If you happen to be a control freak, then homeschooling is an option you should strongly consider because it’s the ultimate way to control your child 24 hours a day. However, if you’re not a control freak but are just concerned about your child’s education and value system (as most homeschool parents are) then here are some things you should consider before you turn your laundry room into a schoolroom.
Are you organized? You are? Then you must not have children yet. Check back after you’ve given birth.
Are you willing to be hated by your child before he reaches puberty? Some children just hate school. If you are the teacher of a child who hates school, you will often find that the child who hates school will also hate the teacher. Happy Mother’s Day.
Do you know more than a fifth grader? Then you can host a gameshow. Do you know more than the child you gave birth to or adopted or stole back from the baby’s daddy? Then you can homeschool.
Can you spare a couple hours a day? If so, you can homeschool.
When my wife began homeschooling our daughter, she had great reservations because teaching is not one of her gifts, nor is organization, nor is a routine schedule, which all seemed to be elements of school. So, when our daughter struggled, my wife believed it was all her fault. I knew better. It was genetics. But I didn’t say anything? Why let her think it’s my fault.
I wasn’t worried, though. My wife learned to read. I learned to read. Eventually. After a couple years in the first grade. Still, I knew our daughter’s chances were good, because both her parents can read. We still don’t know what to do with a semi-colon; maybe something like that to give you pause – but why not just use a dash? Look how far I’ve advanced. I just gave you a sentence with a comma, a semicolon, a dash and a question mark. Periods are a given. Boring and predictable. But I guess they’re better than saying “stop” like in those old wild West telegrams “STOP”
My wife’s experience in public school was the opposite of mine. She liked school, and I mean the part about learning. I liked school because it provided an audience. You can’t be a class clown without a class. My distaste for public school had to do with their teaching methodology. So, lemme get this straight? You want me to go home and do this? Then why did I just spend my whole day here? Daydreamers have no chance in such an environment, because you daydream about all the stuff you can do at home once you get out of school. And none of it has to do with homework, which is just the public school’s way of encouraging you to keep your kids at home and teach them.
The biggest mistake we made in the beginning of our homeschool journey was treating homeschool like it was public school except in our home. That and leaving the TV on. That’s probably not a good idea. If you take all the homeschoolers in this country alone and lay them end to end, none of them will be counted absent. That’s the first advantage to homeschooling – a perfect attendance record. (Notice my use of the dash instead of the semicolon.)
Homeschooling is about flexibility and mastery. The only outside teacher we used was the piano teacher, so let me use the piano teacher as the bad example. When our daughter was five she started taking piano lessons. We finally had to tell her piano teacher to let her play a song until she masters it instead of giving her three new songs every week. What good is playing hundreds of songs badly? The mistake we made with this request is that we should have picked out the songs. She’s been playing the William Tell Overture for the past month. That’s an annoying tune. Maybe I should turn the TV back on.
Just remember: homeschooling is about mastery and flexibility.
Ask other parents about their homeschool experience. The conversation will often go like this: “How has your homeschool experience been?’
Then the mother you’re asking will burst into tears.
That pretty much sums it up.
It will be the most challenging aspect of your life where you will discover that those very same character flaws which you overlook in yourself somehow become unbearable in your children. Now you know how people really see you. Welcome to reality. We hope you enjoy your stay.
But do not despair.
There’s always Park Day.