Homeschooling: You Can Do It Too

*This giveaway has ended. Winners to be announced shortly.*

This summer I was a part of an ebook project that I wish I could have read when I first began homeschooling.

You can do it too: 25 homeschool families share their stories” is the brainchild of Lorilee Lippincott, who blogs at Loving Simple Living. Along with her family’s journey to minimalism and simplicity in their lives, she is also passionate about encouraging families that homeschooling isn’t as daunting as it might seem.

Knowing just how different every homeschool family looks and functions, she chose 25 very different, very average families to share answers to a series of questions. What I love about the end result is that there is something here to help and encourage anyone, whether your children are 5 or 15, whether you’ve been homeschooling for 7 years or are just thinking about starting out.

Each family answered 26 questions including:

  • What does your typical school day look like?
  • Do you follow a specific curriculum or method? What and why?
  • Are there specific challenges you face with home schooling? (physical, legal, family)
  • Have you thought about quitting before? Why and what changed your mind?
  • How much time to you spend preparing lessons? Have you learned any tricks to plan better?
  • What do you see as the biggest misconception that people have when they think of home schooling?
  • Why do you keep home schooling? Is it different than why you started?
  • If you could tell someone thinking about starting home schooling one thing, what would it be? or what about someone feeling burned out and unsure they can continue?
Some questions were more fun, others were serious, and some were just plain practical.

Best of all, there are no right or wrong answers, and this doesn’t read like a how-to book. It’s regular families talking about their everyday lives as homeschoolers. Ups and downs, victories and struggles, good days, bad days and all the in-between days. Real life stuff. 

To give you just a little sneak peek, I thought I would share a couple of my own answers from the book

Are you worried about socialization? Why or why not?

Absolutely not. In fact, I’m grateful that my children are avoiding the negative socialization that they would receive in a classroom or school playground! Think back to your own school years… what was your socialization experience really like? My public school experience included learning about things I wasn’t mature or old enough to handle (sex, alcohol, etc.) struggling with peer pressure to be disrespectful to teachers or to make fun of other kids, being left out and feeling emotionally crushed, being concerned with being cool and popular and adapting to the current trends and fads, and ultimately prioritizing my relationships with my peers above my family. Need I go on? My experience is NOT uncommon. Is this the type of socialization that we are worried about our kids missing out on?

By keeping my children home with me, there are plenty of opportunities for positive socialization. They are learning to love and appreciate their siblings, to be a part of our family and do their part through chores and other acts of service, and how to obey and respect their parents. I am able to supervise the great majority of their social interactions with other children and I can carefully choose ones with children that I feel will be positive friends and playmates, that will encourage and build up my children rather than drag them down. My kids have a lot of adult interaction, and because they are not so influenced by their peers, they are learning how to speak both respectfully and also intelligently to adults (rather than being one of those kids who answers in one-word sentences while looking down at the ground). My children are less dependent on peer, age-based groups, and are happy to play with children that are both older and younger than they are. I can guard their exposure to things beyond their understanding and maturity levels, and be there to talk through the things that we may hear in a song or watch in a movie or read in a book– I don’t have to wonder how they will internalize these new ideas, because I am right there to discuss it with them.

After 3 years of homeschooling, my oldest is an articulate, fun, engaging and confident little girl, who makes friends easily anywhere that she goes. Other adults frequently comment on how polite she is and how well she engages in conversation with them. My daughter isn’t a superstar (well, I’d like to think so, but I’m a little biased!). In fact, I’ve known plenty of other (older) home schooled kids and teens who also exemplify these wonderful traits, which I believe is a direct result of homeschool-style socialization.

What are your concerns with home schooling now? Are they different than when you started?

Recently, my husband and I have gone back and forth, weighing the decision of whether or not to enrol in our province’s government-funded homeschool program (you still choose what and how you want to teach, but you receive money for purchasing curriculum and are then held accountable to a teacher who checks in on your progress, gives reports cards, and ensures that you meet up with the grade level requirements). Our other option was to simply forfeit the money that we have been receiving and go it alone. After much consideration, we’ve decided not to enrol, and it’s a decision I feel very satisfied with. Every state and province is different in what it requires of homeschooling parents, and over the years I have recognized that I am a better homeschooler and that I am more focused on our family’s goals (as opposed to the outside requirements and expectations of others) when I have no one to be accountable to but myself, my husband and the Lord.

