Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Homeschooling Secrets Revealed!

That sounds like a tabloid headline or something, doesn’t it?

Last week’s post about homeschooling, coupled with reading comments on a blog in response to another homeschooling post, led me to start brainstorming another piece on the subject.

I hear the same comments from people when they find out we homeschool. They’re the same things I used to think myself.

“How can you stand to be with your kids all the time?”

“Kids need to be in school for socialization.”

“I could never teach (fill in the blank) __________. I don’t have any passion for that subject.”

“How can one parent possibly teach better than a certified teacher? How can they cover all subjects?”

So in response to these comments, and a few other concerns that I, too, had prior to taking the plunge, here are the Top Ten Secrets I’ve Learned About Homeschooling.

10. A well-trained platypus could follow some of the teacher’s guides I’ve seen for homeschooling materials. Ok, maybe not a platypus, but…teaching is not as hard as one is led to believe.

9. Curricula comes with instructions for the teacher. The teacher follows the instructions and tells the kids what the book says to tell them. The kid learns the subject. The teacher tests the kids; if they grasped it, we move on.

8. #9 is exactly the same way classroom teachers teach, for the most part. They’re given a curriculum to follow, and they follow it. There is no great mystery surrounding the learning process, no special secret skills that school teachers have that make them better at conveying information. Any dedicated adult with an interest in education can do this. (And now I am ducking from the rotten apples my teacher friends might lob at me now. I honestly don’t mean any insult–I know that the education you have to get for certification is thorough and tough. But for years I believed that there was some big teaching secret I was missing out on, that would keep me from being able to teach my own kids. It simply wasn’t true.)

7. This one comes from my observations when I spent a year teaching art to grades K-8 at a decent-sized private school. The one main skill that most determines a good school teacher from a bad one is his/her ability to control the group of kids under her care. Now THAT skill, classroom management, that is a gift directly from God, in my opinion. Either you have it, or you don’t. Maybe you can learn it along the way if you pursue a teaching degree. But all I know is that I am very weak in that area. Thankfully, that is NOT a skill that is needed to homeschool one’s own children. It requires organization, true—but it’s a totally different kind of organization.

6. You don’t have to be Martha-Stewart-organized to homeschool. Organization helps, no doubt. But I put off following the call to homeschool because I was afraid that I’d never be organized enough to pull it off. The truth is that it’s no more difficult than making sure your kid does his homework, gets to sports practice on time, and picks up his socks.

5. Lesson planning is fun! There is nothing more rewarding than creating lessons that you know your kids are going to enjoy. Sure, sometimes they bomb, but most of the time, it’s a blast! And again–NOT difficult. It’s like tweaking a favorite recipe: you take the curriculum and embellish it a little to make it fit your needs.

4. This one was the biggest shock to me, as I’ve always enjoyed my downtime away from the kids and thought I’d miss it too much if we homeschooled. Being with your kids all day is a pleasure, when said kids are well-fed, well-rested, and have plenty of time for leisure and play. Not that mine are perfect, but I never, ever would’ve believed you four years ago if you told me I’d enjoy being with my kids all day.

3. Socialization is completely overrated. Where else in life do you spend 7 hours a day with people your same age? I’ve spent too much time trying to get things out of my kids that were planted there by bad socializing experiences. I only know one person who homeschools “in a bubble” but she is a whole other story entirely. My kids have lots of friends, from all different schooling backgrounds. Every year, we face the dilemma of narrowing down our choices for groups and co-ops to participate in. There are too many socialization opportunities to choose from, not too few.

2. Not every homeschooled child is an academic, national-spelling-bee-winning, starting-college-at-13, genius. Mine are ahead in some subjects, on track with others, and each of them has an area they struggle with—just like other kids.

1. You can do it. I am not saying homeschooling is for everyone—it isn’t. But if you are like me and have always toyed with the idea, if you aren’t satisfied with how things are going for your child in school, if you’ve thought about how nice it would be to be in control of your own schedule (and trust me, that is probably one of the best things of all!)—seriously think about taking the plunge. If you regret it, you can always enroll your kids back in school. But you just might find, as we did, that it’s the best out-of-the-box decision you ever made. And you’ll never know unless you try!

For more Top Ten Tuesday posts, go see Amanda!

5 replies on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Homeschooling Secrets Revealed!”

  1. That's a great post! Thanks for all the encouragement and tips!
    And you're invited to Of Such is the Kingdom's first birthday blog party! We're pulling up old posts and giving away lots of prizes. Come on over!

  2. Good thoughts. I was homeschooled until college and loved it. However, I would disagree concerning socialization being over-rated–I would say that it is VITAL, but easy to accomplish via homeschool groups, etc. Also, your kids learn to socialize with all ages, not just their own. I think this was your point, you just worded it differently than me! 😀

    1. I agree–it is vital for kids to be around other kids (and it’s vital for us moms, too!) 🙂 I just meant it’s overrated in terms of how often non-homeschoolers throw that out as a reason against homeschooling. Kids can, and do, turn out just fine without the “social lessons” learned in a traditional school environment, as you know first-hand! 🙂

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