This post may contain affiliate links.
So far, though, the idea of ever homeschooling my own children wasn’t even an option, but that was about to change. The first time I considered the idea was while Preacher Man was in preaching school. I met and fell in love with two families who homeschooled while we were there. They had the most wonderful children, kind, respectful, godly, and mature. There was such a notable difference between these families and their children than what I’d seen during my years in the public school. A really great difference. I remarked to Preacher Man that if our children turned out half as well as these children I would be the most proud of mothers. So he says, “Well, let’s homeschool our children.” Hmmmm…
1. This is not a life commitment. Just because you decide to try homeschooling, it doesn’t mean that you will be forced to homeschool your children from now on. If you realize after a year, that it is just not working out, then you can put them back in public or private school. The powers that be will let you do that, I promise. Many times I think that people don’t try homeschooling because they get too caught up in the future. They worry about teaching Johnny algebra in 8th grade when he’s only 6 years old. They think that if he misses one year of school because they try homeschooling then he will be behind forever and wind up working at McDonald’s for the rest of his life (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). None of this is true. You can homeschool just for elementary and then put them back in for high school, or you can homeschool until they graduate. If homeschooling doesn’t work out, I promise your child will be fine. There are all levels of abilities in a classroom, so he won’t be behind.
2. But do give an adjustment period. Turning your family into a homeschooling family takes some adjustment, even if this is what you want. It took until the end of Kindergarten until I really felt that we were starting to get this homeschool thing working for us. It took almost two years! So while homeschooling isn’t a life commitment, don’t quit too soon either.
3. You will not ruin your child. Unless you do absolutely nothing with your children and call it homeschooling, I promise that they will learn something. It doesn’t take hours upon hours to teach your children the three R’s, especially when they are young. The general rule of thumb is 1 hour for each grade level, maxing out at around 6 hours. That means if you spend 1 hour teaching your first grader basic math, phonics, and handwriting, you have done a great job that day. Anything else you get added in will be bonus! In the public school, no one gets 1 hour of individualized, one-on-one instruction in math, reading, and writing, so you are already ahead of the game.
4. And they will have friends. Ahh, socialization. The worry of homeschooling parents everywhere: my kids won’t have any friends, they will be socially awkward, they won’t know how to act around other children. Here’s the truth: It’s true we’ve all known children like this, but guess what? They weren’t all homeschooled. I knew lots of loners and weird kids in public school, but nobody blamed their behavior on the public school system. It’s also true that if you homeschool, you can stay home so much that your children never get out, but you would have to really make the effort. In one week my children attend three church services, dance practice, library time, and homeschool co-op. Not to mention when they play seasonal sports such as soccer, softball, and basketball. We are socialized to the max. In fact, there is only one night a week (other than the weekends), when we are all home together in the evenings!
5. You will have bad days. I know that as you get ready to begin homeschooling, you envision your children sitting engrossed around your feet as you read to them from Shakespeare, then you will make a craft, practice writing sonnets, and work on your science fair project. They will be excited and interested in everything you teach them. They will eagerly begin each day with excited pleas of, “What do we get to learn about today, you goddess of knowledge that we call mother?” Okay, maybe that was just my homeschool dream, but the truth is that homeschooling is work, hard work. There are lots of days when your children will not want to do school. There are lots of days when you don’t want to do school. There will be tears, temper tantrums, and complete meltdowns (and that’s just you!). You might think that you are patient, loving, kind, self-controlled, and any other fruit of the Spirit you can think of…until you start homeschooling. Then you realize how far you and your children have to go in these areas!
6. But you will have good days, and even amazing days! Now that we’ve gotten the scary, reality stuff out of the way, you also need to realize the joy that homeschooling brings. I have taught one child to read (quite well, if I do say so myself!) and am working on teaching kid number two. There is nothing like seeing their eyes light up when they sound out their first word, read their first sentence, and finish their first chapter book. It’s wonderful to watch them get so involved in their science experiment or art project that they forget they are even doing school. It’s humbling when you are studying the Bible with them and they say things that convict you in your walk with the Lord. It’s encouraging when your child pushes through a lesson in math that is difficult for them because you were there reminding them that they could do it. It’s these days that make it all worthwhile.