There are infinite reasons to homeschool, each reason personal and specific to the family venturing down the homeschooling path.
Some of us choose it for religious or spiritual reasons, some because traditional public school isn’t working for our child, others choose it for the freedom and ease of travel with kiddos, or because we just plain old don’t want to miss out on our babies as they grow and learn each day.
Guess what, people? It’s okay to miss our kids and to rearrange our lives and schedules to accommodate a homeschooling experience if that’s what we are feeling called to do. It’s okay to veer off the beaten path and to choose one that feels more fitting for our family’s needs.
For some, that means homeschooling!
Homeschool served us beautifully for the few years that we did it, and though my daughter has chosen to experience public middle school, I will still choose homeschool for the early years of each of my kiddos because the quality time and freedom it afforded us is something I will always cherish.
Homeschooling is definitely not for everyone, and this post is not about swaying any mamas one way or another. I just write this in encouragement to the Indy mamas who are truly feeling the calling, because I’ve been there.
So you wanna be a homeschooler… but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re feeling a ton of fear?
I had four main concerns that nagged at me before (and during) our journey and I know these were common feelings among other homeschooling mamas:
1. Is homeschool legal and how do I work within the law and still create the best experience for my kid?
Yes, homeschooling is legal in Indiana!
The legality of homeschooling is a valid concern and varies by state. Indiana is such a great state for homeschooling because the laws aren’t crazy strict which allows you to tailor your schooling experience to suit your family’s needs. Here are some helpful resources specific to Indiana laws and how to begin your homeschooling :
2. Am I even qualified to teach my kid? And what would people (or family) think ?!
If you’re genuinely feeling called to this path, remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Your kid is never NOT learning. Just because you send them to school doesn’t mean they don’t learn their most vital information when they get back home with you… you’re not off the hook that easily!
They learn their values, their manners, and most of what makes them who they are when they’re in your presence. So adding academics into the mix doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch.
Yeah, you’re probably going to have to learn a lot of stuff as you guide them through. You’re going to have to step out of a lot of comfort zones and grow as a human being, as a mama, as a teacher, and as an advocate.
You’re going to have to utilize your powerful mama backbone and find another supportive soul in your life to support your growth process and help you find ways to politely tell naysaying, negative family members or friends to shove it. ?
You may have to get comfy with trying 10 different things and failing until you find what works for your own kid(s).
But if you’re feeling called to make this transition, and it’s nagging at your heart and mind then trust me mama, you will rise and meet these obstacles with fire in your eyes.
3. What about socializing our weirdo homeschooled kids… ? ?
This is the fear that I feel was most commonly thrown at me by others who didn’t understand my audacity to want to take my poor child out of her classroom environment and isolate her at home. I totally fed into it at first when I didn’t know exactly what homeschool would look like or mean for us.
Am I going to turn my kid into some weird anti-social hermit?
Now when this concern gets brought up, it makes my eyeballs roll so far back into their sockets. ? Please, sister.
What did homeschool actually mean for the socialization of my child?
It meant that we got to choose the people with whom we shared our time and energy, and friendships became deeper and less circumstantial (as they often were when they were based on random classroom placement.)
It meant that she got to socialize with people of all different ages, not just 30 kids her own age.
It meant finding friends based on common interests and passions.
And it meant using discernment and allowing ourselves to honor our cycles and rhythms and to NOT over-socialize when we didn’t freakin’ feel like it.
“Oh, but in the real world your kid will need to know how to be in an environment where she doesn’t necessarily like or get along with everyone, like at a job…”
Our homeschool experience (that existed in the really, real world ?) allowed us to teach the values of respect and tolerance while at the same time breaking through the exhausted paradigm of thinking that the “real world” means suffering in unhappy situations or relationships.
4. I don’t have a lot of money for a curriculum. What do I use and how can I keep it inexpensive but still give my kid a quality education?
I haven’t gotten to a place in my life yet where money isn’t an issue or stumbling block. Especially since choosing to ditch my well-paying job to stay home. It’s annoying and I would love the freedom that plenty of money would offer us, but having just enough is probably a blessing, too. It’s probably helping me build character and resourcefulness. ?
If you choose not to use a set curriculum or an online program that maps everything out for you, and instead you develop your own learning experience, there are plenty of free or inexpensive resources to support you.
You just may need to do some searching and use trial and error to find what works best for you. Google, Pinterest, Khan Academy, the library, freehomeschooldeals.com, and various other homeschooling mama bloggers with archives of free printouts and resources for various subjects were my inexpensive go-to solutions.
If you’re walking this path and feel overwhelmed, just start where you are. Educate yourself on the laws and maybe write down why you want to homeschool.
Having a strong enough “why” to look at regularly can get you through any of the obstacles and stumbling blocks you may face.
Be patient and gentle with yourself and your kids as you learn and unlearn what education looks like, feels like and means to you.
Your homeschool will likely not look like a “typical” school day and that’s okay! Where I struggled most was trying to take the public school model and plop it into my living room, which was stifling, defeated the purpose of our freedom, and didn’t work.
You will be learning right alongside your kids, and growth can be uncomfortable, but so rewarding too!
Even if homeschool only ends up being a temporary experience for your family, you’re never going to regret answering the calling you’re feeling in your bones, or the time you spent with your kids trying something new.