It’s All Your Fault!
Your oldest child stands before you, in tears. She has been rejected by her last choice for college and has no idea what to do. You did your best, you thought. When she was a 3rd grader you had decided to take her out of public school. You thought homeschooling was the answer. You researched all the various curriculum choices and selected the best one. You were wrong, and now your daughter has no future and it’s all your fault. You took a perfectly normal student and mis-educated her. Now she can’t even get into the local community college. You begin sobbing as well. Your daughter’s tears turn into anger. She begins shaking you furiously until her face becomes your husband’s, and that’s when you wake up. It was just a nightmare.
You may have had this dream or others like it since you made the decision to home school your kids beginning this upcoming fall. You have worried a lot about it. Public school just isn’t working for your kids for various reasons and you thought it would be a good idea to try homeschooling for at least the next year. Now you are having second thoughts. There is so much at stake and you are worried that if you go through with this plan that you might very well ruin their lives.
You Have Nothing To Worry About
Many, if not most homeschool parents, worry at least once about ruining their kid’s lives. They worry that they might be making the wrong decision about removing their kids from school to educate them at home. The worrying tends to be worse early in the process. Fortunately, most of these fears are unjustified.
Below is a list of just a few of the fear related questions that a prospective homeschooler might ask. Each question is followed by my Worry Free Homeschooling answer. Please note that my oldest child will be starting 5th grade this fall. My answers might not pertain to those of you who are thinking about pulling your high school kids out of public school. If your high school kids have been home schooled for a while well, these questions were probably answered for you a long time ago.
- Question: What if I take my child out of public school and ruin their life?
Answer: How exactly do you expect that to happen? Do you plan on taking them out of school and doing nothing? The mere fact that you are worried about that outcome proves that you are way too conscientious to let it happen. It’s also important to note that pretty much anything you break can always be fixed. No, really!
- Question: But what if I change my mind and decide to re re-enroll them in school? Won’t they be behind?
Answer: It is much more likely that your child will be ahead of the other students, provided you continued to do the same curriculum. However, if you didn’t, most kids will catch up in a matter of weeks or months.
- Question: What if I teach them the wrong stuff?
Answer: What exactly do you plan on teaching your children? *Klingon? As long as you are teaching the basics of Reading, Writing and Math, you can throw in anything that you like. Other than that, I think it’s best for you to let your kids take the lead in determining what subjects they want to pursue. Not everyone needs to learn the same thing. My six year old daughter is learning how to use the Canva website (a graphic design website), not because it is a critical subject, but because it allows her to be creative and learn marketable computer skills.
*By the way, Klingon is an actual language, and though it is not very useful in and of itself, learning any language is beneficial to brain development.
- Question: I don’t know how to do a home school schedule?
Answer: One of the best things about homeschooling is that you don’t need to run on a precise schedule like public schools. Although schedules are useful for planning, and children are comforted by routine it’s nice to know that you can be flexible with your time as long as you are progressing. Homeschooling allows you to travel when it is convenient for your family, not the school district schedule. Homeschooling allows you to supplement your kids education with field trips and other extra curricular activities that might not be possible on a public school schedule. And homeschooling lets you schedule “class time” when it is best for your kids brain to learn. Some of my kids are night owls and some are morning doves–not every kids brain is ready to do math at 7:45am.
- Question: I’m afraid that I might be taking my kids out of school for the wrong reason.
Answer: Is there a wrong reason? People home school for a variety of reasons. Some parents think they can do a better job than the public school because their kids don’t learn like “typical” students. Others want to keep their children out of a failing school or toxic environment. Religious concerns are another reason parents decide to educate their children at home. Whatever the reason, as long as your motives are sincere and that you truly intend to give your children the best education that you can provide, you will be good as gold. Click here to find out why my wife and I decided to home school our children.
- Question: What if I’m not qualified to teach my children Math and English and everything else they need to learn?
Answer: It’s true that if you are removing your children from junior high or high school, you might not know how to do the math or even the English. Not to worry though, you can learn it at the same time that they do without a whole lot of extra time required. There are also many ways to teach these skills without having to learn them yourself. There are a lot of great online programs you can use that cover subjects that I couldn’t even begin to teach. For instance, we use an online program called CTC Math for our older kids. It provides math classes from pre-k through 12th grade.
- Question: What if my kids don’t get into college and it’s my fault?
Answer: If your child doesn’t go to college it most likely won’t be your fault. I will be writing an entire article on this subject soon. The short version is that I believe wholeheartedly that you will know which of your children are college bound. You should trust yourself that you will do everything it takes to make it happen, if college (or trade schools, or apprenticeships) are the right path for them.
So Then, What Is Worry Free Homeschooling?
Worry Free Homeschooling is the realization that you aren’t going to ruin your children’s lives by making poor decisions or teaching them the wrong things. Worry Free Homeschooling is understanding that nobody knows your children better than you do. You know their strengths, weaknesses, aptitudes, interests and aspirations. You know that not one size fits all and that you can tailor each of your children’s educational needs based on them.
Worry Free Homeschooling is first and foremost child centric, not curriculum centric.
Worry Free Homeschooling is realizing that you get to decide what to teach your children and when to do it. It means that you can change your mind or your curriculum without causing major irrevocable damage. Worry Free Homeschooling is the realization that some people will teach state curriculum to their kids on a rigid and demanding schedule. Others might adopt un-schooling as their methodology. Neither is right or wrong. You can adopt one or the other or something in between. Homeschooling isn’t rocket science, however, you might be teaching a rocket scientist!
A Final Thought
It is also important to note that I am a former Special Education Teacher. My wife currently is a high school theater teacher. I think teachers for the most part are highly qualified. They are doing their very best job at educating our children. The problem is they are often working with damaged children. Children who come from broken families, living in a messed up society and being educated in an outdated and flawed system. I don’t have a bone to pick with public education. It provides a very necessary function in our society that can’t completely be replaced. It just didn’t happen to be the right fit for our kids. And as teachers ourselves, we felt like homeschooling was a process that could work better for all of us.
How About You
Where are you in the homeschooling process? Are you just thinking about it? Are you on the fence? Maybe you just began homeschooling and have questions. Are you an experienced homeschooler who would like to mentor someone who is just beginning? Let me know who you are and where you are in the homeschooling journey.
Until then I will be pondering this year’s curriculum while I drink a Staycation by Karbach Brewing.