First he had a few misconceptions about homeschoolers that we had to work through:
- Would our children be socialized? Ohh yes, he raised the question with the dreaded “s” word! He was worried that our kids would have no friends and be socially awkward. Would they be able to interact with others? Would they have friends? Would they have a life?
I gently reminded him that I was homeschooled and I was still able maintain a full social life. I pointed him to many of my homeschool friends who were homeschooled from Kindergarten through high school. They had friends, knew how to interact with others, and were generally very normal (but exceptionally wonderful!) people. Yes, our kids would be fine I assured him.
- What would other people say about us? He was very worried about how our friends and our families would perceive us as homeschoolers. Of course, my immediate family would be supportive, but would his family? What would our friends think? Would we lose friends over our decision?
Well, there might be some people who didn’t support us. And if they didn’t, that was certainly their choice. But we didn’t need their approval in the decision for what was best for our family. I believed that with time, others would come to see that our homeschool lifestyle wasn’t too extreme and would eventually support (or at least not openly criticize) whether they agreed with our decision or not.
- What would his co-workers think about us? My husband worked in a corporate job (and still does) and I can’t say that there are many homeschool families in his business (although there are a few that we’ve found!). He was worried about how he would explain our homeschool lifestyle and how he would fit in at work.
Well, as Christians there are lots of times when we simply don’t fit in. He had already experienced this during several work parties and functions. I reminded him that while it was sometimes uncomfortable to stand up for his convictions, it was necessary, and he had never regretted his decision. And his co-workers, while they might not understand completely, respected him for his beliefs and decisions. So, yes, he is somewhat of an oddity at his workplace. He’s known as the guy with lots of kids whose wife stays at home and homeschools. While it has been difficult at times, he’s found that most people respect our decision and are impressed with our dedication to homeschooling our kids.
- How would he defend our homeschool decision to others in the face of criticism? He was very worried about how he could explain homeschooling and how he would handle criticism of our decision.
I told him that I felt this would come through time and research. As we learned more about homeschooling and became more confident in the decision ourselves, we would be able to gracefully handle criticism. And while we don’t have to answer every critical comment, it would be wise to do our own research and be prepared. That meant that we would have to deeply examine the reasons behind our choice to homeschool as well as what statistics showed about homeschoolers.
He also had a few worries about what our homeschool lifestyle would look like:
- How would the process actually work? Not having known any other homeschoolers and not knowing much about homeschooling, he couldn’t quite wrap his brain around how this experiment would work. What would our days look like?
Unfortunately, this was a question I couldn’t answer. I was only homeschooled in highschool and I knew that every homeschool family had a different atmosphere. Our homeschool would be uniquely ours and it would be up to us to find the process that worked for our family.
- What was the true financial cost of homeschooling? It was easy to estimate the expenses of public school as we talked to friends who bought yearly supplies. It was fairly simple to estimate the cost of local private schools after evaluating tuition costs. But what would homeschooling cost us?
This question is different to every homeschooling family. Some families have unlimited funds to use on tutors, online classes, a large supply of books, and top of the line supplies and equipment. Other families operate on a very tight budget and manage to give their children an excellent education as well. Where would we fall? We determined that every year would be different and that we would evaluate our budget each fall. I would do my best to research curricula and supplies and find what I felt would be best for our family while still being cost-conscious.
- Could I actually sustain a homeschool life-style on a daily basis? Would I be able to handle the stresses, criticisms, failures, and difficult moments that would surely come? He knew that my Type A personality doesn’t handle change well and is not remotely flexible. Would I be able to overcome my perfectionist nature in order to be a teacher who would accept failures and recover with grace?
This was actually a question I asked myself on a regular basis. Could I actually do this? Would I be able to make it through each day without experiencing extreme frustration both at my kids and at myself? How would I handle times when we failed? How would I handle having to change my plans when things weren’t exactly working well? The only answer I had to this question was, “by the grace of God.” If He has called me; He will equip me. I would just have to humble myself enough to recognize that I needed God’s help and His grace to make our homeschool a successful reality.
- Were we planning to homeschool long-term or was this a short-term investment? My husband had a difficult time seeing the “big picture” of homeschooling and what our lives would look like year by year. He wondered if this homeschool thing was a passing desire that would wane over time, or if I was serious about investing in homeschooling for the long-haul. If we changed our plans down the road to include other school options, how would our kids adjust and how would our plans change?
I took a deep breath and told him that I was planning to homeschool until we reached the end of the road – the highschool graduation (unless of course, God showed us otherwise). Homeschooling was on my heart and my mind, and I didn’t see it as something fleeting or short-term. I planned to begin with preschool and finish with children who were prepared for college or careers. I felt that homeschooling was the best option for our family and it was the only schooling option I wanted to consider.
Come back tomorrow to read about our official Start Date for our homeschool adventure!