So you’re done with school, or maybe you have decided to not even go there in the first place.
But it’s a bit scary, right? I mean HOW WILL YOU SOCIALIZE THE KIDS and what of tertiary education and will you even get 5 minutes to yourself?
Here are a few things you might like to know.
-It’s easier than you think.
All legalities aside (and it’s legal all over Australia) it might be a whole lot less work than you think. Even if you choose to use full curriculum or do a fair bit of lesson planning, the actual book work side of things may only take a few hours each day. And that’s with multiple kids! Kids who are home educated tend to be far more self motivated in finding things to do, following projects of their own, and being able to play without input for long stretches of time. It is a commonly held myth that if you have your kids out of school they will be at you all day, looking for things to do. And eat. This can be true of kids coming out of the school system (or school kids on holidays) as they might be used to having their day mapped out for them with little input or freedom of choice. With time and space, that gets better. Obviously I’m not talking about young children who do need a lot of input and help-school or not. At my place now, with kids who are 9,7, and 5, I do some setting up and some packing up and some help with projects and book work. And I also get large chunks of time where they are immersed in their own work or play.
-Home education is not an inferior choice to school.
This one is important. Homeschooling is simply another choice-not a lesser one. There are opportunities for further education, accelerated learning, kids with learning difficulties to work at their own pace, and so on. Children are able to learn about things they are interested in for as long as they like, and not based on their age or class size. This point is not to bash school- it is another valid choice on the education spectrum. But don’t feel like you are doing something wrong by making the no school at all choice. It’s equally as valid.
-People will have an opinion.
I hate that I need to point this out, but I do. Everyone from well meaning family to the random person who put you groceries through will have an opinion. Perhaps even a strong one they feel the need to berate you about. It’s OK. Home education DID used to be an unusual way to raise your kids and there are groups that still use it as a way to separate their kids from broader society. Times, however, have changed and many of us are now so boringly normal it can be surprising. But those old stereotypes stick and different can be confronting. Learn to grow a bit of a thick skin and realize that you don’t need to defend your choice to everyone.
-You need to find your tribe.
The size of said tribe will depend on how introverted or extroverted you and your children are. It really does make a difference to have at least one family, close enough to visit, who are on a very similar page to you. I’m talking similarly aged kids, parents that you like and a similar home education/parenting philosophy. It might be a group that meets at the park, it might be a sporting group or it might be just one family who live an hour away. It might be all of those things if you’re like me! Somewhere where your version of normal is commonplace and celebrated. Somewhere where you can talk out any issues you might have-without fear of judgement. A good tribe is worth their weight in gold.
-Home education is a totally different way of life.
It is not perfect or without problems. You will read beautiful blogs filled with gorgeous kids and their incredible artwork and parents who seem unflusterable. Homeschooling is just as messy as any other life with kids and imperfect parents in it. But there are perks, and life is simply different. There is so much time together and freedom. Bedtimes, screen time, homework, playdates, extra curricular interests, and even down to hairstyles do not need to take an outside party (school) into the equation. Learning is different when it is not done by age and without state approved expected outcomes. Don’t waste your time comparing your life to school or trying to replicate it. By all means buy the workbooks and stick to a schedule, if that is your family’s way- but remember that you have the advantage of being flexible and tailoring anything to suit your individual children. And enjoy it.
Are you new to homeschooling?
Do you have any tips for people who are?