Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Home Education: Common Concerns
Inquiring minds want to know, and that's okay when it comes to homeschooling. People often ask me questions about all aspects of home education. I don't always have adequate time to answer well, especially when the questions are asked via messages or e-mail. Thus, I've decided to write a "series" on homeschooling, answering a question at a time. Some of the areas I plan to cover are the reasons, curriculum choices, scheduling, record-keeping and "socialization" (I'm not capable of placing that word outside of quotation marks, just so you know ahead of time). :) I'll wrap it up with answering some common concerns. These posts probably won't answer every wondering of every person, but it's a place to start!
Part 5: Common Concerns
"I admire you so much, but I could never homeschool because . . ." There are nine main phrases that typically complete that sentence. I'm never sure if the person really admires me (I hope not--I don't really feel like I deserve admiration!) and really has fears about going that route themselves or if they actually think I'm nuts but are too polite to say so. :) The other possibility is that they may be suspecting God wants them to educate at home but are making excuses. At this stage of the game, I don't try to guess which of the possibilities is true in any given conversation. If the person wants to talk about it further, they will, and I'm happy to do so. If not, I don't have a lot of extra time to worry about whether or not option #2 (thinking I'm crazy) is true. ;)
It's one thing if you have no impression on your heart that God wants you to teach your kids at home. It's another if you feel like maybe He's calling you but are plagued with fears or excuses. Here are the nine common concerns people have shared with me about homeschooling and my answers to them. If you shared these concerns with another homeschool mom, she might have different answers.
Disclaimer: PLEASE, if you're not a home educator, do not twist my words into something I'm not saying. I'm not trying to talk anyone into homeschooling. I'm not saying homeschooling is the best choice for your family. Take my words as they are and don't imagine any kind of scheme to guilt you into home education. This is meant for people who like the idea of home education but are struggling with fear, excuses or other concerns.
1. I have no background in teaching. While some experience in education is certainly helpful, it most certainly is not mandatory! If you're a mom you're already a teacher, for better or for worse! ;) There are many, many people out there who are excellent at teaching but don't have the formal title or degree to "prove" it. If you feel a tugging toward educating your children at home but feel shaky about how to teach, there are even curriculum choices out there that have word-for-word scripts, DVDs with someone else teaching the academic lessons and innumerable online resources for support and ideas for parents who want to teach at home but need some assistance. Please see disclaimer above
2. My child's and my personalities clash. We'd never get along. Believe me, I understand this concern because my son and I "clash" pretty much every day. Often numerous times each day! But I'm convinced that home education is what God has for us right now, so, when I'm thinking straight, I choose to look at it this way: We're forced to work through it. It's that simple--well, in theory anyway. The day-to-day, moment-by-moment working through it is anything but simple. But that is SO okay! :) The work it takes, the lessons we learn, and the strengthening of bonds are all well worth it. What better way do Little Mister and I have to experience the trials that mature us in our relational skills than to be forced to figure out how to respect and be kind to each other? Neither of us is going anywhere for now. We can either choose to work it out or be miserable (and, believe me, I, too, am still learning patience and respect toward my precious student!). Yes, certain personalities are harder for other personalities to teach, but, if it's the right thing to do, whether or not it's easy or hard shouldn't have much to do with the decision. Please see disclaimer above
3. How will my child get enough "socialization?" I wrote a whole blog post on this subject. If you don't feel like reading it, I'll sum it up: If you're a parent with a decent amount of common sense, it's a non-issue. Please see disclaimer above
4. I don't have time. I really don't know how to reassure someone about this. It takes time to do it right, and there's no way around that. Maybe there are things that take up your time that don't need to. Maybe you really don't have time. One thing I can say with certainty is that if God wants you to educate your child(ren) at home, there is time. Please see disclaimer above
5. I want my child to go to college someday. Terrific! Colleges tend to LOVE home educated students, with their typically good study habits and self-motivation. I would advise you as the parent to pray with your child about whether or not college is the right path. It's the way to go for lots of kids (young adults) and a waste of time and money for others. Don't send him/her to college just because it's the thing to do. Seek to do the Lord's will, not keep up with the Joneses, whoever they may be. Please see disclaimer above
6. I'm not disciplined enough. Nobody with any sense wants to be the mom who "homeschools" but doesn't homeschool. We all know they exist, though I don't personally know anyone like that. But if you care enough to be concerned about it, you may actually be disciplined enough. I can't guarantee that, but I have a feeling there may be some truth to it. You just have to be able to look beyond the moment and realize that, just like anything else you want to succeed at, if you keep taking days off just because you're not in the mood for school, your child's education will not be successful. That's enough motivation for just about anyone! If you're not someone who will push through difficult times, keeping the end result in mind, then homeschooling could either teach you to do that or it could result in failure. Only you can decide whether or not to take that risk. It's definitely not something one can do if one is set on being self-centered. Homeschool + Selfishness = Failure. It's a day-by-day, minute-to-minute decision you have to make. Please see disclaimer above
7. My child has special needs. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't teach your child at home. While you may feel ill-equipped to take this on, there is help available. Your taxes are paying for public schools and the services provided for the students there. You're certainly entitled (as much as I dislike that word) to receive the same help if you want/need it. Or you could possibly learn how to help your child with his/her special needs. Again, this is a case where you have to weigh everything carefully before making a decision. Please see disclaimer above
8. I wouldn't know where to start! It can be overwhelming, but there are so many sources to help you get your thoughts together and organized. Seasoned homeschool moms you may know are probably the best source of comfort and direction because you can speak with them face to face over a period of time. The internet has scads of resources for your perusal. Home education conventions are beneficial events, with their encouraging, informative seminars and chances to view curriculum and speak with the companies' representatives. Please see disclaimer above
9. My husband doesn't want me to homeschool. Then definitely don't do it! Even if you feel strongly that you want to homeschool, don't do it without your husband's blessing. Instead, pray that God will change your heart or his, so that you will both be in agreement about where your child(ren) should be educated.
Well, this concludes my series on home education. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or message me! :)