Anxiety and feelings of insecurity can come and go. When you are faced with feelings of inadequacy, you may start wondering how to become a better homeschool parent. How do you become successful?
Did you know that during the 2021-22 school year, there were approximately 3.1 million homeschooled students in the U.S.? That’s a lot of kids! Obviously, with that many children learning from home, a good many parents are working hard to aid their kids in their educational pursuits.
Being a homeschooling parent isn’t an easy gig, but it is rewarding. Experiencing the joys of watching your child learn and grow firsthand isn’t a part of most American parents’ everyday lives.
Whether you’re having the time of your life teaching your kids or it’s a rougher go than you’d anticipated, the question is probably still swirling around in your mind, “Am I doing a good job? Am I doing this right? How do I know?”
Thankfully, the very nature of homeschooling seems to lend itself to success, and even the most “unqualified” parents are often relieved to watch their homeschool graduates flourish in life.
Regardless of the high success rates of homeschooling, there’s always room for improvement. Today, let’s examine a few pointers on how to be the best homeschooling teacher you can be for your kids!
Yes, You’re Qualified
No teaching degree? Guess what. You are still uniquely qualified to teach your children. How? Well, for one thing, if they can walk and talk and feed themselves, that’s a good indication that you’ve been teaching them since the day they were born just fine.
–Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Many parents who consider homeschooling wonder if they’re qualified. After all, public school teachers actually go to college and have degrees to prepare them for this job. Other parents jump right into homeschooling and only wonder later once they’re in the thick of it, “Can I even do this?”
The good news is that yes! You’re qualified!
The National Home Education Research Institute tells us that homeschooled students typically score 15 to 30 points above public school students on standardized academic achievement tests. What’s more, homeschooled students test higher regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income. What’s more, the research also tells us that state regulations don’t appear to affect homeschool outcomes one way or the other.
The stats don’t lie; they tell us that homeschooling itself seems to overcome any difficulties in the teaching department. This doesn’t let parents off the hook (you still need to do your job), but it should alleviate some of that anxiety you’ve been experiencing.
Parents are uniquely qualified to teach their kids. Let’s glance at just a few reasons why you, as a homeschooling parent, have nothing to fear:
- You care. Who else cares for, loves, and wants the absolute best for your child as much you do? This makes you the most invested, qualified person to propel your kid toward success. The Waterford Center for Education notes that parental involvement and a home environment that encourages learning are the best indicators of academic achievement.
- You’re not alone in this endeavor. There is an entire homeschooling community available to aid and support you. Resources abound from blogs and YouTube channels to local co-ops and countless curriculum choices. You have options and support!
- We’ve already noted that the stats speak for themselves, but let’s just mention it once more. Homeschooling in and of itself encourages success and achievement. Don’t let the societal norms or judgmental Karens get in your way!
How to Improve
So, we’ve established that, in all likelihood, you’re doing just fine. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. Here are a few simple tips for tweaking your teaching skills and improving your on-the-job performance.
Continue Your Education
No, I don’t mean run down to the community college and sign up for a class (though you may want to do that too!). You can continue your education right there at home, just like your student. Your specialty is home education, so focus on whatever improves your skills, knowledge, and confidence in your field.
Reading homeschooling books and blogs, attending homeschooling conferences, and talking to other veteran homeschooling parents are all ways to improve yourself. You can learn new strategies, discover helpful resources, and improve your general knowledge of your chosen career (after all, you’re schooling an entire child – or more – and that definitely qualifies as a career!)
The Edvocate suggests, “Read one homeschooling, child development, or parenting book every month. If you are new to homeschooling, read about the various styles of homeschooling. Even if a particular method does not match your educational philosophy, you can always take some helpful tips. There is no need to take all the suggestions given by the author.”
Homeschooling is all about learning—for both the teacher and the student!
Find Your Tribe
Homeschooling can be a tough gig if you do it alone, and it’s hard to improve on yourself without feedback and watching the examples of others. Developing a good support system is crucial for being an excellent homeschooling parent and teacher, not only for the practical side of things but also for your mental and emotional health.
“For some, this might mean joining a homeschool co-op. For others, it might mean having a monthly mom’s evening out to socialize with other parents who homeschool,” explains Essentials in Writing. “There are even online homeschool support groups and forums where homeschool teachers gather to help each other overcome challenges and to share success stories…Forming a community with other parents can help you to discover new resources and techniques while providing affirmation that you CAN do this.”
“As iron sharpens iron,” the old proverb goes, and it’s never more accurate than when like-minded folks bond together over a common lifestyle and dedicate themselves to helping each other improve and succeed.
Understand Your Child’s Needs
One of the reasons that you are the most qualified to teach your kid is the fact that no one knows your child like you do. However, no matter how well you know your student, you can always improve on that knowledge.
Researching topics such as learning styles or special education needs will aid you in your desire to be the best teacher you can be for them. Whether you’re looking into expanding your classroom to include more hands-on learning or educating yourself on dyslexia, improving your knowledge of your child’s needs will promote you to the next level of teaching.
ThoughtCo. notes that “a well-informed parent is often better equipped than a teacher in a crowded classroom setting to meet a child’s needs through one-on-one interaction and a customized education plan…. If you have a child with a passion for a topic about which you know nothing, take time to learn about it. This self-education will help you help your child capitalize on interest in the subject.”
It’s all about self-education.
This one is a biggie.
Before you do anything, teach yourself how to relax. Be flexible. Take it as it comes.
It’s good to have schedules and routines. It’s excellent to push yourself and your student. It’s great to have a set curriculum or rigorous academic requirements. None of these are bad ideas.
What is a bad idea is for you to be stressed, doubting yourself or your kid, or missing out on the joys of homeschooling because of the self-imposed standards. You can have the best of all worlds if you learn when to hold to those standards, but also when to fold them, and when to walk away.
If you’re stressed, anxious, or frustrated, your child will sense it and, consciously or unconsciously, follow your example. Find a balance between accountability and flexibility. Put down the burden of worry – you’re doing great.
Essentials in Writing encourages parents, “If you aim for perfection, you will be disappointed. Instead, celebrate the successes no matter how small. Accept that struggle is part of the learning process, and embrace it. In doing so, you will find that your patience with your students and yourself will grow and that the homeschool experience will become even more rewarding.”
You’re Here – That’s a Good Sign
“If you’re wondering how you can be a better homeschool teacher, you are already winning! By even asking yourself this question, you are demonstrating that you care deeply about your child’s education, that you are highly motivated to be the best you can be.”
–Essentials in Writing
Apathetic homeschooling parents don’t care. On the other hand, parents who care succeed. The good news is that no matter how good you are, you can be better. Sounds wrong, right? How is this good news?
It’s good news since this means there really isn’t a point when you’ve “arrived.” Because there’s always room for improvement, you can feel pretty confident that other homeschooling parents have been exactly where you are—-and they’ve succeeded.
Thanks to your dedication to being the best you can be, you’ve read this article and have an excellent place to start!
Enjoy the journey!