My biggest challenge in it all is learning how to balance academic study with the other aspects of developing our children (love for God, character, responsibility, etc.) as well as nurturing a creative and inspiring environment. In other words, my concern is that I would use these years and months and days wisely, knowing what to focus on in each season, so that our family can reap the rewards of a job well done. I don’t want to spit out children that conform to the mediocre standards of a government-sponsored education system which I have chosen to opt out of. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Instead, I want to give my children something far superior, and therein lies the challenge… knowing what is superior and what is worth our time and energy and then figuring out how to do it. My concern with homeschooling these days is knowing how to provide my children with a truly excellent education.

When I first began, I don’t think I honestly knew what to concern myself with. I wondered how I would choose and afford curriculum, and if my kids would listen to me, and could I actually teach them as well as someone else. I wondered if I had the patience, and how our extended family and friends would react, and all of those other things that parents worry about when they first start. Now, I’ve stopped worrying about all of that and started to worry about the actual substance of what I do and why I do it. I’m not concerned with what others think but only concerned about being faithful to my task.

Taken from my interview in the book You can do it too: 25 homeschooling families share their stories

How to get your copy

“You can do it too” is available here for $9.99. The PDF version that I’m currently reading is a meaty 253 pages, so it’s a full length book.

Or, you could win a copy…

I’m going to run this as a simple, 24-hour giveaway for 3 copies.

To get entered, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me either:

a) Why you homeschool and one thing you love about it

OR

b) Why you’re considering homeschooling (if you don’t yet) and one question that you have

That’s it. As my 7 year old daughter would say, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. :)

Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 29th at 9am (ok, so it’s technically a 30-hour giveaway, but I’m not crawling out of bed at 3am to end it :). Giveaway has now ended. Thanks, everyone!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. My husband and I decided to homeschool for several reasons – we are less than impressed with our nation’s institutional schools, we are concerned over school safety, and we wanted to be able to incorporate our faith in what our children would be learning. {More of my story is shared on my blog, Holistic Homemaking – http://www.holistichomemaking.org/p/homeschool.html}

    I would love to win this book! Thanks for hosting!

  2. I am not homeschooling now as I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old but I do plan on homeschooling. To me there is no other option. I was home schooled. I think it is the best because your children are home with you getting the best education they can. I want them to know Jesus and have a biblical world view and I don´t want them to have to subject to our school system.

  3. I chose to homeschool for numerous reasons…first and foremost…I could not fathom the idea of not being with my kids for the majority of the day (6+ hrs). It did not seem natural to me. I want to be the main influence in their little lives…and I knew I could not do that if I was away from them all day during their formative years. Another big push was reading the book “Hold Onto Your Kids” by Dr. Gordon Neufeld (love him). It made perfect sense to me…the whole peer orientation versus parent influence…I knew that homeschooling was something I had to try. The final reason I decided to homeschool is because I know God planted that seed in my heart. I knew it from the time my eldest was 3 yrs old. It’s just something I had to listen to…and we’ve never looked back!!!

  4. JayCee Abrahams says:

    My husband is from South Africa and we have been married for 9 years. When living in South Africa we operate our non-profit organization which helps impoverished families and their children living and/or dealing with HIV/AIDS. While living in Canada, we fundraise, work to save more money to go back to Africa, and have recently had two babies, now ages 4 and 2!

    We want to homeschool for many reasons…our children were put into our hands, we want them to know their Creator and we want them to know who their Creator made them to be! We want them to love learning, love each other, and love spending time with our family…which will in their future translate into loving people (or so we hope!) The list goes on, and on, and on : ) While travelling back and forth between Canada and Africa, ‘school’ will be a constant, in our home, one thing that is ‘stable’ for their lifestyle.

    My one question would be ” CAN I DO THIS!?!?!?!” LOL Can I teach grade 5 math? Grade 9? Can I teach science, french, etc. etc….? We are planning to create another baby very, very soon…and I am extremely sick while pregnant. Can I take care of myself, grow a baby, have a baby, and school my children?

