If you are a parent looking for an alternative to public education or expensive private schools, I want to encourage you right now: anyone can homeschool. It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive or scary. You don’t have to be a certified teacher or a two-parent family or have a dedicated school room. You don’t have to know high school geometry to start teaching your 6-year-old or remember how to diagram sentences to pull your 9th grader out of public school. You don’t need a six-figure income to afford it.
The first thing you need is a parent’s desire to give their children something better. If you’re reading this, chances are you already have that desire.
If you already have homeschooling on your heart, you’ve got what it takes to teach your own children. These children were given to you by God. He entrusted you with their upbringing, and He trusts you to do it well. “Well” in your family will look different than “well” in other families. So rest in your faith in God’s wisdom.
If you’re new to the idea of educating your children, it may seem like a vast undertaking. You’re probably worried about a few things, including affordability, socialization, your own ability, or other common concerns. Don’t worry! Let’s take each one and address it separately:
Is It Expensive?
Homeschooling, like most other parts of life, can be done with as little or as much money as you decide. The curriculum options are almost endless, and the price tag for these options ranges from FREE to thousands of dollars per year. The beauty is that you can choose what works best for your budget and your family.
There are “boxed curricula” that include every subject for an entire grade level for a year, complete with teacher manuals and tests. It’s all included. These tend to be the most pricey. If you choose a curriculum that has non-consumable books, the cost might be stretched when used with younger siblings later on.
There are free online programs that many use as a starting point while they get their feet wet. These give some peace of mind that the child is meeting requirements.
And there are tons of options in between these two. After a year or two, many parents become comfortable enough to design a custom curriculum, choosing from several different companies to use what works best for their children. For instance, they may prefer one company’s math, another company’s grammar, and decide to follow an online list of books and resources for history. Next year, they may choose to mix it up again.
Some of the more expensive programs can be found at used curriculum sales, online used book forums, and even through a local homeschool group, and at a fraction of the cost.
The main thing I want to encourage is this: don’t let the cost of curriculum scare you away from homeschooling. I have been at all points on this spectrum over the years of teaching my five children, and while I spent little or nothing during the lean years, their education never suffered.
Don’t My Kids Need a Certified Teacher?
Contrary to what we’ve been conditioned to believe, NO. Certified teachers are necessary in public education because they are receiving public funds. In a large organization (or government agency) those hired to perform services must all meet some requirements. Public schools are no different. They must provide trained professionals to service their “clients.” When we pay for a service, we expect a certain level of professionalism, don’t we?
However, that does not mean that children need a certified teacher in order to learn. If we just look back beyond the formation of the American public school system, it’s easy to see. For centuries, education came in many forms. Throughout the centuries and in varying societies, mothers taught their children at home, or hired a tutor or sent them to a small private school (though for centuries it was usually just the boys). Even the one-room schools on the edge of civilized America, children continued to learn through whatever means were available: from their mothers and fathers, the local church, or a one-room school.
Consider that the founders of this nation did not have “certified teachers” or government-approved schools, yet they became revolutionaries who would secure freedom for the colonies and establish a free nation, complete with a Constitution like no other. Their education came in many varied forms, from special tutors to self-education at home, and everything in between.
The teacher does not determine the outcome. This is why I adamantly believe that anyone can homeschool. A dedicated parent and a few good resources can and will produce well-educated adults.
How Will My Kids Get Socialized?
The world in which your kids live is the one you provide for them. One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that you can tailor the social situations to your children’s needs and your family’s desires. You can and must choose wisely.
Your homeschooling goals (and your family goals) will help to determine this social sphere. You may choose to join 4H, a co-op, a musical group, or an athletic association. Your neighborhood, church, and extended family will provide all the socialization your children need.
The idea that a school classroom is the only type of socialization that kids benefit from is a very narrow and uneducated view. Proper social skills include polite manners, conversation with people of all ages, looking someone in the eye and listening carefully, showing respect, and the list goes on. Do you know of any classroom situation where kids come away with these skills improved? Usually, it’s the opposite.
A child’s home is the best place to learn proper behavior in social situations. They are instructed in the most desirable manners and allowed to practice (and fail) in the comfort and safety of their home. The typical school socialization is actually the least desirable type.
Is it Legal?
In America, each state sets its own homeschool laws. It is legal in all 50 states, but with varying requirements. Some states have no requirements, while some will require yearly standardized testing, visits with the local school district, or perhaps a type of record-keeping. These requirements can be met all while tailoring your children’s education at home.
Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) keeps up-to-date information on each state’s homeschooling laws. A local support group in your state will be able to help you understand the regulations and how to meet them.
Are You Convinced You Can Do It?
Have I helped you to see that anyone can homeschool? Would you like to know more? This topic is my passion! I’ve got many blog posts on the different aspects of homeschooling, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
- Where in the World Do You Start?
- Here’s my take on homeschooling: learning is a part of life. It should happen all the time, during “school” and otherwise. School is just one part of our day. There is so much more . . .Read To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool
- The top question that new homeschoolers ask is, “What books do I buy?” And the #1 answer I give is: SLOW DOWN AND DO YOUR RESEARCH! Homeschooling is a new lifestyle and a different kind of education. There are many to approach it, and the options are astounding! Read my post on how to de-school and research curriculum styles.
I love to share with groups about homeschooling, and I love to encourage parents in their homeschool journey. Whether you’re just now thinking about it or have already started and need a boost of encouragement, I can help.
Speaking Engagements: If you are within driving distance from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I would love to come and speak to your group (moms groups, churches, neighborhood, homeschool). All you need to do is secure a location and date; I’ll provide the info and sign-up link and coordinate with you. Topics include:
- Anyone Can Homeschool/How to Get Started
- Making History Fun
- Homeschooling on any Budget
- The Heart of Homeschooling
- Homeschooling in Texas
To Schedule a Speaking Engagement: Go to my EVENTS page for all the details.
One-on-One Counseling: If you just need to talk to someone, ask some questions, and be assured you’re not crazy, I’m here. Drop me an email through my contact form. I’ll answer personally and do my best to help!
YOU CAN DO THIS. It’s not rocket science. #AnyoneCanHomeschool
It’s not only for certain groups of people. It’s for every parent that cares about their children. It’s 100% possible to provide a private, custom education for your children, no matter where you are right now. I look forward to helping you!
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.