Thursday, June 18, 2009

Do you have to be smart to homeschool?

A question was recently asked in a forum I'm on - do you have to be smart to homeschool? Well, do you?
So what characteristic(s) do you need to homeschool?
Dedication to your child(ren).
That's pretty much it. Everything else flows out of that. Junior needs help with maths? I am dedicated to finding out a way of helping him. Janey wants to learn French? I am dedicated to finding a way for her to learn, whether it's using a native-French-speaking tutor (because there's one available, and I can afford their fees) or finding a good online language program for free (because is brilliant!)
I believe that if you are a fit parent, you are fit to homeschool.
Now this is not to say there won't be challenges. There will be plenty of challenges. You will need all your dedication, all your patience, all your will and strength to do this. You will need your self-control to make you do the work, day after day. Find a way to make it interesting. Find a method that will help your child learn and understand. Learn how they learn, understand what they need to understand. Help them to know that education is more than just sums and spelling, but to also know that sums and spelling are important, because they are some of the basic skills required to communicate with others, to get your needs met.
You also need people. Other people. Your husband (because homeschoolers are usually women) to support you, your family and friends to accept you, and other homeschoolers to talk to, to tell you that, Yes, life happens, and Junior and Janey can be real little brats about doing their maths at times. Someone to listen to you rant, to console you when you're tired, and to suggest some new curriculum that might fit in with your educational philosophy and/or your child's preferred learning style. Someone to tell you what an educational philosophy is, or to explain about learning styles. Life can be hard without these other people, and if you're dedicated to your child(ren), and have decided that the best thing for them is homeschooling, then you need to get your own support network going. You have to be dedicated about your own needs, too.
Once you've got the dedication, you can branch out from there. You can consider educational philosophies. You can look at curricula, and think about the interesting extras that your children might be interested in, or that won't interest them initially, but would be useful to have in the backs of their brains in 10, 20, 30 years time. Without this dedication, however, you may find yourself maneuvered into a position that you cannot maintain, and experience the exhaustion that comes from being something or someone that you are not.

Well, that's food for thought. Hopefully it was coherent, and actually said what I wanted it to say.


Sarah said...

Good honest write up their Emma. Your honesty is very refreshing and it's encouraging to know how other people feel regarding their everyday lifesyle of home education. Thanks again.


Sarah xx

Jeanne said...

I love using my blogging friends as support too. I don't have many homeschooling friends in real life, so it is great to know people like you out there in cyberspace who can support me when Jemimah's being that little brat you mentioned...again.

Good post.

Tom said...

I think its nice to think about smartness when homeschooling! absolutely right! we need to find really quality k-12 customized digital textbooks that fits with our children learning style.

Jeanne said...

Just popping in to tell you I miss you!! Don't stay away too long!

Tonya said...

Found your blog today, LOVE this post!!! When I told some people that we were going to be homeschooling our children. I had several people say to me "Are you smart enough to do that?" My response was "Not alone but with the Lord anything is possible!"

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