"TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN THESE
5 SKILLS COMPENSATES FOR THE DISADVANTAGES OF HOMESCHOOLING"
There. I said it.
Homeschooling has its disadvantages.
Pondering on my 18 years of homeschooling, I realize I've made some assumptions that haven't served me well.
I have seven (yes, 7) children ranging in ages 4 to 18 (as of 2020).
I consider my homeschooling career to have begun before my oldest daughter was adopted.
While still a newlywed, I started reading books about education, made the decision to homeschool, and created Glenn Doman style flash cards so I could 'teach my baby to read'.
Let's just say I was 'Betty Believer' and thought that homeschooling itself was the end-all-and-be-all answer to the problems in education...
...including peer pressure and hate of math, both of which I experienced at school...
...and would be the vehicle for giving my children the 'best education possible'.
I envisioned my children learning to read at three. They would also read Latin and speak Spanish and French.
They would diagram sentences and solve complex equations and read classic literature and then write dissertation style essays.
Let's not forget that they would also be articulate, engaging, confident, and competent at anything from debate and archery to piano and French cooking.
All I had to do to make this dream come true was not send my children to school and to teach them from home instead.
Simple enough. That's all it would take, right?
After more than a decade of homeschooling I have become a little more sagacious.
We'll call this version of me 'Sagacious Sally'.
I still choose to homeschool to give my kids the 'best education possible'... but I realistically know exactly what that looks like for each child -- and what it doesn't look like.
I'm wise enough (hence the 'sagacious') to know the advantages -- as well as disadvantages -- that homeschooling offers.
I also know that homeschooling as such means a LOT more work to make that 'best education' possible.
Partly because I'm not only 'mom' but now 'teacher', 'principle', 'counselor' and many other roles as well... times the number of many children I have and the subjects that are being taught.
For Sally, time at home with her children means (hopefully) more influence from parents and (hopefully) better sibling relationships, and (hopefully) less peer pressure.
It also means a lack of exposure to outside mentors, coaches, and positive peer groups who challenge and inspire students to push their limits and try new things in a way mom never could.
While Betty believes that homeschooling can make up for any deficits in parenting or family culture...
Sally realizes that it doesn't...
In fact, she knows that any strengths and/or flaws in parenting are only going to be magnified by homeschooling...
...not overcome or eliminated simply because the family is 'home together'.
Sally knows that if you are:
organized or disorganized
loosey-goosey or structured
harsh or loving
confident or anxious
overbearing or permissive
over solicitous or overly firm...
...homeschooling makes each of those characteristics bigger, for better or for worse.
If her parenting skills are strong, it will be evident. If they are lacking, it will be painfully evident.
The same is true of her conflict resolution, negotiation, and diplomacy skills. They will soon (and often) be put to the test.
The transformation from 'Betty' to 'Sally' wasn't easy.
It was filled with doubts and fears.
Tears and triumphs.
It was my own 'hero's journey'...
But one that ultimately helped me create an at home education that is freaking awesome.
It looks something like this:
skills development, emotional and mental mastery, positive habit development,
that it takes a lot of hard work, strategy, and daily intention and focus.
Homeschooling is definitely the solution to her children's behavior problems, learning problems (including a hate-of-learning), and most every other problem they're facing as a family.
Betty knows that homeschooling will give her children the 'best education possible' -- although she's not quite sure what that means to her -- but she firmly believes that all you have to do is teach your kids from home and they will get the best education possible.
First, all she needs to do is find the right curriculum -- which is why she spends many hours every week researching new curriculum options and posting in Facebook groups asking for recommendations on math, reading, language arts, science, and history...
(Because the last curriculum just 'didn't work' for her child and so doing school every day became a battle.)
Oh, she also has to find curriculum that is free or cheap, since she's on a budget.
Betty assumes that her children will learn all the skills necessary from being at home, that children schooled in other ways learn from being at school, or taking classes online.
Betty doesn't realize that some skills aren't picked up automatically and that they need to be consciously taught.
She feels that homeschooling in general is so 'good' that it will make up for any deficits that may be missing -- including deficits in parenting, social skills, lack of experience and exposure, and family culture.
It doesn’t. Which seems so wrong, since a homeschooling mother puts in far more work in her daily life than most other moms. In fact, one thing I’ve come to see is that homeschooling magnifies whatever your parenting strengths and flaws are.
I have seen many home educated children over the years who brought trouble to their families as they grew, due to selfishness, irresponsibility, poor behavior, and/or lack of good character training - despite the wonderful education they received in their home. Many parents assume because their children are receiving excellent education at home and are bypassing the garbage taught in public school and the public school environment, that they are immune to some of the above mentioned problems, and then are unpleasantly surprised - and I’ve seen myself fall a bit into these assumptions too. I’ve realized that homeschooling is just more parenting. And how you parent is how you homeschool - and simply doing school in one’s home in and of itself does not necessarily produce the children we desire.