I get the calls for our homeschool group.
That’s kind of my main (volunteer) group job. (I get the emails too.)
And so, I hear from a lot of parents who are FREAKING OUT about homeschooling.
“No one told me this was going to be so expensive!” they say breathless. “A $1,000 curriculum? Who has that kind of money?”
“We’re getting done by lunch time, and I have no idea what to do the rest of the day.”
“He hates it. He hates it all. Everything. I think I made a huge mistake.”
I do my best to calm their worried souls. A lot of the time, people just need to talk to someone who isn’t going to judge or tell them they are crazy to homeschool.
I try very hard not to push. I’ve met plenty of families who try homeschooling and decide it isn’t for them.
And that’s OK.
It’s for us, right now, but I never try to push homeschooling on anyone.
(I don’t work on commission.)
But the truth is, homeschooling can feel scary sometimes. Especially when you’re just starting out.
So this is what I try to tell people who are overwhelmed:
- Homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive. There are whole books written on how to homeschool for free.
- You don’t have to buy a pre-packaged curriculum. Some parents really like the convenience, but you can absolutely piece your own curriculum together based on your child’s interests, your own strengths and how your child learns.
- You actually don’t need a curriculum at all.
- You don’t have to teach pre-school. In most states, kids aren’t required to start school until much later — usually 6 or 7. Play, read, bake. Enjoy your days together.
- Homeschooling doesn’t have to take as many hours as traditional schooling.
- You don’t have to replicate school at home.
- If your child has just left public/private school, you both might need a little bit of time to “deschool.“
- It’s OK to dump a curriculum that isn’t working.
- Not all curriculum are created equal.
- There’s going to be a learning curve.
- Finding support is huge. That can be family, friends, a homeschool support group, etc.
- If anyone is crying on a regular basis (including you), something isn’t working.
- Everyone has bad days. Even the lady on the internet who seems really together.
- Don’t listen to the doubters. They lack imagination.
- Relationships are more important than math. The math will come, but not if a kid is shattered.
- Homeschooling is an industry. Don’t keep spending money looking for answers. Stop. Breathe. Say a prayer. Dream. Take your kids on a nature hike.
- The worry will destroy you. It will fill you with self-doubt if you let it. Focus on love.
- It gets easier.
- Never quit on your worst day. Go out for sundaes instead.
- If you are concerned about “doing it right,” you already are. Because the first thing you need as a homeschooler is love for your students.
In fact, I’d put that in the Homeschooling Basics Kit, right along with good read-alouds, a sense of humor, chocolate, tea, and friends.
I don’t actually sell these kits, but I think someone should. :)