Homeschooling is a major lifestyle change, regardless of your philosophy, approach, motivation or the unique needs of your child. The life style change is the most important thing to consider before choosing to pull your child out of school.
That’s completely obvious, right? Yet I rarely hear this discussed. Instead, we talk about the many benefits of homeschooling. We talk about the various approaches to learning – classical, eclectic, unit study, unschooling, traditional school at home and online options.
Your approach doesn’t matter much if you aren’t clear and somewhat at ease with what it really requires of a parent to homeschool.
A lifestyle change doesn’t mean that you have to turn into super mom, the ultimate organized mom, play teacher 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, precisely 180 days a year.
It does require you to be present with your children. You have to be available to talk to them. You will not necessarily have to be “teaching” them all day (that would depend on the approach you choose). I don’t stand in front of them teaching classes all day. I sit down one on one and we work on things together. We read tons of great books together and separately. We work together on projects. They often work on their own.
Mostly, I’m available to guide and help them learn, to show them new and interesting things, to find resources for them to expand their learning and to talk.
Many homeschooling advocates feel that everyone can and should homeschool. I am not one of them. The research is clear that an education that is customized to the individual is superior to mass produced public schooling. You can question that if you choose, but think about it. How could it not be superior?
That doesn’t mean that homeschooling is better for everyone, in every situation. I have days when I’m unsure that it’s right for us. I’m not always, 100% convinced that it’s right for me. The things I struggle with as a homeschooling parent are not how to teach advanced subjects, or the question of socialization, but the rather lifestyle challenges.
Is homeschooling is right for you?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you enjoy being with your kids?
- Do you look forward to Friday’s because you get to spend more time with the kids over the weekend, exploring a city together or hiking in the woods? Or do you live for Monday’s when they go back to school?
- Are you willing to spend extended periods of time with your children and learn how to be with them peacefully?
- Are you willing to learn how to fit in time for yourself and your own interests? This process took me almost an entire year and I still struggle with it from time to time!
Choosing to homeschool will obviously change your days significantly. It may take time to adjust to, but if you approach it as one long summer vacation enjoying the world with your kids you may find the transition close to effortless.
You may fall in love with your kids all over again and see that they are not your adversaries.
You may find that the change you are most afraid of – extended time with your kids- is actually a great joy that you’ve been missing.