10 BRUTAL FACTS ABOUT HOMESCHOOLING
Once upon a time, there was a young princess that moved to a fairytale castle and had a precious baby boy. When the baby grew up, the society told the princess to take the child to school and leave him there for six hours five days a week. What they didn’t tell the princess is that there was also homework, extra-curricular activities and horrible parking problems with schools. The young lad went to school for three years before his mum finally pulled the pin. She realized instead of sitting in traffic, fighting for parking to leave the child at school for 6 hours every day, they could do it all from home. And so they did. And it made them happy. Except for the fact that the naive mum didn’t know the brutal facts about homeschooling life. Because no-one told her.
The reality is, every family has own motives for homeschooling. One of my biggest reasons why our family choose to home-educate was the desire to travel more. It simply made sense to me. I’m a true believer in how much travel expands minds, especially in children while they soak up every bit of information into their growing brains. Isn’t it wonderful?
Nevertheless, when we started I was clueless about the whole thing! Homeschooling was never a part of my vocabulary. My parents didn’t understand the idea when I told them either because.. well.. they were an old school. So were yours, I bet!
10 true but brutal facts about homeschooling no-one tells you (except me)
1. If you research ALL homeschooling options, you’ll find what works for your children
Oh my, how I did that wrong! I went with the first options without knowing there were so many more available! All I had to do was to look. Poor Nick, he went with a flow probably hating me, secretly.
Schooling is not just about ticking curriculum boxes to satisfy the department fo Education. A lot of new to homeschooling mums stress about this part. Whereas, in fact, they should be focusing on finding their child’s passion. I was one of them.
To begin with, remind yourself of a reason why you decided to go down this path. Is it your child’s mental health suffering inside the school’s degrading atmosphere? Or your dissatisfaction with the school’s teaching methods?
Sometimes parents don’t have much of a choice but to pull children out due to the lack of resources for gifted or on the opposite side “less-abled” kids. While this is true, your job as an educating parent is to research what makes your child tick and then education will come willingly and easy for them.
The most important takeaway: whatever curriculum you decide to go with, it has to be on the level your child can apprehend and keep the focus on.
Read more about Home Education in Australia here: HEA.EDU.AU
2. It’s all about flexibility
After I accepted point 1, our lives transformed. I was still adamant to stick with a structure that Nick undoubtedly needed but kind of re-structured the foundation. In simple words, instead of spending five hours with a workbook or doing online lessons, I shopped around:
- Joined a few local homeschooled pages. There are always a few targeting different age groups, interests, abilities, etc. I picked what we were interested in and introduced myself. Best things I ever did in homeschooling! Now I felt like the “secret society ” world had opened for us. The world where we could share our experiences and belong to a community of like-minded individuals
- Re-scheduled our school days. With the finding of local home kids groups came many opportunities to investigate where we belonged. Two days of our five we’d be on excursions or gatherings or activities while the rest of odd days we dedicated to a few hours of decent studying and after school sports. This got us busy with some serious learning! Talking about the social side of homeschooling? Pfft… Plenty of it!
- On days when we felt like doing nothing, well, we did nothing. Or not a lot. Can you afford it with a regular school? I mean, kids are no more than under-aged grown-ups, right? So that means they feel the same rubbish sometimes but don’t have a choice because the real grow-up adults make all decisions for them. How is it even legal? On days like this, you’ll become their real hero (and a friend). You are welcome
3. Support is available
Like I stated above, find a group of like-minded homeschoolers to belong to and you’ll never doubt your decision again.
I had a gutful of questions when we started and no-one to ask them.
The takeaway is: if you choose the distance education method, you’ll most definitely experience the outcast’s symptoms. Teachers will tell you they’re available to discuss any questions but in reality, they aren’t interested in your emotions. Their job is to support your children. That’s that.
The support factor is one of the most important facts about homeschooling. Make sure you get it right from the beginning. Remember, you’ll be the teacher, the school principal and the support staff all in one for your family. So go get your own in return.
We met so many wonderful positive supportive parents within the homeschooling communities while educating Nick in QLD and NSW that it’d be dishonest for me not to mention that. My gratitude to them goes beyond the whole home-educating idea. The support we received is probably one of our fondest memories during my boy’s homeschooled years.
And if you can’t find one, BE ONE!
4. Feeling like a failure is natural
The problem with being a homeschooling mum, in my opinion, isn’t the lack of a teaching degree, it’s a rejection to accept an own failure.
Homeschooling is a wonderful idea and works for many families but sadly sometimes we feel cornered. Kids rebel, refuse to do the work, defy you in every possible way. How do you think school teachers function? They talk to a school counselor! You can do the same: find a supportive relative, friend, perhaps even someone else’s child that’s been home-educated for a while.
The fact is like any other job, it’ll be difficult one day and a bliss another. Be prepared for that. Look after yourself, when everything else fails, step back and relax. That was what I did with Nick. We’d take a day off, go for a drive, walk or simply watch a movie together. Why not?
I was very far from being an educator. I didn’t have the patience or a teaching degree or even an Australian education ( this is true, apart from doing a few courses in TAFE). I didn’t study Australian history at school. Well, the word Australia wasn’t even mentioned in my school. EVER. My Maths skills were those on a kindergarten level. In fact, even a four-year-old would probably beat me at multiplying. Oh, not to mention I didn’t start speaking English until my 24th birthday. Talking about feeling like a failure here?
