In Which You Can
Maybe you don’t want to. Maybe you don’t think you are self-disciplined enough. Maybe you’re focused on your career. Maybe you have a heart for pouring into your community by involving your family in the local school system. Maybe you like the idea of partnering with other people. Maybe you really and truly believe that a public-school education is the best decision for your child. I’m not judging. You (and your spouse) are the only person who can weigh all the pros and cons that go into deciding your children’s educational journey. But please, oh please, do not dismiss homeschooling because you think you can’t do it.
Let me say this another way. If any part of you thinks homeschooling might be a good option, you can. You are capable. You are cut out for this. If you want to be.
I know there’s a stigma attached to the idea of homeschool. I understand that going against the grain is a little scary. I get that your kids are exhausting (mine are too!). I realize you don’t have a degree in education and you can’t remember kindergarten math so you can’t possibly be qualified to teach. Or maybe you do have a degree in education and you’re not worried about the school part, just all the non-educational experiences your child will miss if you keep them home. Maybe your spouse isn’t supportive. There are a lot of things to think about. That’s okay. I still say, if there is any part of you that wants to, you can.
Like anything worth doing, homeschooling is hard and awesome and overwhelming and so fulfilling. The spectrum of styles (Charlotte Mason, tutoring, cyber, classical, unschooling…), the resources available (online forums, co-ops, conventions…), the vast amount of curriculum, the wide range of customization…there is an option out there for you. Unlike standard education options (which seem to be less and less standard everyday), homeschool is not one size fits all. It’s about figuring out what works for your family. What makes your mama heart sing? What inspires your kids and encourages them to fall in love with learning? No, homeschool does not guarantee that they’re going to joyfully open their books every time your ring your school bell, or put your teacher hat on, or whatever. Life is life. Even the best of us can get bogged down in the routine – whatever the details look like! But if you can lay down at night with the peace that you have made the best choice for your family, all will be well. You’ll figure out which math curriculum engages your child without forcing you to pull out your hair. You’ll learn which times of the day are better for learning and which are better for free play. You’ll discover exactly how much mess you can live with before things become unbearable. You’ll adapt and balance and learn alongside your kids all while shaping the story that is part of their identity for the rest of their lives. And every once in a while, you’ll have that magical day where everyone curls up on the couch with a favorite book (in their jammies!) while the rain comes down outside and you sip a cup of coffee and sigh with utter contentment.
Maybe you don’t want to homeschool. That’s okay. Be free. Make the decision that is best for your family. Just know that if you want to, you can.