Ample evidence tells us that the public school system is in trouble. I grew up in the school system, was a teacher and sent my kids to public schools so I'm not criticizing 'from the outside'. The number one alternative to this disturbing problem is home schooling and it's an idea whose time has come. If you'd like to participate, but have some doubts, read the words below of a successful home schooler.
Many parents express the idea that they would like to home school their children. Quite a number of those parents add that they could never home school their children "because…". There are as many reasons to home school as there are families, and almost as many excuses for not home schooling.
What follows is a very short laundry list of excuses why some parents believe they could never home school their own children. Let's assume that their excuses are valid and maybe shed some light on why they feel the way they do, and perhaps suggest some solutions to their dilemmas. Here are a few examples.
1. I could never home school my children because … I wouldn't know where to start.
This is not an unreasonable excuse when it comes to removing children from their current school and beginning the journey to home schooling. Home schooling is a lot of work, and at the forefront of that work is getting legal within your own state and community. Knowing the laws regarding home schooling is the first step to actually home schooling your children.
The next step is to learn your child's learning style. This will allow you to choose curricula that will benefit your child and enhance his or her educational experience. Sometimes it is easier to just continue the way you are going. Changing course is hard, and scary. Changing course from public school to home school is doubly hard and scary because it involves your children, their wellbeing, and your entire family's lifestyle. Knowledge is power and it pays to remember that. The more you learn the more comfortable change can be.
2. I could never home school my children because … I couldn't stand to be with them all day long.
What is there to say to this? The reality of this statement is not that the parent doesn't love their children, or even that they don't like their children's company. The deep truth of this statement is that many parents do not like the child that comes home from seven hours of being taught and conditioned by other people and their surroundings. These parents love their children, they just don't like the antagonistic, defensive, or bullied child that they are presented with at the end of the day.
Know that children who are home all day, with the loving influence of their parents, the reduction in peer pressure, and reinforcement of the values that are important within the family will be much easier to be around.
Also know that those children will not wake up the first day of home schooling the loving child you thought you lost after sending them to kindergarten. Just as it took them a while to learn to behave in a manner that is not what you want to see, it will take them a while to remember or relearn how to behave in a manner that is consistent with the values of your home. Fear not, it is possible to enjoy being in the company of your children all day long but it will require work on the part of the parent.
3. I could never home school my children because … I'm not qualified to be a teacher.
This one might be my favorite. Parents are perhaps the most qualified people to be the teachers of their children. Who knows your child better than you? The answer to that should be no one should know your child better than you.
Who loves your child more than you? Again, the answer should be no one loves them more than you do.
Knowing and loving your children means that you are their best advocate, their strongest ally, and the person who cares most about how and in what direction they are taught. It is understandable to thing that you might not be able to teach them calculus, or English composition. If you graduated high school, you should be more than qualified to teach your elementary and middle school children. If you are not, then that is a reflection on the school system that graduated you, is it not? All home school parents consider the fact that they may have to "farm out" calculus or physics, or some other subject that they are not comfortable teaching. The basics should be comfortable enough for most parents to teach. Trust me when I tell you that if you are a little rusty at a math rule or grammar rule, becoming the teacher to your children will allow you to brush up on it!
These reasons are given tongue in cheek, to a point. Home schooling is a path that is not for every family. Home education requires a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of commitment. The best news is that it also requires only as much money as you can afford to throw at it. And it becomes a lifestyle, not just a schooling experience. When you can cover basic academics in a few short hours, then there are many more hours in the day that can be used for enrichment, enhancement, and advancement in your child's education. Home schooling is not for everyone, but it could be for you and your family. Consider your options!
Linda is a writer who never planned to home school until it became the only option. Her family has used Time4Learning for almost five years as their core curriculum, supplementing with online programs such as Vocabulary and Spelling City. Her family is has begun the countdown to moving to the country and beginning a homesteading life. She welcomes any questions or comments about home schooling.