(Unresearched, somewhat biased, probably a bit inaccurate, and the answers definitely don’t apply to all homeschoolers.)
I just don’t have the patience to homeschool. How do you do it?
First, if we seem to have more patience it’s because we get to practice it a lot! And our patience is tried in a variety of ways! Another reason is we need patience to be effective. We also have opportunities to apologize for our outbursts, repent, and try again!
What about socialization for your kids?
We actually feel that as long as our kids are involved in religious and extracurricular activities with peers, they can still develop healthy socialization skills among their peers. Many of us also purposefully join groups and get together for our own social needs those of our kids.
Homeschoolers also have a bunch of opportunities to develop great relationships with other adults, kids older than them, and kids younger than them. Homeschooled kids are often ok with being themselves and less concerned with trying to “fit in.” We also find that socially awkward parents often have socially awkward kids and it wouldn’t matter if those kids are in public school or homeschooled.
How do you teach all your kids everything they need to know?
Well, we don’t, but neither do the schools! We just prioritize what needs to be taught and we get to pick the best way that works for us (the moms as teachers). We are hard on ourselves some days and really proud of ourselves on other days.
What about teaching multiple grades/ages?
There are three basic ways to accomplish this (there could be more):
1. Follow your children’s grade levels and teach them according to their grade, which is usually determined by the state/common core. This probably takes hours each day per kid. Most of us don’t do that cause we would go insane.
2. Anne of Green Gables classroom: One-room-classroom approach where you teach the same lesson to multiple ages (for science, history, art, geography, literature, foreign languages, etc) and take some time to do one-on-one with the linear subjects (math, reading, spelling).
3. Independent Learners: Pick a method/curriculum that fosters independent learning and you end up mainly supervising their education. Your main role is to get them to the point of becoming an independent learner—you teach the 3 R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic.
What if I have to work?
You can make homeschooling work with your schedule. Your kids won’t need 7+ hours of “school” every day to learn what they need to learn until they are about high school age. At that point, they ought to be independent learners so you don’t need to be by their side for those whole 7+ hours while they study. You can also get creative like hire a nanny or a teacher/tutor to help you with the childcare or their education.
How do you motivate your kids to learn?
The best trick in the book is no trick at all. It’s only cultivating a love of learning. Humans naturally love to learn, progress, and grow. It’s a part of our nature as children of God. If we can keep that love of learning alive in our kids and not squash it out, they will always have a hunger and a thirst to learn and grow. The trick is to not stifle that love of learning.
How soon should I start homeschooling my children?
Our culture encourages us to start young and to start serious. So we automatically think we should, too.
I suggest an alternative. Let our kids be Kids. Let them play, explore, visit parks, lakes, zoos, and museums, go on hikes, play freely in the backyard, be bored, and have plenty of free time. Read good books, poetry, classics, and quality literature to them. Cultivate the love of learning.
As they grow, so will their appetite to learn. Keep feeding them good learning material out of “the best books.” As they get older, you’ll see the need for more structured learning and maybe even using some outside resources for their education. Some options are no cost, like JTED for high schoolers. Some homeschoolers also start taking college courses in high school as a way to get a head start for college.
How much does homeschooling cost?
As little or as much as you can afford. There are many free to very low cost options you can use to teach your kids. If you’re on a budget, look for deals, second hand materials, and use the Internet and library a lot. You don’t have to buy the required school supplies every year so you’ll save on things like pencils, scissors, crayons, and school fund raisers.