Guest post by Jennifer Elia. She is a homeschool consultant, curriculum creator, blogger, and Amazon best seller author, is Founder of Sound Foundations Homeschool which is dedicated to giving homeschool moms the tools they need to thrive in their home education career. Jennifer provides one-on-one consulting, personalized and original curriculum plans, and practical advice for those just beginning their homeschool journey, as well as those who just need a little boost. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children whom she has been educating at home for the past 10 years. When Jennifer isn’t busy researching the best curriculum solutions, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and writing. You can find Jennifer on Facebook and Pinterest.
Out of all the decisions parents make, deciding to homeschool is one of the biggest. It can take years to finally commit. There is fear, anxiety, and often self-doubt. We believe that we want to give our children the best education, but then are hesitant to follow our heart and head to homeschool.
The struggle isn’t so much that it is a risky or socially unacceptable choice. The crux of that fear is swimming against the tide. As much as we believe in personal freedom and independence, we still shy away from being too different. There is also enormous social pressure to prove that homeschooling will work and that you are capable of teaching your child. Here are four tips for conquering your fear of homeschooling and finally taking the leap!
Realize You are already the Expert!
No one else knows your child like you do! You are not only intimately acquainted with him in a way that they rest of the world never will be, but you have been teaching your child for years! In fact, babies begin learning long before birth. You have taught your child how to be part of a family, interact with strangers, play, sing, talk, walk, and eat. You have shown him how to be a good neighbor and instructed him on how to care for animals and nature–without stepping foot into a classroom. Your days are filled with millions of tiny lessons. Some are milestone material, like first steps and potty training, but most go unrecognized. Those are the lessons that shape brains, hearts, and souls. These lessons create capable, productive, and caring adults. They teach your child how to live in the world and also how to learn. If you have taught your child even just one skill, you are completely capable of homeschooling him.
There is No Permanent Record!
Remember the fear of the illustrious permanent record?? I can tell you as a certified teacher that it doesn’t really exist. There are transcripts and personal records, but nothing like the permanent record that struck fear in the hearts of so many young pupils! Every year is a fresh start. Even high school transcripts account for courses that are retaken and weighted grades. Likewise, choosing to homeschool does not have to be forever. Neither does choosing Public School #25, St Mary’s School, or Good Shepherd Academy. We are free to change our minds. This year may be a perfect year to homeschool, perhaps 2022 will be one for public school. There is something to be said for continuity, but no school choice is a 13 year sentence! Do what is best for your family now, not ten years from now. Take it one year at a time.
Schools Don’t Have the Corner on Socialization!
You tell anyone you are thinking of homeschooling and the first questions you get slapped with is “What about socialization? Don’t you want your kids to have friends?” Okay, so friends are important, but why are schools the only place to find them? School is the only time in your life that you will be “socialized” with only people who are the same age, ability, and from the same geographic location as you. The rest of your life is full of a mix of people from all different backgrounds, ages, skill sets, and towns. Can you imagine how strange life would be if you were only allowed to socialize with those who were exactly like you? True socialization happens when we are exposed to all different people. Socialization is not being locked into a segregated box for 8 hours per day, it’s being a part of the world at large and knowing how to interact and appreciate a diverse population. There are more than enough opportunities for socialization in your own family, town, church, and neighborhood. Your child does not need school to learn how to interact with others, in fact school is so much more limiting that homeschool.
No Homeschool Mom is an Island!
There is this pervasive misconception that if you homeschool, then you must teach every single thing to your child–alone–at the kitchen table! Oh, dear, nothing could be further from the truth. Homeschooling is an education lifestyle, not a school choice. You are the manager of your child’s education, not the sole provider. Homeschool moms, and dads, are not the lone teacher out on the prairie with no other person in sight for miles. Instead, think of yourself as the superintendent of your school. You decide what needs to be taught and how it will be done. Many lessons may happen at the kitchen table. However, other may be with tutors, in online classes, through self-directed learning, or at a local co-op. Many private schools and organizations (think museums, aquariums, and historical landmarks) offer courses for homeschoolers. The opportunities are endless, and with Internet access the world is at your fingertips. There is no reason that any homeschool parent would be forced to teach a course that she either doesn’t feel competent to teach or just doesn’t want to teach. There are options, so stop worrying about Calculus and Physics!
What fear is holding you back from homeschooling?
BONUS! Jennifer has a great freebie on her website: It is a guide to discovering the secret to a successful homeschool. Click here to get yours!