Okay, today I’m putting myself out on the line… no hate mail, please….
Homeschooling Myth #1: If you homeschool you will have an abundance of free time.
Have you ever heard this myth?
Yes, I say myth, because after twelve years of homeschooling I haven’t seen it come to fruition. Thankfully, I’m not seeking a landfall of free time anyway, but I think some families go into homeschooling thinking it will free a large amount of their time. I am here to debunk that, not to scare anyone away from homeschooling, but rather to be honest and up front about what homeschooling is really about.
It’s a lifestyle, heart changing commitment. It will alter your life and teach you things you never knew before about life, people, ability, persistence, attitudes, and family. It can feel overwhelming at times and yet so fulfilling. It requires A LOT and yet for us and many others there is nothing we would rather be doing.
There will probably be some homeschoolers who would disagree with me on this, but for me it is truth…. Homeschooling consumes my weekdays.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this question, “Is it true that you can get all of your schooling done before lunch?”
And I have to honestly reply… “ Um, Yes in the elementary and Junior High years, for the most part we do get all our school done before lunch each day.”
However, if they were looking for a long drawn out answer (which I know they are not) I would probably say…
“Well, we start school at 7:30 am. We gather together in our sitting room, still in our P.J.’s, wrapped in warm, fuzzy blankets and we do our Bible/devotions, memory verse, critical thinking, and top it all off with history and literature for the younger three. Then we have breakfast. My children then do their daily house and outside chores. Followed by their own personal devotions. Around 9:00 am, we start math and move through our remaining subjects from there.”
Here is a little example that shows some of what is required of me at this point in our homeschool. I am literally teaching four levels of math one of those being pre-calculus. And yes, I do teach them, they are not just computer babies (two of the boys have their lessons taught on the computer). These children of mine have a momma who works the problems out right beside them and teaches them step by step if need be. Ask my oldest! Today he had to write down the 6 steps for changing a basic quadratic equation into the vertex form of the quadratic equation (using a bit of visual and kinesthetic learning here). He was struggling to get the concept, so we took it step by step writing out what needed to be done then working the problems together. Half an hour and 9 problems later we took a break for lunch. WHEW! Our brains needed refueling.
And this is only an example of one subject.
My children may have more time that isn’t filled with paper work than a public school child, but the learning in our home is constant. Today there was a discussion started by my son about World War I where he supplied all kinds of facts and information, as I listened in. At one point he couldn’t remember all the details and so he looked them up. Not me, him. Learning, learning, learning and not forced learning, I love it!
Your children may have a bit more “free time” this is true, but honestly its all in how you define free time! Currently my children’s “free time” consists of some quiet time in the afternoon usually about 1 1/2 hours for my older boys, my daughter at 7 gets a bit more time to choose her activities. This “free time” is often broken up with activities that mom or dad choose to require help for. For example, this afternoon my children’s “free time” was broken into when they were called upon to help harvest the potatoes out of the garden and pull up and discard the cucumber vines. After that was done the boys went back to their “free time” which consisted of making a movie (self learning anyone!).
Then when Joel got home he rallied all the boys around him to go fix, patch up, and erect deer shacks, blinds, and tree stands. As I write this I hear them, through my open windows, back in the woods, hard at work, moving a shack and pounding in stakes.
All of this to say, that as a homeschool mom I am very involved in my children’s learning. It takes from 7:30-3:00 most days for me to finish what I need to do, to organize, re-think lessons that may be confusing my kids, to re-teach, to walk alongside, to correct, and to listen. All of this and more is what is required of me if I am to be the teacher my kids need me to be. Some days it takes longer.
So, in all honesty, if you are looking for huge chunks of free time, homeschooling may not be for you. It takes major commitment and dedication. You have to feel called to do this, because it is a hard, important, life altering job and not one to be taken lightly.
BUT, if you are looking for an opportunity to build amazing relationships with your children, to learn alongside them, to know pure joy when they “get it”, to spend your days with your most favorite people, then by all means GO FOR IT!