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.