Today, I had the pleasure of speaking at a local homeschool conference. This is the second year I’ve been given the opportunity. Each year I leave feeling blessed because I expect the conference to go one way, and there’s inevitably a sharp left turn that takes me on an exciting adventure.
This year I was asked to speak on the topic of Getting Started Homeschooling. No problem! I figured I’d share about the laws, give a little encouragement (You can do this!) and answer questions. Everyone would have questions about choosing curriculum, or perhaps how to schedule a homeschool day, right?
Boy was I surprised. I didn’t talk about those topics much at all.
This year’s “left hand turn” came in the form of a mom who already had experience homeschooling. In fact she already had two daughters in college. Yet there she was, sitting in my Getting Started session. I was humbled, and for a moment scared, that I’d have nothing of value to offer.
But moms, we all have something of value to offer. A little encouragement is soothing to a weary heart.
This particular mother was struggling because her son was struggling. You know that feeling, don’t you? It pains a mother to see her children hurting. He had been to public school, had done well at first, then somewhere along the road in middle school, he began to struggle. Grades slipped, confidence was lost, anxiety kicked into overdrive, and suddenly they needed a new plan.
She brought her son home and enrolled him in an online school. This helped, but the anxiety was already to a level that made even basic tasks a struggle. So now they’re plodding along, doing what they can until next year, when they may begin officially homeschooling.
I applaud this mother for doing what is necessary to help her son. She sees the struggle and is taking action to help.
Are you this mother? Do you have a student who is struggling emotionally? Are you considering homeschooling? I am going to tell you what I told this mom. From the bottom of my heart.
As homeschooling moms, our fist commitment to our children is to their hearts. Academics can be caught up, a love of learning can be stirred… later. Health comes first. What value is an honors education if our children are confused, scared, or hurting?
Now some will say this is copping out. That our children need to “tough it out” and grow up. But I think this couldn’t be any further from the truth. What’s wrong with giving our children what they need? What’s wrong with growing them up in security? You’re not copping out – you’re building valuable muscles of independence, integrity, and confidence.
In my very early days of blogging I once wrote a post about this same topic. In that post I likened making our public school children “tough it out” to forcing them to swim in shark infested waters.
Please don’t get me wrong. This is NOT what the aforementioned mother was doing. She was taking positive action to give her son the best chance of success. But I’m sure we all know at least one mom who is considering homeschooling for a child dealing with emotional difficulties, but hasn’t removed the child from public school for a myriad of (validated but) impractical reasons.
Maybe you’re that mother. That’s why today, I want to reach across cyberspace and encourage those of you who may be considering homeschool but aren’t sure how to make it work. There are so many resources today, where there is a will, there’s a way.
Worried about socialization? That worry has been well proven to be a myth. But just think, if your child is not sitting in public school six or more hours a day there is all that TIME to get involved with field trips, clubs, co-ops, sports groups, and more.
Worried about teaching complicated subjects to older children? There are plenty of curriculum choices with teacher-friendly manuals, not to mention co-ops, online classes, and cyber schools (though I personally advise most parents to stay away from state/public cyber schools).
You can do this – it may take thought, time, and effort. But the emotional well-being of our children is worth it. Homeschool may not be the answer for everyone, but it’s worth it to consider homeschool.