The one comment I get all the time is,”I’d like to homeschool my kids but I’m not like you–I wouldn’t have the patience/I’m not organized/I would go crazy being with my kids all day…” and so on.
That’s kind of like saying, “I’d love to have kids but I wouldn’t have the patience/I’m not organized/I would go crazy…” and so forth. I’ve learned over these years of homeschooling that homeschooling is really just an extension of parenting. There is no perfect homeschooling parent personality/family situation as there is no magical formula for great parenting. It comes down to trial and error, commitment, experience, and a desire for something better.
That comment that I get assumes that when I decided to homeschool I already had all of the answers and that we jumped in as a family with no work on my part. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
This is how it really went:
- Homeschooling seemed to offer my children much more than any other educational institution.
- I had to find a way to make it work or I’d be dishonest with myself.
I had a huge list of concerns back then from socialization, (can’t wait to get to that topic in this series!) to having time to myself, to letting go of all of the public school societal “milestones” that we associate so deeply with childhood (first day of school picture with backpack, packing cute school lunches, etc.). And yes, the concerns were really real, but the longer we homeschool, the more I see that these concerns are unfounded, inexperienced concerns from a lifetime of believing the mainstream concept of public schools as the only–and best–option.
I know of a wide variety of parents with extremely different personalities that homeschool. They all have made it work based on their own strengths and weaknesses–those same strengths and weaknesses in their parenting–which add variety and character to their own family’s homeschooling experience.
Here’s an example:
My strengths in my parenting are being organized and creative. When I began homeschooling Caroline, without thought, these two strengths laid a foundation of the flow and character of how we do things in our home. My weaknesses as a parent, on the other hand, are impatience and wanting to control certain situations. What do you know, these are the areas–parallel to my parenting–that I recognize and constantly work on.
There is no ideal personality needed to orchestrate homeschooling in a home. I can’t reiterate it more. If it is what you want for your family you will find the solutions you need.
“There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
In the beginning of our homeschooling journey I was constantly comparing myself. I wasn’t as laid back as this person. I wasn’t as spontaneous as that person. I’d lose my patience by the end of the day unlike this person, and so on. Those first couple of years paralyzed me. All I focused on was what I wasn’t. Many a discouraging day passed during that time of second guessing myself, our decision to homeschool, and if I fit “the mold.”
And then one day I decided to stop wondering if I was cut out for this and focus on me. To trust myself. To only focus on who I was as my children’s mother and let that personality thrive. To be confident in what I could offer.
Within a day I let all of my ideas and excitement of what I wanted and could provide for my children out. I recognized my strengths and realized that those strengths, if allowed, could bless my children far more than sending them to sit behind a desk all day in school. I recognized that my weaknesses were there in plain view and could, little by little, be conquered. And yes, with my particular weaknesses, no matter how enormous they felt to me on certain days, they were part of the whole package deal.
An orchestra requires men with different talents and, within limits, different tastes; if all men insisted upon playing the trombone, orchestral music would be impossible. Social co-operation, in like manner, requires differences of taste and aptitude, which are less likely to exist if all children are exposed to the same influences than if parental differences are allowed to affect them. - Bertrand Russell
I would say to you parents: trust yourselves. Trust that you are unique, incredible individuals with so much to offer your children. You can offer them more with your personality than any random teacher in an overflowing classroom. Trust that your particular personality and style can do amazing things just as your parenting has already done. To those people that assume I’m perfectly patient and, therefore, must homeschool well, I’d say you’ve missed the point (and are incorrect). You, whose blood runs through your child’s veins and whose personality has helped form your child’s, can show your children the world so much more naturally and meaningfully than any other person or institution.
Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction. - Anne Sullivan (Helen Keller’s teacher)
Maybe you’re interested in homeschooling. Or maybe you’re dissatisfied with school. Or maybe you’re totally unsure of what you’ll do when your child is old enough. All I can say is this is your decision and not your school’s. It is your children’s childhood your deciding about and no one else’s. Trust yourself. Trust yourself that you can research and explore for your family what is best, talk about it, try it out, succeed, fail, and in the end, really own it, and possibly, give your child an unbelievable childhood.
“What is most important and valuable about the home as a base for children's growth into the world is not that it is a better school than the schools, but that it isn't a school at all.” - John Holt
I can easily tell you that I’ve changed so much since choosing to homeschool my children. It has refined me in a way that I never thought it would. Why? Because I knew exactly what kind of experience I wanted to have and what I wanted my children to have. From day one I’ve been assessing and reassessing myself, our approach, the order of our home, etc., to make things as smooth and pleasant as possible. It is constantly changing and transforming.
I believe that school makes complete fools of our young men, because they see and hear nothing of ordinary life there. -Petronius (Satyricon)
Trust yourself and watch what unfolds.
a child learns series:
a child learns: the series
the sleepy time gal