“I could never homeschool.”
I said it. And now I hear it 98% of the time when I share that we’ve chosen the path of home education for our family. I know that prior to my decision, there were a lot of things I believed about homeschool that I now know were not accurate. You know, common misconceptions, stereotypes and assumptions about homeschooling families based on literally one family I knew, lots of myths. Because naturally, we fear what we don’t know, right?
I have to be honest and tell you that even when I did surrender to the fact that maybe we were being led to homeschool and my icy heart towards it began to thaw enough to give it a try, I still wasn’t sold at that point. I stepped into something and had no clue really what I was doing or how it was supposed to work, so for the first three months, I still questioned whether or not it was right. Now that we are two years in and still making changes, I have learned so much, grown so much, stand confident in our decision, and can’t imagine doing anything but home education for our family.
Maybe you are like me and say you could never homeschool (just know God laughs at the word “never”), maybe you’ve thought about it as an option but still aren’t sold, maybe you’re a homeschooling pro and will find this funny, maybe you really will never do it and you’re simply fascinated by the fact that anyone would actually choose this. No matter where you’re at, I want to share with you Five Myths About Homeschooling.
- You have to be a formally educated teacher in order to homeschool. First off, before I start getting messages, this is not a knock on teachers. I love that you love what you do and have dedicated your time and gifting and passion to serve in such an extraordinary way. But you don’t have to have a degree or formal education in order to teach your children. Teaching is one of my gifts, I just didn’t get my degree in it because that’s not what I chose for my profession. (Fun fact: I started off as an elementary education major. One class in I was like…nope.) Last time I checked, parents are teaching their children every day. We teach them to walk, to talk, how to use the potty, to share, to be kind. We teach them good habits and we also teach them our bad ones, because we are their natural, built-in teachers from day one, constantly modeling for them. When my husband asked me to consider homeschooling, I was angry at first until I thought about the fact that I had already taught our son a considerable amount without him every going to any kind of preschool. Kids are natural learners, parents are natural teachers. The thing about homeschooling is just finding the right method and curriculum that works best for all of you.
- Homeschool is like public school, just at home. Let me tell you why those first three months of me homeschooling was so miserable: Because I was trying to actually recreate a preschool environment at home. I was trying to do “circle time” activities, and crafts, and cute little worksheets for a formalized amount of time…and we both hated it. The great thing about homeschooling is you’re only worried about your kid(s), and you get to tackle things and teach them the way they best learn. Some people choose to follow a typical school year calendar, we choose to school year-round so that we actually have more free time and aren’t going over every subject every day. It’s too much for both of us. Now when I say we homeschool, I often have to tell people I do not sit there and teach my child for eight hours! If that were the case, then yeah I’d be sending him to public school. No no, in another blog I’ll do a little “day in the life,” but we literally do school for maybe an hour total each day. And it’s not even all in one sitting! And yet, he’s right on track, if not ahead, of his peers. If you’re going to homeschool, one of the biggest things for me was letting go of the way I was educated and the socially accepted Western mindset of education. There is no “one size fits all” education. It’s ok to be different, and homeschooling is! I personally find it freeing.
- Homeschoolers are socially awkward/don’t get socialized. Friends, I hang my head because this was my number one, biggest judgement pre-homeschooling. I made so much fun of homeschoolers, and if someone was socially awkward and come to find out they were homeschooled, in my mind I would think well, that explains it. Face palm. So judgmental. Here’s the deal: No matter what, socialization is what you make it. Are there homeschooling families out there who are hermits and only socialize with their own family or other homeschooling families in their bubble? For sure. But I think the question we need to be asking ourselves is actually, what defines words like “normal” or “socially awkward,” and what constitutes socialization for you? Aside from that, what if we made the assumption that all public school kids were jerks? For us personally, it is extremely high in our values that our son and all of our children are able to interact and befriend a diverse amount of people. People who don’t look like them, act like them, or even hold the same values as them. Because that is the real world. And that is what you make it. Your kid can 100% be in a typical school setting and be around a classroom full of peers, year after year, who look like them, act like them, think like them, so as far as I’m concerned, it can totally go both ways. One thing I have truly loved about homeschool is that Kai is learning to interact with all different ages – kids his age, kids younger, kids older. Kids who are neuro-typical, kids who are not. Kids who have disabilities and kids who do not. Kids who look like him, and kids who do not. It is our choice based on our values, that we live in a diverse neighborhood, go to a diverse church, have a diverse group of friends ourselves as adults, take him to a gym where he is interacting with so many different kids and adults from literally all over the world. It is what you, mom and dad, make it. Kai is an extrovert. We have multiple playdates a week, he’s at gym five days a week, we have a community homeschool day, church once a week, he socializes at the park, grocery store. We see people every day – and by Saturday, this introvert is peopled out!
- Homeschooling families aren’t busy. Oh friends, the comments I’ve gotten, like “Well, every day is summer for you!” or “Well, easy when you have so much free time!” I have been asked to do things and serve in certain ways because it is assumed that since I stay at home and homeschool, then I must have all the time in the world. Let me be clear, aside from being with my kiddo every day, the thing I like most about homeschooling is the freedom we have with our time, but freedom with time is not the same thing as “free time.” I love that we get to be in control of our time. No one is telling us we have to school for a certain amount of time, that we only get vacations in certain times of the year, that we do have a level of spontaneity during certain seasons with our time. But…we’re still busy. We are trying to keep up with all the housework, cook dinner, run errands, go to appointments, take our kids to activities, just like you. We just do it with our kids home. Some of us work from home, adding another layer of there never being an off switch. I learned very quickly that you can just as easily, if not more, overfill your schedule as a homeschool family trying to do all the things because there is just that societal pressure that we should be doing something at all times. In two years of doing this, there are still seasons where I have clearly over-scheduled, and had to learn the hard way. Just because I can say yes, doesn’t mean I should say yes. If I don’t manage our time, our time will manage us, which leads to us losing that freedom with our time that we love so much.
- We’re Super-Moms. Friends, we’re all taking this year by year, season by season, figuring it out along the way, just like you. We are not greater or better because we chose home education. We don’t have enhanced DNA to make us more disciplined or “do it all.” We just simply chose something different, and it’s not wrong, or better, it is just another way. Some days are crazy and we’re in the Chick-Fil-A line right behind you hoping that Jesus and an eight-count grilled nuggets meal will get us through the day. Some days we are questioning whether we are doing anything right. At the end of the day, we are all making the best choices we can to best fit our families needs, and that’s all any of us can do.
I hope this debunked some myths, made you laugh a little bit, and realize we’re all wading through motherhood together.