A woman stopped by our house in the middle of the day last week. She was hoping to sell us something. Most interestingly, she had her 7-year-old daughter with her, even though it was a school day.
The woman was obviously smart and was doing a great job training her daughter in how to meet and engage strangers in conversation. Seeing how she interacted with her daughter, and considering the time of day, John asked her if she was homeschooling her daughter.
"Oh no!" she replied. "I haven't got the patience!"
I didn't say anything, but I wished she knew a little secret: I don't think any of us feel like we had the patience when we started homeschooling. I know I didn't!
Of course, when friends or strangers explain off the cuff why they could never homeschool, they're usually not seeking a serious discussion. And that's fine. But what about a friend who really does want to consider homeschooling? What do you say when she gets hung up on one of the common I could never homeschool reasons?
Here are some thoughts about five of the most common objections to homeschooling.
1. "I could never homeschool because I don't have the patience."
A lack of patience seems to be a very common sentiment. And I can see how it's a legitimate fear. I just wish parents who thought this could know that homeschool moms and dads are normal people too! We're not ultra-patient wonder-women and supermen.
But I also think there's a hidden benefit of homeschooling lurking behind this fear. Homeschooling gives you extra opportunities to develop patience. And since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, shouldn't we welcome growth in this area? Although I struggled to be patient with my children (and myself), I really believe that homeschooling helped me to grow and mature here. I've heard many other homeschool moms say the same thing.
READ MORE: Getting Angry as a Homeschool Mom
PODCAST EPISODE: Getting Your Kids to Focus and Kissing Behavior Issues Good-bye
2. "I can't quit my job. We need two incomes."
Again, I see this as a legitimate fear that may make you say, "I could never homeschool." It can be very hard to live on one income. But I've seen many, many families make it work because they made it a priority. And, of course, the pandemic has forced families to make choices they never thought they would. Surprisingly, many are discovering working from home while homeschooling is manageable.
Of course, there are exceptions. No matter how hard they try, some families simply can't make it work financially to live on one income or work from home and homeschool.
Every family must choose what's most important to them and make choices accordingly. But if you truly believe homeschooling is best for your family, the rewards of homeschooling will probably outweigh the sacrifices you make.
3. "I'm not qualified to teach my children."
If a friend says, "I could never homeschool" because she lacks confidence that she can teach her children well, you might share these four points with her.
- You know your children better and love them more than anyone else. You quite possibly are the best person to give them a great education. You'll stick with them, learn alongside them, and watch them learn and grow. You're simply not going to let them graduate with a poor education.
- You've taught your kids how to walk, talk, dress themselves, and interact with others. You can keep teaching them as they grow!
- There are lots of resources out there to help you. You don't have to create your curriculum from scratch.
- If your kids are young, focus on where they are right now. You don't even have to think about calculus and physics for years. (And when you do get there, you'll find plenty of resources to help. You won't actually have to teach the concepts unless you want to.)
PODCAST EPISODE: What You Need to Know to Start Homeschooling
4. "I'm not organized enough to homeschool."
Fortunately, I have a great answer for this. You can get curriculum that organizes your studies for you. As one Sonlight mom said, "I'm not organized. I buy curricula that have Instructor's Guides so that I don't have to figure it all out myself."
Sure, you'll still have to develop some systems. You and your kids will need to keep track of folders, books, assignments and supplies. But with some planning and all the available help out there, you can conquer this hurdle, too.
5. "I'm an introvert. I'd never survive!"
This was my biggest fear when I started homeschooling. If I was cooped up with the kids all day, when would I get the time alone that I need?
Fortunately a good friend graciously offered to babysit every other Friday night so John and I could get away. This was a huge blessing and helped give me confidence to start.
But I also found that I got great quality time with the kids each morning while homeschooling. After that time together, they naturally tended to go off and entertain themselves in the afternoons. We were able to establish homeschool patterns that built in alone time for me. If you're also an introvert, you may want to do this, too. One popular idea is to create a certain amount of mandatory quiet time each afternoon. The little ones can nap; older children can read or play quietly in their rooms. You can do whatever you need to reenergize for the rest of the day.
PODCAST EPISODE: Teacher Sabbath
If you have friends who are stuck on these "I could never homeschool" concerns, a simple glimpse into your life could give them the confidence they need. You could go on a coffee date and share your experiences. Or even invite them over for a day of school so they could see how you do it. Brainstorm with them and help them imagine being successful in this, too!
And the next time your children
drive you crazy give you an opportunity to develop patience, try to remember that this, too, is a blessing. Or just take a deep breath and eat some chocolate.
Imagine having a personal homeschool mentor who plans and organizes your entire homeschool year. What if she gave you customizable schedules, complete lesson plans, pertinent activities, and thoughtful questions to aid your students' comprehension? What if she left you handy tips and pointers to help you relax and homeschool with confidence all year long?
This is exactly the support you get with a Sonlight IG.
Want more encouragement?
Sign up for Sonlight's bi-weekly e-newsletter
You'll be encouraged by the words of founder Sarita Holzmann, inspired by real-life stories from other homeschoolers, pick up practical tips for the journey and more.