It’s a brand new year. With the mess finally cleared and the good china put away, now’s the time that many of us reflect on the past and get ready to start the new year fresh. Maybe clean eating is on your list of changes to make this year. Perhaps you’re planning how to use that gym membership you bought last fall. Whatever your goals, a new year is always a great time to wipe the slate clean and make the next 12 months the best they can be.
So, let me ask you. Has the thought of homeschooling entered your mind this year?
I wanted you to know that, right now, as I write this, there are many parents thinking the very same thing. Only 2 weeks into the new year and I’m already receiving dozens of calls and messages from families who are trying to decide.
Considering the state of American education, I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised. Homeschooling has already been growing for decades. Last year’s news did nothing to quiet the worries of parents concerned about their kids; if anything, it only made things worse.
I don’t have to tell you know about school closures, school failures, and excessive testing. I know you’re aware of escalating drugs, bullying and gun violence in school yards. Add in budget cuts, teacher frustration, children with unmet needs, and the gamut of ways that American schools are failing children, it’s easy to understand why parents might start thinking of going it alone.
Unless you’ve really lived the homeschooling lifestyle for a while, it might be hard enough to understand what it even is, let alone how it might work in your family. If you’ve used the school system for a while, it’s as scary as jumping off a cliff, seeming more reckless than jumping without a bungee. It can be as foreign as learning a new language or as intimidating as a statistics text. And yet, despite all fears and misunderstandings, my colleages in this industry also report a larger-than-average number of inquiries about homeschooling this year.
So, what does it really mean to home educate? Where do you get the books or the curriculum to follow? Can you still keep working your job? And what happens to the kids — socially and psychologically – after they’re pulled off the school yard? Do they get into good colleges? What will your family and friends have to say about all this?
Do you have these questions, too?
You should know from the start that homeschooling is completely legal in all 50 states, and has been legal for many years. You should also know that lots and lots of people are doing it (millions and millions at last count). Can that many people be wrong?
The next thing to understand is that it works. I mean, really works. Since homeschooling is fairly mainstream, there are now lots and lots of large and respected national studies showing how well it works. Every study I’ve read (and I’ve read almost all of them) have concluded that home education works. It works academically, it works socially, and it works by turning regular kids into highly contributing, well-functioning adults.
And guess what? The parent’s background doesn’t even really matter. Taking into account family income, a parent’s educational background and more, homeschoolers come out on top. Backed by this research, you may consider the decision to start homeschooling with great confidence.
Admittedly, reading and learning about homeschooling can be intimidating. Plus, the volume of information out there is overwhelming at best. But, with so many available resources, not to mention all us veteran homeschool parents out here cheering for you, you probably do have what it takes to succeed. If that’s the decision you’re ready to make.
If you’re sitting on the fence about home education, it’s probably because you know homeschooling isn’t a whim. It’s not an impulse decision, or a trend this year that you’ll be embarrassed to admit the next. Homeschooling is a commitment, and a very serious one at that. That doesn’t make it hard, or irreversible, and it doesn’t mean you have to be a genius or even college educated to do it. It just means, like other big decisions, it requires research and planning before making that giant commitment. And, like other big decisions, it means you commit to giving it an honest try.
Consider this about homeschooling. There has perhaps never been another issue, method, philosophy or basic point-of-view able to unite such a large number of families as homeschooling. Because of its singular emphasis and the common thread woven across the nation from homeschooling family to homeschooling family, homeschooling is able to ignore, side-step or circumvent every major barrier you can imagine. It happens everywhere and anywhere, regardless of religious, political, or cultural experience; and despite income, parental IQ and geography. Instilling a lifelong love of learning and providing a childhood full of academically-rich experiences is of such importance to so many families that it crosses insurmountable obstacles to accomplish.
For some families, homeschooling is simply put on their hearts for reasons they do not even really understand.
If homeschooling was in your heart last year, or the thought is tugging at you right now, maybe it’s time to get off the fence and do something about it.
Is this YOUR year to homeschool?
Dr. Marie-Claire Moreau is a college professor who traded in her tenure to become a homeschool mom 20+ years ago. A homeschooling pioneer and the founder of many groups and organizations, she works to advance home education, and is an outspoken supporter of education reform coast to coast. Her book, Suddenly Homeschooling: A Quick Start Guide to Legally Homeschool in Two Weeks, is industry-acclaimed as it illustrates how homeschooling can rescue children and families from the public school system, and how anyone can begin homeschooling within a limited time-frame, with no teaching background whatsoever. A writer, a homeschool leader, and a women’s life coach, Marie-Claire mentors in a variety of areas that impact health, education and lifestyle. A conference speaker, she has appeared at FPEA, H.E.R.I., Home Education Council of America, The Luminous Mind, Vintage Homeschool Moms, iHomeschool Network, and many other events. Her articles have appeared in and on Holistic Parenting, CONNECT,Homefires, Homemaking Cottage, Kiwi, Circle of Moms, and hundreds of sites and blogs nationwide. Marie-Claire can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.