I know homeschooling won’t solve all the problems that lead to incidents such as last Friday’s school shooting. However, I’m amazed by the number of people who say it makes them wish they could homeschool. Why do they think they cannot? I’m of the belief that if you really want to do something, you can make it happen. I’m not suggesting everyone should homeschool, but I suspect that many people assume they can’t because they don’t fully understand how and/or they haven’t thought about it thoroughly.
First of all, it is legal to homeschool in all 50 states, so I hope no one is hesitating because they’re unsure about that. Just google “homeschooling in (state name)” and hopefully you will find something like the fabulous statewide, inclusive, member-driven Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers which is where I learned everything I needed to know when starting out, way back in the early years of the last decade. Go there even if you don’t live in Virginia; there is a lot of helpful general information applicable to any homeschooling family as well as the legal specifics for Virginian homeschoolers.
I suppose one of the biggest reasons parents might think they can’t homeschool is that they believe they must work outside the home. But maybe not. Maybe it’s costing more to work. I don’t spend any money on a work wardrobe, commuting costs, and so on. Maybe some costs could be cut. I know this is very personal but I imagine we can all find something to let go of, at least for a while. Even if both parents truly must work, or there is only one parent, there are possibilities. I know homeschooling families in both situations. And homeschooling is as inexpensive as you want it to be.
Maybe some parents doubt their ability to teach their children. Guess what. Children learn no matter what. They are born curious, with a love of learning. They need loving, supportive adults and an interesting (not necessarily expensive) environment. Parents provide that for the first five years of their child’s life. Why would they suddenly become unable to support their children’s learning when they turn 5? Parents love and know their children better than anyone else. I earned a teaching credential and taught primary grades for 5 years before I had children so I can tell you that teachers in training mostly learn how to manage a room full of 30 kids. There is no special training required to give a child what they need most: encouragement and support for their interests. We do this by finding books at the library, using online resources, finding mentors, arranging groups of homeschooling kids, and watching what they do, discussing it and cheering them on. Kids are good at telling us what they need too, as long as we have been good listeners. The whole world is our classroom. I doubt any homeschooling parents, regardless of their homeschooling philosophy, are their children’s sole “teacher.” Children learn from the world, constantly.
I’m not going to try to think of an exhaustive list of reasons people might not consider homeschooling. I will reply to any that are posted in the comments though. So often I hear variations of “I would love to homeschool, but can’t” and I just want to encourage people to think about homeschooling before automatically dismissing it. Many families are. The number of homeschoolers is ever increasing. Our local community of homeschoolers is very large.
Would you like to get some idea of why and how my family homeschools? You can click on the category Homeschooling on my blog and bring up all my posts I’ve tagged with “homeschooling.” I’ve written quite a bit about it and you may find it helpful. I also have a page titled Unschooling with links to articles and videos others have posted on the topic of education.