Homeschooling. I just lost about half of the readers with this one word, but I’m here to clear the air about a few things: A) I am not more awesome than the “average” mom. B) My kids are not better behaved than the “average” kid. C) I am not more financially stable than the “average” family. D) I have not always wanted to homeschool my children and am attempting to fulfill some lifelong dream. Homeschooling comes shrouded in myths and misconceptions. The greatest misconception I want to bring to light is this: There are a “select few” moms who are more patient, more loving, more creative, whose kids listen better, who have fat bank accounts and have no need to work, and who’ve dreamed of homeschooling their children forever, and those are the women who homeschool. This. Is. Not. Me. In fact, this is not really any of the homeschool moms I know. It is a lie!
I meet moms all the time who’d “love to homeschool… BUT…” First, know this, not homeschooling your children does not make you any less of a mother and you don’t have to act like you want to in front of those of us who do. You do not have to pretend you want to just so you don’t look “bad” in front of a homeschooling mom. I think that would address about 1/3 of the moms who make this statement simply because they feel that is the statement they have to make. For the other 2/3, what I really want to address is this: Every mother should have the freedom to make her own decisions and to feel awesome about it! I think we need to have a real, open conversation about what homeschooling is and isn’t.
Homeschooling is not conventional school. You do not have to have certifications or extensive knowledge or an IQ that puts Einstein to shame. One of the most beautiful thing about homeschooling is the ability to learn alongside your children. If you do not know something, there are so, so, so many resources available for your children to learn from. As a recent addition to the “un-schooling” community, I am learning that their #1 resource is YouTube. Seriously, you can learn anything there! You don’t need to have a “teacher/student” relationship with your child. You can maintain the parent/child relationship and still be hugely successful in your homeschooling journey. You also don’t have to stick to the classroom “schedule”. It may shock you to know that with the amount of time you are spending with your children simply doing homework every day, you could homeschool. Ask any group of homeschooling moms how long they “teach” each day. The average is 2-4 hours, depending on the age of the child. And don’t forget my personal favorite… you don’t even have to stay HOME!
There is no “one way” to do anything, so homeschooling pretty much includes everything we do. I know it can be hard for us to comprehend. We grow up in “conventional” schools with classrooms and curriculums, along with the whole teacher/student relationship, and we just assume that’s how we have to learn. But with homeschooling, the possibilities are literally ENDLESS!, which is great because everyone learns differently. In fact, did you know that there are seven different learning styles? Can you imagine the benefits and freedom that homeschooling can bring not only to your children, but to yourself? No longer having to struggle with children crying to finish homework, hating school, feeling frustrated and inadequate because they just don’t understand? I was one of those children, in fact, and it carried on all the way into college. I could sit down and write an essay describing every single thing I’d been taught; but put a multiple choice test in front of me, and I was going to fail. I’m sure most of us can relate. The only thing we really loved about school were the friends we made and the opportunities we had, not necessarily the subjects we were taught or the level of education we received. Homeschooling can provide one of the simplest environments for your child to learn the way they need to learn, to learn the things they are truly interested in, and to instill a lifelong love of learning.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful thing, and there is a reason homeschooling moms are so passionate about it! One thing every homeschool mom wants you to know is to never think so little of yourself that you believe you can’t do it! Being a mother is all about realizing you CAN do what you never thought possible. Homeschooling is not all rainbows and puppydog kisses; but if it’s truly something you wish to pursue, just do what the rest of us homeschooling mommas do and take it one day at a time! To learn more about my personal homeschooling journey, you can click here to see why I chose unschooling and also here to see what exactly an unschooling mom does all day!
I am planning on homeschooling. When did you begin( what age)? And where do you get your supplies/ resources?
Veronica, I don’t know if there’s ever a time to begin. You learn all day with your kids just by living. 🙂 Read to the kids, stack blocks, talk about the colors, count everything, go to the zoo and park, and enjoy. I bought a math curriculum from Amazon this year for my 5 year old. Everything else we do is made up as we go along, based on her interests, and a lot of ideas are found on Pinterest. My original thought was we’d buy a formal curriculum for first grade for all subjects, but we’re learning so much without one, so we might keep going like we are now. You can find resources from groups like CHEF, but I’ve been blessed with friends who are experienced homeschoolers to point me in the right direction.
Veronica, feel free to join my FB group Baton Rouge Homeschoolers. There are moms with all ages of kids who homeschool in all different ways! When I began I did what I termed “Pinteresting Through Preschool”! You can find montessori activities, crafts, writing exercises, pretty much every single thing you could possibly need (I have a schooling before preschool board you can follow- http://www.pinterest.com/mekmommy/)! I began at around 18 months with each of mine doing intentional learning activities, but make sure that when they are young it is mostly play and experience based. You don’t need to register with the state until 7 and preschool is not even mandatory, so most moms who choose curriculums don’t get “serious” until around 6-7. Good luck! There are so many families and resources in our area, you’ll find so much help with whatever you need!
“One thing every homeschool mom wants you to know is to never think so little of yourself that you believe you can’t do it! ”
This is a weird thing to say. Sometimes a mother chooses not to do homeschool because she realizes she *can’t* “do it all” and she thinks enough of herself not to be dragged into something that would not work well for her family.
The idea that women must do *everything* is a crappy suburban trap that I have often seen many women buy into, and the biggest sin I’ve seen homeschool moms commit is a total lack of self-care. Many get pulled into buying the “newest” or “best” curricula and teaching buttloads of COOP classes (some even taking their kids to 3 or 4 COOPs a week).
Meanwhile, their families are going broke, their homes look trashed, and their families are channeling anger, because let’s face it? If mamma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. This is a problem many families face (including those with working moms), but homeschoolers seem to be particularly vulnerable to it.
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