The decision to homeschool your children is not a decision to take lightly. Once you take the leap, however, and embark on the homeschool adventure, you may be surprised by what you learn about your children, yourself, school, and education in general.
Here are six common things that homeschoolers come to realize.
Deschooling Is Essential
If your children were in school and you’ve brought them home, you need to take some time to “deschool.” Deschooling is the process of letting go of the many notions and assumptions about education and learning, the extent of which becomes apparent when you step away. Indeed, even if your children never attended school, but you did, you may find the idea of deschooling beneficial.
Rather than diving right into textbooks, rigid schedules, and requirements, spend your days reading freely, enjoying nature, playing, exploring, and truly recovering that spark of curiosity and wonder that lives inside but was likely buried.
Learning Is Simple
You may have doubted your ability to teach your children, thinking surely you’d need teacher training or even an advanced degree before being qualified. The truth is that true learning is a natural and very simple process. It’s the very same process you employed before your child became “school-aged.” Somehow, with your inadequate credentials, you taught your child to talk, walk, eat, interact with the world, and likely a host of other very important skills. Perhaps you taught your child the alphabet or even how to read.
You did all this very naturally, following your child’s development and natural curiosities, supporting your child every step of the way, and providing the best environment for your child to grow in skill and competence.
As amazing as it was to watch your child take their first step, it’s just as amazing to witness them solve their first quadratic equation or conjugate their first verb in a foreign language.
School and Education Are Not the Same Thing
The further away you get from formal schooling, the more you come to realize that school has little to do with education and learning. Perhaps it should be obvious to those who went through the school system when they try to recall what they learned there.
As parents, when you see how much more learning happens at home, and with much more ease and joy, you begin to wonder what purpose school actually serves.
Parents Are Students, Too
One of the ancillary benefits of homeschooling your children is everything you learn along with them. The math concepts that suddenly make sense, the inner meanings behind the finest works of art, the history of the world in sequential order, the joys of the greatest literature ever written, and more. You aren’t as much a teacher as a facilitator, an architect and designer of the learning environment, a curator of educational materials and resources, and a fellow student diving deep, exploring, and basking in the wonder of all there is to behold.
Playing Is Learning
When many parents first set out to homeschool, they do all they can to ensure they give their children the best possible education. They buy all the books, make up complex schedules, sign up for an array of extracurricular activities, and run themselves—and their children—ragged trying to overcompensate for their feelings of inadequacy in the face of the task they’ve taken on.
However, as time goes on, they mature. They calm down and begin to see how each of their individual children learn best, what lights that spark inside them, and how tinkering, exploring, and playing—though it may look frivolous—can yield lasting and valuable lessons their children will absorb.
School Is Unnecessary
When homeschoolers thrive, they look back at the school that lies along the road most traveled in amazement. Perhaps they too were once convinced that school was a must. Experience proves out, all too clearly as one child sits reading Shakespeare and the other works away joyfully on a science project, that school itself, given the presence of a loving home, is truly unnecessary.