“Oh, I could never homeschool my kids!”
You’ve heard it, and so have I. It’s often one of the first things said to you when you make a new friend at church or at the neighbourhood park. Sometimes you hear it from an old friend (perhaps they think you are judging their choices!) or a family member. The reasons given are numerous, and some are truly valid. I would never say for a moment that everyone can or even should homeschool their children. But after hearing this statement for years and pondering all the “couldn’t”s, I have come up with a list of why I really shouldn’t homeschool my kids.
This may be the top reason people give you when they say they could never homeschool their kids — they just aren’t patient enough. Well, I’ve got to tell you that I’m about as impatient as they come. And in my impatience, I often lose my temper with my children. I’ve raised my voice and said plenty of words I later regretted. In my own strength, I can’t get through a single day of this homeschooling gig without blowing it in this department. I’m so glad though, that as I’m investing in the character and training of my children, that the Lord is working on me too! I’m not sure where I heard it first, but children are holy sandpaper, and God is slowly smoothing out this rough and bumpy mom!
I’m not qualified
I don’t have a teaching degree. Not only that, but my own public school education was abysmal. As a result, I have very minimal knowledge of history and geography, and what math I once knew I have mostly forgotten. I’m ashamed at my own ignorance. I never did memorize my math facts, and the truth is, I’m really not qualified to teach my own children. BUT that is precisely one of the reasons why I’m homeschooling them. Think of it this way, why would I trust the system that failed me to educate my children? So I’m learning as I go along, and filling in my own gaps each year. And because I love my children and have more of a vested interest in their future than any school teacher ever could, I know that we can do this together.
This one presents quite a challenge for me as a homeschool mom! Staying home all day every day with a house full of children and being required to meet the bulk of their social needs is quite overwhelming to this introverted mama! And going out with them to co-ops and meet-ups in order to get those needs fulfilled in alternate ways? Even worse! This is the chief reason we have an afternoon quiet time in our homeschool. Finding ways to accommodate my weaknesses and meet both my own and my children’s needs is a key to maintaining sanity while homeschooling!
I’m undisciplined, disorganized, and have poor time management
I am definitely not that Type A, get-er-done personality homeschooler. I don’t have any extensive lesson plans or homeschool schedule. Sometimes, when my kids are off playing quietly, I just hide and pretend like we don’t have math, science, or grammar to do. But who says that just because we’re homeschooling we need to bring school to our home? Do we need bells and schedules to learn? Can’t we learn just as well in our own way? Does science really have to be on Thursdays?
I’m kinda weird and socially awkward
Here’s the thing though: I was public schooled and look how I turned out!
If my kids turn out weird, then they were probably going to be that way anyway — at least they will fit in at our family reunions.
I had a good job
Living on one income in today’s world can be more than challenging. I get that. If I could double our family income, why would I not do that? It probably sounds crazy to some that I left a well paying, respectable career in the professional world to teach a 5-year-old to skip count and chase my kids around the backyard with a cardboard Viking sword. But you know what? All that money I’m not earning isn’t going to amount to anything in the end. The investment in my children though, that has eternal rewards.
I don’t like being responsible
In my working days, I much preferred following the directions and plans of others to coming up with my own. Life and death decisions? No thanks! I always appreciated the situations where I could work under the guidance of someone with greater expertise than myself or where there were opportunities for collaboration. I have always been desperately afraid that I am missing some important viewpoint or am going to make the wrong choice. It would be so much easier to pass the responsibility off to the school system when it comes to my children’s educations! But the truth of the matter is that I am responsible for the education of my children whether I homeschool them or not. I am their parent, and the buck ultimately stops here. If my children did go to school, I would only really be delegating part of their education to the school — I am still responsible.
I have a hard time with messes
I’m the mom who is forever chasing her kids around the house with a facecloth and hollering “go wash your hands!” anytime anything even remotely messy is being used. Food needs to be eaten at the table (yes, even toddlers) at our house. Sticky floors? Drives me crazy. Yet as a homeschooling family, our house is a lot more “lived in” than most, and much more than I prefer. And while I could let this drive me crazy (and sometimes it does), I have learned to give myself and my children grace in this department, as well as to work certain rules and habits into our home to prevent as many messes as possible.
You know what the amazing thing is, though? Even with all these reasons not to homeschool, I’m doing it anyways. If God has called you to homeschool, you can overcome these and any other obstacles. It is not through our strength, personality, or intellect that we are enabled to walk this homeschooling path. And as each year passes, I gain confidence and assurance that we have made the right decision for our family and that everything will turn out alright, in spite of all of my inadequacies.