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I have been homeschooling for 3 years now and although I still consider myself new and always learning, I regularly get asked those questions. Questions like “How do you homeschool four different grades at once?”, “What made you choose to homeschool?”, and so many others. I also hear things like: “Wow, you must never have any time for yourself!”
However, there is one statement that I can never wrap my head around… That misguided homeschool statement:
“I could never do that!”
You see, when I decided to homeschool my children I broke the mold from everyone that I knew. In fact, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure, I had people who supported my decision, but I had no one who could really SUPPORT me when I had questions or felt that I needed guidance. I was terrified at what I had gotten myself into; “What was I thinking!? Could I really be the one to educate my children!? Could I even stand to be around them all day- every day!?”
These things weighed heavy on my heart for a long time. I won’t lie to you, they sometimes still do. But CHOOSING to homeschool was about so much more than all of my fears, more than all of the things that I thought I could never do…
It was about my children deserving something more!
Ask any homeschool mom and she will tell you a different story, a personal reason for why they chose this path. In fact, if your only reason for choosing not to give homeschool a chance is that misguided statement: “I could never do that”, I ask you to read and reflect on these next 4 things.
You Are Your Biggest Enemy…
This is the first step in overcoming that misguided statement. As with many things in life, our thoughts create walls that keep us from trying to things and beginning new journeys. Realizing this, that you are your biggest enemy, is crucial to opening up and jumping in. It doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes be overcome with worry or fear about taking on this educational choice, it just means that you are willing to put aside these thoughts of “I could never do that” and give it a try. It is also important to ask yourself “Why do I feel this way? What is it that made me believe that I could never homeschool my children?”
Can Your Child Benefit From More…
There are many scenarios that this statement can relate to. They will vary from child to child and from situation to situation. Does your child struggle to keep up in their grade level? Or are they finding their “age appropriate” work too easy in public school? These are two reasons that many moms have chosen to give homeschool a try. Whether your child is gifted or struggles with learning, giving a child an environment in which they can learn with no pressure and at the speed that fits them can often times be an optimal choice and promote a better learning environment for the child.
Another reason to put aside that misguided statement and consider homeschool is if you child is not adjusting well to public school. With the changing of times we see bullying becoming more prevalent in the school system. Often times this creates mood disorders or behavioral issues for a child. It can lead to a decrease in school productivity and interest in well. In scenarios like this, sometimes removing the child from a treacherous situation is best. This was the case for our family and what pushed me to make the jump into homeschooling my four children.
You Are Only As Busy As You Perceive…
Life never seems to stop and there are never enough hours in a day for any mom. Believe me, I understand. However, there is always time that can be put aside for homeschooling, it just has to be found. Of course, this is easier with older kids who complete more independent work but all is not lost for younger kids. If you can squeeze in just a few hours throughout the day, things get done. Younger kids do need more parent-child work, however they also don’t need a full day of work either. The older they get, most of the work becomes independently done, so the work load isn’t any more hardship on scheduling than before. My favorite way to work in lesson time is in between chores.
I will spend 5 to 10 minutes teaching something and then we all move to X room where I need to work. This allows the kids to be near enough when they need help and allows me to still get things done around the house. There are also some great, free resources online to take some of the burden off of you. Khan Academy for math, is wonderful. I have also planned our bigger lesson days around my work schedule so that I can’t say “well, I have to work so no lessons are getting done”. The great thing about homeschool is the flexibility and ability to get creative!
If homeschooling really is something that you are not sure will work for you or your kids, don’t jump all in at once. Test the waters before pulling your kids out of public school. Add in a few mini lessons each week and see how you both handle it. Of course, everything good comes in time and takes adjusting to, but work on this during the summer a little and you may be surprised at the outcome. Also, find yourself some great support groups online and/or in your area and spend some time researching homeschool styles and curriculum. There are SO many options for both out there and it may take years to find what really fits for your family. The thing to remember is that people change and so the way you homeschool will change over the years.
You can download and print our basic homeschool schedule here.
So, if you have ever spoken the words “I could never do that” in relation to homeschool but your only reason not to is that belief or fear, then I encourage you to give it a try. After all, don’t we all tell our children something along the lines of: you will never know until you try? There are so many resources, so many varieties, and so many options for your family. There are computer based “homeschool” programs, hybrid charter schools in some states that spend half the week in class and half homeschooled, and there are districts that allow homeschooled kids to participate in the elective courses… so many options worth exploring!
Update: Catch me on the Real Happy Mom’s Podcast talking about my favorite tips & tricks for homeschooling your kids! After 4 years of homeschooling, I share what you need to know to have a successful beginning.