Homeschooling my children was not something that I grew up knowing I would do. I attended public school through all of my primary education years, and the bias I may or may not have had toward homeschooled factions was most likely similar to ones you may have or had. However, my desire to provide my children with the best possible outcome in life-to set them up for success is a thread of parenting that I believe to be woven through us all, and that desire began to shape my decisions and parenting goals in ways that I didn’t expect. Home education, much as a surprise to me, became one of those provisions that I couldn’t stop considering once the thought entered my heart and mind.
There’s endless reasons why home education would become an option for some families, but the most common reasons include:
-Selection of curriculum and taught material
-Child tailored learning
1.Don’t Forget Your Why
Much like every decision made by parents about their children, individual discernment is often what fuels the choice to undertake home education. The rationale for choosing this method of learning for children can often shift and take on new meaning as the world, your community, or your child’s needs evolve and change. The important thing to remember when choosing an endeavor as monumental as educating your child is that you always keep in mind the fundamental reasons behind why you made the decision you made-it will keep the sacrifice in mind and help to safeguard against the burnout that you may experience when it’s a little less idyllic than you imagined.
2. Allow Yourself The Unlearning
The compulsory education system was developed in the American’s in the 1920’s. It was the later part of the progressive era, and advancements in the factory system and business reform can be found embedded in the early framework of the system. While the system has tried its best to pivot with the changing times, political unions and the indoctrination of the traditional school system will always remain. If you were educated through any forms of the structured school system, giving yourself permission to deviate from the status quo can feel scary-it can even feel wrong. Going against the grain oftentimes involves us developing a more rigid spine and self assurance in our core beliefs and vision for our future and that of our children. Education at home will and should look different than that which occurs within the four walls of a school building. Your education will involve life-your life. Hours at a desk will be replaced with rich relationship building experiences, and your children will be learning to be learners rather than learning to memorize simply for the sake of passing a test. This lifestyle will look startlingly different from that of your children’s peers, even different than what your family and friends expects, but your resolve must be strong and impenetrable.
3. Treat Your Children With The Respect You Want Them To Expect From The World
Your homeschooling relationship with your children is synonymous with your personal relationship. See this as an incredible opportunity to meet them at a level where a lot of parents never get to understand or experience their children. Your child has an opinion, and when we are raising leaders we want this characteristic to be deeply present. We want them to be curious, to ask questions, and to have interests and opinions of their own. Even at the preschool level, make it a practice to invest in the art of asking your children for their input. Discuss upcoming lessons, provide simple options and let them direct the parts of their learning experience that are sensible enough to leave to their discretion. Meet their frustrations with curiosity instead of reciprocated impatience, be a learner of your own learners. When young children are given the freedom to explore interests and learning styles they will be more apt to enjoy the learning process, which will translate into their passion for learning as a whole.
4. Extracurricular Is Always Extra
This is another part of unlearning that’s important for the wholesome learning experience and lifestyle you may be imagining. Allowing more flexibility in schedules may allow for extracurricular experiences that are enriching and rewarding but remember that they are optional. Sports may dominate your family culture, and the dedication, discipline, and team culture that they often instill in children is extremely valuable. However, not every child shares this belief. I have found that my own children, while still young, place value on their time freedom more than they do on traditional sports, and savor the time that they have where they’re allowed to explore childhood on their own terms without the imposition of weekly practices and weekend games. They tend to gravitate more toward life skills like ranch related activities, horsemanship skills, swimming, and enjoy music, art, and survival skills. One of the benefits of homeschool is that you’re often able to better understand where your children’s passions lie, and allow them the opportunity to get their toes wet in a few different places before committing both themselves and you to the discipline of activities.
5. You’ll Never Feel Ready
The commitment to undertake homeschooling is one of gravity- but there is so much freedom found in the decision. Comparison is always the thief of joy-and progress, and it’s important to remember that your homeschooling journey is exactly that, yours.
Know your state’s requirements https://hslda.org/legal and organize your records to reflect those expectations, but release the expectation that you’ll ever feel fully equipped. There are a vast amount of homeschool methods, and essential elements to the learning process, but you will grow, learn, and adapt to your children, and your family’s needs and ultimately what desired outcome you want for your family. We no longer live in the industrial revolution. We are in the modern era where technology and trade skills drive the quickly changing landscape of our economy. Your role as a homeschooling mom, or dad, or caretaker is to prepare the child within your care to operate as a skilled learner within the modern world. You will train them to be adaptable, to seek when they are unsure, and to advocate for themselves and for others- and they’ll learn by watching you do the same.