October 11, 2017

Never Give Up As a Homeschool Teacher




At some point, we all have visions of the clean, organized, quiet house we could have if we’d just enroll our kids in public or private school. Homeschooling can be challenging at times.


We may want to quit because we are:
  • Exhausted and overwhelmed
  • Short on time to talk to friends or have adult conversations with anyone
  • Feeling like we aren’t smart, patient, educated, or organized enough to be a good homeschool teacher
  • Feeling like we’re too behind to ever get caught up


And the kids:
  • Hate school
  • Don’t listen
  • Bicker constantly
  • Have ridiculously short attention spans


On occasion quitting appears necessary due to family issues such as:
  • Job loss or financial pressures
  • A new baby
  • A serious illness in the family
  • Affected by a natural disaster


These are always reasons to quit, then again, they’re also reasons to not give up. After all, we chose home education because we felt it was best for our kids and our family.


The Challenges of Other Schooling Options

Raising well-adjusted, well-educated, caring, loving, responsible adults is hard no matter how you do it. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or an ideal schooling option. At least homeschooling gives us some control over the challenges. Let’s compare some challenges of homeschooling to those of private and public schools.


Homework
  • School Option: Struggling with 4 hours of homework at night after the kids have been gone most of the day.  
  • Homeschooling: Spending about 4 to 5 hours of homeschooling to make sure they finish their work during school time.


Attitudes
  • School Option: Dealing with obscene words and bad behavior and values picked up from other kids at school.
  • Homeschooling: Dealing with children wanting to play or discover  outdoors and having lessons/ doing schoolwork


Children with Learning Disabilities
  • School Option: Struggling with decisions about special education classes and your child feeling different than other kids. And the often non-ending fight of advocating for your child with a school or school district that might not even try to meet the minimum federal requirements to ensure that LD children receive an equal education
  • Homeschooling:  Educating your child with a learning disability in a manner that does not make them feel inferior or different and enables them to learn as well as other children, just differently.


Strain
  • School Option: The emotional strain of running a household, juggling childcare, and working outside of the home full-time.
  • Homeschooling: The financial strain of living on one income or having a business that’s flexible.


Gaps in Your Child's Education
  • School Options: Teachers and school officials with different standards and goals from yours establishes the priorities for your child’s education and development.
  • Homeschooling: You are responsible for prioritizing your child’s education. By adjusting your time and effort to the areas you consider vital to your children’s future, you ensure they aren't missed.
  • Additional Advice:  There will always be things your kids forget, missed, don’t understand or weren't taught.


Guiding your Child’s Future
  • School Options: The teachers are all about academics and may have different goals, values, viewpoints and methods than you do.
  • Homeschooling: No matter what scholastic benefits other schooling options may offer your child, you won’t have the same influence and impact on your child’s outlook that you do with homeschooling.


12 Tips To Keep You Going, When You're Thinking Of Quitting

Here are some tips to help you carry on when you don’t think you can continue homeschooling.
  1. Learn skills to enhance your success as a teacher. Go to home school workshops and conventions. Take a continuing education class (maybe algebra or child development). If your child is gifted or LD, educate yourself on the needs of those children and the best teaching methods for them. Read books, some suggestions are A Charlotte Mason Education, Homeschooling the Early Years, The Relaxed Home School, The Unschooling Handbook, or The Well-Trained Mind.
  2. Turn to family and friends, especially homeschooling friends, and the online homeschool community, like the SPED Homeschool Facebook Support Group, for support or help with any subject or problem you may be dealing with.
  3. Outsource classes on subjects that you aren’t that strong in.
  4. Don’t listen to the naysayers. No one who accomplishes anything listens to them. As you would explain to a small child—those people are silly.
  5. Before you decide to quit or not, relax and get some rest, so your mind is refreshed to properly assess the pros and cons as objectively as possible.
  6. Pinpoint the exact reason you want to quit and do what you can to fix that issue so you’ll feel successful again. If your kids are different ages and you feel you can’t teach all of them everything they need to know, consider signing up the oldest kids for distance learning classes or possibly use the same curriculum for history or science but just at different age levels. Figure out what you can streamline. If isolation is an issue, consider joining a co-op. If you’re finding it too hard to keep the house clean, use a chore system or have the family spend the weekend getting rid of the clutter
  7. You began homeschooling because you thought it was best for you children. Take time to recall your original goals and what excited you about it when you first started
  8. Recommit to home education and jot down the reasons you homeschool. Post the list where you'll see it daily, like on the refrigerator
  9. Attend a homeschool conference or spend time with a fellow homeschool mom to help you get through this difficult time.
  10. Don’t over-commit to other projects or anything that gets in the way of homeschooling. It’s okay to say no.
  11. Take a break. If you and the kids are fed up then no one is learning anything anyway. Claim a teacher-in-service day and take the kids to the library or museum. Pull out art supplies or science kits. Let them work on their favorite subject all day or pursue their interest.
  12. Look at your options. Research the alternatives so you can make a well-informed decision that’s truly best for your family.




Just as there is no such thing as a parent who is totally together all the time, there is no such thing as a homeschooling parent who has all their stuff together all the time. No one is perfect. Homeschooling can't always be as great as we want it to be. But nothing worth doing is easy. We all have bad days and we all make mistakes. But most children and parents who undertake home education, find it more than worthwhile in the end.

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