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Unconventional Homeschooling


What does it look like when your homeschooling family doesn’t look like the other homeschooling families? What do you do when Classical Conversations didn’t fit well? Or when you want to take a year off and enroll in public school so you can finish up your own nursing degree? Will you be shunned if you don’t “homeschool ‘til graduation”? What if you want to take this adventure one year at a time, and what if each year looks totally different from the last?

For some families, their homeschool is in a predictable rhythm. It may ebb and flow a bit, there may be good days and bad days, but they seem to run like clockwork from kindergarten right on through high school. They are committed, they are focused, and they are in it for the long haul, no back doors allowed.

They are not me.

They might not be you either. Or your kids. Or just one of your kids. Is it even okay to homeschool one, private school another, and co-op the third? What if you really only want to homeschool until middle school, but have the uncanny ability to know you will be absolutely done by then? What if homeschooling is only a stopgap to other forms of education?

Will you get your Homeschool Parent Card revoked?

Not at all. There’s a group of us, you see. A group of rogue rebels. We don’t play by the rules…we make our own rules.

Lest you think we’re willy-nilly, fly-by-the-seats-of-our-pants, flighty, flaky, and uncommitted, let me assure you: that is not the case. Well, at least not always. There are moms and dads who love the idea of homeschooling one at a time, and sending Junior to preschool, or Sally to full-day kindergarten, so they can focus on that one. Sound bizarre? Then perhaps next year, it’s Junior’s turn to spend some one-on-one, quality time with Mom, while the formerly homeschooled sibling gets to check out the fifth grade classroom at the local Christian school. Maybe not so bizarre. For some families, this kind of impulsiveness may not pan out, and you could end up with nervous children, but for others? It makes life adventurous, anything but dull, and makes some memories they might not otherwise have had.

There are families who have tried to homeschool each and every offspring and have come to the logical conclusion that homeschooling is not right for every child, every year. It doesn’t mean they are uncommitted or blown here and there by every wind of change. It simply means they are in tune with what the individuals in their family unit need.

So, if you have a child who absolutely loathes homeschooling and does quite well in public school, rejoice, little mama. Don’t cry, don’t fret, and don’t take it personally! Instead, thank God and your little gift from him, and be an involved public school mom. (And a little secret from me to you: public school moms are just like homeschool moms. Shh. Don’t tell.)

And if your little sprout who is sports oriented and super social wants to give the private school a shot, it’s okay to give it a try. If it isn’t any greener on that side of the fence, it’s all right. Don’t jump back and forth, giving everyone in the family whiplash, but it’s not the end of the world if it takes a bit to find the right fit.

After all, it takes a while to fit in anywhere. To make your mark. To find your space. And sometimes, once you do, and God is in heaven and all is right with the world, surprise! Another baby arrives. Or your formerly easy ten-year-old hits puberty with a vengeance, and being around one another 24/7 is making the wrong kind of memories. Or the state you live in comes up with different guidelines for homeschooling. Or a Montessori school with wonderful teachers opens up down the road.

You don’t have to know what you’re going to do and where you’re going to be and when you’ll arrive. You just have to enjoy the journey. Not all who wander are lost. And not all who do it differently or take it one year at a time are doomed to failure.

Take it from us rebellious homeschoolers.

Melyssa Williams writes when she isn't reading, or dancing, or distractedly homeschooling. She is a ballet teacher by day, and a YA author by night. A second generation homeschooler, Melyssa has fond memories of sitting in trees reading books, and in keeping with the tradition, sticks her kids in trees with books frequently. She is the author of the Lost trilogy, a collection of short stories, and is currently working on her first steampunk novel: a retelling of the Nutcracker titled The Clockmaker's Apprentice. Learn more about Melyssa and her books by visiting her website. She loves connecting with her readers.

  • Anna France

    THANK YOU for this. I needed to hear this so badly recently. With an almost 4&5 year old and a strong dislike for the public school system in our area I am worrying about the future of our families future. This makes me feel so much better about taking it one year at a time. Thank you.

    August 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm Reply
    • Ann Hibbard

      So glad it was an encouragement to you!

      August 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm Reply

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