    Good thing God has more faith in me than I do. That’s all I can say.

    Thank you for being such an inspiration.
    JayCee

  5. I am considering homeschool for my 12 year old (7th grader) and eventually my 17-month old when he’s ready. After 7 years in public school, my son can recite facts; but when I ask him how he made a decision or a conclusion, he can’t tell me. he hasn’t been taught to think critically. He can’t communicate his logic. That really worries me. Further, he is strong in math, but really struggles with writing. I feel as if he’s pushed along with the flow of things in writing instead of receiving the additional help he needs.

    I also have 2 step-daughters in college. They both went to public school and in high school, it seemed like it was a daily battle to protect their hearts and purity. The battle was eventually lost and they gave in to the many peer pressures. They are imporoving, but through it, my husband and I realized the scope of the battle for our children and put a plan in motion where I can stay at home with our boys next year and homeschool.

    I have many concerns. I fear my ability. I fear choosing the wrong curriculum. My question for you is: How did you determine your child’s learning style and subsequent curriculum?

  6. Flexibility!!

  7. I’m considering home schooling because I want to be able to have more input in my child’s education. My question – how can I teach him to learn discernment without the difficult situations that classroom teaching would bring up?

  8. We are considering homeschooling because we want our son to be taught with Christian values, have far fewer of the really negative and character zapping exposures in today’s public schools, and to help his health issues with nutritious, home prepared meals. I had never thought of homeschooling before so now that it’s closing in on reality, I’m feeling quite overwhelmed and unsure where to even start or if I can teach him what he needs to know. Would love a shot at the ebook giveaway to help get us started

  9. We homeschool because my children want to, and what I love about it is that they like it so much! My daughter (who did well in public school and got along with everyone) said, just the other day, “I never want to go back to public school.”

  10. Heather G. says:

    I’m looking forward to starting Pre-School with my son….how do I know WHAT to teach??

  11. We home school because I wanted to be able to have more influence in my child’s life. I love how schooling becomes a part of life, not just something to add on.

  12. Christina says:

    We homeschool because we felt it was what the Lord wanted us to do. But then we found out that our son has Tourette’s Syndrome and we were so grateful that we were homeschooling him!

  13. We homeschool because we felt led to and I love being able to spend more time with my children and explore life together.

  14. I was homeschooled myself and am now homeschooling my 3 children (11, 8, and 4). I think the thing I love (and fear) most about homeschooling is the influence I get to be in my children’s lives. This is both wonderful and terrifying. :) I love that I am the one to lead them to Aha! moments and get to be an example of the grace of God covering my imperfections even though that can be challenging at many times! :)

  15. Robin Murphy says:

    I can’t wait to homeschool.. I have a 17 month plus girl now.. My biggest question/concern is how to balance teaching several children all of varying grades!?

  16. My oldest is only 21 months but we are considering home schooling for various reasons. Number one is the current state of our public education system. We may not be able to afford or even find a really good private school that meets all of our requirements. There are also values I want my children to learn. We are very unconventional and don’t really like the idea of our children learning things from teachers and peers that don’t line up with the Bible as that can be confusing for young children being taught otherwise at home. My biggest questions are: Can I do really do it?, and Where do I begin?

  17. katherine says:

    would love to win! thanks for the advice! my question is simple yet so difficult — where do i start?! :)

  18. ElizabethL says:

    We are homeschooling to best fulfill our son’s academic needs as well as give him a foundation of a Christ-centered worldview.

  19. I love spending time with my children and teaching them the value of God’s Word!

  20. Melissa B says:

    We have a 5 yo son in pre-K and 7 yo daughter starting first grade at our local waldorf school. We love the school but may not be able to afford it much longer. I am also beginning to wonder if we could provide the environment we need without all the carpooling, financial and other things tugging at us. So I am now exploring homeschooling as a viable option. My biggest question is whether our children will respect me as their teacher the same way they respect me as their mother?

  21. I plan to homeschool my daughter starting next year for kindergarten. I can’t wait to spend time teaching her about all the things she is interested in. I love seeing her desire to learn at this age! My biggest question is how to balance home responsibilities and the needs of a younger sibling with the time and energy needed to homeschool well. Thanks!

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