Written by Susie Martin, Library Services Specialist, Outreach Services, Downtown Main Library
This school year, many families have the unexpected opportunity to become homeschoolers, which comes with many challenges. As a mom who homeschooled her son from birth to maturity, I have experienced this situation firsthand. Let me start by saying I don’t regret it for a minute. The time we spent as a family is irreplaceable. If you’re choosing homeschool this year, I hope it will be for your family too.
Where to start and how to do it
If you are reading this, you are at least curious about how to become more involved in your child’s education. Success! You have started. Homeschooling is a journey you and your family take together.
Whatever direction your education takes, the Library is here every step of the way.
Too much, too soon? Begin with the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ether. Start with this simple subject, type it into , opens a new windowthe search bar on the top of all pages of the Library’s new website and watch for a spark in your child’s eyes.
Homeschooling: My Experience
Something I discovered pretty quickly as we got started on 1st grade, you can’t force your child to be interested in something. It just doesn’t work like that.
I am an avid reader. My son? No interest whatsoever. By the time he was in 3rd grade, I was crushed. I thought I had done something wrong. In retrospect, Bill was never going to want to read Charlotte’s Web, or paint a landscape, or play the recorder. Bill is a tinkerer. He loves math, not math workbooks. He never learned his times tables or wrote an essay about trees.
Now I know what you are thinking, I am the worst homeschool mom EVER! Or am I?
Three takeaways I learned over the years: Relax the rules, nurture curiosity, build confidence. Teaching your children comes with many challenges but the opportunity to shape the future through limitless love and possibilities is a priceless gift.
The greatest resource I ever had for homeschooling just happens to be free and available 24/7. But you already knew that didn’t you? It’s the Library!
Here are a few of my new favorites:
The Field Guide to Citizen Science
The most important thing that I learned through homeschooling is how to listen. My job as Bill’s teacher was not to force him to complete the busy work assigned in a classroom. My job was to wait and watch as he grew, providing him along the way with answers to his questions and support in reaching his goals. Not my goals, but his own.
Try letting your child choose the path and guide you toward their goals. The outcomes are not as important as the time spent learning and growing together as a family.
Being a homeschool teacher is a hard job because it requires you to let go of everything you thought was important. Testing, planning, scheduling. Those are the things we need when we are a part of a larger group. There is no need to test your own children, you already know them. And they aren’t going to be #1 at everything. But with your love, patience and support, they will excel at something.
Making the Grade
In short, stop measuring. Do you know your child’s percentile for height and weight? Does it matter? The measurement for homeschool success is satisfaction. Is your child laughing, smiling, growing and engaged? You get an A.
People learn in different ways. Given the time and space, your child will choose a path toward excellence.
The Final Outcome
No one ever really stops learning. There is no final outcome to homeschool. Every person continues to age and learn throughout life. Enjoy your relationship for as long as you can. That is the reward of homeschooling.
For more handy homeschooling tools from the Library, visit our Educators page.