Written by Purva Brown
A few months ago, an old friend of mine visited from India. We had stayed in touch through Facebook, so even after a decade it felt like we knew each other, and the conversation flowed smoothly.
The one thing she could not wrap her mind around, though, was homeschooling.
“It’s such a huge responsibility!” she said, with awe in her voice.
Now, I’m used to these conversations. However, what she said next gave me pause:
“You are both a mother and a teacher to your children,” she said. “That’s incredibly scary.”
The Scary Thing That Isn’t
The fear of juggling parenting and teaching shouldn’t stop you from homeschooling.
Here are five reasons why:
1. You are free
I don’t mean to discredit any profession, and I have teacher friends with a real heart for children and education. However, because homeschooling is not a profession, you are not working for a paycheck. You are working for your children and your family.
You are not beholden to an institution with a committee for a conscience. There is incredible freedom in this. You are free to change course if something is not working. You are free to do things your way.
Serious? Yes. Scary? Not in the least.
2. You are uniquely positioned to know what your child needs
As a homeschooling parent, you are with your child all day and you can read her face like a book; you know what makes him tick.
You know exactly – exactly – where they’re going to need help and you can help them stop before they stumble. A teacher, no matter how good, cannot do this in a classroom setting. Being both mother and teacher is a huge advantage in this area.
3. You can work at your child’s pace
This is my absolute favorite reason to homeschool. Working at my children’s pace has freed me from whatever fear I had about homeschooling them.
I no longer have to be afraid of them not being in step with grade levels because I have realized how arbitrary grade levels are. So if you ask my kids what grade they’re in, don’t be surprised if they reply with, “What subject?”
4. Your child needs a parent far more than he needs a teacher
Elementary, middle and high school education is not all that different from parenting. It’s just an extension of it. You find the resources and tools you and your kids need and you provide them.
The reason your child is entrusted to you as his parent for at least 18 – 21 years of his life is because he needs a family more than he needs a teacher. If you’re trying to be a good mother, chances are you’re not going to have that hard a time being a good teacher.
5. You’re already doing it!
The reason homeschooling shouldn’t scare you is because you are already doing it. Did you teach your toddler to potty train? Have you broken up fights between siblings and taught them to “play nice?”
Every single moment you’re a parent interacting with your child, you are already a teacher. There is no difference. You are already both and it’s something to embrace, not shun and fear.
So although my friend admired our homeschooling family, I think there was a fundamental difference between what she thought we were doing and how we truly live.
We’re not homeschooling the two hours a day that we do sit down work. We’re homeschooling every waking moment because we don’t compartmentalize learning.
Motherhood and teaching are not disparate roles; they flow from and inform each other. I am not one person when I am teaching math and a different person when I’m making dinner.
And that’s the point. That’s the beauty of it. And it’s not so scary after all.
What did you think would be scary about homeschooling that you found isn’t really, after all?