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While families each have their specific reasons for homeschooling, it often comes down to “what’s best for the children.” It could be for academic reasons (child is ahead or behind a grade), physical/emotional reasons (illness or a bully), or for personal reasons (freedom to choose what your child learns). Regardless of your reasons for homeschooling, you will probably have opposition at some point. As much as you dislike the idea, you will probably have to fight for your decision to homeschool.
I’m not implying anything physical; I’m talking about the persistence needed to stick to your guns if you’ve pulled your child from public school. Depending on where you live, the school may decide to overstep their bounds. Make sure you have all your paperwork in order! Make sure you know the homeschool laws in your state.
I always recommend that new homeschooling moms (regardless of children’s ages) join a local in-person support group. Yes, you can get some fabulous support online, but it cannot beat an in-person group where you can ask questions, share curricula, and get a hug when needed. If you do end up needing to fight the system to prove you are homeschooling, you’ll need the wisdom of others in your area who have already fought the battle and won.
Fighting Well-Meaning People
Legal battles can be scary and leave you mentally drained. But, when it’s your own family who doesn’t approve of your homeschooling, the drain will be emotionally exhausting as well. As much as homeschooling is growing, there are still many people out there who don’t understand why anyone would want to do it. Some still question the legality of it and the benefit to the child.
Before you begin homeschooling, make sure you know your “why.” Why do you want to homeschool? Why do you feel this is better than other forms of education for your children? Take time to write out your thoughts and goals. Once you know your why, you can have discussions with well-meaning people that don’t end up in fights.
Fight the Good Fight
“It’s for your own good!”
Do you remember your parents saying that to you when you were young? I disliked hearing it, too. Yet, I find myself saying similar things to my own children.
“You may not want to do it, but it has to be done.”
“There will be a lot of things in life that you won’t want to do, but you’ll have to — like changing diapers and cleaning toilets.”
There may be days on this homeschooling journey where you’ll be fighting your child. Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep, and now he’s grouchy. Maybe she doesn’t understand her math, and it’s making her feel stupid. There could be any number of reasons why your child is butting heads with you. But, you need to win this fight, even if it means changing strategies or battlefields.
Don’t be afraid to change things up when needed. Homeschooling does not have to look like public school at home. Take a break and go for a walk or do some exercises. Get your child’s blood pumping and wake him up! Take an impromptu run to the store for ice cream. As you enjoy the cold goodness, try to brainstorm ideas on how to help make math click. Maybe she needs a different curriculum. Or maybe she just needs to ‘see’ the problem from a different angle; try using a white board and different colored markers to write out and work the problems. Change your surroundings to diffuse tension and, if needed, change curriculum for better understanding.
F is for Fight
Mulitple times in the Old Testament we see Moses reminding the Children of Israel not to be afraid because the Lord would fight for them (Ex. 14:14; Deut. 3:22; Deut. 20:4). He will fight for you, too! When you find yourself in a situation that is leading up to a fight of some sort, take a deep breath and let God fight first. He can soften hearts. He can mend relationships. And He can impart wisdom.
He will fight for you, homeschooling mom! Never doubt that!