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What Is Needed from You to Homeschool Successfully?

If you are going to be your homeschool's primary teacher, principal, janitor, and so on, homeschooling your children is a major commitment on your part. In terms of time alone, you can expect that running a homeschool will require at least as much time and effort, and probably more, as a full-time job because running a homeschool successfully is in reality a full-time job. The following is a list of some of what will be required from you to homeschool successfully:

  • Willingness/eagerness to learn. It has been said that to teach is to learn twice (Joseph Joubert), and that is definitely true when you homeschool. As you teach your children, you will find that you are learning as much as they are – and even more because you are learning about the topics you are teaching, plus learning about teaching itself. Along the way, you'll also learn a lot about your children and yourself. Homeschooling is a great learning experience for you and your entire family. To homeschool effectively requires that you be willing, able, and eager to learn.
  • Effort (aka Hard Work). Anything significant in life requires effort; the effort required is often in proportion to the benefits of the results of that effort. This is definitely true for homeschooling. While you will need to work very hard to homeschool, you will find that the results you achieve make your hard work more than worthwhile.
  • Discipline. When you homeschool, you will be calling the shots. With this authority comes responsibility. You will need to be disciplined about your homeschool so that you apply consistent effort over a long period of time. You'll need self-discipline to do the work required to homeschool, and you'll need to be able to help your kids develop their own self-discipline to be able to learn.
  • Time. As I mentioned previously, running a homeschool requires that you dedicate lots of time to it. In most cases, especially once you get past the first or second grade or if you have more than one child, running a homeschool will require as much time as or more time than a full-time job. To be successful, you need to have this time available. For this reason, I don't recommend that you attempt to homeschool if you also have a full-time or close-to full-time job already. In that case, there simply won't be enough time for you to homeschool effectively.
  • Flexibility. This one is as much a benefit as it is a requirement. Homeschooling both offers and requires flexibility. Because you won't be operating under a structured organization, such as a traditional school, you need to be flexible in your approach. And, unless your kids are clones, it is likely that you will need to be flexible with each child's learning style (you'll learn more about this later).
  • Patience. When it comes to homeschooling, patience is more than a virtue, it is a requirement. Teaching children requires patience as anyone who works with, or even knows, children understands. Because you will have the bulk of the responsibility for your children's education, you'll need to have a good chunk of patience to go along with it.
  • Dedication. To be a successful homeschooler, you need to be dedicated to the pursuit. Although it is fine (and expected) that you'll occasionally have "off" days, you will need to be very dedicated to making your homeschool work. Homeschooling effectively will require that you work at it throughout the school year and that it be your number one priority.
  • An adventurous spirit. Homeschooling is a great adventure with all the requisite planning, unexpected events, hard work, rewarding accomplishments, and occasional moments of terror that an adventure entails. To be a homeschooler is to embark on a great life adventure. You need to be seeking an adventure if you want to homeschool.
Now that you have a good idea of what is required, take a look at some things that you might think are required, but aren't:
  • A college education. Although a college education is always valuable, you don't need a degree to run a successful homeschool. As long as you can learn yourself, you can homeschool effectively.
  • All the answers. Although you will be primarily responsible for your children's education, that doesn't mean that you must have all the answers to every issue or question you'll face. There are many people and resources that you can draw on for help. And, running a homeschool successfully is best done with lots of input from and interaction with other people. You just need to understand how to connect to these people and resources, which is a major part of what you will learn in this book.
  • Perfection. Contrary to what people sometimes think, you don't have to be perfect to homeschool effectively. With strong dedication, a little perseverance, and effective homeschooling strategies, you'll be amazed at how successful you can be.
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Reproduced from Absolute Beginner's Guide to Homeschooling, by Brad Miser, by permission of Pearson Education. Copyright © 2005 by Que Publishing. Please visit http://www.informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=0789732777 to order your own copy.


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