Any parent who has either thought about homeschooling or has taken the leap and become a homeschooler has worried about whether they can handle it. Homeschool moms are a growing community that can be a supportive network for this important choice. And even after the choice is made, homeschool moms may continue to worry it was the right one. So, as a mom with nearly two decades of experience in this realm, I have some thoughts to share on the topic:
1. Homeschool moms worry about missing out on social experiences.
Many parents have concerns about their children missing out on the social parts of a brick-and-mortar school experience. When you think about what those experiences are that you’re afraid of him missing, you’ll discover that there are ways that you can create an experience where the growth opportunity is similar. When my four kids were little, I knew that I wanted to get them out to see things and meet people and enlarge their world. When our local YMCA didn’t offer a program during the school day for them, I asked if they might be willing to start one if I could find a minimum number of children to take part. The program began as a three-fold, two-hour experience with art, gym time, and swim. It continued for years because homeschoolers kept coming out of the woodwork! We are actually still very close friends with several of those families whom we met back when my eldest was only seven. If you can’t find it, instigate it!
2. Homeschool moms worry about regretting the decision down the road.
It’s hard for many parents to not worry about the impact schooling at home will have down the road. Really, you only need to commit to one day, one week, one year at a time. At the end of every school year, reevaluate and determine if this type of education meets the needs of your child. I promise you one thing: You will not break or ruin your child’s education or life by schooling him at home for kindergarten. Rather, you may find that you instill in him a love and joy for discovering new things, learning new skills and trying new tasks. Being there to see it all happen, to witness the lightbulb going on, is an opportunity that you won’t want to miss!
3. Homeschool moms worry about planning for school days.
What will a day look like? You get to decide that. There is no one-size-fits-all day for a home educating family. Does your son do better in the morning? Then school in the morning. Does your son need frequent breaks, or quiet space, or running time between sit down times? You have the ability to allow that. Does he need meals at specific intervals? Make a plan that you think will work based on his internal rhythms and body-clock and try it out. Tweak the plan for the day until you find what works. Remember to add in fun and field trips. Make memories in addition to learning! You won’t regret it!
4. Homeschool moms worry about not being good at it.
Try this: Become good at learning WITH your child! Rather than thinking of yourself as the purveyor of information, try becoming the sharer of fun skills, new stories and adventures in learning. I know it sounds “wild.” but if you learn and experience alongside him, you won’t have a thing to worry about. In may case, I used K12’s solid, award-winning curriculum, so I could lean on that. While he’s learning his letter sounds and math facts and science and history, you will be learning a larger lesson. You’ll be learning about him. That matters. No one…no classroom teacher…no relative…no friend will ever know him better than you or care more about his growth and learning. (That’s no surprise to you, I know!) You have an edge. You matter. YOU are the one who is right to be there with him as he learns and grows. Don’t question it.
After 19 years of working with my own children, and with only one still schooling at home now (the rest are all in college!), I can say that I have no regrets. I was not a perfect parent or perfect home educator…far from it. But what I did do was love my kids and try hard to give them what they needed. If you asked them, you’d find that they have no regrets either.
You can do it. And support can be found amid the many other homeschool moms when you need it.