Hints for Homeschool Moms
There is a popular series of history and science books with titles that begin with You Wouldn’t Want to… Here is a homeschool mom version of You Wouldn’t Want to…
Please note that this is a satire from a Christian perspective. If you don’t like satire or don’t maintain a Christian worldview, you will not enjoy this. You can still learn some hints if you want to stick around!
The year is 2020. Your name is Lisa Clark, and you are the mother of three children under five. You have been thinking about options for your children’s education since the day is rapidly approaching when you will have to start your five-year-old, Daisy, in kindergarten. Ralphie, your three-and-a-half-year-old is a bright little boy who also likes to keep up with his big sister. And then, there’s your third child, Clara, who is a handful at age two.
With the uncertainty of in-person learning after the shut-downs for COVID-19, and with the prospect of many rules and restrictions being in place in the schools if there is in-person learning, you are thinking about homeschooling. If students are going to do on-line learning anyway, you are thinking maybe you want to be in control the curriculum and pacing instead of meeting deadlines for a teacher Daisy has never met.
You have several friends who homeschool who have told you the pros and the cons of homeschooling. Your husband really wants to keep the children at home for their education – not just because of COVID-19 – for he researches what is going on in educational trends and in the public schools. But your parents think you are crazy, and many of your friends are trying to talk you out of homeschooling. By now, you have figured out that motherhood is not like being Mary Poppins and is in fact a full-time job, and homeschooling would be another full-time job! COVID-19 aside, you have a lot to think about.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you would spend way too much time with your kids, even if it is quality time. It would be easier to send them away and have some time for yourself. If you stay at home, will you have time for yourself? You’d have to learn to be patient and die to your own desires and self. Plus, you’d have to learn time management and self-care in spite of a busy schedule, or you might become overwhelmed and burned out.
Handy hint: If you do become a homeschool mom, you may want to hire a babysitter once a week or trade babysitting with friends to get some time alone. Especially if you are an introvert, regular mental health days (or even a few hours) will help you keep perspective, morale and avoid burn-out. Keeping open communication with your husband about how it is going with balancing time and getting his help may ease some of your load.
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You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you might give your children too much attention. Instead of being one of thirty students, little Daisy will get individual attention (well, apart from Ralphie hanging constantly at your elbow trying to see what’s going on, and Clara playing in the paint while you’re focusing on Daisy.
If you give your children attention, you might influence their lives for Christ, and you wouldn’t want anyone to think you are brainwashing them into a Christian worldview. After all, in the public schools they would get a steady dose of progressive ideology, anti-God teaching, biased, revisionist history, tolerance training (tolerance for everything except Christianity), and aggressive teaching on sexuality and transgender propaganda at all grade levels! (Wait! Is that education or brainwashing?)
Handy hint: You may need to set up a plan or schedule for yourself and your children so that when you are doing lessons with the older ones, the younger ones are involved in an activity too. Ralphie might be able to color or do some of the same activities as Daisy during lessons, Clara can play in a playpen or enclosed area with blocks or another manipulative, or you may want to do lessons when Clara is napping. All can benefit from your reading aloud to them. Warning: give yourself allowance for flexibility within the schedule and adapt the schedule to meet your needs regularly. The schedule is a tool to serve you, not a dictator to control you.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you’d have to learn organization with scheduling and curriculum. Each child may have a different learning style so you may need different curriculum for each child, and as the children grow, you may need to adapt the schedule quarterly to meet changing needs. This is so much work! Don’t you just want a nap?
Handy hint: While it takes organization and effort as you change schedules or work with different curriculum, you will get to meet your children where they are in learning style and give them the best opportunity for growth in learning. Set your children up for success! You can incorporate naps into your schedule, and you may accomplish more with a schedule. If you really need flexibility, you may consider a checklist rather than a schedule with firm times.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you and your husband might have to take all the responsibility yourself to discipline and disciple your own children. Doesn’t it take a village to raise a child? Can’t you just send your unruly child to the Principal’s office?
Handy hint: Discipline and consequences have the most impact in the toddler years, so be sure to get started early setting up limitations and following through with consequences with your child. Structure helps a child feel safe and loved too. Even if you don’t homeschool, bless your child’s teacher by setting up boundaries and discipline at home. If you can’t “control” your own child at home, how is a teacher at school supposed to keep your child in line with 30 other children in the classroom? The concept of Restorative Justice is common in the public schools now too, so teachers will not be able to give any consequences to your child or any other child to run an orderly classroom. The Principal will just send your child back to the teacher and tell the teacher to take control of her classroom.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because your children would see that you are a sinner in need of a savior, Jesus, and you can’t just be a hypocrite. You will have to work on your own character.
