Why I Decided not to Homeschool + 10 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Homeschool
I grew up studying in a traditional, all-girls school. All my life, it’s about teachers, classmates, homeworks and lectures. I read stories about kids my age (at that time) who were homeschooled and I thought, they must be freaks and anti-socials. Why would you want to study at home and not make new friends? Since then, homeschooling never entered my mind.
Until I became a mom – and started blogging about my (mis)adventures as a mother.
After joining a mom bloggers group, I was surprised to find out that most stay-at-home moms these days homeschool their kids for variety of reasons. I also read their stories and can’t help but be amazed on how they juggle homeschooling, doing chores and working. All ideas about homeschooling are gone. To be honest, I felt a bit jealous because I don’t know if I could do it. Plus, my husband is not into the idea of homeschooling, which means my kids will never be homeschooled.
Why I Decide Not to Homeschool
I tried. I had the materials (check this to find out where I get my free printable activity sheets), bought books and other education materials and included “Study Time” in our daily schedule. I also learned from other homeschooling parents that you can either enroll and follow a homeschooling course or come up with your own curriculum that will fit your child’s needs.
However, I realized I couldn’t do it.
I had the materials but I don’t know how to start. I came up with a “curriculum” like doing Letters of the Day and the like but my kids, especially my eldest won’t cooperate. I have the space where I can conduct lessons but I can’t make them sit there and they prefer working on the floor. Both my girls also have short attention span and get easily agitated when I make them sit down for 15 minutes straight, which is why I felt progressive school is the best mode of teaching for them. My eldest daughter and I also attended couple of preview classes from different preschools and I noticed how much she enjoys and participates when there are other kids around.
But there’s something I realized about homeschooling: it’s about commitment. Homeschooling means you play two roles: a mom and a teacher. I realized I can’t do both. Yes, I can teach but with everything else on my plate, I felt I can’t fully commit, which is why I can’t help but be amazed on how moms could do it. I also realized that homeschooling must be consensual, which means both mom and dad agree and commit to do it. I don’t have that and my husband is against the idea. The parents must support each other when it comes to teaching the kids at home since it’s not just the mom’s responsibility, right?
Still, this doesn’t mean I won’t teach my kids. Play and Learn is still part of our daily schedule, which includes painting, teaching concepts, reading books and pretend play. I am proud to say that my three-year old can already write. It’s just that for us, my husband and I feel that there is something schools could also provide.
Questions you should ask before you decide to homeschool
Thinking of homeschooling? Here are some of the questions you need to ask before you decide if homeschooling is the best option for you.
1. Why do you want to homeschool?
What are your reasons for homeschooling? What are your motives? Will your reasons benefit your children?
2. Do I have enough materials and conducive environment needed for learning?
The World Wide Web is full of free printable materials you could use to teach your child. There are also online schools where you can enroll your child for a guided curriculum. However, learning doesn’t stop with having all the materials you need to teach something to your child. Aside from printable sheets, what other materials do you plan to use when teaching? Do you have enough space at home that you can use as a classroom?
3. Am I qualified to homeschool?
You don’t need a PhD to become your child’s teacher. In fact, every parent is equipped to teach their child. The question is, can you do it? Do you have enough patience to handle your kids’ tantrums in case they decide it’s “No school day today?”
4. Is homeschooling agreed upon by both parents?
Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to homeschooling and education? If not, then you need to think of a solution to provide the best learning environment for your child that is agreeable to you both.
5. Are you willing to defend your choice?
Despite the growing number of homeschooling families, homeschooling is still not a popular option in the Philippines. Surely, you will encounter people who will give you that crazy look and ask why you homeschool your kids. Can you handle the questions and possible criticisms from other people who are not in the same page with your choice?
6. Do you get enough support from other people / community?
Aside from your husband, look for and join groups that advocate homeschooling. You can learn a lot from them and for sure, you will receive the right amount of support you need to continue and commit to your chosen mode of education.
7. Do you have realistic expectations?
What do you plan to achieve by the end of the year? Are you willing to be flexible with your goals?
8. How do you plan to carry out learning at home?
This should be defined clearly – methods of teaching, materials to be used, how to promote learning outside the home, and the like. This is the reason why I realized homeschooling is not the best option for us. I cannot clearly identify what I plan to achieve at the end of the school year and how I will carry out learning both in and out of the home.
9. What about socialization?
There will always be a stereotype when it comes to homeschooled kids. As a parent, think of other ways to facilitate and encourage learning while making sure that your child can also adapt to a different environment. I think, this is where support groups come in. From what I learned, there are homeschooling groups that organize meet-ups and activities that enables children to meet other kids.
10. Can you commit to homeschooling?
This is one of the most important questions you need to answer. Homeschooling is a commitment. It has advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you on how you want to capitalize on it.
Homeschooling or not, every family is unique. Regardless of the chosen method of learning, the important thing is that we, as parents, should provide the best learning environment for our children according to their needs and preferences.