Why are so many homesteaders also homeschoolers? For most of my life, I dreamed about the former, and scorned the prospect of the latter. Not because I had anything particular against homeschooling; I just assumed it wasn’t for me and couldn’t imagine why anyone would wish to undertake it.
But in March of 2018, I began to wake to the possibility that it might be time to make a change in my children’s schooling. For their elementary years they’d attended a small, private school about 30 minutes away. The two-way commute twice a day, the tuition, and the short evenings trying to cram homework, family time, and extracurricular activities into a few hours before bedtime were starting to catch up to us.
My husband meanwhile attended open houses and collected folders of information from schools in closer proximity to us, but I sensed that homeschooling was the direction we were being led. While I read over the materials and attended one of the open houses myself, the conviction was unshakable: homeschooling loomed ahead.
Choosing a curriculum wasn’t too overwhelming, as I’d shadowed a friend whose teaching, organizational skills, and children continually impressed me. Personally, I wanted something with a strong academic core that we could simultaneously use as a springboard into other modes of learning as we wished.
But the thought of actually establishing home as school, and myself as teacher, particularly with one of my children, seemed a daunting task. I remember telling another friend who already homeschooled her children that I was about to join her ranks in becoming one of those people.
“Really?” she exclaimed. “That’s so exciting. I feel like homeschooling is a gift that I was given.”
Secretly, I felt like homeschooling was a mountain I was about to scale.
A Gift Indeeed
We began homeschooling the 2019-2020 school year. In March of 2020, while schools across the nation shut down, we were unaffected. When dissenting parents and school boards sparred over in-person, at-home, and hybrid models, we went about our school day as usual. When we saw other parents disillusioned with a broken system of education, we were able to reach out and encourage them in our own journey.
While homeschooling has involved some personal sacrifice, and while it is not without its challenges, I’ve come to agree with my friend’s assessment: homeschooling has been a unique and unexpected gift. Some of the elements of that gift are:
Finally, perhaps the best aspect of homeschooling is that
So if there is a stereotype that many homesteaders are also homeschoolers, I am thrilled to fulfill the mold.
How about you? Are you considering homeschooling? Have you always homeschooled or were you as a child? What aspects do you love the most and which are the most challenging? If you’ve thought of it and dismissed it, what is holding you back?