Forced Into Homeschool: How to Prepare When You Don’t Really Want To

I can’t tell you how many parents I’ve met who pull their children from school due to a lack of flourishing, negative peer pressure or bullying. Parents see their child floundering and wonder what can be done. Not that schools don’t try, but they cannot always alleviate every issue. This entire cycle can be exaggerated for military children because of frequent moves. A child finally gets used to a school or a way of doing things and then has to move. The starting over again and again may exacerbate problems for an already struggling student.

Now suppose you are the parent of such a child, but never thought of nor wanted to homeschool. You find yourself on the brink of taking charge of your child’s education and it looks like a deep, dark, bottomless cavern. You are only standing here because you feel you have run out of options. If this is you, first let me applaud you for the love you feel for your child that brought you to this place that you never wanted to be in. You see your child struggling and you want to do something about it. For you, homeschooling is a sacrifice. That is OK. This is a perfectly acceptable reason to homeschool your child.

As you launch out into the homeschool world, you will see homeschooling supermoms. Without meaning to, these moms will make you feel small and incapable. They will seem ultra-capable and unflappable, like perfect moms with unending depths of patience, while you just feel relieved everybody made it through the day alive. But trust me, no, I mean really trust me— “supermoms” flounder sometimes too. They may not do it in front of you but they also question their abilities, lose their patience and occasionally feel insane. By the way, this is true of traditional school teachers as well. Find one and ask him or her. Just know that you are not alone in your struggles.

Here are some tips to prepare yourself and your child for your new homeschool adventure:

  1. Take some time to deschool. Deschooling is the process in which you and your child learn to let go of traditional school and learn a new “normal.” Even if school was not a good experience for your child, he has learned a certain way of doing things and will be used to it and so will you. If you skip the deschooling period, you may find yourself facing a lot of attitude. There are a number of great articles on the topic of deschooling to help you understand the process. I recommend you read a few. In the meantime, here are a few deschooling activities to start you out:
    1. Go to the library.
    2. Take field trips.
    3. Get outdoors.
    4. Take time for the arts.
  1. Set out to see the positive in your child. Likely you are here because of a lot of negativity going on surrounding your child’s behavior. You are making a choice to do something new, so let go of the past, of what was wrong with your kid and purposely seek out what is right with your kid. Look for things to like in her personality, then focus in on that.
  2. Focus more on your child’s learning style than a particular curriculum. Avoid thinking of this as “public school at home.” Your child wasn’t flourishing. He may need plenty of time to be active. This may conflict with the picture you have in your head of the much hoped for peaceful child, quietly doing his work now that he’s out of school. Take some time to figure out what your child really needs in order to flourish.
  3. Be flexible. You may try something that doesn’t work. It can feel like beating your head against the wall. Change course. You have the power now. Something will work, just keep looking for the right fit!
  4. Manage your expectations! Homeschool will not look like what you think it will. Remember, that “perfect” homeschool child you imagine all the other moms have does not exist. Never compare your child to any other homeschool child. Never.

If you are here, taking this drastic step, clearly you feel something needs to be done to help your child. No one is better qualified to be invested in your child’s future than you. Millions of parents successfully homeschool their children every day. You can too. Questions about that process? Ask the experts! >>


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