Do you remember when you were first considering homeschooling?
I do! My husband and I had so many questions!
Thankfully, we found websites and books we could read and homeschooling parents to whom we could ask questions. I am grateful for how patient and grace-filled they were in answering our myriad of questions.
Now, the tables are turned. After homeschooling for 10 years, we have had the privilege of answering many questions from parents who are considering homeschooling and trying to decide if it’s a good fit for their family.
It can be a challenge to remember back to when you were trying to decide if you should homeschool and what questions you had and the emotions you felt. These six tips will help guide your discussions as you help parents going through this decision process.
1. Answer their questions.
Do you remember when you first started thinking about homeschooling? You probably had a ton of questions.
- What does the day look like?
- How will I find a curriculum?
- What about socialization?
- Can I really do it?
Their questions may differ from the questions you had, but the common thread is that there is a lot of uncertainty about homeschooling. Gaining the confidence to do it often means getting our questions answered.
2. Be patient.
Remember that you once asked very similar questions. As they ask you questions, try not to trivialize what they’re asking. As I have talked with many moms, I’ve thought the answer to their question was obvious. But then I paused and realized that it was an obvious answer to me because I knew the answer. It is a legitimate question for them because they don’t know the answer.
Be patient as you’re answering their questions. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Ask yourself, “Why are they asking this question? How can I best answer it to help them?”
3. Leave room for them to customize their homeschool.
Remember that there is no one right way to homeschool. We can provide an individualized education. Even if we use different curriculums, different materials, or follow different philosophies, we can support each other. Focus on answering their questions about what the day looks like and how to get started while still leaving plenty of room for them to customize their homeschools. Seek to equip them to get started and to discern what’s right for their family.
4. It is okay if they choose a different homeschool philosophy.
They may not have the same belief system as you or value the same aspects of education. I have some friends whose philosophy of education lines up very closely with mine. Others whose philosophy is similar but differs slightly. And still others whose homeschool journey has differed greatly from ours. There’s not one homeschool journey and one philosophy that fits every family.
5. Homeschooling is not a good fit for every family.
Remember that some parents may decide to homeschool and some may decide it’s not a good fit for them, or it’s not a good fit for them in this current season of their life. And that’s okay. Your goal should not be to convince everybody to homeschool because honestly, it’s not the only right choice. The right educational choice is what is right for each child and each family.
It is easy for homeschool moms to have a mindset of how amazing this has been for our family and that every other family needs to try this when the reality is that it’s been awesome for our family and it has been a good choice for us, but it’s not the only right answer. Each family needs to make that decision on their own.
6. Join HSLDA.
HSLDA represents homeschool families in legal situations related to homeschooling. More importantly, they are on the front lines protecting our rights to homeschool by lobbying at the state and national level. They also work with state organizations to protect our rights to homeschool at the state level. They are very involved and vigilant to protect our homeschool freedoms. Encourage parents who are considering homeschooling to join HSLDA as their first step. And if you are not a member of HSLDA, you should join too!
Think about the advice you would like to have heard when you first got started homeschooling.
What would have been most helpful to you?
Chances are that would be really helpful to them as they get started in their journey.