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  • Writer's pictureTy Bailey

Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of Homeschooling Your Kid(s)

Regardless of the reason you've decided to homeschool or are even thinking about it for your child's education, it can be pretty intimidating. A child's education is a lot to take on, and doing it all by yourself can seem overwhelming. Here's why I think you should at least give it a try.

How do you even start? How do you know what the state requirements are to avoid legal trouble? How do you keep track of everything and maintain lesson plans, attendance logs, and everything else?!

It's a lot. If you're not a fan of organization, it might get pretty difficult at times. Here's why you shouldn't worry though: tons of families are choosing to homeschool more and more often lately, and there are so many groups and resources out there to help you find what you need and get on the right track.

That's part of why I created Tired Mama Resources. I wanted to create a hub loaded with information for every single thing I wish I had known when first starting out on our homeschooling journey (as well as when first starting out as a single parent and first-time mom, too!). Hopefully, in time, this becomes a go-to resource for all of the parents and caregivers that have tons of questions and need some answers.

Our Homeschooling Transition

Preschool wasn't really the greatest experience for my now-10-year-old, but she seemed to handle it well enough that I got her enrolled to transfer to public school for kindergarten. It just seemed to make sense so I would be able to work outside of the home (my previous job) while she was busy getting an education and making friends during the day.

Unfortunately, a few months before "graduating" from preschool and getting ready to head to public school, she developed severe environmental allergies. I mean severe. Constant ear infections, swollen face, red and swollen eyes, barely able to breathe—you name it. From trees. And we lived right near one of the state parks in our previous city that happened to be loaded with the trees she was dangerously allergic to (they were even in the park's name—talk about bad luck). She finally received a proper diagnosis, started daily medications, and began an immunotherapy regimen of weekly, then biweekly, then monthly shots to manage her symptoms and reduce her allergic reactions. (In great news, she's now doing amazingly well!)

However, upon finishing up the final bits of paperwork needed before the school year was scheduled to begin, we were supposed to have a meeting with some of the administrative staff regarding managing her allergies during certain months of the year when she would be required to participate in activities such as physical education. To say it was a braindead disaster would be an understatement.

It was after receiving one of the most absurd questions I've ever had the displeasure of hearing that I immediately decided to withdraw my daughter from the school and go find a homeschooling cover school "or whatever was out there" that day. There was no way in hell I would be leaving my daughter in the care of those idiots without my supervision and risk something happening to her.

I didn't know a single thing about homeschooling, teaching kids, or what to even do as my first step to get her enrolled in some kind of homeschool program, but I went on a wild hunt to figure it out as quickly as possible because the state's cut-off date for enrollment was just a few days later.

Lightning-Speed Enrollment

We thankfully discovered a local church that functioned as a cover school for homeschooling families, so I immediately enlisted their help, and they were fantastic for getting us set up with the right paperwork, getting it mailed off to the correct individuals at the applicable school board in our area, and helping me remotely begin to figure out what in the world I was getting myself into.

We were rushing like crazy with zero preparation, but these homeschooling churches and other groups are absolute lifesavers and will go above and beyond to help you get set up and ready for the year. This is part of why I say not to panic. If a single mom with zero experience and knowledge on the matter can get their child successfully enrolled and 100% ready to homeschool in less than 48 hours, you can do it too—especially if you have the advantage of preparation.

Our First Year

My sister-in-law was kind enough to recommend a great curriculum for us to try since I really didn't know what I was doing at all and was desperate for some pre-packaged so I could get a feel for what to expect. It was not cheap, but it included an entire spiralbound book of lesson plans, schedules, activities, and plenty of additional information on how to homeschool, resources to contact when needing help or clarification, and so much more. It really couldn't have been any easier.

I took a few days to look everything over, and we just took the lessons day by day, figuring out our flow and how exactly I was going to become a teacher and get my goofy kid to actually act like a student while sitting at our kitchen table. She actually really enjoyed the lessons and numerous activities, and I enjoyed having the extra time to spend with her compared to when she was enrolled in daycare and my last job had me traveling most of the day. Without a doubt, we've developed quite the bond even if we constantly bicker now that she's a tween.

Having her learn at home helped me learn so much more about her interests, what stood out to her in lessons, what she found boring, her strengths, her weaknesses, how she learns, what times of the day work well for certain subjects, and which moods mean we will be accomplishing absolutely nothing. We could take breaks whenever needed, we could postpone activities if she simply wasn't feeling well on a particular day. It really just allowed me to learn as much as possible about my own child and what the appropriate expectations of her should be while giving her the freedom to navigate new learning experiences and discover more about herself and her preferences along the way.

