Monday, July 9, 2012

Homeschool? I Could Never Do That.

"I could never do that."

This is the single most common statement made to me by other parents when they hear that we homeschool.  It always makes me smile.

In fact, I made the same statement myself (many times) in the years before we became crazy homeschoolers ourselves.

I am going to tell you something today that you may not want to hear.  You may not be ready to hear it just yet.  You may, in fact, be avoiding hearing it.  I know all of those things were true for me when my homeschooling friend finally said to me "Yes, you can."

You totally, completely and absolutely could do this.  This homeschooling thing? Yes.  You could do it.

I can hear what you are saying to me.

I don't have time!  My child and I butt heads over everything!  I don't have time!  My husband/wife won't want to!  I'm not qualified!  I don't have time!  I don't really even like kids!  I have no teaching experience! And I don't have time!

and then we come to the root of your struggles:

*whispering now* How will I be sure they are learning enough? Learning the right things? What will other people think of them, of me? Will we turn into one of those weird, awkward homeschooling families I've heard about?  I don't know anything about homeschooling or anyone (well, other than you) who homeschools...

And worst of all, what you can't even bring yourself to say out loud:

What if I ruin my child? 

I'm going to tell you what my friend told me, when I finally couldn't lie to myself anymore about my goals and desires for my children, about their needs and abilities, about homeschooling and what it meant.

1) Homeschooling is a completely reversible decision.  If it doesn't work out, you can always go back.
2) You know, understand and love your child better than any professional educator ever could.
3) Homeschoolers are everywhere. And their kids are awesome.
4) There is help and support available (everywhere!) for new homeschoolers trying to navigate the learning curve.

And worst of all, what I couldn't even bring myself to say out loud:

5) What if institutional education ruins your child?

None of the above items means that I think everyone should be homeschooling their children, nor does it mean that institutional school is bad for every child.  It doesn't mean that homeschooling would be best for every family, or for your family.  But if you are reading this, if you are on the internet exploring homeschooling, if you are struggling with what might be the best fit for your children, this may be just what you need to face.  You certainly could do it.  Does it mean that you should or will?  Only you can answer that.

But you certainly could.  If I can, anyone (including you!) can do it as well.

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