Today on the podcast, we’re busting some common homeschool myths and misconceptions that can be confusing and overwhelming to new and experienced homeschool alike.
I was talking to a mom once who shared, “I’m considering homeschooling next year.”
This wasn’t the first time she’d considered this path for her family.
The last time she thought about homeschooling her two kids, she did hours and hours of research. She wanted to “practice homeschooling” during the summer…
But it didn’t go over very well.
Her son resisted the lessons and wanted to play instead. Her confidence started to wane and this lovely mom began to doubt that she could really be a homeschooling mom.
She thought she just needed to find the “best” workbooks and curriculum for her kids.
However, what we discovered through our conversation was that her son was a hands-on learner. Workbooks and tablework were not the right fit for him.
Sometimes what we think homeschooling is… isn’t it at all!
There are a lot of misconceptions about what homeschooling is and isn’t, how it works, what works, and how to make it sustainable and enjoyable.
When my husband and I were first considering it, homeschooling seemed so huge and daunting. And that was over 25 years ago…So I get it ~ there’s a lot to consider.
Yet, when you break it all down and handle each consideration one at a time, you begin to develop a fully informed decision. From that place of deeply understanding what homeschooling actually is, you can (and will!) move forward with confidence, no matter what you choose.
Homeschooling is less about what you teach and which curriculum you buy, and more about engaging with your children and being willing to be flexible.
Learning is dynamic, flowing, and sometimes outright messy.
And when your children learn at home (which they are already doing, in case you didn’t know, because children are learning all the time…) it’s such a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your family bonds.
You get to watch curiosity flourish or be rekindled. You get to take part in cultivating a lifelong love for learning.
Homeschooling is way more than checklists, benchmarks, and the right curriculum… It’s different from school-school. And it’s not about being a perfect parent either…
Busting Homeschool Myths
So let’s see if we can bust some myths about homeschooling so that you may take the first step with courage and confidence.
Myth #1: Homeschooling Means Recreating the Classroom at Home.
Actually ~ no, it doesn’t! And this is really good news.
Homeschooling won’t look like what happens in a brick-and-mortar school. It can’t.
Instead, this is an opportunity to expand your view of what teaching and learning are. Children (all of us, really) are learning all the time…not just in a classroom, not just during lessons.
And, all that time that our children spend away from us when they go to school – we get to take that back. It can be such a relief not to have to be out the door on time every morning!
Homeschoolers get to slow down and embrace simplicity in their days.
If you homeschool, you get to do something totally unique and customized and adventurous and connecting. There is quite a bit of freedom afforded to homeschoolers and I encourage you to toss out the idea that you need to pretend your home is a classroom!
Embrace what you have, who you are as a parent, and who your children are as individuals.
Myth #2: Homeschooling is a Full-Time Job.
OR Myth #3: Homeschooling Means I Get to Just Chill at Home.
Neither extreme is true!
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be a full-time job. But it does require a good deal of energy on our part as the parent. We learn to observe our children and bring them enriching learning activities that are engaging.
Homeschooling parents are facilitators of learning, so it helps to have a simple plan that’s customized to your family. It’s not realistic to think you can just purchase a one-size-fits-all curriculum and you’re good to go…
So while we want to set up healthy fun learning moments for our children, neither do we want to overwork as homeschool parents nor do we want to neglect the holistic needs of our children.
There’s a healthy balance to achieve!
Keeping our daily routines and the lessons simple and doable is key. And then, in that simplicity, teachable moments can organically arise. Inviting activities such as reading together, practicing drawing with sidewalk chalk outside, telling stories with puppets or dolls, watercolor painting, and molding clay will bring the learning to life.
Homeschooling requires us to be present and prepared, but also flexible and intuitive. It is a balancing act. And when the balance is optimal, our lessons will be memorable, spark interest, bring joy, and flow with ease.
Myth #4: Being a Homeschool Parent Means I Should Always Be Ready for Each Lesson Every Day, Like Classroom Teachers.
Know that you’ll have days when you feel overwhelmed and unprepared. And that’s OK.
Homeschoolers have good days and bad days just like teachers in a classroom. We’ll learn as we go and so will our children!
And one of the beautiful benefits is that we get to be present to watch our child’s learning unfold.
A second benefit is flexibility with the schedule. Struggling on a Wednesday morning with the dirty laundry, a tantruming child, and a sniffly nose? You can always adjust your lesson plan for that day and everything will be fine. Or, build in more field trips and days off as needed.
You would be amazed at how much unexpected learning happens without you even doing anything! Think of you and your kids driving down the road and all of a sudden your first grader reads a word on a sign you drive by. Or your kids spontaneously search for all the books you have about birds because they saw a new bird at your birdfeeder.
Ultimately, homeschooling is not about you suddenly becoming a superhuman. Take it one step at a time and enjoy the journey.
Myth #5: Homeschool Kids Don’t Get Their Socialization Needs Met.
Every homeschooling family I know has too many opportunities for socialization! As homeschoolers, we actually have to learn to say no sometimes.
Over the past almost 30 years, and as a homeschooling family ourselves, my experience is that folks who are unfamiliar with homeschooling think socialization is going to be the biggest challenge. When in fact, it’s the opposite.
Children enjoy playing and learning with other children. But we don’t need to make this happen every single day.
The truth is that most homeschooling children have a healthier socialization experience than those children who spend their days in school with same-age peers. What does this look like? Playgroups, homeschool co-ops, one or two or three other homeschooling families that you can gather with one day a week, classes at museums and other cultural institutions, hikes with friends, games days with grandparents, sleepovers with cousins…the possibilities are plenty.
So seek out the homeschooling groups or families in your area to discover what’s available. What social opportunities are in your area for playing with and getting together with friends?
Take the First Step
Homeschooling is about having a simple doable plan, being present, and showing up with love, inspiration, and flexibility. You can do this – you can make it work if you choose to!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Want help with those first steps? The place to start is by observing your child and matching the curriculum to where they are right now. Our Ages & Stages Guide can help. Discover the wonders of each stage of learning so you can bring your children exactly what they need, let go of your anxiety about what you should be doing, and homeschool with more confidence and ease.
Rate & Review the Podcast
If the Art of Homeschooling Podcast has inspired you, I’d LOVE it if you could rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast player! Reviews can be left on Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Podcast Addict, or Stitcher.
Or simply pop on over to lovethepodcast.com/artofhomeschooling and choose where you want to leave your review.
And if you want to show your appreciation for the Art of Homeschooling Podcast, you can buy me a cup of tea!