After 20 years of homeschooling, I've heard again and again the same Homeschool Fears that plague parents and keep them from considering homeschooling as an education option for their children.
I can help you with your homeschool fears.
1. Homeschooling will turn my life inside out and upside down! How will I adjust to having the kids home all day, teaching different age levels, and still get chores and shopping done?
It is entirely possible that your life will turn inside out and upside down. I'm not going to lie to you about that.
But let me ask you - is a lifestyle change a bad thing? You will be adjusting to having your children at home, teaching them about the world, doing chores and running errands together. Is that really the scariest thing you can imagine?
Homeschooling does require some planning; you may need to do some organizing of your home and prioritize your time. There are learning objectives to decide and lesson plans to make. But you've already adjusted to bearing and raising children - homeschooling is just another step on the parenting ladder.
You can find support, information, and encouragement for every step of your homeschool life. There are books, blogs, and support groups all over America and even around the world, where parents share their experiences and learn from each other.
Your kids will be in a safe and nurturing environment. They can eat nutritious food, get adequate sleep and exercise, and learn in a relaxed atmosphere. You can teach them how to view the family as their Home Team, and work together to make the household run smoothly. Errands are a great time for kids to learn in the real world.
That's what it means to have your kids home all day.
2. Our education budget is limited, so I can’t afford expensive curriculum or online programs, so what should I do? I'm not a teacher!
Do you ever have to learn how to do new things? Like, use a new appliance or smart phone? Fill out complicated financial or legal paperwork? Follow instructions for a DIY project?
Have you ever had to adjust your budget to make room for medical expenses, household repairs, or save for a family vacation?
When Ken and I got married, I started saving money in every way possible. I washed and reused Ziploc baggies, made my own laundry detergent, and cooked everything from scratch. I recall the first time I cut up a whole chicken with a knife not created for this task. I nearly took my own arm off at the elbow, and the chicken was barely recognizable when it hit the table. However, it was edible, and that’s all anyone wants at suppertime anyway. My family did not care a whit that I wasn't Martha Stewart.
The moral of the story is - you’ve learned how to do unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and even disgusting things because of necessity or desire, and you will learn how to find affordable educational materials (try the library!) and organize lesson plans.
If you get connected with a local homeschool support group, you can find a mentor who will offer encouragement and guidance. You may also follow some online homeschool bloggers for a variety of insights and advice, as well as free printables, and your homeschool will be up and running in no time. With all your limbs intact.
3. My kids and I have very different personalities. How do I teach them in a way that will help them learn and keep me from going crazy?
Did you ever think your kids would be just like you? I mean, are you just like your parents?
Don't answer that.
None of us would last long in a world populated with people exactly like us. It's time to adopt a positive outlook and appreciate the uniqueness of you children. Teach them that differences lend variety and excitement to the world. You will soon realize that you will learn as much from your kids as they learn from you. Allow them to flourish as the individuals God created them to be, and then feel free to be yourself.
4. What if my motive for homeschooling is wrong?
Is there a wrong reason to homeschool? I guess there is, if you choose to homeschool on a whim, or because of pressure from homeschooling friends or family. Making important decisions under that kind of pressure reveals an underlying issue you probably need to deal with before you start to homeschool.
However, wanting to homeschool to provide your children with a safe, secure, and interesting environment is NOT a wrong reason to homeschool. Children need to be nurtured as a whole person, and classrooms don't allow for this. The few hours children are at home are often spent doing homework and getting ready for school the next day. How does a child bond with their family and learn about healthy relationships when they are overscheduled and overstimulated for a significant part of their day?
Whatever your specific reasons, if you want to homeschool because you believe it is best for your child, then that is a perfect motive to homeschool.
There are other reasons parents doubt they can commit to home education, but every single family who homeschools had to deal with those same questions. Somehow they found the answer they needed and made the choice.