top of page

Do's and don'ts when you consider homeschooling.

Updated: Mar 21

When my now 10 year old was about 2 years old, my husband and I were considering what would be the best option for him and his life. We were deeply concerned with how best to move forward with his education, like all new parents. We had him in classes at a community center and library programs, and he loved it! Like every loving and safe parent, we want to see our child succeed and go forward in life beyond our dreams and to provide the resources to get him there. We didn't know where to start and it took a LOT more stumbling than needed. I needed a community sooner but struggled with reaching out because we were moving quite a bit. I learned that I wanted more out of life and didn't enjoy the experience I thought would be my dream one bit.

There was a reason for this though, I needed to accept that there are some parts of homeschooling that come with the territory. You will pay more for your childs education because you won't want to take federal dollars. With every dollar that you could recieve as a homeschooler comes more regulation on what to teach and how to spend that federal money. In this issue particularly, I didn't like anything to do with taking away the freedom homeschool gives to the families to teach the life skills so often missing from public schools. Life skills such as taxes, investments, emotional regulation, healthy coping mechanisms, how to recognize an abusive friendship, and more.

I knew I could do better so I started just doing things scared. It was 2014 when I started going out there and taking my 2 year old to community centers! It was a struggle- many moms there knew each other and some previously had grown up together and had kids right around the same time together. Me coming in as 'the new parent' didn't mean I was made to feel out of place just invisible by lack of connection in the greater community. I didn't let that stop me but it was quite isolating. Looking back I wish I would have started hosting art classes sooner in my community for the sake of my son. I say this to empower any new mom that if you can't find a community make one- the people you are seeking are really seeking you. Wondering where you are.


Look into your state's homeschooling laws.

If you have a state that has homeschooling laws (hint: all of them do) then you'll want to figure them out, the history of them, how exactly they apply to your family and what you can do to keep them as incredible as they are OR what you can do to change them if you so desire. Yet always ask questions. There are lots of families in your state who will understand the laws well and they may be able to explain something clearly that's written with excessive language and why it is written in the exact way that it is. A mature legal system sometimes needs explaining and that is okay.

Meet other homeschoolers.

If you know you are going to homeschool anyway do not put this off. Meet up with other homeschoolers because homeschool meet ups are way cooler and relaxed than library or community center meetups anyway. You are a different parent then most you will meet. Most, if not all, parents you meet are willing to DIE for their children. Well, sad as that would be you would only need to die for them once. I find that homeschool parents are willing to get up every day and multiple times a day live for their children. To work out for longevity, to cook good food for their entire lifespan, to read good books together as a unit, to make things and teach with patience. It is an act of LIVING for your kids and it takes awhile considering the contrast.

Learn about the development of the human brain.

You're going to need to know what's developmentally appropriate and what is not appropriate to expect of your child, and this is far beyond the capacities of schooling. Because you are comingling the mother and teacher relationship always consider how you as a mother have behaved towards your child for the week and how they have been reaching out to you to ask for help in playing or coming back to themselves. You will need to focus on them to assess their needs.

study the various perspectives of education.

Know what a pedagogy is.

There is a lot of clout given to the idea that you are not a school at home and yes that is true, I wholeheartedly agree that a classroom can be a kitchen table. However I also have seen there is too much clout given to the idea that the system is bad so we don't need to focus on anything the teachers have developed over the years to make the classroom and the absorption of new material more accessible to young learners. There are so many incredible books on homeschooling and there are so many incredible books on teaching and all of them are excellent!

Consider yourself a legitimate educator.

You are not 'kind of' a teacher. Whether you have a class of 'only' 1 student or if you have a class of many students, you are someone who is providing an education to the future of the world and you are shaping tomorrow, today. Take the time to consider what a gift you are giving the next generations of your family and don't spend much more time dwelling on not being enough or a 'real' teacher. You are a guide, facilitator, and real teacher now. Embrace it, the sooner you do the more your children will thrive in your empowering mindset.

Give yourself space to consider how this is NOT a full-time job.

It's pretty obvious we don't choose to homeschool for the fame or the money. The retirement plan sucks and there's so much to consider daily. We have to trust in our decision and do our best to cover our own lives so we can be there for ourselves as we age just like anyone with a legitimate job would do!

If you struggle seeing how this is a full-time job perhaps try to talk yourself out of the fact that this IS NOT a full-time job. You will be working on call 24/7 to be the one who provides for their educational needs. You will be working to set up lessons in focused amounts of time through the week as the grades progress. You will be printing, laminating, creating worksheets, finding and paying for worksheets, making and planning for co-op classes, and more. You will be making food, snacks, drinks, and any other things you think you will need for your child/ren. You will be teaching them life skills during and away from 'school time'. You will be a patient and loving example of humanity and you will deliver hope, empathy, and conflict resolution daily. This is one of the hardest jobs you could have ever chosen, and you chose it. Do not trust any words that attempt to delegitimize it as I often find they are spoken from a place of pain or jealousy.


