Here’s a question for you: have you ever considered homeschooling your kids? How would you react if I told you that you can homeschool your kids and give them a quality education?
For many, the idea of homeschooling their kids is a difficult one to comprehend, especially since most parents either went to public or private schools. The concept of educating your children at home can be a strange one. In the past, the only people that homeschooled their kids were hippies and ultra-religious families. This tendency partly contributed to the homeschool stereotypes. Homeschooling was seen as a “fringe” activity, meaning that very few people were doing it.
Homeschooling during this time was hard. This was during the time before the internet, and resources were few and far between. Homeschool parents could either use one of a handful of curriculum options or use books from the public library. That was it. Parents would have to make do with these options.
However, times have changed. Homeschooling in the United States is more mainstream, and it’s now a legitimate education choice. There are thousands of curriculum options available, countless internet resources, and all sorts of online class options, all at different prices. There’s also more support available to homeschooling parents. There are homeschool co-ops, discussion boards, blogs, and self-help books. There’s a wide variety of support options for parents wishing to homeschool.
One way to get support is to have your children take online classes, especially for subjects you don’t know. Foreign languages are difficult to teach, especially if you don’t speak the language. With ReDefiners World Languages, teaching foreign languages is easy. We provide age-appropriate language instruction for Kindergarteners through 5th graders in Spanish, English, Arabic, and Mandarin. For more information, check out our website.
Despite this support, many parents are hesitant to take the leap. Some are still suspicious of homeschooling. They might view it as a less legitimate education option. They often see it as kids just avoiding the “real world,” and they imagine the kids sleeping all day and playing video games all night. Other parents view homeschooling as a legitimate alternative to public or private school. They might even want to homeschool, but there are roadblocks in their way.
Sometimes, these roadblocks are too hard to overcome, and homeschooling isn’t a possibility. The vast majority of the time, though, homeschooling is possible. All it takes is some creativity to overcome these obstacles. Often, though, the biggest limiting factor isn’t your circumstances. It’s your beliefs. For example, many parents believe that they can’t homeschool for many reasons, including that they’re not qualified, their kids have special needs, and they don’t know enough about a topic to teach it.
Today, we’re going to discuss some of the most common myths about homeschooling and why you don’t need to let them limit you.
1. I’m not qualified to educate my kids.
Many parents think they’re not qualified to teach their children, mainly because they don’t have a teacher’s certificate, and they’ve never taught school before.
Fortunately, no state requires that homeschooling parents have a teaching certificate or a college degree. In fact, only 11 states require that homeschool parents have at least a high school diploma. In most cases, as long as you’ve completed high school, you’re legally qualified to teach your children.
Also, as your child’s parent, you’re the most invested in their success. Yes, a teacher can be invested in your child, but it's not the same kind of love and support a parent can give. You might not have all of the answers right now, but that’s okay. There is a lot of support available for new homeschool families, such as online classes, books, podcasts, blogs, and co-ops. With all of these resources at your fingertips, you're qualified to teach your children.
2. My kids have special needs.
Being a parent is one of the most stressful and most rewarding jobs in the world. Add in children with disabilities, medical conditions, or other special needs, and the stakes become even higher.
What if I told you that most kids with special needs benefit from homeschooling?
For some kids, their conditions would cause frequent absences from school. For example, a child with cancer or an autoimmune disorder might require frequent hospital stays. That would mean frequent absences from school, as well as the stress of trying to make up work.
In public school, students get penalized for excessive absences, even if the absences get excused by a doctor. This is to prevent truancy, but it also punishes kids for having a medical condition. Schools can force them to repeat a grade, and the authorities can punish parents with fines or even jail time.
If your child is fighting a life-threatening illness, they need to focus on getting better, not catching up on schoolwork.
Even if your child doesn’t have a life-threatening condition, homeschooling can still help them. There are many curriculum choices, and many are designed for students with disabilities, such as dyslexia and ADHD. In fact, once you’re done with this article, do an internet search for “homeschool curriculum for [your child’s diagnosis].” You might be surprised at how many options there are.