I cannot emphasize enough how much insight you'll gain when instructing your child in the home compared to having a public instructor send home a folder with smiley or frowny faces, some grades, and occasional notes.

Subsequent Years of Homeschooling

For my daughter's kindergarten and first grade years, we stuck to the prepackaged curriculum set, but it wasn't the best fit for her by the time she was going into second grade. After having gotten familiar with the state and church school's subject and content requirements, as well as the flow of scheduling and other aspects, I decided to use my excessive organization skills to build her a specialized curriculum every year since.

Does it literally take me weeks of work to plan out and do this? Yes.

Is it difficult to perfectly balance out the amount of material in each subject to spread it evenly across the required amount of attendance days? Yes.

Has my child finally been provided a school curriculum that meets her learning style though? Yes.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Homeschooling and Managing Mental Health

One huge benefit that I've already written about is being able to homeschool a child with ADD or ADHD. In the middle of my daughter's second-grade year, but especially once she began her first few months of third grade, she began to struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder. She would be spacing out, not completing work if I stepped away for even a moment, making careless mistakes on things she definitely knew, and really struggling to pay attention.

As time went on, some other issues developed and her ADD was re-diagnosed as ADHD. At this point, homeschooling became incredibly difficult as it was difficult to manage her moods and ADHD symptoms in general. We had a lot of significant life changes take place all at once, and coping with those (as well as the presence of a brand new baby sibling at home) didn't go very well.

Long story short, if it had not been for homeschooling and being able to personally manage her lessons without being tied to the strict schedule of a public school, there was no way we would have been able to get her the proper mental health care to help her through all of these changes. There would have been no time for counseling, psychiatric, and other visits to help her learn to manage her symptoms and improve her daily ability to function. There would have been no real accommodations for the weeks in which she adjusted to medications, found that some didn't work and caused severe anxiety, tried and adjusted to other new medications, had new side effects, etc. A public school doesn't have time to manage these issues in a child; they would likely just be labeled as disruptive or problematic. And god forbid the amount of bullying that would occur if her panic attacks had happened in a public setting, too. Kids can be cruel about these things.

It's been a multi-year journey that is still ongoing, trying to find the best mix of medication and therapy to get her feeling balanced, happy, and able to function well as a student, family member, and individual. Having her at home and with such a flexible schedule has allowed her to get the help she needs in a timely manner and gives her the space to process things and adjust as needed. The importance of being able to manage a developing child's mental health needs and wellbeing far overshadows an 8am-3pm strict learning schedule that 'gets you in trouble' if you have to check out to simply go to a doctor's appointment. But that's a rant for another day.

Seriously, Don't Be Worried

I know this wasn't a very informational post like usual, but I felt it was important to share our homeschooling journey for the parents and caregivers who are scared to take the leap.

Homeschooling isn't perfect for every single child, parent, or family. If I didn't have a job that allowed me to work from home these days, I wouldn't be able to do it either. If there comes a time in which I'll need to work outside of the home again, I won't have much of a choice but to enroll my kids in public school and hope for the best regarding their personal issues. Now that my eldest has her physical and mental health concerns well-managed, I don't even worry myself over the possibility since we were able to homeschool during the years that she really needed the benefits of receiving a home education.

Sometimes, it all works out. Sometimes, it may not be the right time for a family to make the change just yet. Regardless, the best thing you can do in the meantime is continue to educate yourself and familiarize yourself with how homeschooling works, what to expect, what your local laws and entities will require of you, and learn as much as possible about your child's learning style and how they could benefit from certain teaching methods, curriculums, or lesson types.

The home school associations out there as well as the support groups (especially the online ones like those on Facebook) have some great folks who are willing to share as much information as possible to help make teaching your child at home fun, effective, and enjoyable. You'll have plenty of people backing you, many with tons of experience and numerous years under their belts of teaching child after child in a home environment. There's nothing to worry about once you figure out your basics and learn what you need to do.

Further Information

Everything is still a work in progress for now, but we are actively working to build an online directory of "How Do I Begin Homeschooling in... [Your State]" articles that will give you the basics of enrollment, requirements, and what to expect in your area. We currently have quite a few states already listed on our Homeschooling page.

We will also be adding additional directories including lists of active support groups, homeschool associations in each state, and more.

Please check back in as we continue to expand, and if you need immediate help with finding out particular information for your area, you can always shoot us a message, and I'll see what I can do for you.

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