Homeschooling: 5 Key Questions Answered
As a homeschool mom for over 7 years, I love to talk about it! And like most moms, I love to talk about my children. When I meet someone new, I usually mention that we homeschool. Homeschooling remains a mystery and people are very curious about it. Many are considering taking on teaching their children at home and want to know what it’s all about. When someone finds out we’re a homeschool family, there are five questions that everyone wants to know:
#1 Why Do We Homeschool?
We decided to homeschool when my oldest son had finished 5th grade and about to enter middle school. As a copy mom for my three boys’ classes, I witnessed methods of teaching and discipline that I didn’t agree with. Some days my 5th grader’s class wouldn’t be allowed to go out for recess because one student failed to finish their work. Or there was the time my kindergartner had to sit at the silent lunch table for running to the bathroom (because he was only 5 and really had to go)! My 3rd grader was reprimanded by the principal for meeting his brother at his classroom and walking him to the bus in the afternoon (per his teacher’s orders). I wanted my boys to learn from fun and encouragement and not from negative reinforcement. I felt I could do better…
#2 Is It Hard Having Your Kids At Home All Day?
Most moms I talk to say, “I would go crazy if my kids were home all day!” And…well….yes, most days I do feel a little crazy! My mom had me and my three older brothers and has told me countless times that when we were kids she couldn’t wait for us to head out the door to school! As a homeschool mom, you do give up your spare time that could be used for shopping or cleaning (haha). You sometimes have to give up your quiet time that could be spent reading or taking an afternoon nap.
As we’ve just finished our 7th year of homeschooling, I look back on all the minutes, hours, days that I’ve spent with my boys and seriously, I wouldn’t trade any of it for free time for me. My oldest just graduated last week, and I’m already dreading when he will leave us for college in the Fall.
#3 Do Your Kids Get Enough Socialization?
Uh yes…too much socialization most of the time! My boys are very involved in our church youth group where they meet every Tuesday and Wednesday, homeschool co-op classes and drama productions. They also meet up with friends at bowling, Tae Kwon Do, Chic-Fil-A (work), co-op field trips, volunteering, and basketball. And that doesn’t even count all the time spent with friends playing video games, having sleepovers and movie marathons.
Having some control over who our kids choose to hang with has proven very beneficial for us. When my boys were in public school, they had some friends whose family had a totally different lifestyle than ours. Allowing our kids to go play at their homes sometimes made us very uncomfortable. I love our circle of friends now. My husband and I are able to get to know both the parents and the kids.
Socialization, for us, comes naturally. A traditional public school setting doesn’t have to be the only place to socialize. Life, in general, provides plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make friends. Our boys are rarely bored or without an activity or two (or three) for the week.
#4 Do I Have To Be Organized?
When I first talked about homeschooling with my husband way back when, he said, “Lisa, I’m not sure you can do it. You aren’t very organized.” Ha! It’s true–I’m not. But I have had help along the way. In Georgia, we belonged to a two day per week co-op made up of moms and dads that gave their time and talent to teach the kids. A couple of the moms who were super-organized had the schedules made out and some of the curriculum selected. We just jumped in and followed along.
I highly recommend using a daily planner and have my boys write out their homework on one as well. Some moms I know use Excel to keep track of grades and assignments. Me, I’m old school and have the spiral gradebook like my teachers used back in the 70’s. (: I also have a special bookshelf set up just for school books and papers. So see– you don’t have to be perfectly organized. Just incorporating a few small helps will keep your homeschool organized and running smoothly.
#5 Do I Have To Have A College Degree?
I graduated college with a Marketing degree and since having children have always said that I wish I would have gone for a Child Psychology degree instead! I would love to understand what and why my kids are thinking what they’re thinking! But the answer is no–you do not need a college degree to homeschool! You don’t even have to be knowledgeable and skilled in all subjects. A teacher’s manual may be purchased to help mom (or dad) with teaching the subject. You may find that you’re passionate about certain subjects enabling you to teach easily. I enjoyed English and Literature when I was in school so I find I have more knowledge in those areas to pass on to my boys.
Here in Florida, we pay for our boys to go to classes one day a week. These classes are taught by teachers who have either worked in public school or have a teaching degree and chose to homeschool. A video-lecture type curriculum helps facilitate their Math at home. Watching the lectures with them enables me to help if they get stuck on a problem. I also make sure to have the answer key on hand and can usually work out the problem in reverse if they need explanation.
While I realize homeschooling isn’t for everyone, our years spent teaching at home have been a blessing for our family. We love the flexibility and creativity that it offers!
Are you curious about homeschooling? Do you homeschool already? What questions do you get asked about it? I would love to hear them in the comments below.