10 Guarantees I Wish Homeschooling Offered {But It Doesn’t}


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There are so many undeniable benefits to homeschooling. There’s no wonder so many kids love being homeschooled. However it isn’t some utopia or a panacea for all of life’s problems.

There are some guarantees I wish homeschooling offered, but it doesn’t. It can’t. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, a way of life, an educational choice.

Homeschooling is not a formula that yields guaranteed results. {click to tweet}

10 Guarantees I Wish Homeschooling Offered {But It Doesn’t}

Homeschooling does not guarantee:

1. Academic success. Wouldn’t it be awesome if homeschooling was some kind of formula? Use this curriculum, take these field trips, do these projects and your kid will be a genius.  Who wouldn’t be all over that?

The fact is, the academic strengths and weaknesses of homeschooled kids are just as varied as those of kids in any other setting. Using the same curriculum as your friend whose kid just got an academic scholarship to that Ivy League school is not going to guarantee the same results for your kid.

Even siblings using the same materials, being taught in the same way by the same parent will not yield identical academic results.

2. Superstars. Want to raise a Tim Tebow or a Serena Williams? Maybe you want to raise the next spelling bee champ, chess prodigy, or world-class musician. Use this curriculum, sign up for these activities, get this coach or instructor.

Once again, it doesn’t work that way. I imagine that homeschooling allowed the flexibility for some of those superstars to focus on their training. I’ve got a pretty talented musician who is able to spend more time practicing than he would if he weren’t homeschooled,

However, for my musician, those athletes, and various and sundry other kids who have excelled in a certain area, most of that is natural, God-given talent that can’t be replicated simply by homeschooling.

3. Strong family relationships. I do believe that, generally speaking, homeschooling does allow time to foster closer family ties, but it certainly doesn’t make strong relationships a foregone conclusion. My kids love each other, but they are not one another’s BFF. They bicker. They hurt one another’s feelings.

Homeschooling moms and dads get divorced. Homeschooled kids argue with their parents.

Homeschooling is not the cure-all for struggles in family relationships. Homeschooling families need to work just as hard as the next family to make sure that we are loving each other, spending time outside of school time together, investing in relationships, and learning good conflict-resolution skills.

4. No troubled teen years. I’ve said it before: homeschooling isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for teen rebellion, conflict with parents, poor choices, depression, or anything else that goes along with navigating the teen years. I think every parent needs to be reminded that we can’t take credit for our kids’ choices – stellar or stupid.

5. Young adults who always make good choices. In that same vein as #4, I think every single Christian homeschooling parent on the planet needs to read the article, What I’m Never Going to Tell You about Homeschooling. It will probably make you cry, but it will also remind you that you are not alone, whatever you’re going through.

(Tip: If the linked article makes you feel self-righteous, you might ought to take that one up with God and hope you don’t still have kids under the age of 30 or so.)

Because, y’all, homeschooling is not a formula that produces perfect kids who don’t need God’s grace and mercy just as much as the next person.

10 Guarantees I Wish Homeschooling Offered {But It Doesn’t}

6. No doubts and regrets. Maybe it’s just because I tend to be a worrier, but I still have bouts of worry as a homeschooling mom. Was this the right choice for my kids? Did they/will they miss out on something that they’ll regret?

I think that’s normal and the majority of the time I feel completely at peace that this was the best choice. However, it’s human nature to think about what might have been when faced with two divergent choices. From time to time, I still think about how different our lives would have been that time I receive two job offers on the same day.

If I’d chosen the other one, I’d have been making much more money, which would probably mean a bigger house, nicer cars, and more stuff. I’d probably still be there since it would have been harder to quit in order to be a stay-at-home mom. We most likely would not be homeschooling.

Do I regret that choice? Not in the slightest. That doesn’t mean I don’t wonder about it sometimes. Homeschooled kids (and their parents!) are probably going to wonder what life would have been like if they’d gone to public school. You’re probably going to have regrets about things you wish you’d done differently.

