Maybe you shouldn't homeschool...

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Just a mere two years ago, if you would've told me that that coming fall I would begin homeschooling my rising Kindergartener, my oldest, I would've looked at you so crazy, jack. But most of us know how that story ends...or begins, rather...I quickly fell in love with homeschooling and even added it to my, (ever growing) list of passions.

I began to think "why aren't more people doing this??"..."naturally, what any parent could offer their child is so much better than what the public school does." And I began to feel sad (and almost frustrated) at both people I knew and didn't know that grew ever more excited to send their child off every morning on that yellow bus in August.

And up until more recently, I continued to feel the same way...day after day. And while I do agree that home education could positively benefit practically any child regardless of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, and any special need obstacles, I've changed my mind on the whole stance. Not everyone should homeschool their child(ren). In fact, some people should probably save themselves the trouble and just stop altogether.

You may need to stop homeschooling your child if...

...you think your homeschool should rigidly mimic public school. I guess this one puzzles me. Having only gone to traditional school myself, I get that it's hard to switch what one grew up experiencing and then providing a totally opposite educational experience for their child. I tried, in the beginning, going against all homeschooling wisdom I received from various homeschooling gurus, to make our homeschool as close to typical school as possible. It probably doesn't take too much digging to guess what happened after a few days of frantically forcing typical school in a home setting. I was in tears, I was already exhausted and burnt out, and my kids weren't loving the change of what used to be, a very organic, but fairly organized normal life schedule to something almost resembling boot camp.

I learned that if all I'm intending to do is to mimic traditional school in my homeschool, then I've missed the point of homeschooling entirely. I might as well save myself the trouble and enroll my child in the nearest school building.

...you are not willing and able to love being with your children pretty much around the clock Because of my God, my husband, and our life choices and priorities, I have been able to be apart of 99.9% of my childrens lives. That .1% that I've missed has been because every once in a while, Mike and I get to be alone in public. It's amazing. So I'm very used to constantly being with my children. So much so, that I literally feel like I'm missing an entire arm or I forgot to put panties on or something extreme like that, when they aren't with me. I may as well be completely naked. Some parents are very used to dropping their child off here and there and spending entire days and sometimes multiple days separated from their children and barely bat an eye about it. That's their normal. And I say to those parents who are used to having large breaks from parenting, or who do both work long hours or have help caring for their children, if you cannot imagine yourself being the sole caregiver, teacher, mentor, etc., then you probably shouldn't consider homeschooling.

I know some homeschooling situations are unique and do occur between two parents working outside of the home on separate schedules. These parents are truly making several sacrifices to educate their children at home. It is possible, but I know it's not for everyone. It really isn't.

...if you're child ends up hating it/you aren't willing to change your approach to accommodate your child's learning style/ability.

I know of some homeschooling mamas who cannot fathom laying down their perfectionistic expectations and continue to fight with and force and expect things of their child that the child responds negatively to. To continue to force a learning style and ignore your child's cries for change and longing for adaptability, isn't what homeschooling should display. Sometimes it takes a great amount of trial and error to determine what curriculum works for your child, what learning style the respond to best and what about learning specifically gets them excited. And what works for one child, may not work for another.

In my opinion, homeschooling can be and should be a beautiful collaboration between parent and child. A dance, an adventure, a trail with many twists and turns, a ride that encourages first of all a LOVE for learning. And not just for the duration of all twelve grades, but something that propels them past your instruction...something they will soar with until their final breath. Next, it should be fluid and flexible. Allow discovery to spark a new path. You may have to throw out all the grand plans you had for that day and just go with it. That's okay. That's the beauty of homeschooling. You have freedom. Your child has freedom. Your child isn't learning from the discomfort of a wooden desk, but from life all around them. Surrounded constantly by those who value them the most, the family unit gives benefit where the schoolroom simply cannot compare.

So if you're considering homeschooling, awesome. It can be a most breathtaking journey. If you are homeschooling and find yourself highly frustrated with a child(ren) that would rather be doing anything else BUT...it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. Reevaluate your approach, your attitude, your purpose in doing this in the first place. Do you care more about your child having the most beautiful cursive writing (pushing a child to do so to their detriment) or do you want your child to have a love for learning?

I choose a love for learning. I choose discovery.

Love, Alicia