What qualities do you really need to be a homeschool parent?
Is it being super organised?
Knowing the answer to every question?
Having all the latest resources?
Finding the best curriculum?
Having a creek at the bottom of your garden and your children only wearing homemade clothing and never touching a screen?
No. It’s none of those things.
You don’t need to be superhuman to homeschool your children, and you don’t need all the latest and greatest learning tools.
You just need to be YOU.
6 Qualities of Homeschool Parents…
1. Joy in being with your children
You have to want to be around your children and enjoy them. This doesn’t mean every single second of every day. Parenting is not always easy! That’s ok. It’s totally normal to have bad days, hard days, and grumpy days. That’s part of being human. But in general, you have to want to spend a lot of time with your children. And you have to find enjoyment in that.
Hopefully, that’s easy for you! If not, it’s something you can work on. Most people have their children in school, maybe you have been used to that too. This is different and it might take some time to adjust to this new way of life. But work on it. Focus on slowing down, falling into a new rhythm of being with each other every day, accepting the changes, and then finding all the joy that is waiting for you on the other side. This is FUN! You will get to know your children deeply, and make so many memories together.
Make it your mission to find joy with your children every day. No one wants to be homeschooled by someone who does not enjoy it, or resents it, or feels forced into it. That defeats the purpose. Make this choice because you truly want to. Even if you were forced into it by circumstance, it is still a choice you made for a good reason. Let your actions show your children you want to do this with them!
2. Ability to not care what others think
You’re going to have to get comfortable with other people thinking you’re doing the wrong thing. It’s ok for them to think that. It does not mean anything about your choices. The only one who really knows what’s going on, is you. You are the one who has done the research, you are the one who knows your family. You and your children. If you are all happy and healthy, no one else gets a say.
Be ok with doing something different, and being criticised for it. The more confident you are in your decisions, the less it will bother you.
“It is hard to swim against the current and risk the negative judgments of parenting peers. Yet, some do, and if enough begin to swim upstream, the river may change its flow.”Peter Gray
3. Willingness to get up every day and help them learn
Can I let you in on a secret? I thought homeschooling would be kind of boring. It was boring at school when I learned these things, and I had to go through it again with each of my children? Snore.
I was wrong. Firstly, about what learning looked like of course. It looks nothing like school in our house, thankfully. And secondly, about how it would be to see my children learn things. I love it! The excitement in their eyes when they discover something, their chattering to me about a new interest, seeing them mastering new things, it’s wonderful! Don’t be afraid. This is going to be fun.
You might miss it if you stick to the school model of learning though. If you pick out a curriculum and work through it methodically step by step. I mean, that is pretty boring. But, if you are willing to be their guide, their partner, their facilitator, and their sidekick on this adventure, you might just have a whole lot of fun and actually learn quite a lot yourself.
To homeschool, you need to be willing to support their learning every day. To listen to their questions, find resources, visit interesting places, read books, take them to see friends, wonder at things with them, seek out opportunities, and generally just be a partner to them in their learning. Be invested!
4. Passion for life and learning
Have a passion for learning yourself! Pursue your own interests and hobbies. Be excited by things, have a sense of wonder, be curious. Model a love of learning yourself. If you are the example, be a great one! Don’t just sit around waiting for them to learn. Get out there and learn the things that interest you too! This is not all about the children. You are showing them what is important. Children grow up to be adults, and they are looking to the adults in their life to see what is important, what is worth doing, what they should spend their time on, what a ‘grown up’ looks like. Show them.
5. Interest in education
You going to kind of need to be interested in education. Not what happens in schools that is falsely labeled ‘education’, but how children learn, and what learning outside of school looks like. You’re going to need to research and work out what the best method is for your family. That’s going to look different for everyone, but knowing your options and making an informed decision is important. You don’t have to have a great desire to be a teacher, but you do need to be interested in how your children learn and gathering the information you need to support them best.
6. Doing your best
You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to do your best. That doesn’t have to look like what anyone else is doing, it just has to suit your family and meet your own children’s needs. You don’t have to do it all! Focus on your strengths and do what you do best. If there are things you can’t do, find someone else who can. Homeschooling does not mean it all has to come for you, it just means you are the facilitator, the gatherer of resources, the supporter of interests. Show up every day and do your best! Forget the idea of perfection.
The most important qualities you need to be a homeschool parent are a love for your children, and a desire to help them learn. The rest is just details, and they work themselves out over time.