Monique is right about Mommiies needing their own time. It is so important. You need to schedule ‘time out ‘for yourself in your schedule- or you will have a burn out and not be as efficient as you should be in all your daily tasks.
I’ve never been homeschooled,sometimes school is a scary place.My grandson was bullied till finally had to change schools.
Thanks for the information on Home Schooling.
Homeschooling is hard work but so worth it.
I’ve never been homeschooled,interesting post!