Sep 9, 2016

10 Things You Can Expect as a Homeschooler

So you say you want to homeschool? Without question, homeschooling is a viable way to educate your children. And you’re not alone in choosing this educational option as the number of parents choosing to homeschool grows each day. But what can you really expect as a homeschooler? What are you really in for? Here are 10 things that top the list:
  1. You Will Make Mistakes –  How many times have you heard someone wish that children came with a manual? Trust me—homeschoolers say it, too. What you will learn is that there is no blueprint or handy dandy manual to ensure that you do it all perfectly. But that’s okay. What’s important is to understand the beauty of homeschooling, which is that it can (and should!) be tailored to your family’s needs. The tailoring part is the reason you’ll have some trial and error. It’s all part of the process and not at all unexpected.


  1. Some Days Will Be Really Hard – Do your remember those old Disney movies where the heroine is always smiling and happy while she does the housework? It’s a the sun is shining, the birds are tweeting, let’s have a sing along kind of thing, even while doing grunge work. Well, don’t expect that every day of the year. Some days will just prove challenging, other days will just be hard, and sometimes you will feel completely overwhelmed. This may be because you have other life issues to deal with as you try to teach arithmetic, or maybe Junior is just a little (or a lot!) frustrated because a subject isn’t clicking. Take heart! This is completely normal. We all deal with it, and it will pass. Take a cleansing breath or four (not enough to get lightheaded), and consider taking a day or two off from doing “school.” Your children will learn what they need to when you pick it back up, and you’ll maintain your sanity. Win-win.


  1. Some Days Will Be Really Easy – Hey! It’s not all challenges and frustration. Some days will be really, really easy. School work will just click, the kids will be enthusiastic learners, lessons will be done in no time flat, and the house will look completely safe for human habitation. It’s like a magic fairy came down and cleared your calendar! Don’t let suspicion that you’ve somehow missed something mess this up for you, though. Don’t decide that you simply must do more or get caught in the trap of trying to get even further ahead. Enjoy the moment. This too shall pass.


  1. Your Heart Will Be Filled with Joy –  Few things bring a parent joy like that moment when your child “gets it” and you realize you helped get him there. The light bulb goes on, the smile lights up your face, and you decide that nothing compares to the joy of helping your child learn. This will happen often enough to get you through the challenging periods.


  1. You Will Question Your Decision (and your sanity) – See Numbers 1 and 2. There will be days when you long to go to the grocery store by yourself, wish you could go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door, or hate the fact you have to do 5th grade math all over again. Maybe you didn’t really like it the first time around—back when you were an actual 5th grader. You might even fantasize about sending your children to school and having six hours all to yourself to get things done. It’s normal. Before long you’ll be back to Number 4 and completely sure that homeschooling is the best thing since ready-made ice cream. These moments will see you through the challenges.


  1. You Will Defend Your Position – Mention that you homeschool to non-homeschooling parents, and it’s likely you will hear one of two responses: “I could never do that.” And “What about socialization?” Trust me. You’ll hear it enough that you’ll eventually be able to respond in your sleep. Just remember that people who say these things are generally truly curious, confused, a tad judgmental or just plain clueless. Homeschooling isn’t right for everyone, but it is just right for you. Have a standard response ready, something along the lines of it’s best for your family, it works for you, and school isn’t a necessary ingredient for socialization. Rinse. Repeat.


  1. You Will Need a Tribe – For most families, homeschooling isn’t a temporary situation. You’re in it for the long haul. Surround yourself with other homeschool parents. This is not the time to go solo. First of all, homeschool parents are a fount of information. Either they’ve been there and done that, or they’re doing it right now. They can help you whether you want to know about local requirements, need to find field trip opportunities, or seek advice on how to choose learning materials. But most importantly, they can provide an amazing amount of support for when you’re dealing with Number 1 or Number 2, want to brag about Number 3 and 4, or simply want someone to say they understand and really, really mean it.


  1. You Will Hoard Books – So you think you have a lot of books now? Just wait until you’ve started homeschooling. There’s this thing that just happens to homeschooling parents. Okay, so they already have a lot of books because, well, they are teaching their children at home, but then they see a book online or at a bookstore, and they think hey, I might need that one day, or Jane might want to learn this next year, in a few years, in 12 years before graduating high school. The next thing they know, another book has joined an already impressive collection. Be prepared – you will have a collection that rivals your local library. Don’t bother fighting it.


  1. It Gets Easier – Many people are overwhelmed with the idea of homeschooling high school—because algebra, right? But don’t worry, it actually gets easier by the time your kids reach high school. Stop laughing. I’m serious. Here’s the thing. Once your kids get to high school, your role transitions into one that oversees and manages rather than executing and handholding. You get to be the proud facilitator of learning and possibly even a lone grocery shopper at this point.  Pat yourself on the back. By this stage, most homeschoolers have “learned to learn,” so for you, it’s more about keeping them on track and keeping up with the paperwork.


  1. Your Kids Will Be Okay – You will make mistakes, and you will question your decision. Others may question your choice as well. The thing to remember is that you have your children’s best interest at heart, a willingness to rise to challenges, and an amazing chance to offer your children a unique and truly custom education. Your kids will turn out just fine, and so will you!
Homeschooling is both a beautiful adventure and a crazy ride. It helps to know what to expect along the way, and to understand that perfection isn’t really the goal. Instead, focus on the journey and aiding and supporting your children in not only increasing their knowledge but also learning how to learn. I promise. It’s worth it.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

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