How do YOU Prepare Your Child to be Homeschooled?

Yes, you.  I really want to know.  I’m new at this. We officially start homeschooling tomorrow. I am wondering if I’ve prepared my child for the world’s inquiries about our new journey. I myself have begun to adjust to…

  • The questions. You’re homeschooling? Do you have to get special books from the school for that?
  • The reactions. “Wow, you’re brave. Are you going to homeschool [insert Firefly’s best friend’s name] too?” I guess since he’s over here playing all the time it’s assumed I’ll purchase curriculum, plan lessons and make workboxes for him, too.
  • The assumptions. From people who don’t know we’ve decided to homeschool. “So, are you looking forward/glad/relieved that school is  starting and having Firefly gone all day?” Even if I were sending my 6 year old to public school all day, I wouldn’t be “glad” to have him gone for 7 hours a day, 5 days per week.  All of us moms need a break, I so get that, but I would miss him, be sad that he was growing up, proud that he had reached the milestone, excited about what he would learn, reflective of how our family life is changing.  But not glad that he would be gone all day.

As to why we’ve decided to homeschool, I’ve taken to giving a very brief statement, when asked.  That’s all most people really want to know anyway.  Even other homeschoolers. That’s fine.  My decision to homeschool in no way means that this is the superior method to educating children.  A family’s decision to send their kids to public or private school, or their choice of a Charlotte Mason homeschooling method vs. Unschooling are all good choices, too.  We all do what’s best for our own families.  I’m hoping I’ve made the best decision for mine. But if I haven’t, we’ll try something different.

I must say, I’ve gotten a lot of supportive responses from many, many people in my life.  More than I could’ve imagined. And I am so grateful for that.  This is the biggest parenting decision I’ve ever made, aside from becoming a parent. I’ve mulled the idea over for years, and finally plunged in to this new and different way of life.  I really hold dear those friends and family who did not look at me as if I’d said we were joining a commune or something.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Not that we wouldn’t forge ahead any way with this decision, because it feels right.  It’s just so nice to know that people are happy for us, encouraging us.

But, I wonder about Firefly.  He’s six.  He never contemplated homeschooling until The Husband and I sprung it on him about six weeks ago.  And should I be preparing him for what people will soon begin to say?
“Did you find out who your first grade teacher is going to be?  Are you excited about going back to school next month?”
I know he can answer, “My mom.” and “We’ve already started school.” But what about the unanticipated reactions he will surely encounter? The judgements, the strange questions, the inaccurate assumptions?
I haven’t even encountered any issues about the fact that we are secular homeschoolers but I’m sure I will.  And so will he.
Do you prepare your young child for this? Or just roll with it as it comes? If you discuss this in advance with your kids, please share in the comments section.  What have been the challenges your family has faced in this area? Perhaps we can get a discussion going about that and learn from each other.

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7 Responses to How do YOU Prepare Your Child to be Homeschooled?

  1. Shannon says:

    This is coming from a non-home-schooler in awe of your organization, dedication and creativity (LOVE the art room! Make me one! I’ll let you know as soon as I empty a room 🙂

    We recently met a boy at the park who was home schooled. I found out because I asked where he went to school, thinking maybe it was with K. K was of course not listening at all and I didn’t get to follow the conversation to find out if he knew what home schooling was. I suspect he does not and I can imagine if he and Firefly met at a park and discussed school (since they probably would not remember each other at this point) and Firefly said he was homeschooled, K would say something like “WHAT? You go to school at HOME?” Not meaning it in a rude way, but in utter amazement. So maybe having a conversation with Firefly about how many kids won’t know about home schooling would help?

    And I am sending K off to full day first grade and I.Am.Not.Happy.About.It. I don’t think homeschooling would be right for us, just knowing the combination of my abilities and K’s needs, but I wish there were an option that did not require so many hours apart (though since I’m working it’s not like I am with him that whole time anyway, but still, that’s a lot of hours away from home).

