I am not a veteran homeschool mom by any means but I do have experience, going on two plus years now. This is what I’ve learned so far:
- Homeschooling IS not the same for every family. For some families who chose to homeschool before their kids were even born, maybe they have what looks like a classroom setting in their home. This was not our situation. We came to homeschooling out of a need to support our child’s asynchronous learning and overexcitabilities. Our homeschool is not a class room in our home, it’s every room of our house, outside in backyards, at parks, pools, in the community and at classes. It’s traveling, learning and applying our knowledge in real life situations. It’s figuring things out when we don’t know the answers and it’s letting my child dive deeper into areas that he’s passionate about and support his love of learning in any way I can.
- Homeschooling IS the freedom to teach/guide/mentor your child at the appropriate level for them. This may mean they are at grade level in some subjects, ahead or behind grade level in others or maybe attempting subjects that are way outside of the ‘norm’ for their grade but as homeschoolers, we have the freedom to allow our kids to grow and learn at their own pace. Sometimes that’s faster or slower than others and that’s okay.
- Homeschooling IS not one sided learning. This is one of the areas I’ve enjoyed as we’ve been homeschooling. I have learned so much! It has not been all review for me, although I’ve welcomed that as well, but I have learned so many new and interesting facts, so many other sides to historical accounts that weren’t taught when I was in elementary school oh so long ago. It is refreshing and wonderful to know that my children are getting a much more global education. Some of that has to do with advances in technology and the availability of information on the internet but also just the access to people, places and things that homeschooling allows. We can go visit the locations we are studying if we want to. We won’t be marked truant for not being in a classroom and yet we will be able to experience more sides of the story than a textbook can give us. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE books in our house. But it’s one thing to read about a petosky stone and a whole other experience searching for them in a lake in Northern Michigan and finding them! Not only did we learn about the lake, the stone, the state of Michigan and get to spend time with family but we have pictures and memories to solidify our learning.
- Homeschooling IS a social experience. One of the most popular questions for homeschoolers is “How will you socialize your child?” and a close second is “How will you handle being with your kids all day every day?” For some reason, this becomes a priority for most people, not the learning or growing but the socializing and sadly the fear of me being with my own kids?! I absolutely love my family and yes, I do need breaks and that is where the homeschooling community totally ROCKS! My email inbox is inundated daily with opportunities to get together with other homeschool families for park day, pool day, soccer play, field trips, co-op opportunities and more. There is no lack of social opportunities and during these times, my kids play, have fun, get exercise, learn how to interact with all ages (which is real life) and I get adult time, mentoring, wisdom, share experiences and make great friends. It really does take a community to raise our children and homeschooling is no different. The parent does not do it all on their own and we are not always alone with our children but we do get great enrichment from the community we are a part of and I am so grateful for this.
- Homeschooling IS not for everyone. I get it, not everyone likes the idea, believes in it or can fit it into their schedule.However, if your child has lost their love of learning or is having such a hard time in their current school that you are at your wits end, you may want to consider this option for your family. There are many types of homeschooling and you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Depending on the state you are in and the laws for homeschooling you may even receive financial support for extra curricular activities for your child. So whether you don’t think it’s for you, it is definitely working for many and for some kids, it’s a necessity. We all learn differently and I personally loved and had a fantastic time in my public school experience. Fast forward thirty years now and I can accept that things have changed and although homeschooling has been around that long, I am now in a place to see it’s benefits for my family.