In my advisory role with the MomSource Network, I’ve had the privilege of talking to thousands of candidates about their reasons for seeking flexible employment. Our candidates tend to be in varying seasons of life whether taking care of younger children, caring for elderly parents, going through a divorce or seeking to make a complete career change to achieve happiness. I also found myself in a challenging season of life which led to my pursuit for more flexible employment and advocacy for others also pursuing work life balance. This season of life also resulted in our family deciding to homeschool our two children. Many candidates I talk to express interest in homeschooling and ask how to go about making that decision. Each family’s reasoning to homeschool will vary. For my family, our lives were completely turned upside down a few years ago and we were led to make the decision out of necessity.
Prior to working for the MomSource Network, I was a practicing attorney content in my career. Shortly after our daughter was born, she was diagnosed with a medical condition that led to several hospitalizations. Despite the trials and tribulations my family endured with her health issues, she is thankfully very healthy for a child with her diagnosis. However, we knew a traditional school setting wouldn’t suffice. At the same time, our son was losing the sparkle in his eyes for learning. He’d always been a happy go lucky kid eager to go to school but that changed during his kindergarten year. So we met a fork in the road and I found myself suddenly thrown into the roles of being a stay at home mom, health advocate and caretaker for our daughter and subsequently a homeschooling teacher. Talk about a complete change in identity!
Many find the transition from “regular school” into homeschooling isn’t always flawless and much of that may be due to kids potentially having unique learning styles. Mine certainly do and I learned quickly to be patient while determining what worked best for both of them. Homeschooling families now have a plethora of curriculum options to choose from. We went through a period of trial and error to determine which materials worked for our kids and their learning styles while also accommodating their different grade levels. With so much variety to curriculum, navigating the different companies and their materials may be overwhelming. For those able to attend homeschool conventions, they are a great way to meet vendors and physically look through materials before you purchase. We found that talking to other homeschooling families also proved to be invaluable on many levels (especially related to which materials and resources worked, or did not work for them).
In addition to a large variety of curriculum options, many communities have well organized cooperative (co-op) or enrichment class options. When we meet new people, the number one question we’re asked when they discover we homeschool is, “What about socialization?” Not a problem! Our kids transitioned into co-op classes and varying enrichment classes without a problem. In fact, we’re busier now than we’ve ever been with sports, co-ops, meet-ups and field trips.
Since our kids were accustomed to a more regimented schedule from their prior school experiences, we experienced a transition time for the kids to unwind from that type of schedule. We are still very structured with our studies but now, for instance, when they find they are getting frustrated and need to take a break, they can. If they need to go to the restroom, that’s fine. If we want to take advantage of a beautiful autumn day and go for a hike instead, we do!
Some families may find the transition into homeschooling more challenging than others. For those experiencing a more challenging transition, know that it will get better. Once the rhythm of the family is found and the needs of each child are identified, the challenges won’t seem quite as overwhelming. Be patient, talk to other homeschooling families and realize that no matter what your reasons are to homeschool, you’re embarking on an incredible new journey full of rewarding experiences for both you and your family.