1 Question to Ask Yourself if You’re Thinking of Homeschooling

After 11 years of homeschooling my son and daughter, parents sometimes ask me whether they think homeschooling would work for them. I’ve been happy with how it turned out for us. I’m proud of my children’s accomplishments and truly like the people they have grown to be. People often say that the reason I’ve had a good homeschooling experience is that I’m a teacher, so I must have it all organized and know what to do. But like the plumber who never gets around to fixing her own sink, I’m something of a lackluster homeschool teacher. Most weeks, I congratulate myself if I’ve pointed out a few math puzzlers to the kids. We’re pretty laid back, but I’ve known other homeschooling parents who had completely different styles, and were very different people from my husband and me, and their kids turned out to be amazing people, too.

As I reflect, I realize that there is only one question I think parents should ask themselves if they wonder if homeschooling will work for them, and that is:

Do I like to learn?

Notice I didn’t ask if your kids like to learn. I also didn’t ask if you like to teach. I asked if you like to learn.

Because if you do, eventually, your kids will, too.

If you want your kids to learn, they should see you:

  • Read for enjoyment.
  • Learn to do something new, just for the fun of it
  • Talk about new things you have learned (to your spouse, friends, or maybe even your kids)
  • Research stuff you are interested in
  • Figure out things that you don’t understand – even the really hard stuff – and persist when the learning doesn’t come easily.

And if you like to learn, you will probably like to share your learning process with your kids. And, over time, you will keep learning new stuff so you can share more and more with them. You will probably enjoy reading aloud to them. I love children’s literature, so I naturally wanted to read all sorts of kid’s books aloud, but my husband didn’t like ‘kiddie lit’, so he read articles from National Geographic and the newspaper to them, or passages from whatever book he was reading at the time. It didn’t matter. They listened because he was really interested in what he was sharing. And then they wanted to share what they were reading and learning with us, too. And somehow, homeschooling just fell into place.

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2 thoughts on “1 Question to Ask Yourself if You’re Thinking of Homeschooling

  1. While home schooling, how did you handle the problem (if there is one) of children being social? Of the very brief reading I’ve done into home schooling and alternative education, there seems to be a big focus on learning but very little on children interacting with peers.

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    • You know, the social question has been a really big one for us, because we not only homeschool, we do so in a very isolated, rural environment. After 11 years of homeschooling, my children are socially different from most of the children I meet at the public high school where I teach. You may see pictures of the quirky ways they dress here on my blog. Mainly, though, they seem less self conscious and more willing to be themselves. This has been true of most of the other long-term homeschooled kids I have met as well. We involved them with library reading clubs, sports teams, dance classes, scouts, etc. They have both been very involved with our local community theater, and most of their friends are from that setting. My two children are very different from each other. My 16 year old daughter has many friends and spends several evenings a week with groups of friends. My 18 year old son is much more introverted, but has a steady girlfriend and goes out socially with other friends once or twice a week, so I wouldn’t describe either as isolated. I teach so many students in the public school setting who deal with social anxiety and bullying that I have always found myself as worried about the socialization of kids going to school as I have been about kids not going to school.

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