Homeschooling: Not just for perfect parents.

Yesterday on my personal Facebook page I shared a link to a blog post entitled 18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children.  It is an excellent list, and although it didn’t specifically state this, the feeling it seems to give is almost anyone can homeschool their kids.  (I only say “almost” because I tend to be a little gun-shy about all-inclusive words, because as soon as anyone says something like, “ANYONE can learn to tap dance!” someone else will say, “Yeah? Well, what if they have size 20 feet and there are no tap shoes big enough? THEN could they tap dance?” and I just don’t want to deal with every conceivable exception.)

And I agree. One of the things people say when I tell them that we are homeschooling is “Oh, that’s so great! I just know *I* could never do that.” It’s starting to irk me a bit. Because I’m not anything special. In fact, I used to BE that person.

Yes, I am a licensed teacher, but up until we made the decision to homeschool, I would have said the exact same thing…it’s great for other people, but I could never do it.

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Then our school made some location changes, and Ben was having issues with potty-training that made kindergarten worrisome, and all of a sudden, homeschool wasn’t looking so bad. 

I will admit, there a few factors that made homeschool less of a challenge for us: I am a teacher. Not just “was”. I really am. You might call it my natural bossiness, but I prefer to think of it as finding the perfect career for my personality. I will also add that I taught middle school English. Teaching K-4 is not exactly the same skill set, let me tell you.

Also, we were living on one income, so I didn’t have to “give up” my career. (I don’t really feel like I have anyway.  It’s more like a hiatus.)

We have room in our house to have a “school room” – not completely separate, but it’s own area.

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If you picture a homeschooling mom as one with abundant patience, a ready smile, with lots of creative ideas and kids who are always ready to learn with a smile on their faces…well, this situation may be somewhere in the homeschool world, but it is NOT at our house.  I lose my temper on almost a daily basis. Ben seriously drags his feet at least once a day (these may be related.) I scold Leah for her disorganization almost daily. Obviously, these are not things I’m proud of and we are trying different solutions. What I’m trying to say is that you do not have to be a perfect mom OR a perfect teacher to homeschool. (Almost) anyone can do it, if they want to!

You don’t have to be a curriculum expert to homeschool – you can order a complete set of materials, down to the paper clips need for a science experiment, from companies designed to make it a painless system for parents to use. I didn’t design the curriculum that we use, but I really like it! (If you are interested, click that Sonlight button on the side of my blog!) There are lots of others besides Sonlight.   Here is a good description of different styles of homeschool education - Sonlight is not mentioned specifically in any of these, but I think it is close to the Charlotte Mason approach. 

You don’t need to have a classroom set up to homeschool. In fact, Leah does most of her work on a couch in the living room.  One of the benefits of homeschool is that it can happen anywhere – today, it was at the shop where the van was getting an oil change.  A lot of homeschool happens at kitchen tables.

Homeschool doesn’t even need to be done by one parent! And since the schedule is flexible, you can decide WHEN to do school. A friend was doing school Tuesday – Saturday, and then she worked Sunday & Monday. Breaking the “rules” seems to appeal to us rebel homeschoolers. The mom who wrote the “18 Reasons” post works nights and her husband works part time from home. (I do not know HOW they make that work, but apparently they do!)

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Now don’t go feeling bad if you just. don’t. want. to! I don’t blame you. There are great schools in our town, both public and private, and I really think that most parents (again, there are exceptions) are doing the best they can for their kids in their particular situation.  Personally, I am homeschooling more out of convenience than philosophy. I love schools and community they build. Someday we’ll be a part of that second family – but for now, I am really enjoying the extra time that MY family has together, and what it means for our lives.  Even if it’s not perfect every day. Life rarely is!

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I would be happy to address any questions and/or concerns you might have, in a strictly non-expert way.  If you have homeschooled or WERE homeschooled, feel free to share your experience too!

11 thoughts on “Homeschooling: Not just for perfect parents.

  1. Pingback: Homeschooling for the Non-Homeschooler

  2. Thank you for posting this. I read the article you mentioned and loved it, too. I would add that there are many, many, many styles of homeschool. Being a “rebel” is what I feel I am most days. We chose a virtual public school three years ago and we love the freedom it affords our family. A virtual public school can work very well for some of those people you mentioned who “could never do that” as we have a wonderful staff of teachers who are always available. I loved reading your post as it said a lot of the things I feel :)

    • Thanks for reading and commenting! You are absolutely right – there are so may WAYS to homeschool! I have had several friends do a mixture of public and homeschool, especially for their older kids.

  3. Thank you. I don’t think I am reproducing the idyllic vision of homeschooling at my house. We are just doing the best we can, which most of the time is just fine. Sometimes it is amazing. And other times, it is call for a do-over day. I too was a teacher before homeschooling my kids, only I taught college level biology. Let’s just say there is a huge difference between college level biology and teaching a 5 year old to read. I’m always learning new things about myself and my kids. And I’m not afraid to try new things which means neither are my kids. I have three outside the box thinkers which means that many items in my house get used in unconventional ways. But that is okay, because our whole homeschooling adventure is pretty unconventional.

    • Sounds like you have quite the challenge! I love it when people say to me, “Oh, but you were a TEACHER.” Yeah, but they came to me already knowing how to read & write their ABC’s!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. You’re so right! I dedicate a few paragraphs in my forthcoming homeschool book to laying out the differences between the stereotypical “Perfect” homeschool parents and the people that I know and love in real life, the “Practicals.” Great post. Thanks!

  5. I will kick back a little here and say that if you don’t think you can homeschool your kids please don’t. And be very cautious about encouraging those who are reluctant to take the jump…It’s distantly related to finding a spouse for a friend…dangerous. It is very hip to homeschool, but it’s not at all hip if it goes poorly…your kids will be the only ones to pay…and the future teachers or employers who need to help them recover. This is from a parent who has, in fact, homeschooled and loved it and an educator who occasionally sees those who got the short end of the stick.

    • I think a lot depends on WHY someone thinks they can’t homeschool, and WHY they kinda want to.

      As I said, homeschooling is not for everyone, and just because it works for those who do it (assuming you wouldn’t continue to do something that wasn’t working!) shouldn’t be a guilt trip on those NOT homeschooling!

  6. We are seriously contemplating homeschooling our children (currently 5 and 2.5). Our 5 year old has been in a morning preschool program 5 days a week and has been bored. We know that homeschooling him will be the best option, but I’m selfish and I don’t know if I WANT to do it. I have been a SAHM for the past 5 years and have been planning on restarting my professional career. I’d like to know, realistically, how much work/effort from the parent/teacher it takes. I understand different curriculum in conjunction with different personalities can cause this to be drastically different, I just need some idea!

    Can I ever expect to get a break?

    • So much of your question depends on the curriculum you choose to use. For me, Sonlight doesn’t take much time. The schedule is all laid out (no lesson planning) and the materials are all together so you don’t have to search for the books. My son is in 1st grade and can get through most of his work in an hour or so if he isn’t messing around.:) Then there is some things that we read together – history, his reading outloud, and then MY reading outloud (a Sonlight specialty).

      Getting a break? What’s THAT?!:) I kept thinking I was going to go back to classroom teaching once my kids go back to school…and now it seems like that may wait until they are all in college! This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but babies are only babies for so long…I’d relax and enjoy it, and know that a career is waiting out there for you, even if it’s not exactly how you pictured it.

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