Homeschooling Myth (1): A Toilsome Task?

Lately a lot of people asked us how we’re doing with homeschooling our kids. At the same time, I realized that there are a lot of common misunderstandings about homeschooling. So I thought I’d start a mini-series to disspell some myths about homeschooling — at least the ones I personally perceive as homeschooling myths.

Last week I was talking with one of the youths at our church about homeschooling when his mom showed up to pick him up and she overheard us. “You’re homeschooling?” She said, “Your wife must be very tiring!” (the exact term she used, in Chinese, was “辛苦”). After they left, I thought, “What made her say that?”

Another time I talked with a mom about homeschooling, and she replied, “I don’t think I can homeschool my kids. It would take up too much of my time.”

First of all, don’t get me wrong. Homeschooling does involve a lot of hard work, and it takes time to prepare lessons and evaluate where you go next. But it’s a different type of “time” then public schooling.

I know someone who works as a nanny for a family with three kids, and it takes her about 2 hours every day on the road just to pick up the kids from their respective schools and after-school activities. And then she has to hurry up and cook dinner for the family. Every time we see this friend, she would complain to us how much stress this schedule gave her.

Homeschooling does involve driving when there are field trips and social gatherings, but most of the time you have lots of freedom and flexibility to arrange your daily schedule. There’s much more flexibility in time management and arrangement when homeschooling.

Also, since most homeschooling instructions are 1-to-1 or to a small group of children, lesson content and lesson progress can be tailor-made to the children, and so instead of having to do 6 hours of schooling as in public schools, the parent probably only needs 2-3 hours (though this depends on the number of children and their ages and what you’re trying to do). And when your children are small, like ours, sometimes homeschooling lessons can be indistinguishable from playing — and I’m a big proponent that young children learn best when they’re playing.

We’re still a beginning homeschooling family, so it could be that it would get much harder for us when our children grow older. But I’m not worrying about that now — we’re just taking it one day at a time. Meanwhile, we are finding a lot of freedom and fun in homeschooling.

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