There are dozens, possibly hundreds of reasons parents choose to homeschool.
But when the choice is based on a crisis situation, it can complicate matters.
Consider, for instance, the parent whose child is
- being bullied
- has serious health concerns
- is testing below average
- confused by new teaching methods (Common Core)
- has learning disabilities.
Homeschooling is more of a reaction than a choice. Obviously the child’s safety and well-being is of the utmost concern. If bringing the child home ensures this, the parent is doing the right thing by choosing to homeschool their child in a secure and stable environment. If they have a medical condition, home is the best place for them to receive treatment and recover. When kids struggle to keep up with the rest of the class, they feel stressed and insecure, which makes matters worse. And the child with learning disabilities may thrive in the comfort and security of home with the one-on-one attention of a parent.
All this sounds wonderful, but once a parent withdraws a child from school, they must now provide an education at home, and this is where reality jumps up and takes a bite.
Homeschooling is a commitment of your time, money, focus, and energy that make take you by surprise, even if you’ve spent time researching and preparing.
- Your child is now home all day, so your schedule will change to accommodate their needs.
- You will need to invest in materials previously provided by a school.
- You will have to do your own research.
- You need to find your own support system.
- Children require consistent affection, attention, guidance, and discipline.
- Your child’s future as an independent, responsible, happy, successful adult depends greatly on the nurturing environment and learning opportunities you provide.
In spite of the common Anyone Can Homeschool mantra, it is not a decision one should make without being willing to take on that kind of responsibility. If you come to homeschooling in reaction to something going on at your child's school, you may experience some culture shock. Homeschooling is not as simple as re-creating the public school classroom at home.
Have I scared you a little bit? I hope so. However -
Homeschooling is the most joyful and rewarding thing I have ever done with my kids.
I highly recommend it to everyone, and I truly believe that Anyone Can Homeschool. You can provide an amazing education with just the library and internet, so costs can be kept relatively low. You and your children can learn in freedom, create close bonds of trust and friendship, and your home can be a haven for your family.
If we aren’t realistic about what it takes to provide an education for our children, we will be setting ourselves up for failure.
If a parent chooses to homeschool but then is overwhelmed by having their child home all day, they may quickly throw in the towel. If parents don't understand how to choose educational materials and provide guidance, they and their child will be more discouraged about learning than when they started. This describes many of the parents I've met who 'tried' homeschooling, and it failed. This doesn't have to be you.
If you’ve brought your child home because of a crisis in your public school, then take a deep breath before you jump in.
- Spend a few weeks - better yet a couple of months - deschooling yourself and your child.
- Communicate with your child about what education means to you, find out what it means to your child, and develop learning goals together.
- Give your child some ownership of their education and set them on a path that leads to self-motivation and a solid work ethic.
- Consider the ways they enjoy learning, whether they prefer hands-on projects, textbooks and workbooks, audio-visual presentations, or discussion and debate.
- Research curriculum options using reputable sources such as Cathy Duffy or the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog. Don't grab the first thing that says "Free".
- Get connected with other homeschoolers.
- Find a mentor in a local homeschool support group.
- Believe in yourself as a parent to make beneficial choices for your child.
- Find a few blogs to subscribe to for regular encouragement. For instance, check out the Ultimate Homeschool Blogroll at Hip Homeschool Moms.