As a homeschool mom to four, I am now on “the other end” of my long 20 plus year journey. When I first started out, I sometimes thought, “how am I going to do this?” Twenty years ago, making the home education choice was a decision guaranteed to come with criticism. I was constantly questioned from well meaning family, friends and neighbors if I was making the right decision. Even checkout clerks unabashedly asked my children standing next to me, “why are you children not in school?“.
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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom without a Plan
Thankfully as home education has become more mainstream, the attitudes of this alternative method of education have changed. Homeschooling today has less of a stigma than of years past. Two decades ago, having my children out in public with me during schools hours, felt like walking around with a scarlet “H”. There were two common questions that people seemed to always ask. The most common criticism was people asking about my qualifications to teach. “Don’t you have to have a teaching degree to do this?”, was a question I heard many times. These unsolicited comments were not only a bit offensive, but also made me question my decision. Was I really qualified to provide a good education for my children? I realized from being forced to defend my choice to homeschool, at that time, I really did feel confident no matter what the nay sayers said.
My Fear of High School Homeschooling
However, as my children began to approach the middle school grades, my confidence soon began to wane. When people would ask me, “how will you homeschool when your kids reach high school?”, I always got a lump in my stomach. I had no idea what I was going to do, nor did I even have a plan! To ease my anxiety, my motto was to take it one day at a time and cross that high school road when I got there. Thankfully as my oldest boys approached the higher grades, there were many more online resources and curriculum to choose from. In retrospect, it all worked out…in fact, it worked out BEAUTIFULLY!! In spite of me not having a “plan”, all three of my boys started college at the age of 15 years old and have achieved success.
Succeeding in Spite of Gaps in Curriculum
Many homeschool moms worry they aren’t covering all the subjects. I was one of those moms that definitely did not cover all the subjects. I have to confess, science didn’t make it much into my homeschooling curriculum very often. Well, I did once let my kids try the Soda Pop Mentos Experiment on our front yard…does that count? My children’s “science curriculum” was basically a carte blanche ticket to watch unlimited episodes of Myth Busters accompanied by a written report on what they learned.
As far as math goes, I dropped out as teacher after my kids reached the 8th grade math level. At that point, I passed on the math baton to Teaching Textbooks. This awesome program allowed my boys to go straight from homeschool to college math without a glitch. In fact, all 3 boys received ‘A’s in their first 2 years in their Freshman and Sophomore years at college! After much criticism and personal fretting about my ability to provide my children a quality education, in the end it all worked out. Today, families have so many wonderful homeschool options, resources, and support to choose from. All my children have continued with great success in both education and careers….in spite of their homeschooling path.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Child #1: My eldest boy was 21 when he received a Bachelor’s degree in Micro-Molecular Biology with a minor in Physics. The following year, he went on to the University of Colorado to get his Certified Laboratory Scientist certification. The program required my son to carry malpractice insurance…and he was barely 21 years old. He has worked for Providence hospital for 4 years now and is currently studying for his MCAT’s hoping to get into a medical school program this coming fall.
Child #2: My son, Seth, graduated Summa Cum Laude from George Fox University at the age of 20 years old. He was immediately hired on with Intel after graduation. Before he was even old enough to order a drink, he was traveling on business class pods to Malaysia twice a year for his work with Intel. He plans to continue on to graduate school to complete his masters.
Child #3: My youngest boy, Daylen, started Oregon State University as a Junior at the age of 19. Like his eldest brother, he has chosen to go the science degree route. I guess all those reports on what they learned from an episode of Myth Busters paid off!
Child #4: My youngest daughter was homeschooled up until the 8th grade. She has chosen a different path which does not include any homeschool or early college. She is currently a Junior, Honor Roll student and plans to go on to University once she graduates.
Success is Giving your Child a Solid Learning Foundation
I’m not advocating following my lax approach to homeschooling by missing entire subjects with your children – as I really should have had at least some science curriculum. What I am saying is, if you make learning fun, and teach your children the basics, that can be the springboard they need to soar with their learning journey.
I hope this was an encouragement to some of you new homeschool moms out there. 🙂 Don’t worry, it will work out in the end.