Am I Homeschooling Right?
Have you ever thought, “Am I doing this right?” This refers to homeschooling and giving your children enough. Enough refers to the basics and ALL the ideas that enter your mind as parent and teacher.
Choosing to homeschool can cause even the most calmest person to feel overwhelmed and unsure because it not only entails the basics of parenting such as teaching your child right from wrong, how to care for themselves physically including potty- training and dressing, and supporting them as they go through the ups and downs of friendships, but it also includes being the primary educator in your children’s life. It’s a huge responsibility caring for your children’s physical, spirtitual, and emotional well-being let alone topping it off with all things education.
As a homeschool mom, I knew when I took on the responsbility of educating my daughters fully with little outside support that I wanted them to have a well-rounded educational experience. I desired to give them more than the bare minimum since we were homeschooling and the class size would be relatively small. Merriam-Webster and other online dictionaries define well-rounded education as having a broad educational background. My idea of a well-rounded education included exposing them to history that I didn’t know, attending theater productions, exploring areas in our city, state, and country, incorporating math and science in everything we do, and reading a large variety of books to name a few.
How to Ensure Your Homeschooled Child Has a Well-Rounded Education
Define your enough
When we use words such as enough, we aren’t providing ourselves with enough details. Enough is a broad word and has a different meaning depending on the person. As a homeschooling parent, enough this week may not be enough next week. By giving yourself a clear expectation, you can then determine if you are truly providing your child with enough at any given moment. Although you may not fully be able to stop yourself from having doubt in your homeschool, you will at least be able take a step back and evaluate if what you’re feeling is a reflection of truth or fear.
I homeschool with the end in mind. From the beginning, I’ve taken into consideration what adults need to be okay in the world we live in. With these thoughts at the forefront of my mind, I make plans for our lessons and activities. My idea of enough is:
ensuring that my daughters communicate well both verbally and in writing
teaching them to not fear math and have clear understanding of math we use in our everyday lives
providing them with opportunities to engage with a variety of people
helping them navigate difficulties in friendships and relationships
exposing them to different cultures
ensuring they are able to comprehend both written and verbal expressions
teaching them to be good stewards of their time, talents, and resources
My list isn’t very long but when I use it to guide me as a homeschool parent, we are able to see that we often do more than enough. Remember, enough is relative. Take time to clarify what you mean by enough.
Commit to the homeschooling lifestyle
Most parents feel overwhelmed because they aren’t sure how long their homeschooling experience will last. When I met homeschooling parents in my early days, many would say, “We’re taking it year by year.” I thought this was a great answer until I realized that having this perspective can cause unnecessary pressure to try to cram ALLTHINGSLEARNING into a short period of time.
Even if you aren’t planning to homeschool until high school, I would suggest making a commitment.
Your commitment can be one year or five years or more. When you have an idea for how long you will teach your children, you can plan accordingly.
If I only planned to teach Kindergarten then in that year, I would emphasize playing with my child, fun field trips, teaching writing, reading, and math on a first grade level. My mindset would be to prepare my child for a first grade classroom where she wouldn’t be able to have the teacher’s full attention. By focusing on the end goal, I would trust that I have done enough for my child during that time frame. Remember, we can only do so much. If you see yourself as your child’s only source for learning new information then you’ll never be able to accomplish your goals as a homeschooling parenting. Learning is continuous, and learning happens anywhere and everywhere which means your child will experience teaching from others outside of their main teacher.
If you know you have more than one year to teach your child, take advantage of it instead of trying to cover it all in a short period of time. Remember, you can choose how much time you are able to dedicate to your homeschool lifestyle and how you will use that allotted time.
Plan your homeschool year
It is important to have a plan for your homeschool. If you haven’t taken a moment to write down what enough is to you, please take a moment to define it. This list can start off as a guide to keep you focused on the hopes you have for your homeschool.
Each year, I write down the topics I want to teach my daughters. My plan probably isn’t much different than other homeschooling parents and public school teachers. I plan to teach my daughters the 3 Rs plus fine arts, some history, science, other languages, and technology.
I believe my daughters should be part of their educational plan which means I ask them what do they want to learn. I guide my lessons and resources based on their interests. I often make the resources available to them so they are able to teach themselves their interests. Remember, we don’t have to directly teach our children everything. They are able to learn from trying on their own and from their environment.
By knowing what we are focusing on each year, I am able to break those plans down to what we will do each month. I really try not to look at the whole year at once because it can be daunting. By focusing on one month at a time, we often accomplish more than expected because we are intentionally focused. Remember, having a plan is a tool. It’s not meant to limit you, but help you accomplish your goals for your homeschool.
Is there really a right way to homeschool?
I don’t want to say that there isn’t a right way to homeschool because homeschooling can go bad for many children based on their parents’ decisions, but I will say that if you are concerned about homeschooling wrong then there is a good chance your child will be fine because he or she has a parent who cares about his or her educational well-being.
Remember to trust yourself and not allow other homeschooling parents choices impact your choices for your children in a negative way. By staying focused on the children in front of you, you will figure out the best course for your child to ensure that he or she doesn’t leave your homeschool without the knowledge needed to care for him or herself.
How do you feel about your homeschool journey? Are you homeschooling right?