    • Thanks, Shannon. Good point about other kids not knowing about it. I have been pleasantly surprised that most people I know have said that they know someone who homeschools, have previously done it themselves or are thinking of doing it. But that is the parents. Kids experiences will be different, for sure, especially as young as our kiddos are. I hear ya about the long day for first graders. I was glad that Firefly went to public kindergarten where it was half day. I kept saying it was a nice transition for him from preschool. And it was. But reflecting back, I also felt it was good to not have him, at age 5, away from home for so many hours. I know it works for a lot of kids and families, but I think half day at age 5 to 6 was right for Firefly.
      Sigh. How is it possible that these babies who sat on the floor on their blankets and could not walk or even crawl yet are now first graders in the blink of an eye?

  2. They definitely grow too fast around here….

    For us, this really isn’t much of an issue. It seems to me that almost everyone ‘knows’ about homeschooling; I find it more challenging to manage their expectations (that we’re religious nuts) with the reality of my children (who are very, VERY active).

    The boys went through an adjustment period when we pulled them out, and in some ways, they’re still adjusting. Most of their friends are still in school, which starts tomorrow, so that’s a benefit to them – that they don’t have to go. As for preparing them, I think they’re pretty adaptable. Other than being given a heads up on what’s the what, I don’t think that they really need a lot of preparation. Kids tend to think that whatever they do or their family does is ‘normal’ and that what others do is odd – you could play that up.
    Mom: “So-and-so goes to school all day. That’s different, huh?”
    Kidlet: “Really? Wow, that’s weird” {shrugs and goes about her business, lol)

    We school all year round, so we’re not starting school – technically, we’re not finished with this year yet. The kids friends changed grades, so on that level, we’ve ‘advanced them’ a number grade level – but we’re still in Year 1. My goal is to leave much of the trappings of school behind, including the labels (though a more general range suits me).
    I am just rambling now, lol…

  3. Erika says:

    We homeschooled for part of preschool and the first half of kindergarten (for my oldest). She’s been in public school for the last year and a half, but we have since decided that ps is NOT for us and are going back to our first desire… homeschool. She’s going into 2nd grade (and I’ll have a 1st grader, K and preschooler as well). Right now, the kids are excited to homeschool because they have a vague rememberence from the last time. But other than that, our experience is limited. HOWEVER, *I* was homeschooled. Start to finish. I turned out fine. I was never prepped for anything, we just rolled with the punches. And it wasn’t until I was much older that I “got it”. The side comments or questioning looks, plus they were few and far in between. I’m sure you will be fine, as will your kiddos. If they are having fun it isn’t going to matter what others say or question! 🙂 Good luck on your upcoming year!

  4. Jeanine says:

    My son is sometimes shy until he gets to know people, so we did talk about “what to say” when the subject came up. I suggested he say, “I’m homeschooled,” and tell them yes or no when they ask if he’s glad about it.

    I find, too, that most people know or have heard of someone who homeschools their children.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!


  5. Hayley says:

    Hi! Congrats on homeschooling. I’m late to this conversation, but I wanted to give you an idea of our experience. I homeschool my 12 year old son, 8 year old daughter, and 5 year old son. My 12 year old went through public school until half way through 4th grade. My 8 year old went half way through 1st. My 5 year old did public pre-k.

    I have found that the comments that *I* personally get are mostly positive. I have only had two negative comments since we started. Some people have misconceptions, but I actually enjoy explaining the reality to those people (who are usually VERY interested).

    As for my kids, let me just say this: THEIR FRIENDS ARE JEALOUS! Wildly jealous in most cases! And why shouldn’t they be? I personally think that school is like prison for most children. Don’t get me wrong, some kids love it and it is absolutely RIGHT for them. I just don’t happen to think that is the norm.

    So don’t worry too much about preparing them for what to expect from others. I’m sure it will be overwhelmingly positive!

    p.s. found your blog on the FIAR forum. I decided to do that this year with my younger two.

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