That’s normal and not a sign of a mistake.

7. No bullying. Unfortunately, there are bullies everywhere – at co-op or other homeschool classes, on the playground, on the ball field, at gymnastics (or whatever other sport your kid does), and even at church. Sometimes the bullies are kids and, sadly enough, sometimes they’re the adults.

Thankfully, homeschooling generally allows us a little more room for coaching our kids through these situations. Every parent, regardless of where their kids are educated, can and should be involved in addressing bullying behavior very early on.

8. Un-medicated learning. I agree with the general consensus (based on my observations) among homeschooling parents that ADHD/ADD is greatly over-diagnosed in school situations and that children are often unnecessarily medicated. I also agree that homeschooling allows active kids to learn without medication.

However, some kids (and adults) have such severe ADHD/ADD that they benefit from medication. Sure, some of it could possibly be controlled through diet, but for whatever reasons, that doesn’t work for everyone. I’m related to several kids and adults who have greatly benefited from medication to control these behaviors and homeschool parents should not feel judged for choosing to go that route if that’s what their kids need.

9. No cliques. Oh, y’all. Homeschooling does not prevent cliques among homeschooled kids or their parents. I have been on the receiving end of cliquish behavior and, unfortunately, I’m sure I’ve been on the giving end.

Don’t be that parent that makes another homeschooling mom or dad feel judged or unwelcome. Model kindness for your kids. Sure, everyone is going to have their close friends and people with whom they don’t get along, but the world would be a nicer place if we all tried to be a bit more welcoming and accepting of each other.

10. Doing whatever you want all day long. Oh, I wish homeschooling did mean that you could do whatever you wanted all day long, but sometimes you’ve just got to tackle the stuff that isn’t as much fun. {cough} math {cough}

It is my hope that the reminder that homeschooling doesn’t offer guarantees is encouraging, rather than discouraging. I hate to see parents in anguish and feeling like a failure because homeschooling didn’t prevent whatever hardship with which they’re currently dealing.

Whatever you’re going through wasn’t prevented by homeschooling, but it most likely wasn’t caused by it either. Hang in there, moms and dads. You’re not a failure.

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and the Hip Homeschool Hop.

images courtesy of depositphotos

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8 Comments

  1. This is one of your best posts ever. Every single thing you listed resonated with me so much. I think that, as homeschooling moms, we compare ourselves to other homeschoolers far too often, and we fail to take into consideration the fact that most homeschoolers, and even homeschooling bloggers, are only telling you the highlights of their lives. They’re leaving out the grit that sometimes other people really need to hear. Thank you for always being real.

  2. I often wish there was a formula, but there is none in life. I homeschool my kids and I was also homeschooled. My siblings had a pretty good relationship growing up, but it’s pretty much nonexistent since we’ve been adults. I wish it was different, but I can only do so much. I was at a homeschooling event recently where one parent mentioned that was one of her reason’s for homeschooling her now teens. I was blown away that she actually thought that it was going to happen that way for them. I chose not to say anything in this situation but it made me sad.

  3. OH how I wish homeschooling did come with guarantees; I’d probably sleep a lot better at night and not worry about my boys and their futures nearly as much.

  4. Every single thing you said resonated with me. Great article.

    My favorite…

    “Homeschooling is a lifestyle, a way of life, an educational choice.
    Homeschooling is not a formula that yields guaranteed results.”

  5. As in life, I like to remind myself that we are always simply doing the best we can at any given moment…even when our best isn’t what we hoped for. Indeed there are no certainties in homeschooling or its outcome, just like real life. Thanks for being real.

  6. I’m so glad that you pointed out homeschooling doesn’t automatically create strong family ties or great teen years. I feel like this is SUCH a huge myth of homeschooling, and so when families don’t turn out that way, it just creates more problems because “it shouldn’t be this way since we homeschool.” Homeschoolers are people like everyone else, both good and bad, and can experience issues just like everyone else. 😉

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