I believe it is time to face the reasons I’ve heard from my friends not to homeschool by debunking them head on. So many people begin a sentence by saying “I could never homeschool because….” And then I hear one of these reasons.
To be honest, in the years before I began homeschooling, I answered my husband with some of these excuses. Time helped me see how wrong I was.
I obviously feel strongly in favor of homeschooling. I know homeschooling is not for every parent, but here are some of the answers I’ve given to those friends who say “No way!” It’s time to debunk nay-sayers once and for all.
1. I can’t homeschool because I need “me” time. Everyone needs me time. Homeschooling means teaching your children to teach themselves and thrive. A little bit of effort now goes a long way to teaching your children self-sufficiency. It’s true that homeschooling will cut in to your time. But it is also true that children are a blessing. Your children’s childhood will pass in a blink. Enjoy them.
In my case, I enforce a mandatory quiet hour during baby Strawberry’s nap time. I realize that her nap times won’t last, but the quiet time will remain. I also swap childcare with friends sometimes. This year I’ll also send my oldest to a co-op, where I’ll get at least an hour to get to myself with just Strawberry. For me, I am trying to embrace this time with my kids because I know it won’t last.
One more question: how much quiet time do kids get at public school?
Debunked: I can homeschool to teach my children about quiet time.
2. I can’t homeschool because I’m not a teacher OR I don’t know enough about ______. Homeschooling parents do not all have a teaching degree. Our kids learn all the same. When your child was learning to talk, did you give lessons? No. Rather, our kids learn from life. While there is often some formal schooling involved in homeschooling, it is also true that much learning comes from exposure. Further, as a parent, you get to learn along with your children. What a blessing!
I am reminded about how I’m not a teacher every time my son asks me about something I don’t know the answer to. I have no idea, but that is not a good enough answer. We go find the real answer. When do non-homeschooling parents have time for that? I count it as school.
Debunked: I can homeschool because, even though I’m not a teacher and I don’t know everything, I can help my child learn to love learning. I can learn along with my kids.
3. I can’t homeschool because I don’t have enough patience. I wish you’d believe me when I say I don’t either. I am not a patient person. My children frustrate me unbelievably. But what could be more important than learning to control that patience? What could be more important to creating a nurturing relationship with your own children? Patience is not a requirement of a homeschooling teacher, but it is a quality you will slowly but surely learn to develop.
Debunked: I can homeschool because I want to learn to be more patient with my kids.
4. I can’t homeschool because I don’t have enough money. I make an effort to steer readers of this blog toward free resources available on the web. From phonics to mathematics, there are complete or near complete curriculum you can use with your kids.
I personally do spend some money on homeschooling. I am hoping to earn back that money from the educational resources I sell on TeachersPayTeachers.
Debunked: I can homeschool because I can find what I need for free or nearly free.
5. I can’t homeschool because I don’t have enough time. This comment always gives me pause. I cannot speak for those who work full time while also homeschooling: I know it is possible, but I am not in that situation.
Rather, I’m talking about stay-at-home moms who claim they don’t have time to homeschool. I will only say that it is a priority matter. If you are a parent, at some point you made a choice to be a parent. Surely, that is enough reason to find time for your kids.
In my situation, I know that homeschooling is the right thing. Given that priority, I make it happen.
Debunked: I can homeschool because there is no better use for my time than meeting the needs of my kids.
6. I can’t homeschool because I would go stir crazy in my house. So plan on homeschooling in the backyard, or at the library, or at the local mall. There is no rule that you must stay home all the time while you homeschool!
Debunked: I can homeschool because I like to get out of the house with my kids!
7. I can’t homeschool because I worry about my kids getting enough socialization. This is related to the stir-crazy comment. Get out of the house! Join a group! You might not be present for every social interaction, but the bonus is that you will know the kids and their parents.
Personally, I was involved in so many homeschool groups last year (3) that our weeks were too busy. I’m looking forward to a less busy year.
Debunked: I can homeschool because I like to know my kids’ friends and make sure they get positive social experiences.
8. I can’t homeschool because I worry I’ll teach something wrong. Personally, I’m of the opinion that no teacher is infallible. Even public school teachers are wrong sometimes. Wouldn’t you rather be the one who knows what you did teach so you can someday say, “Remember when I said such-and-such? I was wrong.”
Besides, learning along with your child is fun of the game. As you teach your children, they will learn to teach themselves. Over the course of a life-time, all the wrongs will be righted. It won’t be the end of the world if your child understands something the same way you do, will it?
Debunked: I can homeschool because my kids need to learn that no one knows everything.
9. I can’t homeschool because I have little kids. I think many of the people who homeschool also have little kids. It can be done. What a good example you set for the younger ones about what learning is! What a variety of things they might pick up as you teach your older child!
My daughter is entering a difficult toddler age. This next school year, she will be my handful. But I’m looking forward to the experience.
Debunked: I can homeschool because I like to keep my kids together.
10. I can’t homeschool because I could never do it. When I was in labor with my oldest child, my son, I believed I would die. I was certain of it. When my son was finally delivered, I held him in my arms, a squirmy bluish baby, and I thought, “That wasn’t so bad!” It was not as big a deal as I had thought. (Or, rather, the outcome made the pain all worth it!)
When you approach homeschooling, you must approach it one step at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. You never know what you will be called on to do unless you just do it.