Many of us come to homeschooling with idealized visions of what each day will look like. The children will rise out of bed with smiles on their faces, eat a delicious breakfast (that you miraculously had the energy to prepare), will clean up the kitchen to perfection, and will happily sit down eager to learn the lessons you’ve spent such a small amount of time preparing for them. They’ll absorb everything, eagerly awaiting the next lessons you have and blissful feelings will overcome all who are present. This will happen daily, too!
The reality is that you’ll often have to drag your kids out of bed, hustle them along through a quick breakfast of cold cereal because they took so long getting up, and might even find yourself raising your voice to get them to join the rest of the family at the designated homeschool space.
Is it really possible to love homeschooling? If so, how can you be one of the ones who loves it?
Set Realistic Expectations
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to set realistic expectations. Know the advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling and prepare yourself for both. Embrace the advantages and accept the disadvantages. What are these advantages and disadvantages, though? For many families, one of the biggest advantages to homeschooling is that is strengthens family bonds. Since homeschooling families naturally spend a lot of time together, it makes sense that their bonds become tighter as a result. Homeschooled children also don’t have to “wait” to enter the real world; they live in it every day. There is also the flexibility to learn about what they want when they want. These advantages create a personalized learning method that is advantageous to all involved.
On the flip side, there are some disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is the loss of income. Most homeschooling families live on a one-income budget. Other difficulties include a lack of confidence in either your or your children’s abilities, dealing with criticism from other family members, and adjusting career goals/paths to accommodate the structure of homeschooling. Of course, there’s also the fact that a home that is lived in all day every day doesn’t always stay clean. Remember, though, that these disadvantages are signs that learning is taking place—especially the house that isn’t always “company ready!” Accepting both the advantages and the disadvantages of homeschooling will help you love what you do.
Seize the Moments!
No matter who you are or where you live, you can effectively homeschool your child. How? Because life is learning. Some homeschooling parents describe their classroom as being “the world” and they live by this. Whatever they come across throughout the day, they turn it into an opportunity for learning. Since life is full of learning opportunities, we must seize those moments and utilize them to our advantage. That random animal your son found while playing outside? Look it up and find out what it is, what it’s habitat is and encourage your son to help it make its way back home. If you have a daughter interested in the various shapes the stars make on a nightly basis, hit the library, and check out some books that’ll help her identify the different shapes astronomers have been studying for years. Help her find some YouTube videos that explain the history of how those star formations came to be and let her take it on her own from there. Even helping take care of the baby, cooking a meal, and changing the oil on the family vehicle can provide valuable life skills your children need. Learning need not take place only within the context of textbooks and pencil/paper tests. Using the chances life throws at you as learning opportunities is a wonderful way to learn to love homeschooling.
Once you accept and understand that there are both advantages and disadvantages to homeschooling, you’ll be in a better frame of mind to utilize every opportunity you can to turn life happenings into learning opportunities. These are the types of things that make up families who truly love homeschooling!