If I’ve heard it one time, I’ve heard it a thousand times.
“Oh I could never homeschool my children.”
“Wow, I really admire people who can do that!”
“I’m not that patient!”
“I’m not that disciplined!”
“My child would never listen to me.”
Over and over again I meet people who think I’m some amazing, and especially gifted person because I homeschool. I’m not. I’m just a mom who loves her children, and I believe that educating them at home is the best choice for us for now.
Yes, homeschooling is hard and not for the faint of heart, but “regular” people can do it. I’ve met hundreds of homeschooling families, and I can tell you that they aren’t any different from the non-homeschooling families I meet. They all have their struggles and challenges. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t perfectly disciplined. They aren’t especially gifted with patience.
I know I’m not. Homeschooling has actually developed a lot of these characteristics in me. Try teaching a squirrelly, active 5 year old boy how to read. You either learn patience and become creative or you lose your mind! Try teaching a kid the same things over and over and over again, until you feel like you’re going to die of boredom. Yes, my children are teaching me patience. Learning cannot be rushed.
As I’ve considered most people’s sentiments concerning homeschooling parents, I’ve decided to list some key characteristics of people who are great candidates to homeschool. I do agree that homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t a lifetime commitment if you do choose to homeschool.
Here are some of the characteristics that I’ve observed in those who homeschool well:
- Teachable attitude
- Flexible and willing to change when needed
- Not a pushover (they don’t give in to every little whimper a child makes)
- Maintain healthy relationships (with other homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers)
- Doesn’t require a spotless, perfect home at all times
- Willing to allow their children to make mistakes or fail
- Doen’t look at homeschooling as a means of escaping social situations
- Doesn’t have a debilitating disease or disorder
- Willing to enlist outside support when needed (doesn’t feel the need to “do it all” and will listen to the input of others)
- Doesn’t set unreasonably high expectations for children or themselves
- Doesn’t have adversarial relationships within their family
- No abuse in the home
- Willing and able to make some financial sacrifices, if needed
- A commitment to see their children succeed
- Not motivated to homeschool by fear
- Willing to work for their children as they would work for an employer
I will admit that I’ve seen people homeschool that don’t have all of these characteristics, and homeschooling hasn’t worked well for them. For example, I encountered a mother who homeschooled her family because she was fearful of the public school system. As a result, she and her children were isolated from any relationships outside of their home. Anytime her daughter spent any time away from her, she was distraught, and she didn’t know how to make friends with other children.
As I worked with this mom, I realized that the daughter didn’t know how to befriend other children because her parents hadn’t modeled that for her. This mother struggled with unrealistic standards for herself and her children because she refused to surround herself with others whom she trusted to speak truthfully and lovingly to her.
On the other hand, I’ve also seen parents who struggle with trying to give their child everything they want. They don’t want their child to experience any discomfort and are quick to meet their demands, and struggle to know what’s best for their child.
I could give you many other examples, but my point is this: If you are willing to accept the demands that homeschooling requires, and you’re willing to grow, I believe you can homeschool without losing your mind.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you. Will you consider the possibility?
No perfection needed.
You don’t have to do this alone.