Getting out of the "School" Box


As homeschoolers, we’ve all chosen to follow the road less traveled, to break from the norm in a profound and significant way. But even seasoned homeschoolers may still find themselves falling back into the typical “school” mindset (sometimes without even being aware of it.) It’s part of human nature to maintain established thought patterns. I often have to remind myself, as I read the comments of new homeschoolers on social media, that many of these folks are still thinking about learning from an institutional perspective. I managed to get out of the school mindset years ago. But I’ve become pretty entrenched in homeschooling, so I need to remember where the newbie is coming from if I want to be helpful!

This idea hit me like a ton of bricks a couple of years ago, when a new homeschooling mom asked a surprising question on a social media group. She wanted to know if she should have her children call her Mrs. “Smith” instead of Mom during school hours. This question really shocked me, as I had never even considered the idea myself. Her question, as well as my reaction (an incredulous chuckle) showed the extent to which our thinking is constricted by our prevailing mindset.

No matter where you are in your homeschooling journey, you are probably still being limited in some way by ideas and assumptions that come from the institutional model of learning. The more you can free yourself from these assumptions, the more you will experience the benefits inherent in your choice to take full charge of your children’s education.

If you’re new to homeschooling (or even if you’ve been doing it a while!) it may help you to examine your assumptions about how, when and where your kids will do their learning.

Over the next few weeks, my blog posts will address some of the “boxes” created by the institutional mindset and how we can break out of these boxes as homeschoolers.

One idea (which seems obvious once it’s brought to your attention) is this: you were your child’s first teacher. You helped your child as an infant and toddler to learn to walk, talk, use a spoon, fasten buttons, and countless other skills. Why would you suddenly lose the ability to help your child learn once he or she turns five? Learning to read, write and understand mathematical concepts is a bit more challenging. But you, as a parent, are certainly capable of guiding your child through the process, if you find the right tools.

While many children thrive in public and private schools, these are not the best options for some. The pool of resources available for homeschooling families is expanding at an amazing rate, and dedicated parents can find many ways to help their children through the learning process.

Look for advice in the next few weeks on getting your mind out of the boxes of curriculum, scheduling, and learning spaces. It may revolutionize your thinking and your homeschooling!

Happy Homeschooling!