I am now 3 and a half years into my homeschool journey. I started by pulling one kid out of public school because she was miserable, and ended up pulling the other kid too, simply because I fell in love with homeschooling and wanted both of my children to experience it. Here is what I’ve learned since pulling both kids. If you’re on the fence about homeschooling, maybe something I say will help you decide.
- Homeschool is cheaper than public school. I spend far less money on my kids’ education than I did when they were in public school. In public school I was constantly having to donate things, and that added up. I also paid for gas to take them to and from school (because I didn’t want them on the bus), teacher gifts, $100 in supplies per kid every year, lots of clothes because there was pressure to fit in and have “cool” things. Now I use a free, online curriculum and all I have to buy is notebooks and pens. We also take advantage of our local library and check out a ton of books on topics they’re studying or things they develop an interest in on their own. I spend less money on gas, I don’t have to buy teacher gifts, and there is no pressure from their friends to wear or have expensive things. The families we hang out with now are way more into having experiences than having things. The things I spend money on now are piano lessons and memberships to the climbing gym, both good investments in my mind.
- I am fully, 100% capable of educating my children and I’m doing a better job than the state was. When I was considering homeschool, I wondered whether I could do it. What if I suck at it? What if my kids aren’t learning? What if I ruin them forever??? In 3 years of homeschool, my confidence in my ability to educate my own children has SOARED. I am in no way some perfect Pinterest mom, but I am rocking homeschool simply because I CARE MORE THAN THE STATE. I enjoy being with my kids and I love teaching them and learning together as a family. I’m committed to their well-being not only as students but as citizens of the world. They’re learning to be kind, just, responsible, caring, disciplined individuals. If you’re wondering whether you can homeschool effectively, you should ask yourself two questions- a) Do you want to be with your kids all day and enjoy them? And b) Are you a curious person who enjoys learning new things? If you want to be with your kids and take part in their learning, then homeschool might be for you. That’s all it is at its most basic- a desire to spend more time with our kids and help them figure out the world.
- Homeschool is way easier than I thought. There’s no rush to get them out the door at 6:45. There are no homework assignments. There is no outside authority dictating how my family spends our time. I am in control of what we do and when we do it. I can choose to spend extra time on a subject or move through it quickly if the kids already understand it. I use a simple, free curriculum and my kids are still learning more than they were at public school because there are no distractions and they have my one-on-one help when they need it. It’s a much more efficient system. Because I’m in control of what they learn and when they learn it, I can adjust our schedule to fit our family life. Homeschool conforms to my family. Public school required my family to conform.
- Homeschool has given my kids confidence. During 2nd grade my daughter started having trouble in math and it destroyed her confidence. She had the idea that math was something you were either good at or you weren’t, and she wasn’t. When I pulled her out of public school, she would cry almost every time we did math. I would get frustrated because her eyes would glaze over and I could tell she was totally checked out. I would scream. She would cry. It was bad. Finally after two years of near daily struggle, my daughter is gaining confidence in math. It’s not her favorite subject by any means, but she doesn’t immediately shut down when she sees a problem she doesn’t understand. She understands that math isn’t a talent you’re born with; you have to work at it. She’s been putting in the work, and numbers are finally making sense to her. It’s been a beautiful transformation to watch. I have a similar story about my son. In 2nd grade, right before I pulled him out, his teacher told me he needed a tutor in math. That made no sense to me. My son is one of those people who likes numbers. He can do math in his head and numbers just “click” for him. Turns out he understood everything just fine; he was just disorganized and distracted by other kids in his class and getting problems wrong because he wasn’t paying attention. When I brought him home, I bought a 2nd grade math workbook on Amazon and he did the entire thing in a month. He said it was too easy. We bought the 3rd grade workbook and he’s now learning his multiplication tables. His confidence has soared because he’s been allowed to move quickly through work he finds easy and work on conquering new challenges.
I could write a book about all the positive impacts homeschooling has had on my family. If you feel the desire to homeschool, but you’re nervous, or you have family and friends in your ear telling you that you won’t be successful, I encourage you to ignore the naysayers and go for it. I had family members who were completely opposed, but they got over it when they saw how my kids are thriving. Even if they don’t get over it, they’re YOUR children and they were given to you for a reason. Feel free to reach out to me if you need encouragement in your homeschool journey. It’s the best thing that ever happened to my family!