So many people think they can define what homeschooling is. Let’s be honest, most people have some negative stereotypes associated with homeschoolers, either that or they have very unrealistic expectations. Some of us don’t fit into any specific category and we have forged our own path. Some of us soldier on in our journey because we believe that this is the best decision for our family. We know what homeschooling is to us. You have your ideas of what homeschooling looks like to you. We might not paint the same picture of the homeschool life. But I hope we can agree on a few things that homeschooling is not.
Homeschooling is not a protest against the common core or the sub par school system. Before you start to disagree, hear me out. I don’t think common core is a good thing. It’s a set of standards with developmentally inappropriate expectations engineered by a host of bureaucrats with no teaching experience designed to force all of our children to learn the same concepts on the timetable of someone who is not a teaching professional. Good idea it is not, and I am firmly against it.
However, you should not homeschool in an act of defiance or protest.
Homeschooling should be a decision based on prayerful consideration for all of the benefits it will bring to your family. It should be about putting your family first, promoting values and character, and providing a solid, well-rounded education. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly or a decision to be made rashly.
Homeschooling is a life-altering choice to go radically against the grain and sacrifice your time to learn and grow alongside your children. Your motivation for homeschooling matters on those days that you feel like throwing in the towel. So, don’t homeschool in defiance; homeschool for what it can bring to your family and discover what homeschooling means to your family.
Homeschooling is not a method whereby children educate themselves and learn through self-teaching.
No I don’t believe in radical unschooling. While much learning can and should be organic and natural, sometimes I have to step up and give direction, teach a lesson, or provide structure and oversight. There is no curriculum that requires little parental-involvement if you are expecting solid educational outcomes. Sorry! There is not easy way out. You can’t put your child in front of a computer and enjoy some screen time for yourself.
Homeschooling is taking responsibility for your child’s education – both academic, social, and emotional. You have the wonderful privilege of choosing materials that suit your family, your children’s learning styles, and your teaching needs. But you are the most important component of your homeschool. You’re the teacher, the counselor, the janitor, the lunch lady, the nurse, the curriculum development team, and you are on the school board. Homeschooling will require much of your time and plenty of your undivided attention.
Homeschooling is not the sure fire way to turn out a wonderfully brilliant scholarly genius who is well-mannered, polite, and generally compliant.
Kids are little people who may resemble you in some ways but they will each prove to be very unique. There is no formula for perfect parenting or exceptional homeschooling. Some kids will be quite average. Others will be struggling learners. A few will be academic stand outs. Your children might have times of rebellion, they might be difficult to live with, and they will disappoint you if you think you have their lives neatly mapped out for them.
Homeschooling is not the recipe for success as you might define it for your children. Homeschooling is a wonderful way to have the time invested in your children to fully understand their hearts, hopes, dreams, and talents. In this way you can support, encourage, and cheer for them.
Of course, this is a short list. There are many things that homeschooling is not. But it’s best to focus on what homeschooling is. Homeschooling is a courageous choice; it’s a self-sacrificing choice. It’s a time commitment, an education for the teacher, a learning experience, a growing process, a challenge, a grand experiment, a calling, and a close knit bond between parent and child as they struggle, overcome, and achieve together.