Listen, I realize there is a sudden influx of parents that have decided homeschooling is for them. But is it really? Are you ready to have your life revolve around your child 24/7? And I do mean literally. Not the literally that most tend to use….people do not have their heads literally explode and then still be able to say, “My head literally exploded”…can someone PLEASE educate the world on this? Am I the only one who is infuriated by the misuse of literally, I mean, and your boy/girl? If you do homeschool, this should be taught early, PLEASE!
Okay, back to the topic at hand, why homeschooling is not for everyone. I had my daughter in 2004. Since we brought her home from the hospital, she has spent every day with us but for one over-night stay in the hospital as an infant for surgery. That is 14 years with me, every day. Every….single….day. The longest she was not with me was once when my Aunt forced my husband and I to take a break and go to a mall while she watched our daughter amidst our family vacation. We spent roughly 3 hours apart. There are no baby sitters here, no friends watching her as I run to the store, none of that mess. Now, this is not required of a homeschooling family; however, I want to paint that picture for you. Does it sound extreme? Maybe you are not the type of family who would enjoy socializing with other homeschool families. Socializing is imperative. You do not know everything, you cannot pretend you do, and you cannot culturize your child/children all by yourself. If you think you can, do NOT homeschool. That is essentially placing your child in a prison, okay? So you must fully be prepared to comingle with other families. Accept you may actually need others to help your child in some subjects too. By others, I do NOT mean the internet. I mean actual living and breathing people. Homeschooling is not helicopter parenting.
Your child should go outside, each and every single day. The sun gives vitamin D. Splash sunblock on and get outside and PLAY. Exercise, run, jump. Video games, computers, tablets, and cellphones are NOT physical education. No homeschool child should ever be obese. EVER! Mind you, I realize there are children with health issues that cause obesity; I certainly am not including those children.
Expose your child to all children, not just homeschooled children. Why? Because it develops a healthy immune system. Kids get sick, they are supposed to. I hate it every time my daughter is sick; I go full throttle into PTSD mode because of her tumultuous birth and entry into this world. However, I will not limit her interaction with others because of MY worries. Remember, it is your child’s life. If you had a horrible childhood, do not assume your child will. Locking them up and over sheltering them will ensure they do, though.
You must first be educated yourself before attempting to educate. If I see one more homeschool parent post uneducated material, I may scream. I am constantly having to learn and relearn as a homeschool parent. There are many things my daughter has taught me. You do not know it all, I do not care what age your child is, you will miss something; make sure you educate yourself. There is a reason why teachers work so hard and have degrees. If you did not graduate, perhaps leave education up to those who have, or at the very least get more education under your belt before attempting to become a homeschool teacher.
I know nothing, and being a homeschool Mom has taught me that in a glorious fashion. I learn each and every day. Perhaps the biggest struggle is realizing that now all of my time revolves around ensuring my little girl is receiving the best education possible. Being a homeschool parent is (and should be) riddled with doubts and fears that you are not doing enough. If you are not doubting and fearing, then rest assured, you are failing. Your child should thrive with their education, regardless of any learning disabilities they may have. Every millisecond of each and every day is an opportunity to learn. You must learn to incorporate the small daily activities into lessons. The arts and academia go hand in hand. If you have zero creativity, you really should invest in lessons elsewhere. Whether it be dance, karate, art, or music, every child needs the arts. It has been proven that children who have the arts included within their education learn better. This starts the day they are born. Read and sing to them. Play music. When they are old enough, dance with them.
If you need alone time, perhaps homeschooling is NOT for you. Alone time will come on play dates, which means you will be with other parents. Or if you have your child enrolled in something like dance lessons, then you will have that free time. VBS provides a break if you go that route as well. Homeschool burnout is real. I have seen it, the disheveled Mom in search of relief. Don’t let it happen to you. Be prepared. I have also seen those Moms who decided halfway through that it isn’t for them and they then put their child (with zero social integration) into public school. I call it the abandoned puppy. Poor children always look like lost abandoned puppies. If you are not in it for the long haul, it is not a wise idea. It will confuse a young developing mind. Young minds thrive on consistency.
Financially speaking, homeschool is NOT cheap. You cannot simply print free work sheets and expect your child to learn. It does not work that way. Resources are extremely expensive. If you do not have an extra 1-3k per year to spend on resources, do NOT homeschool.
If you are incapable of keeping a regimented schedule, please do not homeschool. I understand this decision is always made out of the love for our children. But you must think logically. There is a reason why they say, “It takes a village.”
Have a plan. Have a long term plan and long term goals and STICK TO THEM. Mine was to ensure as long as my daughter was actively learning I would homeschool. Through the grace of God, she has excelled and learned. Now, as a teenager, she is going through those rough hormonal times. I will tell you first hand, this is NOT for the feint of heart. It will beat you up and knock you down and make you question your entire existence. If that is not for you, do NOT homeschool.
If it is for you, you shall be rewarded with the greatest gift God has given you: the gift of being a parent and an educator to your child. Each child is incredible and excels at his or her own pace. Your first test will be to realize your child’s pace and never ever place them in competition with anyone else. After all, aren’t you keeping them from that atmosphere in the first place? Remember that your child is a unique individual; they are not YOU. They will have their own identities, desires, and opinions. Help them with their passions and they will thrive. Never force them into your ideal mold.