Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dear Mama Thinking About Homeschooling

Dear mama thinking about homeschooling,

School is fast approaching. Summer went by in a blink, didn't it? Those days of sleeping in, long afternoons at the park, staying up late watching movies cuddled on the couch. More laughter, more hugs.

Yeah, more kids fighting too, I get that. More, "I'm bored, mom." It's not ALL sunshine and rainbows.

But if the thought of school approaching has anxiety rising like a tide inside your heart, hear me out. If the school supply list and the thought of pulling your grouchy kiddos out of bed every morning has you laying awake at night dreading that first day of school, take a few minutes and read on. If you'd like to leave the role of homework enforcer behind forever, let me encourage you.

There is another way.

You could keep them home.

Yes, YOU could homeschool. Really, you could.

Instead of the first day of school, this year you could celebrate the first day of NOT school. By staying in your pajamas and eating ice cream for breakfast. Or going to the zoo, the museum, or the waterpark (since everyone else is at school).

Just think about that for a moment -- that freedom. Kind of amazing to think about, am I right?

And yes, it's scary too. Let's talk about a few things that might feel terrifying. (They were to me, too.)

You don't have to be a genius in every subject. You don't have to remember differential equations right this second. You don't have to know what kind of homeschooler you are, or pick out some expensive curriculum. You can try things out, and then try other things out.

You are not going to ruin your kids. If you are an involved, dedicated public or private school parent, you can be a homeschool parent. In some ways, it's a LOT easier, because you're getting the best of your kids, and not the school-day leftovers. You'll also be learning how your kiddos learn, and can tailor how you teach/guide them so that there are less and less battles over schoolwork.

They will not lose "all the opportunities." I live in a town of less than 20,000 people and we have tons of homeschool programs -- from martial arts, to band, to co-ops, to artists and musicians offering classes. My daughter does horseback riding and gymnastics right now.

But... what about socialization?

OK, I'll talk about it. The S word. Socialization.


This is the big homeschooling myth that won't die. Again: if you are an active, involved school parent, you will be an active, involved homeschool parent. There ARE other homeschoolers in your town, and you can find them in handy FB groups and arrange playdates. Your children can to to church, scouting, lessons, co-ops, sports, and the grocery store with you. You can show up at the school playground as school lets out and your kiddo can play with all his/her school friends.

Socialization isn't limited to sitting in a class of your peers for 8 hours per day. It's not the only way. It's the most common way, that's all.

So. If your heart is tugging at you, thinking about the possibility of homeschooling, listen to it.

But... the idea of homeschooling scares me.

Yes, it's scary. I will be the first to tell you I was scared out of my mind to write and send my Declaration of Intent to homeschool. (I also did it mid-year, so I had to tell my daughter's teacher, face those kinda scary school secretaries, and answer other moms' questions for a couple weeks before my daughter's last day.)

But I will also tell you that after those letters were sent, and that last day was done, I felt incredible relief. The fear was gone. I knew I'd give my best to this, and that at the very least, my kiddo would be getting better sleep and an education tailored to her learning style.

But it's not, at all, the very least. It's so much more It's hard and wonderful and fun. It's being there when the discoveries happen, when your child learns something you've forgotten and delights in teaching YOU. It changes the whole dynamic of your family, for the better. It will grow you and stretch you.

And it's not all fluffy clouds and peaceful days. It's just not. Some days have tears and tantrums and crabby attitudes. And that's just mom. :-) But oh, the freedom.

Wanna chat?

If you'd like to talk with like-minded mamas, there's a wonderful Facebook group out there called Crossing Over to Homeschooling. It's just a fantastic group, and I asked so many questions there in the year that led up to our decision.

You can also email me. I love to talk homeschooling, and I'd love to encourage you.

This school year could be an entirely new beginning. 

You can do this, mama.


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