As homeschoolers, we’re sort of in the minority, and I’ve totally accepted that fact and I’m fine with it. The thing is, every time meet someone new or get into a conversation with someone who isn’t familiar with the homeschool world, I get the same questions all the time. I love talking about homeschooling–even to folks that don’t agree with the lifestyle–so I don’t mind answering these questions over again. But to set the record straight, I wanted to answer some of those common questions here.
Common Questions for Homeschoolers
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Do you have a patience super power? I would never have the patience to homeschool.
Look, I am not patient by nature. And I certainly don’t have a patience super power. At all. I think when it comes to patience, your impatience just gets swallowed up with compassion for your kids. So, I’m talking about when your child is struggling with, say, reading. Yes, it is harrrrrrrd to be patient day after day and answer the same questions and correct the same behaviors. BUT I love my kids and ultimately I want to give them a better experience than they would get in a typical school setting. I want to be more compassionate than a teacher that has just met them. I don’t have any special powers. I just love my kids and I give myself grace when I totally lose it–which I do, more often then I’m proud of–and then I ask them to forgive me and we talk about how we can all be more helpful to each other. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Patience is an everyday challenge, but I care more about homeschooling my kids than not facing this challenge everyday.
How do you know what to teach?
Internet searches, kids’ interests, What Your Child Needs to Know book series, other schools’ class catalogs, and good ol’ common sense.
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Don’t you worry about socialization?
The short answer, no. No, because we have always been involved in things. My kids have tried lots of things with lots of different groups of kids. Socialization is only an issue if you let it be. My opinion of “socialized” is when your kids can operate in society with all sorts of people. Ordering food at a restaurant, being able to talk to adults, play with other kids, use manners, and be confident–this is all part of being part of society.
Do you have a teaching degree?
Haha, no. But I did earn an honorary degree from my little make believe school house in my basement of my parents house. I don’t have a teaching degree, but I’ve been teaching my kids since birth–this is how you eat…this is how you say Mama. I have a college degree, but it’s not in teaching and it’s not required by law to have one. I’m pretty confident in my abilities though, does that count? 🙂
How long are you going to homeschool?
I personally think it’s a little presumptuous to say, “I’m always going to homeschool for ever and ever and ever.” You never know what’s going to happen in life. Setting yourself so rigidly into purism about anything is sort of just a set up for life to happen and plans to change drastically. In theory, I would LOVE to homeschool all of my children, all the way through, but from the beginning of this whole thing we’ve always said we’d take it year by year. Every year we reassess. Thus far, this lifestyle has worked so well for us. But a year from now, that could all change. I’m enjoying this season.
How do you handle homeschooling all the different grade levels?
This is tough, it is. But the solution is to teach as much as you can as a group, together. Things like art, history, science, geography can easily be taught together–just make it a little tougher for the older ones. This does get a little more tricky as you enter the high school level, but I just assign more challenging literature and more writing for older kids.
Things like math and some language arts are too individualized to be taught in a group. The way I deal with that is, get all the kids started on their independent work and then go around the table and work with each one, one-on-one and explain their new math lesson and they can start working on it while I move on to the next kid and next math lesson.
It all just seems to work out. I think sometimes we overthink things so much, that we paralyze ourselves with fear of messing things up. Here’s the thing–we probably are going to mess up. We’re probably going to mess up a lot. But parents of kids who go to school mess up a lot too. It’s called being a parent. And being a human. No matter what questions you have and how much research you do, you’ll never hit it all perfectly.
BUT we all have strengths–own them! Soak up the great things instead of focusing on all the unknowns and uncertain things. When you really have a desire to homeschool, you’ll do it and you’ll do a fabulous job!