"Not knowing is better than knowing and worrying."
I did NOT know fully about homeschooling when we started; that was a blessing.
Especially because we were coming from nearly four years experience in a public school setting, it's REALLY good I was ignorant. My life was about to be drastically altered, and I had no clue.
I'm not writing this to scare prospective homeschool parents, but rather to say:
Please jump into homeschool with a good amount of faith. Know just enough to get started, but please trust God with the rest.
Homeschool ignorance is bliss.
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For most of us this is VERY difficult... I wanted to know answers to questions like:
- Will my children be able to get into college?
- How can I be sure there will be no "gaps" in their education?
- Will they be lonely at home?
- Will they wind up resenting me because I deprived them of traditional "school"?
- Which math program will put my children on the best track for high school?
- How am I going to make a transcript?
The list could go on and on.... I nearly drove myself nuts before I had even started.
After getting to know two local homeschool moms who have just completed their first year I got to thinking about all of this. I shared some bits of advice with them.
I want to share some TRUTHS with you.
But I won't share too much.
Or you might get scared.
Let's put these truths into 3 categories: education, family and friends, and personal refinement.
Be prepared for your children to possibly not perform well on standardized tests.
I wish someone would have told me just how SMART my kids would be. I'm not bragging, but their level of knowledge amazes me.
That knowledge, however, isn't measure by a standardized test. As homeschoolers we don't teach to the test. We teach to our children.
A standardized test can't measure INTEREST. It can't measure creativity or self-motivation. It can't measure all of the reasons I decided to take my children out of school in the first place.
So, don't worry about it. Honestly, put it out of your mind. Have faith your children will be OK. Forget about the test.
Be prepared for your children to resist home education at first.
If they have been in traditional school for any length of time, homeschool will seem foreign. Your children won't know what to do with a lot of unstructured time. They might miss their friends.
It will take them time to RELAX and ditch the textbooks. It will take them time to trust you as their teacher. It will take them time to accept their new status as "homeschooled".
It might even take a whole year.
Don't lose heart. They will come around.
Family and Friends
Your family might be skeptical, critical, and distant.
There is a very particular view some people have of homeschoolers.
That stereotype unfortunately exists. Homeschoolers don't fit in a box. Your family members will just have to figure this out in time.
Some people may openly question your choice of curriculum. They will ask you about sports, high school, prom, and socialization. They will tell you stories about homeschoolers they have "heard of".
Be prepared to be gracious. Smile, nod, and set about the business of proving them wrong.
In the mean time, stick close to the family that does support you. You really must put the negativity aside.
You will probably lose friends.
This one is so difficult. You know one of those new homeschool moms I was talking about earlier? She told me, "I'm so glad you warned me I might lose friends because guess what? I did."
She told me this blinking back tears and I felt so badly for her.
I have been there. Some friends won't understand your decision. Some friends (especially friends you had from school) will see your decision as a personal attack on their educational choice. Some friends might be hurt you don't have as much time for them. Some friends might WISH they could homeschool and feel guilty when they are around you.
It's so cliche, but if they were really your friends before they will still be your friends when you homeschool. Your true friends support you no matter where your kids go to school.
AND, you will make NEW friends. Some of my closest friends have been made in the past several years.
Homeschooling your children will expose every flaw and weakness you have.
And that's a GOOD thing.
I always remember a friend telling me children are "holy sandpaper".
That they are.
When you are with your children 24/7, you get sanded a lot. You see yourself in them (and not always the good parts of yourself, either!) and being in such close relationship with your children can reveal so much about parents and children.
It will allow you for personal growth you never imagined possible.
Homeschooling will show you just how impatient you are.
My patience has been tried so very many times (in fact - multiple times a day). I'm NOT a patient person, but I pray for patience, ask forgiveness, and face each day knowing God walks with me.
Your priorities will shift in ENORMOUS ways.
I've had to say NO to so much so that I can give my children 100% of my attention during the day.
I think if I had been given a glimpse of what my life would look like now before I started to homeschool I might not have done it!
You see - it is all about FAITH, and my faith has grown in a HUGE way since we began this journey. I think this is just what God intened for my family and I. It just took me some time to LISTEN to Him and obey the call.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:34
If you are contemplating the homeschooling life, please don't investigate it TOO much. Remember, a certain amount of ignorance is bliss. Prepare yourself - yes - but trust God with the bulk of it. He will work it all out for good.
*10 Best Books for Homeschooling Moms is also a great place to start if you want to read solid, encouraging information about homeschooling.
Are there any truths you wish you would have known before you started homeschooling?
If you are contemplating (or are new to) homeschooling, what are your greatest fears?