Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homeschooling: It's Not For Everyone

I have had many people tell me that they couldn't homeschool. There have been several reasons given for why they don't feel they could homeschool. Some don't feel they have the discipline to do it. Some don't feel they could deal with having the kids home so much. Some don't think their kids would deal well with having their parents as teacher. There are other reasons I've heard, too. I generally don't really have a response when people say that to me. You see, I don't think that homeschooling is for everyone. Now, I'm not saying that the people who have expressed doubt to me shouldn't homeschool. What I'm saying is that I don't have some sixth sense that can determine if a person could/should homeschool. When you tell me "I don't know if I have the discipline to homeschool," I really have no response (I mean, really, if you don't know, how am I to know?). Even if I have known you for years, even if we're related, I don't know if you would be able to homeschool sucessfully. Homeschooling is not a guarantee of a superior education. It is not a guarantee of a better environment. Not everyone can homeschool. Not everyone should homeschool. If having your kids around that much would lead to you beating them, you probably shouldn't homeschool. If their education would consist of 30 minutes of educational activities and video games the rest of the day, maybe you shouldn't homeschool. If their education would consist of nothing more that memorizing Bible passages, maybe you shouldn't homeschool. If your spouse works from home as a drug dealer or other illegal career choice, maybe you shouldn't homeschool. If you're living in your car, maybe you should focus on getting a job & home before considering homeschooling. I'm really not trying to be funny here, I'm making a point. Not every family, not every home, not every parent is cut out for homeschooling.

Now, I'm not saying that any of the people that I know, who have expressed doubt about their ability to homeschool, live in any of these situations. I'm simply saying that it is not for everyone. SO, I can't tell you that it would be right for you. It's not that I think you can't do it. It's not that I share your doubts. Really, it's just that I DON'T KNOW. Maybe your doubts are totally unfounded. Maybe homeschooling would be the perfect option for you. Maybe you'd be the best, most organized, most together homeschool mom ever. Maybe it would be a complete disaster. Maybe your doubts are spot on. Maybe your kids would be light years behind their public school peers. I simply don't know. I also don't know the laws for evey single state. SO, I have no idea if you are even organized enough to deal with the laws for your state.

Now, as I'm sure you've figured out, I am not one of those homeschoolers that thinks that everyone can (or should) homeschool. I have personally met many people who should not homeschool. If you can not provide your child with an education at least as good as (if not better than) the one they would receive in public school, you should not homeschool. 

I get really irritated when I hear (or see) homeschoolers complaining about all those people who "could homeschool but instead leave their kids in public school & complain about the school system." It really doesn't seem to occur to these homeschoolers that some people are simply not cut out for homeschooling. Not every family can adjust their work schedules so they can keep both parents employed and have someone home with the kids. Not all families can go down to just one income. Not all families have a family member or close friend that can help with child care while parents work. Not every household can juggle things around so that they can homeschool. Not everyone is capable of teaching or helping their child learn. Not everyone has the dedication to homeschool.

Homeschooling is simply not for everyone. Homeschooling is a commitment that should not be entered into lightly or on a whim. Why? Because, we're talking about your child's future. If you choose to homeschool & then don't actually do anything to provide an education for your child, it will be your fault when they can't get into a college or can't get a job. If you aren't willing or able to do everything & anything needed to provide your child with an education, then you should not take on homeschooling. It takes dedication. It takes time. It takes effort & energy. It takes money (exactly how much will depend on you). It takes work (for you & your kid). It often takes sacrifice. Plus, the amount of energy, effort, time, money, and dedication (not to mention the amount of challenge) rises as you add more kids or special needs (LD, ADHD, kids on the spectrum, Gifted, dyslexia, physical disabilities, etc.).

Now, I'm not saying that some people shouldn't homeschool to try to make anyone feel bad. Not everyone is cut out to be a doctor, an actor, a teacher, or even a parent. So, it stands to reason that not everyone would be cut out to homeschool. It doesn't mean that anyone is better or worse than anyone else, just that we all have different abilities, strengths, talents, and different familial situations. Do what works best for you & your family and have faith & confidence in your choices.