I was at the Post Office the other day and got into an interesting conversation with the postal worker about homeschooling. (I was mailing out some newsletters.) Our conversation raised a point that I feel is worth mentioning here.
People homeschool for a multitude of reasons, not all of them good. As the director of a school group I field a lot of calls from parents who are exploring their educational options. I am always hesitant to encourage parents whose main motivation seems to be one of fear. While I am sympathetic to the concerns that parents have, fear is not a very good motivator.
Homeschooling is a demanding venture. You have to be willing to invest time, money, and yourself to do it well. Parents who do well are those who are working toward a goal. They are excited about the opportunities homeschooling offers for their families. They have chosen to homeschool for positive reasons.
There is a world of difference between that scenario and a parent who is afraid of their child moving on to, let’s say, the local Junior High. They haven’t chosen to homeschool, they have chosen not to send their child to school. I hope you can see the difference. Generally, parents who choose homeschooling primarily to avoid something in the school system quickly give up. Being frustrated with a teacher or afraid of the peer pressure your child might face may be legitimate and compelling concerns, but when faced with the day in, day out reality of schooling your own child they are generally not enough to keep you going.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice, it is a complete paradigm shift. When done well homeschooling is not just about the few hours of ‘school time’ each day. When you desire this change and can see the benefits for your family and children you have a reason to stick with it through the inevitable struggles. When your choice is based on a desire to leave the school system, as opposed to a desire to homeschool you have a shaky foundation. I would caution you to consider this carefully. It’s not that once you pull your child out there is no going back, but it’s not an ideal scenario.
I don’t offer these thoughts to discourage people from homeschooling, I think it’s a great option, but as you think of leaving the school system you need to not just consider what you will be leaving behind, but what you will be moving toward.