The idea of homeschooling terrified me. In fact, it took a once-in-a-century global pandemic to convince me to even consider trying it. To me, the concept of homeschooling was so foreign and confusing that it seemed out of the question. Once I began to open myself to the possibility (completely because of circumstance), I began to see the amazingness behind it. In fact, there were so many incorrect assumptions that I had about homeschooling and the community of parents behind it.
Thanks to the pandemic, I suddenly had to make the terrifying decision about what was best for our family. For my kids distance learning just wasn't going to work. So I purchased a curriculum and a Best Teacher Ever mug and got to work. This past six months of homeschooling my own kids (ages 5 and 6 with a newborn on my hip) while my husband worked in the other room has been extremely eye opening.
In so many ways, I am grateful that I was able to try it out. I know for a fact that I would not have if it weren't for the entire world quarantining.
The truth is, I've found that homeschooling your kids is wonderful. Along with teaching your children, the homeschool community provides some wonderful adult relationships that I could've never predicted. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to homeschool my kids and confront a lot of the lies that I believed about homeschooling.
- That I would feel terribly alone
My experience as a stay-at-home mom had been lonely. As an all out extrovert I was expected to adhere to a sleep schedule and entertain a baby all day long. In all honesty, my thought behind that was: why would I extend it? If I homeschool then I'm stuck at home with these kids forever and ever.
The truth is, that just isn't what happened. The second I decided to homeschool was the second that the texts of encouragement, Facebook group invites, and curriculum recommendations came flooding in.
I couldn't believe the amount of community that was ready to welcome me with open arms. So many of these lovely mothers still walk with me as I figure out the best ways to teach my kids how to tackle a new skill.
2. That my kids would become antisocial
Don't tell me that you haven't thought that about homeschooled kids. The truth of the matter is that my kids received just as much, if not more, positive social interactions once we began homeschooling. They connected with their siblings and other friends in safe ways like zoom play dates and whatever else this pandemic has presented as fun (remember when everyone put teddy bears in their windows and we all went on 'bear hunts?).
Even better? Their confidence began to soar. Since they weren't able to blend into a group of 20-30 kids anymore, they were able to shine.
3. That I would be really bad at teaching
The idea of homeschooling your kids is one of the most terrifying thoughts that a parent can have. Think about it: every single thing that this kid learns—or doesn't learn—will be completely on you.
Cue the anxious muscle knots.
Like many other parents, I was unsure of how I could be my child's teacher. Just looking at the curriculum made my stomach turn! Here's the good news: It turns out that every single homeschool parent on the planet went through the exact same thing.
Once I began airing my doubt of being able to teach my children everything important, the homeschool community wrapped its arms around me and cheered me on. Without that constant encouragement, I am not sure I would have been able to even try teaching my own child.
4. That you could just teach whatever you felt like
Okay, so this one is kind of true. With homeschooling, you purchase a curriculum that walks you through the basic subjects then you get to decide the extras (there are so many out there that you can find one for exactly how you want your kids to learn; for us that meant using Good and the Beautiful) . If your kid wants to be a doctor, you can look into anatomy. If they love baking, find some cooking classes.
With homeschooling, you get to uncover what your kid loves and build a foundation in that passion.
Even better, one of the most important aspects of homeschooling is the focus on life skills. More often than not, kids are growing up without the basic life skills of knowing how to properly vacuum or run the dishwasher. What my friends who homeschool their kids taught me is that school is so much more than math and handwriting—it's giving your children the skills to be the best people that they can be.
There are countless lies that I believed about homeschooling; these four just scratch the surface. If it weren't for the community of parents that homeschool, though, I would have never found out the truth for myself. The truth is that homeschooling is a wonderful option for families looking for school alternatives and you'll have the support to back it up. As for my plan to continue homeschooling, I honestly cannot say yes or no. Like so many people, I want to see what the world will look like when the pandemic is over and who we have become.
All I know for sure is that homeschooling, for me, was one positive to come out of this crazy year and I am so grateful that I got to experience it.