Homeschooling is great for kids with special needs because it allows them to go at their own pace. For gifted kids, they can go faster and even skip grades. For kids with intellectual disabilities or struggling learners, they can take more time to master a topic. Doing so is often not possible in public schools. In public school, everyone has to go at the same pace
You can also adjust your curriculum as needed if something isn’t working. If your child is struggling in public school, you would have to wait until the next IEP or 504 meeting to address it. With homeschooling, you can make any necessary changes as you see fit. You can amend assignments, skip over material your child already knows, and spend more time on difficult topics. You can even replace your curriculum if it’s no longer working.
Even if your kids have special needs, homeschooling can still work for them. In fact, for many of these kids, homeschooling is the best option.
3. I don’t know enough about a topic to teach it.
Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything about every topic you teach. This is why companies create homeschool curriculums to help parents. And thanks to the internet, you can even enroll your children in online classes. Many organizations, from homeschool curriculum companies to local community colleges, offer online courses for your convenience.
For example, foreign languages can be tricky to teach, especially if you don’t speak the language. ReDefiners World Languages is here to help, though. We offer classes in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin. Our experienced teachers are passionate about teaching foreign languages, and they’ve created fun, engaging programs. By signing up for one of our classes, your child will have a fun, educational experience, and you can take a task off of your to-do list.
Online classes are not the only option, though. You can seek private tutoring or learn the subject alongside your child. If you know other homeschooling families, you can offer a trade. For example, if you know upper-division math, and a friend of yours is bilingual in English and Spanish, she can teach your kids Spanish, and you can teach her kids math. As your kids get older, you can even show them how to learn by researching and asking questions. Those are crucial skills for kids to have, especially if they plan to go to college.
Your knowledge gaps don’t have to determine your success. If you want to homeschool, there are ways to work around your knowledge gaps. It might take some creativity, but it’s possible to successfully teach your kids.
4. I can’t afford it.
Homeschooling can be expensive. Curriculum alone can cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars per child. Add in things like extracurricular activities and co-ops, and the cost can quickly skyrocket.
Fortunately, there are ways to lower the costs. There are hundreds of curriculum options that can fit into every budget, and they might run sales or promotions. You can also buy used curriculum and reuse curriculum for younger children. If you have a tight budget, you can homeschool using free resources online and through your local library. There are even free homeschool curriculums online.
I’ve met several homeschool families. Most of them are not wealthy by any means, but they find ways to afford it. For example:
They set a budget for each child. That way, they know how much they can spend.
They eat most of their meals at home instead of eating out at restaurants.
They buy clothes on sale or from thrift stores.
They purchase used vehicles.
They only get new electronics when their old ones break.
They share and trade curriculums with other homeschool families.
They use resources from the public library as much as possible.
For some families, however, they need to have more than one income. In that case, there are flexible options to make some extra money. With the internet, there are a variety of ways to make money from home. You might be able to find a part-time, remote position. Even if you can’t find a flexible job, you can often use your professional experience to create opportunities for yourself. For example:
If you have teaching experience, you can do things like teaching English online.
If you’re a writer or a computer programmer, consider doing freelance work.
If you enjoy arts and crafts, consider selling your creations online.
With all of the options out there, it’s easy to find ways to make it affordable. It might not be easy. It might require some sacrifices, but there are ways to make it work.
Deciding on your child’s education is a big deal. There’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision. As a result, many have considered homeschooling, but they get scared away by the idea. They think that they can’t homeschool for many reasons: their kids have special needs, they can’t afford it, they’re not qualified, their kids will turn out socially awkward or weird, and they won’t be prepared for the real world.
Don’t let any of these reasons stop you. If you want to homeschool your kids, there are ways to make it happen. There are free and low-priced curriculums, and there's a wide variety of support available. All you have to do is reach out and ask for help.
If you need some help teaching foreign languages in your homeschool, ReDefiners can help! We offer classes in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin for Kindergarteners through 5th graders. Your student will learn the language and develop cultural awareness, equipping them to be global citizens. For more information or to register for classes, please visit our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.