One of the most common comments I hear when people find out I homeschool our children is, “Oh, I could never do that.”
Here’s the thing: I think almost anyone can homeschool.
Hear me out. I really do believe this and there a just a few ingredients in the recipe for making a homeschooling mom. They probably aren’t what you expect.
The big requirement in the homeschooling mama recipe is that she must be willing to die to self. If she is not willing to do that, then she can not homeschool, it’s true, BUT every homeschooling mother I know dies to self in varying degrees. I’m not saying you have to be a martyr. We homeschooling mothers take time for ourselves in different ways, in different degrees, on differing days, but the focus of our day does not belong to our whims. Contrary to my husband’s favorite response at the end of the day, I do not sit around and eat bon bons all day.
I believe all mothers have to learn how to die to self really. I just had to kick it up a few notches when I started homeschooling. It’s a crucial ingredient, for sure. I believe any woman can be equipped to die to self more if she really wants to.
The second important ingredient in the homeschooing mama mix gets the batter in the pan, so to speak: she must know how to discipline her children. She must have the respect of her children and they must be obedient to her. If the child(ren) runs the home, manipulates, defies or rebels constantly, homeschooling is going to be an ugly battle. I don’t mean just send them to school, though. I mean, train your children to do this. It should be how things are in the home whether you homeschool your children or send them to school anyway. When newbies ask me for advice the first thing I say is, “Do you have the support of your husband (I don’t consider this an ingredient in the recipe for a homeschooling mama, but I do consider it a vital ingredient in a home school, which is an upcoming post) and do your children mind you?”
Just like I don’t mean that homeschooling moms are martyrs, I don’t mean here that your children are perfect and obey you all the time in every way. I mean that obedience and respect are the norm. This doesn’t take a perfect woman either, it simply takes a woman who is willing to do the work (see first ingredient for explanation).
Third ingredient in this recipe is that she must care about her child’s education. Again, I believe most mothers care about this. I believe many care to the degree that they want to be involved. Homeschooling takes this concern to a more involved level than what is involved with sending kids to school.
The final ingredient in the recipe for a homeschooing mama is resourcefulness. She must be willing to look for the curriculum and materials to educate her child. I know it’s not very PC, but this does not require a college degree. There are many, many options out there for educating children in every subject imaginable. Some require more work than others and some require more brain power for the mother than others. If a woman can read (ok, yes, there is one educational requirement I’ve failed to mention… she must be able to read), she can find materials to use that are a match for her abilities and her budget.
Resourcefulness plays out in other areas as well. Field trips and daily scheduling are examples.
If a woman is really resourceful, she can find free or close to free materials for educating her child (don’t mention this to My Sweetie, please). They may not be her first choice and they usually require more effort, but they would do the job.
So there you have it: four basic ingredients for a homeschooling mama.
Could there be more? Of course. This is just the basic recipe. Though Americans prefer the super-sized, the ultra deluxe, and the best of the best, it is not necessary.
I’ve met women who have several degrees who would not make better homeschooling mothers than the mama I know who has never been to college, but has full measure of each of these ingredients. She is doing an excellent job with the education of her children. Seriously.
So… in response to the comment, “Oh, I couldn’t do that!” (not to be confused with, “I don’t want to do that”, which is honestly different), I humbly and with love say here and now, “Why not?”
Do you have the basic ingredients to be a homeschooling mama?