The takeaway: you WILL feel like failure somedays. Then you will pick yourself up and continue where leftover. YOU CAN DO IT!
5. Leave travel time for traveling
Travel was my biggest driver in the whole situation. I mentioned it above and shared many of our travel experiences in my articles. There is almost nothing comparable in the Universe to what global educating might do for your child.
- Travel offers the opportunity to teach children global skills without books, so leave them at home. I remember the guilt of taking Nick away for a few weeks during a school term. And how liberating it felt after we switched to homeschooling! We didn’t have to ask permission, do any homework or report back
- Instead, buy a journal for each of your children. They can jot down thoughts and experiences of the journey and add pictures later on. We did that with Nick. He made a report on the adventures in a PowerPoint presentation adding photographs, dates, times and places. The presentation was accepted within a few subjects: History, IT and Creative Writing. This is a wonderful world of world-schooling for you!
- Also, integrate Maths, Foreign Language, Social and Critical Thinking Skills into daily travel plans whether you’re out grocery shopping or touring the world. The choice is yours
The takeaway: no need to box your children in at home for the sake of learning how to read and write. Take them exploring: local parks, beaches, shops big and small, multicultural communities. Leave books at home! You can fill the blank pages when you come back.
6. Socializing is at your fingertips, you just need to click them
The biggest and the most fallacious misconception about homeschooling ever existed: homeschoolers are anti-social. The facts prove the opposite: they are MULTI-SOCIAL.
Don’t ever feel like your children must only play their old school friends so that they keep up with the “real world” news. Uh-uh!
This is the first question you are going to get after delivering the homeschooling news to your family. How are you going to socialize with your kids? Like I always said: I socialize my dog and educate my child. This means, he’s quite capable of making his own friends and I don’t have to roll my eyes every time he sniffs someone’s butt.
The confession of a guilty mother: actually, I was scared he would become isolated.
The takeaway: find homeschooling groups as soon as possible, attend every monthly gathering with your school community, join local activities at PCYC, get to know your local farmer.
I found this great article that supports a lot what I just said: Social Side of Homeschooling
7. No, you don’t need to set up a separate study room
Kids can study anywhere if they’re involved. You will be going around your own things, therefore you need to have them within eyesight. At the kitchen table or on a veranda outside, kids don’t care. As long as they can keep the focus on work and if you’re there, you can help. Your presence is also invaluable to them. This is something they never lacked while being away at school. Someone to talk them through, support emotionally, assist with the study.
In saying that, when it comes to testing and assignments, it’s a good idea to have a setup place in the house just for that. Where they can concentrate without being disrupted or disturbed. It is especially important for those kids with sensitivity issues. I know it with Nick. It took him a lot of focusing to get a task done. The massive strain on his brain. Imagine what a school does to the kids like him.
The takeaway: just because your child is homeschooled, it doesn’t make them a separate entity. Be close, they grow too fast. If you need a timeout, disappear in a spare room for a few minutes.
8. Your child doesn’t have to attend school to enroll in University
It’s a dream for many parents that their children get a higher education. And to be honest, nothing stops them!
There are alternative pathways to enter a University. It differs from state to state in Australia. For QLD you can find the information here: Preparatory programs and bridging studies or make an inquiry here: Open Universities Australia
9. There are the same problems within homeschooling communities as everywhere else: bullying, exclusions, cliques, disapprovals, gossips
I was oblivious to the fact that people within the homeschool community are no strangers to human nature. Kids are still kids, teenagers still go through peer pressure and adults, well, they can be…hmm.. difficult.
I naively presumed my son would never come across any type of the “norm” behaviors because:
- homeschooled children are wonderful fairytale creatures never being exposed to nativeness of the outside world
- homeschooled families are all Christians, therefore, following the Bible’s principles, you know: don’t judge, don’t disobey and so forth
- homeschooled parents understand difficulties children face at public school so they would never talk behind my back or judge my child
- there are plenty of “special” home-educated kids. Special kids parents have “been there done it”, consequently they’d stick up for your special needs kids just like they would for their own
Unfortunately, those problems do exist within homeschool communities. Some are very toxic. Get way as far as you can. There are plenty of other wonderful communities out there. But for the reasons above, they don’t make themselves obvious and you’ll have to dig in to find them or be “invited”. They have a good point. We experienced both sides. Secret society ROCK.
10. Homeschool is no more expensive than a public school
You will not have to sell your kids, kidney or move under a bridge to afford the textbooks.
Where your dollar will go a long way:
- not buying school uniforms and constantly replacing broken shoes
- not having to pay for extra tutoring lessons
- homeschool co-ops get substantial discounts for sports activities, excursions, educational materials
- you have a choice what resources to invest in and budget for
- homeschooling groups run educational supplies swaps, sell-outs, and exchanges
I do hope I’ve helped open the Pandora box a little for you, just enough to have a sneak-peak. Because you won’t know until you start yourself! You will stumble, trip and learn along the way but as long as your children are happy and you feel well supported, everything is possible.
Save this image to your Pinterest for keeping and thank you wholeheartedly!