Handy hint: When you sin or make mistakes, apologize to your child so he or she can see that you are not perfect and need Christ. Ask your children to pray for you.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you will know your child best and will get to encourage strengths but will also have to deal with weaknesses and sin, like whining, complaining, and throwing fits when they don’t get their way. You will also have to set aside academics to deal with character issues and development far too often. At public school, your children won’t have to worry about character development, and you won’t have to listen to them whine, complain, and throw fits.
Handy hint: While academics are important, maybe dealing with character issues is what God is really calling you to in homeschooling your child. Try not to view character issues as interruptions but as opportunities to point your child to Christ.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you feel inadequate for the task. After all, you don’t have a degree in teaching. You are not an expert in science, math, English, history, music, art, and health. You couldn’t possibly offer anything to your children.
Handy hint: There are hundreds of wonderful, easy-to-use curriculum in every subject to guide a parent in teaching their children, even if the parent doesn’t have a college degree. (Check out Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum to get started.) You don’t need a degree or to be an expert in anything or everything, just a willing and humble heart to lead and learn with your children. Further, you are called by God to be a parent to your children, and so He has given you everything you need (2 Peter 1:3-11) and will guide you if you so desire to pursue home education! All you need to start with Daisy in kindergarten is a kindergarten level of knowledge!
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you might see the “lightbulb” go off as your child grasps concepts or makes connections between subjects. Wouldn’t you rather be out fulfilling your own desires instead of being there with your children as they make discoveries? Shouldn’t teachers have all the fun of seeing children delight in learning?
Handy hint: If you become a homeschool mom, enjoy the little successes with your children! Even Clara (a two-year-old) will stop you to tell you that she heard the name Charlemagne in the story you are reading and that his name is in the timeline song (Classical Conversations).
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because your children might get a well-rounded education. If you really go over the top, you might give her active learning opportunities instead of having her do everything on a screen! Now that wouldn’t really be fair to all the public school or low-income families. Reading out loud to your child does put other children at a disadvantage, after all! Don’t you want Daisy, Ralphie, and Clara to be wards of the state with a sub-par education so they can be manipulated by bosses and the government? Isn’t ignorance bliss?
Handy hint: Those who do not know history are bound to repeat its mistakes. So if you decide to put your children in public school, be prepared to supplement at home.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you would have to spend hours teaching your children and grading papers. This requires a lot of time and skills in time management. Isn’t this why you pay taxes, so that you can pay the salary of a teacher to do this work?
Handy hint: If you are sitting and working with Daisy in the early elementary years, you will be doing the work with her and essentially grading along the way. As your children get older, be sure to set aside time for grading each day so they can move forward and you are not overwhelmed.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because might redeem your own education. You don’t want to see how inadequate your own public school education was, do you? You don’t want to have to learn and grow and be stretched in your “old” age and keep your brain from atrophying.
Handy hint: You might be surprised as you fall in love with learning now that you have some life experience. You may even want to help homeschool your grandchildren to keep your brain active!
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you and your children might change the world and affect generations in raising godly seed for the Lord. It is easier to maintain the status quo. With three children, you are just trying to survive, aren’t you? Intentional parenting takes too much effort!
Handy hint: Read the Bible and pray everyday.
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because you might feel guilty about not working and bringing in a second income for the family. After all, how will you afford to live in a big, modern house and go on a cruise every year if you don’t work? This also certainly doesn’t further the feminist cause.
Handy hint: You may need to change your expectations about lifestyle if your child’s education is really important to you. While you may want to work from home a little, again remember that homeschooling is a full-time job on top of being a wife, mother, homemaker, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. You will not be able to focus on another job very easily. Again, check those expectations!
You wouldn’t want to become a homeschool mom because there is too much pressure to be perfect. It’s easy to second-guess yourself and ask if what you are doing is enough or if you are using the “right” curriculum. You might compare yourself to other homeschool moms and think they have it all together or are doing a better job with their kids.
Handy hint: Nobody is perfect. Nobody has it all together. We are all imperfect sinners in need of God’s grace. If you become a homeschool mom, spend much time reading the Bible and praying to get the strength and perspective you will need.
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Being a homeschool mom may not be easy. It is a full-time job! But it may be what God is calling you to do, so He will give you the strength and tools you need to do it! In the perspective of eternity, it is worth it!
Warning: Do not try to do this in your own strength! Find a support system – first, by being in the Word and prayer, then from your husband, from other supportive family, and from other homeschooling families.
Author’s Note: I don’t write this because I have everything together but as a reminder to myself that if God has called me to this, He will give the strength and tools to enable me to homeschool.
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