Who is your homeschool guru, and what does she ask of you?
What is your favorite homeschool book, and what does it ask of you?
What are your homeschool groups, co-ops, and organizations, and what do they ask of you?
What is your homeschooling approach or curriculum, and what does it require of you?
What is your model for homeschooling high school, and what does it require of you and your teens?
On the one hand, having mentors, leaders, guides, organizations, philosophies, models, and curricula can be helpful. On the other hand, they can throttle the life out of your homeschool.
Over twenty years of homeschooling and even more while working with homeschoolers, I’ve seen some parents get attracted to a person, group, book, approach, or curriculum and later lose themselves in attempting to apply the doctrine too prescriptively.
Some parents do re-emerge after a few years and manage to continue homeschooling with some modification. Others burn out on homeschooling altogether, feeling unable to do things perfectly enough to create an “ideal homeschool” according to their chosen guru or co-op.
How do you allow yourself to be influenced by all the good ideas and the wisdom of those who have homeschooled before you, without overdoing it and becoming engulfed in something that sucks the life out of you and your kids?
- Watch your children, not the checklist. If your children are growing and learning, keep doing more of the same things. If you’re going through the motions to check something off and your kids are not engaged, the prescriptive approach is not working, no matter who is recommending it.
- Watch for all-or-nothing messages. Are they insisting that their approach is the one way, best way, only way? Are they critical of those who modify the program to better meet kids’ needs? An all-or-nothing message is a signal of problems.
- Watch for a “homeschool-at-all-costs” attitude. It is not always better to homeschool. If your church or your organization or your guru is telling you to ignore mental health issues, abuse, financial problems, substance abuse and homeschool “no matter what,” find other counsel.
- Watch for an authoritarian attitude about parenting. Study after study shows that children do best with authoritative not authoritarian approaches to parenting. If your guru is recommending homeschooling with punishment-enforced obedience rather than loving guidance, your relationship with that guru may also be about power rather than wisdom.
- Watch for homeschool guarantees. Those who promise the specific homeschooling outcomes you want for all your homeschooled kids (if you just do it “right”) are not being honest. There is no homeschool guarantee.
- Watch the social recommendations. Does your guru or organization insist your family should not associate with non-homeschoolers? Or not associate with homeschoolers who use other approaches? Or not associate with homeschoolers who aren’t in the group? This tactic is meant to engender greater loyalty and less criticism, and it can be a warning sign that the person or group you’re following would rather have you isolated from competing messages.
Homeschool leaders, organizations, and companies who respect your decision-making are only too happy to have you try their products and ideas alongside others, socialize with people you choose and trust, and modify homeschooling so it works for you and your kids.
Homeschooling does not require you to be perfect by anyone else’s standards, and it does not require you to be obedient to a specific group, author, or speaker.
There are many joyful people who write books, develop programs, speak at conferences, publish websites, organize co-ops, and volunteer for our state homeschooling organizations. We are blessed by their ideas, products, and services. They make homeschooling richer.
In the New Year, I urge you to evaluate your relationship with your homeschooling experts and their advice. You should always feel free to take what works for you, and leave the rest. If you’re feeling pressured beyond that, you really can step away from someone else’s dogma and change your homeschooling for the better.
Taking responsibility for your homeschooling rather than giving it to someone else creates a powerful dynamic. Don’t be surprised if you change, too.
Recent & Relevant Blog Posts
Do you see the images of lovely homeschool room ideas and feel frustrated because you don’t have a dedicated space just for homeschooling? You’re not alone! These tips show how working with your house can lower your stress.
Beginning homeschooling mid-year may not be the easiest decision, but if it will help enhance your child’s educational experience then go for it! But before you get started, review these tips for making your transition a smooth and successful one.
Here’s how to create a fun Survivor-themed homeschool geography club that allows natural learning in fun and hands-on ways, using a variety of resources.
Although hemispheric dominance has been found to be a neuromyth, it’s still true that strategies for right-brained learning often help kids learn in ways that traditional methods do not.
Are You a Type B Homeschooler? (Featured Article)
I don’t particularly love labels—they can be too general or cause assumptions and are likely not 100% accurate. That said, labels can be helpful when you’re searching for information on various topics. Google is better when you’re using key words, which is how I heard of Type B Homeschooling a few years ago. A good old Google search brought me to a few articles, which I read and breathed a sigh of relief. I felt like I discovered a secret society of homeschoolers.
I was not alone.
Fast forward to this past summer, when a good friend and I were chatting, and we both realized we were talking about the same thing. Type B Homeschooling.
What is Type B Homeschooling?
If you’re wondering what defines a Type B homeschool, I’ll let you in on a little secret.
There is no exact definition. It’s more of a feeling. Maybe a philosophy. A philoso-feeling if you will.
Type B homeschooling isn’t reserved for one type of educational method.
- You could be a Charlotte Mason homeschooler.
- You could be a Classical homeschooler.
- You could be an Eclectic homeschooler.
- You could be an Unschooler.
But, you’re probably NOT a traditional school-at-home-schooler running around with a checklist and a rigid schedule.
Type B homeschooling is fluid. It is not routine driven, per se, but guided by natural rhythms of the home or family schedule and interests. Connection, intentional choices, rabbit holes, dashes of unschooling, structured learning where needed, interest-led, spontaneous and planned activities sometimes in the same week.
You might be hiding your Type B-ness because you’re inundated with messages that homeschooling can only be successful if you replicate school at home, or if you stay on an exact schedule every single day and you have to do all the subjects every year from now until graduation or your children will not be successful. Perhaps you’ve been told that unless you plan out your entire year by July 1st, your homeschool will fail. Worse, you start to question yourself, your methods, and your love of homeschooling…