One Mom’s Journey to Start Homeschooling
Have you ever been to a party and met someone and thought to yourself, “They were definitely homeschooled!”Homeschooling defiantly had a reputation in the past, and not always a pleasant one. When I was growing up, my mom was a teacher. I loved back-to-school time. I remember going shopping at the educational supply store with my mom and helping her get her classroom ready. My favorite part was helping design the bulletin boards and laminating everything. And then there was the smell of new school supplies and the excitement of shopping for new clothes and shoes. Back-to-school time was right up there with Christmas for me.
This article is written by Jess Robertson
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I would even play school at home with my younger brother and sister. We would set up a classroom in my bedroom and give them assignments that I would grade. For awhile, I definitely wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
As I got older, the excitement faded and the drama began. Oh the drama. I begged my parents to homeschool me, because I couldn’t handle the stress. They refused. I often pretended to be sick just to avoid going to school. Needless to say, I did not win the award for perfect attendance. But I survived. We all do, right? 🙂
[Read: Back to School – How to Help the Whole Family Adjust]
Idea to Start Homeschooling
Flash forward to several years later when my husband mentioned loving the idea to start homeschooling our future kids. I have to admit I loved it at the time, too. After all, it was something I always wanted for myself.
Then, I met my child. If it’s possible, he’s more strong-willed and stubborn than I am. He won’t let me teach him how to tie his shoes let alone teach him how to read. Not to mention, I work from home. And then there’s the famous homeschool stigma…will my child be a social weirdo?
So, I’ve struggled with this decision big time. And I’ve pushed back on the idea for a while now. It took me some time to figure out why I was fighting it so hard, but I finally did.
It all comes down to fear.
Identifying the Fear
I’m afraid to start homeschooling you guys. Afraid of failing my son by not being able to teach him what he needs to know. Afraid he’s going to drive me crazy. I’m afraid he’s going to be a social outcast. I’m afraid he’s going to hate me (I had my mom as a teacher my 5th grade year, and it was not my favorite). So, these thoughts fill my mind and scare the crap out of me.
But as palpable as that fear is, I’m also concerned. I’m concerned about our future generations. And there are so many areas that concern me…from the food supply to the environment. It’s exhausting and overwhelming sometimes. While I may feel helpless in many of these areas, my children’s education is one area I CAN influence.
And this fear transforms into empowerment.
Reality of Homeschooling
Like it or not, we are all teachers. Our kids are always learning from us: the good, the bad and the ugly. Just the other day, I was driving & a car started crossing into my lane as we were making a left hand turn. I yelled “Stay in your lane!” & without missing a beat, my 5-year old decided to finish my sentence by adding “Jackass!” #momfail
But in all seriousness, I do feel like our school systems as a whole are failing our kids. This isn’t about whether or not you’re in a good school district. This is about the fact that a majority of our schools are still forcing our kids to sit in a classroom most of the day and do homework most of the evening. Beginning at 5 years old. It’s ridiculous.
According to a recent article in Business Insider, “…the Department of Education reveals homeschooling has grown by 61.8% over the last 10 years to the point where two million kids — 4% of the total youth population — now learn from the comfort of their own home. Contrary to the belief that homeschooling produces anti-social outcasts, the truth is that some of the most high-achieving, well-adjusted students are poring over math problems at their kitchen table, not a desk in a classroom. According to leading pedagogical research, at-home instruction may just be the most relevant, responsible, and effective way to educate children in the 21st century.” (link: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-kids-should-get-homeschooled-2016-8)
I continue to read article after article about the amount of stress on our kids these days. And for what? I absolutely love the way my 5 year old’s mind works. He’s a little engineer. He loves learning about how things work. From his toys to elevators. He asks a LOT of questions. He takes things apart just to learn how they work and puts them back together.
You know what he doesn’t like doing? Worksheets. He’s a very hands-on learner, so I’ve worried about him being able to get what he needs from a traditional classroom setting. I love the idea of being able to follow his lead and blend different learning styles and philosophies. Most importantly, I love the idea of him always being in love with learning!
[Read: Teaching Kids About Friendship]
Committing to Start Homeschooling
So, we’re giving this homeschool thing a shot! As my house fills up with curriculum and supplies, I wonder where it’s all going to go. But I’m taking it a day at a time. I love adventure and this is one more journey along the way.
Once you have decided to homeschool your child, the next step would be to find the best curriculum for their age or grade. After that comes figuring out the schedule. The great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility. Plus, learning is not limited to worksheets and workbooks inside the home. You can even extend learning to the outside world. Even simple walks can become a learning opportunity. To ensure homeschooling is enjoyable and not stressful, come up with a family-centered flexible homeschool schedule. It will allow your whole family to bond while ensuring that you, the parent, can do what you need to do. And all the while, your child or children continue learning.
If you’re considering homeschooling your little ones, here are a few of my favorite resources so far:
- Check out Brighterly, an online math tutoring platform that offers a wide range of educational resources, curriculum ideas, and interactive learning tools to support homeschooling families: Brighterly.com
- Take this quiz to learn which homeschool philosophy fits you and your child best: eclectic-homeschool.com/homeschool-philosophies-quiz
- Research your homeschool options. I’m in California and we have 4 options available to us, but I’m sure these will vary based on your location: californiahomeschool.net/how-to-homeschool/legal-options
- Kristi’s site has been tremendously helpful with learning how to organize everything: kristiclover.com
- Most importantly, find a support system! I started asking around and learned that we have an amazing community of homeschoolers right in our own backyard. I joined their Facebook group, and I’m so thankful for this resource.
Getting Ready for Homeschool
For more on this topic, check out the full Back To School collection
Featured Contributor: Jess Robertson
Jess lives in Redlands, CA with her hubby and two boys. She is the owner of Honest Mama, which was born out of the desire to connect with mamas everywhere. You can follow her crazy and beautiful journey through motherhood on Instagram: @honestmama.co