Who Should NOT Homeschool?
You may think it strange that a Homeschool Support blog would have reasons for NOT homeschooling, but Lucy and I both feel pretty strongly that there are a) some people who shouldn’t and b) some seasons and reasons for not homeschooling.
Let’s face it: we are all different. What works for one parent and child doesn’t always work for another.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle. It’s a huge decision. It will affect every aspect of your life: your relationship with your children, your relationship with your husband, your amount of free time, your career choices… the list goes on and on.
So, let’s look at the Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool Your Children:
#1 If you don’t want to.
“Duh,” you may say. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to homeschool.” That may be true for you, dear reader, but there may be a mom here reading who really doesn’t want to do it. She feels pressured by her husband, or her friends, or even her child. But in reality the last thing she wants to do is think about how to handle math or science, or spend hours learning history all over again. You did that already, right?
Well, if you really don’t want to do it, you shouldn’t. Homeschooling takes time, effort, and commitment. It isn’t for the faint of heart, and it isn’t something you only do on days you feel like it.
So, make sure it’s something you really want to take on before you commit yourself.
#2 If it will cause stress in your marriage.
As I mentioned earlier, homeschooling will affect your relationship with your spouse. It could be for the better if your spouse is in support of the decision and willing to help you with some things, but it also can be for the worse.
If your spouse is 100% dead-set against it, and it causes arguments between you, then it isn’t worth it.
Homeschooling is wonderful. It gives you a lot of flexibility and much more family time. It lowers stresses that come from hours of homework and school commitments. It’s really great for families, but…
It does have its own stresses. It takes time. It takes money (although not as much as you might think). It takes a family.
Homeschooling does take the support of your spouse, so if he or she is not wanting to consider it, and it’s turning into a fight, please don’t put your family through that. (We have some ideas on ways to convince your spouse if he’s willing to listen, so look for more on that in a later essay.)
So, it is better to have a healthy marriage with a child in a brick-and-mortar school than a bad marriage while homeschooling.
#3 If you aren’t willing to put in the work necessary.
So let’s say you really want to homeschool, and your spouse is on board, but when you look at lesson planning or getting up in the morning to “do school,” you’d just much rather go out to lunch with your friends or paint or scrapbook or whatever.
Homeschooling is a job. It’s a Full. Time. Job. It requires commitment to planning, and it requires commitment to doing. You’ll have a lot more freedom than a brick-and-mortar school teacher, but you’ll still have to put in the effort to make sure your children are learning and progressing toward a goal.
If your plan is to just let your kids read and/or watch TV (even educational TV) all day, then you might want to reconsider your homeschooling decision. Reading is great, educational TV is great, but neither are, by themselves, adequate instruction. We know there is some debate amongst homeschoolers about what constitutes education (and we’ll cover some of those ideas in our Educational Philosophies section), but Lucy and I both feel strongly that children need guidance.
You can’t just tell them to do a chapter of history, a chapter of science, and a chapter of math and expect that they’ll do it. You *will* need to be there. You *will* need to instruct. You *will* need to monitor. You *will* need to read the books you ask your child to read, so that you can discuss them. You, and only you, will be responsible if you let your child slide on things because you don’t feel like doing the work.
So, be willing to work at it if you decide to homeschool.
#4 If you have to work (or are very busy) and leave your children on their own all day.
Sometimes I’ve heard homeschooling moms decide that they need to go to work to help the family finances, so instead of putting the children in school, they instead decide to leave the children on their own to “do school” while they work. I’ve never seen this happen with young children, of course, but when they get to be teens some parents think, “They don’t need me anymore,” so they just let them “do school” on their own.
Well, in my humble opinion, this is a huge mistake. It may very well work for some very independent, self-motivated kids, but the majority of teens I know need accountability and interaction to have a positive educational experience.
I know one mom who let her teen daughter do a whole year of A Beka Algebra 2 by herself. She thought this girl was doing very well. Her tests were good, her work always done on time. It wasn’t until the end of the year when this mom discovered that her daughter had found the key to the cabinet with the answer keys. She had been cheating her way through the material. Mom had been too busy with outside projects to keep up with what her daughter was really doing, and this mom didn’t have an outside job.
It is completely understandable to need to work, but if you do, please know that your children need more than just a room alone with a book to learn well. They need interaction (particularly on the deeper subjects like literature and history). They need accountability.
So, if you need to leave your children to work or do a hobby, you should probably not try to educate them at home.
#5 If your own education was poor, and you won’t work to overcome it.
Let’s face it. Some of us had less than desirable educational experiences ourselves. We struggled in school, or we came from a background where education was not valued.
If your grammar and reading skills are not very good you will need to work to overcome that to give your children a better education. You might need to brush up on your grammar, take a reading course, spend some time practicing basic math skills.
Or you might need to work alongside your children, practicing the same skills they are learning.
My own public school education was not the best. Math, particularly, was difficult for me, so when I chose to educate my daughter I knew I would need to sit beside her and learn with her. I did that all the way through high school. It was a great refresher course for me, and I knew that if I was having trouble with a concept, she would, too.
So, if you are not willing to work to overcome your own educational deficiencies, you probably should not try to homeschool.
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