Disregard laws and hope for the best

If you can homeschool in your state with little or no legal oversight know that it was fought for. Know there are others who came before you who fought for you to have the freedom to teach how you want and when you want. In my state I am considered an administrator/principal of a private school and must complete a certain number of hours and a certain number of days of instruction. All of this must be logged as the year progresses- I fill out a spreadsheet at the end of each day or at the end of a week. Whichever works best!

Stay isolated and cross your fingers hoping your kids will be introverted too!

When parents do this, their children do not develop the capacity to disagree in a way that is conducive to outcomes because they do not have a chance to interact with other kids. The chance to say the wrong thing to someone who is not family is an experience and a process that aids so many children! We must as guides of the next generation push ourselves out of our comfort zones, especially for our children. When it comes to making and keeping friends we aren't just talking about a moment we are discussing a lifetime, a lifelong relationship with relationships themselves.

Expect the same standard your child displayed at school at home.

You will hear this often- your homeschool is not school at home. Many times you will get advice from other homeschoolers from the context of their family, and this is super helpful! Take a moment to consider what you do not need from their advice, and there will be a lot that surfaced from that evaluation. Take a moment to be with yourself and to honor what you know your family needs vs what other families have found works for THEM. What you do not want to do is try to re-create school at home but some practices of learning that work for the school system may work for your child but in a different way. You as the teacher can make content accessible to your young ones in the way you deem best.

Buy books and never read them.

It is one thing to have a ton of books on educational styles, homeschooling, teaching, and more. It is another thing entirely to read them. It takes gumption to stick with it and give into the process of deep learning. This is something that takes time but once the time is put in and you are dedicated you generally do not have to go over and read the material a second time. You can reference what you have learned and know that you are giving your best to your kids as much as you possibly can. That is because you aren't ONLY watching short form content to learn (not hating on short form content!) you are also applying long form content such as books to your efforts. This will help you tremendously in the long run.

Ignore what teachers of the past have shared.

"Ewwww that book was written by a teacher not a homeschooler" said one mom as I referenced 'Teach Like A Pirate!' one time in a Co-Op discussion. At this exclamation I lost a few people in what I was saying. This is absolutely hilarious to me. We as home educators beg to be legitimized in our profession yet separate ourselves from those who passionately walk into classrooms day after day to teach vast amounts of children and to make phone calls to their parents. You can not tell yourself to disregard some teachers but accept other teachers. That does not work out well and isn't sustainable in the long term.

Ignore what teachers are doing now because you aren't a school at home.

Often we want to ignore what is happening at schools because that just isn't our problem. There's no way it would effect me what schools are doing because I don't send my kids to school, you may be thinking. Yet the relationship between compulsory school and homeschool is entwined and as I stated earlier in this article, there are many parents who have fought for your right to homeschool and to educate your children. Speaking from experience do not ignore what other professionals in your education community are doing simply because you are bitter about your school experience. If you bring that bitterness with you into your child's learning and you say "I never liked math but we have to do it today...." Where does that leave your child as a learner? Where does it leave YOU as a learner?

Think of yourself as "just" a stay-at-home mom.

Unfortunately, this is something that I see often. We are incredibly focused on what 'could be' and how to 'measure up' to those making a paycheck often. We are told as stay- at-home mothers that we aren't contributing to the income in any way and we aren't working a real job. When a nanny is working hard with the kids she is considered an incredible example of womanhood and doing her best. I agree that she is! However, the same can be said for a dedicated mother. The mother that is present, reading, and doing her best for her kids is still a mother who is professionally developing. The example of success is a mother who wants to stay home with her kids is doing that because she and her husband built that for their family intentionally!

Talk yourself out of believing your work is valuable.

This is kind of like the previous paragraph with the major difference being you do aid in much more than finances. However, if we consider the cost of most daycares per child on an incredibly modest end you are not spending money on daycare, and it would otherwise be spent if you worked. There is a soul- level nourishing happening when a mother is with her children for extended periods of time. You are being an example of selflessness, as the ultimate goal is to have your children who you are giving so much of yourself to-to no longer need you. You learn a bittersweet process of letting go that no one else can re-create for you but you.

0 views0 comments

Related Posts

See All

For many parents, homeschooling is their full-time job. They are educating, reading curriculum, wiping butts, cleaning the home, taking kids to events, planning for those events, paying bills, keeping

Join the new Classroom

Join my mailing list if you'd like access to blog posts like these in the future.

Thank you for joining the movement!

bottom of page