This post is a contribution to the October 2013 Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop. Although the post is written with a special population in mind, much of the content applies to anyone contemplating homeschooling their kid.
More and more parents of gifted/twice-exceptional (2E) kids are turning to homeschooling as an education option. Sometimes the decision is calculated. Other times, it’s a last ditch effort to help get a kid into a more suitable learning situation.
Whatever brings you to our little world of home education, here are some things you should know before you begin.
1. Homeschooling doesn’t have to be a permanent choice. Many of us do opt to teach our kids from cradle to high school graduation, but that’s not a requirement. The walls between traditional options and homeschooling are more permeable than ever. If it makes sense in your family to homeschool for a year or two and then return to public/private education, then do it.
2. Not all of your kids have to be homeschooled. It’s increasingly common to have one child at home and a sibling (or siblings) enrolled in a traditional school. Perhaps the sibling is content in public school. Or maybe the other child is younger and enjoys a “mother’s day out” scheme a few hours each week, giving you valuable time to get chores done or work closely with your older kid(s). Whatever works, works. As long as you thoughtfully set aside time to give your in-school kiddo some one-on-one time, it’ll be fine.
3. “Homeschooling” is a slippery term, so set your own definition. I’m going to be very blunt: there’s a lot of hogwash circulating online in forums about people who unschool, participate in a university-model school, or use an online education program (like K12) being something other than homeschooling. Ignore that stuff. Select the best homeschooling approach for your family and go for it. To paraphrase a friend of mine, if your kids spend most of their time learning in your house or your presence (example, “carschooling“), then that’s homeschooling. The rest is just semantics.
4. Homeschooling won’t solve every problem. Stepping off the educational grid can be a bold move, but it’s not a guaranteed fix to all of your troubles. You and your kiddo may still encounter bullies in your community–and maybe even in your homeschool coop or playgroup–who target your gifted/2E kid. As a homeschooler, you may still struggle to challenge your kid academically. Oh, and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have dark moments where you wonder if you’re doing anything right. Welcome to parenthood!
5. Yes, you can work and homeschool. I do it. Several of my friends do it, to varying degrees. In fact, I even wrote a book on the topic. Working while homeschooling is challenge, but for many of us, it has proved to be rewarding, too. (If you’re interested in that topic, I’m hosting a giveaway of it on Goodreads through October 31, 2013.)