Ask almost any parent who’s been homeschooling for a while, and he or she will tell you that there have been times when they just wanted to give up. Whether it was due to behavioral or relationship issues, struggles with a reluctant learner, or their own lack of self-confidence, many homeschool educators have seriously re-considered their schooling choice and wondered if their children would be better off in a traditional classroom.
If you are facing a difficult time working with your children, remind yourself of why you began homeschooling in the first place. People homeschool their children for different reasons, so take a minute or two and jot down your own reasons why you chose this path. Are your motives still the same, or are your views different now? In light of your list, is homeschooling still a good option?
Of course, your daily routine would change if you stopped homeschooling. You may need to use the extra time that the children are at school, perhaps to get a part-time job or take some classes. If time is not a factor, however, remember that your children will have less time of their own to pursue other interests and activities. A day in a traditional classroom usually requires seven to eight hours at school, perhaps an after-school activity, and an evening of homework. Opportunities for field trips, travel, and spontaneous learning would be greatly reduced.
Sometimes, the parent/child relationship seems to interfere with schooling. Before sending your child to school for this reason, however, consider his whole personality. Is the problem just a clash between the two of you, or is it one he would have to deal with no matter who was teaching him? Is it indicative of other issues he might struggle with, such as low self-esteem or peer pressure? If so, you might be the best one to see him through, as you can give him the time and attention a classroom teacher just isn’t able to.
There would be more changes if your child was in school. The curriculum most likely would not be the same as the one you’re used to using. Contact the school your child would attend and ask about the books they use. If you can, borrow a copy of a textbook and make sure you’re satisfied with what’s being taught. Some schools may even let you sit in on a class or two.
If, after all the considerations, you (perhaps reluctantly) feel homeschooling is still the best choice for your family, seek out support. Hopefully your spouse is behind the decision and can cheer you on. Even if he isn’t taking part in schooling the children, it’s comforting to know you’re on this homeschooling journey together.
Nothing can compare, however, to the encouragement of homeschooling friends. They can provide parenting advice when you just don’t know how to handle a certain issue. They may be able to see where something isn’t working and offer tips on how it can be improved. They can provide curriculum help, showing you what lessons have been effective with their own children. They might offer to watch you children to give you some much-needed time off. A group of good friends, or even just one, can listen to you, cry with you, pray with you, strengthen you, and celebrate with you as you move ahead with your decision.
Even those with the firm conviction that homeschooling is the right choice for their family can become discouraged. If you’re struggling, remember that you are not alone. Go to friends and family for encouragement and you’ll find renewed resolve and determination to go on a little while longer.
Photo By juliejordanscott