Homeschooling has come into the spotlight over the past 2 years as kids across the globe were sent home and families started crisis schooling overnight. We call it crisis schooling instead of homeschooling because it is unfair to call this process anything close to normal. Parents had to jump between managing their own work schedules and setting up their kids to pay attention to 7 hours of zoom calls per day. This is not the same as a planned out education homeschool plan. If this was your experience, I could understand your hatred of the idea of homeschooling.
For our family, the terms homeschooling and homeschoolers were synonymous to sheltered kids and parental torture. We met some homeschooling families with kids that were…. Interesting. Socially awkward kids, awkward parents, and we assumed that homeschooling was the problem. This was our opinion 8 years ago. Today, my wife has successfully homeschooled our 4 kids (13,12,8,6), runs a successful homeschool organization and we have 4 mostly normal kids that love their education.
Let me tell you how the heck this happened.
School wasn’t working for us
I don’t believe homeschooling is for everyone. It depends on your willingness to take on this task, the child that’s being homeschooled and your living situation. If traditional schooling is working well for your family, that’s amazing.
The reason why we looked into options was that traditional schooling wasn’t working for our first daughter that was in kindergarten. She did not enjoy the programs, her learning was regressing and the school was not willing to make accommodations to help continue her learning. We had meetings with the teachers, and we hit a dead end.
We evaluated our options
At this point, we were not able to move into a different area or school district, so the only option we had was to put our kid into private school. After evaluating the costs, it would have been ~$60K/year to put all 4 of our kids through a local private school which was out of our budget.
At this point, I knew that homeschooling was another option, but my wife and I had strong feelings about homeschooled kids that kept this option off the table. After not having any other options, we decided to investigate what homeschooling really is, and look into what it would take. We never knew where this exercise would take us.
We Challenged Our Thoughts on Homeschooling
Before taking the leap into this kind of education, we had a number of concerns with homeschooling, but they were just opinions. Here were our top 3 biggest concerns and what we found.
1. Homeschoolers are weird because they aren’t socialized.
Have you ever met someone who homeschooled that’s awkward? I certainly have. But I didn’t understand why. Some parents homeschool because they didn’t like school, didn’t fit in, or are afraid of the influences of those bad kids at school. The parents can be anti-social themselves, and they naturally pass it on to their kids when they pull them from school.
Now being a part of a homeschool community, we’ve met a ton of incredible people with very social kids. They purposely enrol their kids in drama, art, swimming, sports and anything else to get them working alongside other students. We found out that homeschooling won’t make your kids awkward if you have a plan to build a community.
2. We’re not qualified teachers
I run a digital marketing agency and my wife Tammy was a graphic designer. Although she took on the role as teacher for our kids, we both felt unqualified to navigate this world since we weren’t teachers. We found out this doesn’t mean that you can’t homeschool. Every state/province publishes all of their curriculum online which you can download and get started.
Our family purchased a curriculum online which sends you all of the lesson plans, workbooks, textbooks, readers and even science materials to get started. There are tons of homeschool options out there starting at ~$800/student per year.
3. Homeschooling is way too much work
I won’t say that it’s a walk in the park, but you aren’t out in the wilderness looking for books at the library. You can buy a curriculum which plans your day down to the minute, join a local homeschool association or group to help you navigate your options and meet a ton of other families that can share the load. Our family participates in two groups every week which run gym programs, and elective courses taught by parents. It isn’t easy, but it’s way easier than crisis-schooling. One year our kids were even taught gym from a previous Canadian Olympian!
After realizing homeschooling isn’t what we thought it would be, we have successfully schooled our 4 kids, our eldest transitioning into a high school next year.
Although I believe that homeschooling isn’t for everyone, it’s been one of the best decisions our family has ever made. We’ve loved spending time with our kids, being involved in their education and having the freedom to do school the way we wanted to..