True or False: "Anyone can homeschool"

anyone can homeschool

I've often said that "anyone can homeschool", and to a certain degree, this is true. There are obviously some exceptions to this generalization. There may be circumstances, such as physical disabilities, marital dysfunction, or financial demands, that would hinder a family from taking the homeschool plunge.

Those kinds of exceptions aside; in some very important ways, homeschooling is incredibly simple. Kids are naturally curious, and when placed in a stimulating environment with a variety of quality materials, will learn many things on their own. Parents often find themselves getting out of the way instead of standing in front of 'the class'.

Now here's the caveat - homeschooling also demands dedicated parents who have decided to take on the sole responsibility of providing and guiding their child's education. They may choose an eschool, an umbrella school, a boxed curriculum, an online program, or be completely independent, and all of these come with varying degrees of autonomy.

But in the end, there is no school, no teacher, and no system to blame. The authority, the burden, the outcomes, the success - it all comes back to the homeschool family.

It is true that homeschooling requires a commitment from the whole family, that it is not just an educational choice, but a lifestyle choice. Some people won't understand your decision, and may even oppose it.

Your family will face a variety of challenges if you choose to homeschool, but that would be true regardless of which educational method you use. If your kids go to traditional schools, they will have homework, and you will be expected to assist them with it. They will experience peer pressure and relationship issues, and you must teach them social skills to help them deal with these problems.

Back to school supplies, including your child's wardrobe, cost money, and lots of it. Many extracurricular programs require a fee. School lunches, whether your kids brownbag it or eat the lunches offered in the school cafeteria, is another expense. I also notice that several times a year, students knock on our front door selling candy bars, fruit, snacks, and other goods to raise money for their school activities, like choir or band. Your life will revolve around the school's schedule.

The bottom line - no matter what you choose, it is a trade-off. Just because traditional schools have been the default for the last few decades doesn't mean that it should be your default. A parent should look carefully at the needs of their family, especially their children, and the quality of their local school system or charter/private school, before deciding to use a school for their child's education.

I still believe it is true that 'anyone' who wants to homeschool can do so, but they can't homeschool effectively without taking into consideration what is actually involved, and being honest with themselves about their abilities and limitations. Many parents have risen to the occasion, made sacrifices, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and persevered. They knew that there would be challenges, and they met those obstacles and opportunities minute by minute, day by day, and year by year.

It really is your decision.