Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | October 7, 2017

Deciding to Homeschool

I facilitated a “Getting Started Homeschooling” talk last week with my friend Milva McDonald.  As we drove through two hours in rush hour traffic to get out to Central Massachusetts, I wondered allowed, “why are we doing this?”.  But once we got there, I remembered how important these chats are…in fact, I remembered sitting in the audience at my own local library when I was grappling with the decision to pull my child out of school.

Now, five years into our homeschooling adventure, I *think* I have a few pearls of wisdom to share with families deciding whether or not to homeschool…here are my top 3 suggestions:

1.Instead of condemning school and moving away from school, make the conscious decision to choose homeschooling.  Running away from something that you don’t like is never an effective plan…in fact, you will most likely end up recreating what you are running away from (school) at home.  Instead, research the hell out of homeschooling.  See if any of the many varied homeschool methodologies (my family unschools) speak to you!  Homeschooling is not actually school at home.  When you switch your lens to see education as something that happens effortlessly and all the time, homeschooling becomes this amazing lifestyle.  By choosing homeschooling (as opposed to defaulting to homeschooling, as a way out of a bad school situation), you’ll start your adventure with an entirely different tone!  You can start your homeschool research here!

And if, in the end, you as the primary homeschool parent do not want to homeschool, don’t do it!  You have to hold the homeschool container for your child.  If you don’t want to homeschool, the experiment will not be successful.  Homeschooling is not for everyone.  And it’s okay.

2.If your child has been diagnosed with learning differences and has an IEP with the public school, you are “entitled” to those services as a homeschooler.  BUT I suggest that you stay open to the possibility that your child’s learning differences are only relevant in a school environment.  Your child may only require special education services to survive in a class of 25 same aged students.  When homeschooling, your child may well blossom as a result of the expansive time and space she’ll enjoy.  By tailoring your days to meet your child’s specific needs, her learning disabilities may become simply her learning style.

3.If your parents or in-laws are not on-board with the homeschooling, my best advice is to keep the discussion to a minimum.  Five years in, I have not converted my father to team homeschool.  But we no longer butt heads on the subject.  He has not changed.  The change is that I am now so confident in our decision to homeschool that his negative opinion no longer bothers me.

If you know in your heart that homeschooling is right for your child and your family, you need to do it!  You may have to suffer through some uncomfortable lectures from well-meaning parents.  But they had their chance to parent YOU, now it’s your turn.  And as you settle into homeschooling, you’ll watch your child thrive, you’ll feel your relationship with her strengthen, and well…you will not longer be concerned with the peanut gallery (wink-wink).

I hope this helps!

Love, Tracy

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