Teaching your own kids by homeschooling is something many parents have considered. A few years ago, we considered doing so. Four years later we are homeschooling our twelve and seven year old children, while our three year old is following right after them. In addition, we also serve as directors and tutors of a community of 15 homeschooling families.
We had many concerns early in our decision process. One of our biggest was, “Are we capable of effectively teaching our kids?” Some subjects we expected to be easy to teach, but what about those subjects we didn’t like in school, or just weren’t very good at?
We learned this was common for parents considering homeschooling. Some of you may have similar concerns now, and doubt the fact you can teach your own kids. I am here to encourage you by saying, yes, you can! You are more than capable of teaching your own kids by homeschooling. Below I’ve shared a few ways you can get over your own insecurities in teaching your kids by homeschooling, in addition to some practical steps you can take.
1) Realize you are already teaching your kids
Our children are gifts from God that He entrusted us to nurture, guide, and to teach. We teach them almost every other thing in their life, but for some reason we don’t think we can teach them certain subjects in school.
I’m guessing you had not changed a pamper or nursed someone, but you did because it was necessary for your child. Every parent has learned to teach and guide their child to master various skills. And very few of us have given them over to someone else to do it, because we felt we could do it in their best interest. It is no different in homeschooling.
2) Dispel the myths of the traditional school model
If you choose homeschooling, you have to break your mind of the traditional school model. That model is not the only way to teach our kids. If you are continually trying to make your homeschooling look like regular school, and measuring your kids development the way traditional schooling does, you will be missing out and might become discouraged.
You don’t have to be Mrs. “So and So,” the fourth grade teacher at your child’s traditional school. You do not have to have a paper (degree or certificate) that says you are qualified to teach your own child. If that is the case, then you aren’t qualified to do anything mentioned in point #1 either.
When you get over making homeschooling like traditional school you will give yourself the ability to make mistakes (inevitable), to learn from them (a must), and for things to not look perfect (they won’t). This helps from being discouraged and questioning yourself so much.
3) Take complete ownership of your child’s education (and yours)
The scary part of homeschooling can be the most exciting part. By choosing homeschooling you are taking complete ownership of your child’s educational development. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard parents complaining about the quality of education at their child’s traditional school, or what the school and teachers should be doing. You now can address this and fill in any gaps your child was missing in traditional school.
I will not lie and say it is easy. But is definitely doable, and when a family takes ownership of their education, it is amazing! You may have to change some habits. You want to turn everyday happenings into learning opportunities. In doing so, your kids will grow to love learning, and will do so even when school stops.
So, if you are watching Maury in the morning, Dr. Phil in the afternoon, reality TV at night, and on Facebook in between, then don’t expect your child to pick up a book and read on their own. However, if you read to them, read with them, have them read to you, and pick up a book instead of the TV remote, then you are helping them by modeling those habits.
4) Practical Steps You Can Take
There is no 1-2-3 step process to homeschooling, but there are some things you can do to help in your decision making, build your confidence to teach, and actually teach. Here are some practical steps you can take to address those things:
- Determine why you are considering homeschooling. When you have a solid “why,” it helps you make decisions, focus, and keep going when it gets tough. Homeschooling can get tough!
- Research state law and homeschooling regulations. Knowing that you are within the law and your rights gives you peace of mind to focus on what is important, educating your children.
- Research homeschooling curriculum. A curriculum will provide you a guide, the lessons, the how-to, the tests, and pretty much everything you need to teach and measure your child’s progress. You don’t have to start from scratch.
- Go to a convention or attend a parent practicum. A practicum is a training for homeschooling parents. You can learn how to teach from those who have done it, and are doing it. Conventions are great places to learn about all things homeschooling, as well as purchase homeschooling curriculum and supplies.
- Connect with other homeschooling families in your area. You do not need nor should you take this journey alone. There are homeschooling co-ops, communities, and groups all around. Get connected and involved.
Teaching your kids by homeschooling can be scary at first, but you can do it, and do it effectively. Our homeschooling experience has been amazing. We have experienced things with our kids that we may have missed had we stayed with the traditional school model. In addition our kids are thriving.
I encourage those who are considering homeschooling. You were specifically chosen to raise, love, provide for, guide, and educate your children. You are fully equipped, and nobody is more qualified! Yes, you can teach your own kids by homeschooling!
BMWK — What questions about homeschooling do you have, that you’d like to see addressed in future posts? Please share those questions, and your thoughts in the comments section below.
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