Homeschooling Is Easier Than You Think

When I say homeschooling is easier than you think, I really mean it: it’s easier and better. (And yes, I’ve done it myself.) That said, there are complications and difficulties involved.

Given the current reign of madness in so many schools (I hear the same horror stories you do) these difficulties hardly matter, but I’d still like to begin by describing the hard parts of homeschooling: I want you to know what you’re getting into.

    • First of all, there will be days that suck. The kids won’t listen, will be difficult, or will just be obtuse. Expect it. Either you’ll come home from work to your spouse telling you to forget the experiment and find some other place to send them… any other place… or perhaps you’ll be that spouse. It happens. No experienced person ever said that raising kids was painless. That said, nearly all homeschool parents get over the mayhem and decide to continue the work.
    • Secondly, there’s an underlying problem that tends to drive many others, including the one above: You arrange your homeschooling so that other people can’t criticize you. I’ll address this in more detail below.
    • After that are the kinds of problems you’ve already considered: Things like losing one full-time income and rescheduling the work lives of two parents. These are significant problems, but they can be worked out if you take the education of your children as an imperative and arrange your affairs around it. I’m not promising this will be easy, but please believe me that it’s worth it.

Years from now, you’re likely to remember these times as some of your hardest but your best. You’ll take great pleasure in that you – with blood, sweat and tears – molded, filled and sent fine people into the future.

The Big Problem

As I noted above, a very common and very significant problem is arranging your efforts to keep people from criticizing you. I’m telling you to forget that. Let them criticize; let them whisper about you and make fun of you. In fact, you should probably expect some of it. Arrange your efforts around the results you want and let the rest of the world freak out if they must.

Your goal is good and deeply educated children: Children who can think clearly; who can read, write and do arithmetic well; people who are blessings upon Earth and have confidence in their abilities. And in the end, what I’m telling you is that undertaking this job, with all the caveats noted above, is easier than you think.

Please consider:

    • You don’t need to start at 9:00 AM. Start when all involved are ready to start. The clock is not God, and you’re dealing with complicated little beings. (As well as your very complicated self.)
    • You do not need to spend 5 hours per day. In fact, you may not need to spend even 2 hours per day. One hour of quality learning, every day, is a lot of learning. (Bear in mind, you won’t have to keep twenty-five children silent and engaged at the same time. Teaching ought to be easier for you.) Government schools are hideously inefficient, and children simply cannot maintain unidirectional concentration for hours on end… and more than that, they shouldn’t.
    • You can still get the benefits of routine. Will power is required to set up habits, but once set, willpower and cajoling are no longer required… or at least aren’t too often required. And so you may find doing school immediately after breakfast to be a great model. Get it set up early and run with it. You can certainly make exceptions, but a routine makes the journey smoother.
    • You can change course. Once the learning habit is established, be open to temporary changes. At one point in my homeschooling career, we looked out our window to notice a deep trench being dug through a nearby park… a park I knew to contain debris from the 1871 Chicago Fire. And so we dropped everything and spent three days digging in a trench, uncovering artifacts of the 1860s. This is one of the great advantages of homeschooling: you can follow the surprise opportunities that arise. It’s especially important for the older kids.
    • You can adapt your lessons to each child. Like the clock, the curriculum is not God. Each child is different, and each will respond to their subjects and lessons differently. That’s okay; more than that, it’s good. You, the homeschooling parent (or grandparent, or whatever) are directly observing this child; so, decide what you think will be best for him or her. Will you be wrong sometimes? Of course you will, but you’ll also be able to adapt instantly. The ability to tailor lessons to each child is a central advantage of homeschooling. Use it.
    • You can cover full lessons and courses. One of the great problems of the factory model of schooling is that you have to get things done in a fixed amount of time. You should not do that in homeschooling. By skipping things, you create gaps in the child’s learning, leaving them continually short of information and feeling stupid. Please see issue #117 of our Free-Man’s Perspective newsletter for details on this, but making sure that your students master each lesson (rather than moving on before complete) makes a massive and positive difference.

The Unexpected Benefits

Before I close, I’d like you to know some of the benefits of homeschooling you may not be expecting:

    • You’ll forge closer relationships with your children. Not only will you know each other better, and will have a larger number of personal and intimate conversations, but you’ll have more shared experiences.
    • Your children will learn how to learn. That is, they’ll develop confidence in their ability to read, examine and grasp concepts by themselves. At the same time, they’ll tend to become self-driven learners.
    • Your children will not see much of an adult-child divide. They’ll consider themselves full beings, even jumping into conversations with adults. They’ll tend to be bolder than they would as products of factory-style schooling.
    • Once you see some results, your confidence in your own abilities will grow. Accordingly, the set of options you see in life will expand.

Finally, please believe me that you are able to do this. 


Paul Rosenberg