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5 Ways Facebook Can Hurt (Or Help!) Homeschooling

By May 8, 2019April 11th, 2022No Comments

Ah, Facebook … we all have mixed feelings about it. Especially as homeschoolers!

On one hand, it can provide amazing resources, encouragement, go-to guides for field trips and events, and more.

On the other hand, it can mislead us when we’re still gathering information, discourage our homeschooling attempts, and suck time from our already busy schedules.

How can you get the most from Facebook while guarding against potential pitfalls? To answer that, we asked some area homeschoolers to weigh in with their suggestions:

1) Use Facebook info as a springboard, not an authority.

Let’s face it – Facebook homeschool groups can give us more information faster and more easily than the Internet, our local friends, or even <gasp!> books. And sometimes we prefer the relative anonymity of browsing other people’s questions and comments, rather than starting the conversation ourselves.

Unfortunately, even relative veterans of homeschooling can post incorrect information.

When someone asked in a KC-area Facebook group how to start a homeschool in Kansas, debate raged over the definition of a “non-accredited” school (which is what every homeschool is defined as, technically, by the Kansas State Department of Education).

“Even if you’re using an accredited curriculum?” someone else commented. “I always thought as long as you’re using an accredited curriculum, you’re an accredited school.”

Uh….no. There is no legal basis for assuming such, and you will probably get into trouble if you name your homeschool an accredited school in Kansas.

What to do instead:

  • For weighty topics that require legal knowledge to do right – such as starting a homeschool – remember that Facebook isn’t always your best bet. Just like you wouldn’t ask anyone on Facebook to do your taxes, right?
  • Remember to do more research online even if you heard about it first on Facebook. We have step-by-step instructions for starting your homeschool in Kansas if that is your state of residence, or in Missouri.
  • Get legal assistance. We recommend joining the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) when starting to homeschool, and we even offer a discount on HSLDA memberships to MPE members at the Family tier or higher!

2) Make sure Facebook isn’t your ONLY homeschool planner.

It can be tempting to organize your schedule around Facebook events, but you will miss important deadlines if that’s your only resource!

Often field trips, homeschool classes, and co-ops will provide earlybird discounts if you sign up by a certain date. Those aren’t always posted to Facebook. Make sure to check websites, emails and planners (whether digital or paper) when putting together activities for your homeschool year.

What to do instead:

  • Use our Facebook events page as a springboard for upcoming events in the Kansas City area.
  • If you’re still looking for a homeschool co-op or enrichment program, see our list here.
  • Decide on a homeschool planner that works for you. Many homeschool families like to have a big family calendar where they can put events, activities and special dates up for everyone to see – in their kitchen or dining room. Others go completely digital, with a Google calendar or other such resource. Regardless, make sure you’re not the only one in your family who’s keeping track of homeschool activities!

3) Enforce Facebook time blocks!

Does this scenario sound familiar … hopping onto Facebook while the kids study to check a quick, legitimately “homeschool”-related question … and then waking up to realize the kids are NOT studying, homeschooling has been derailed, and you’ve just lost a portion of your life, never for it to return?!

Author and longtime homeschool mom Heidi St. John addressed this in one of our homeschool conference workshops. Just put your phone into Airplane mode and do not touch it during homeschool hours. While this may sound extreme, it really works! (Speaking from personal experience.)

What to do instead:

  • Set specific time blocks during the day for homeschool and other time blocks just for you to unwind and use Facebook.
  • If necessary, use tools such as Airplane mode and Do Not Disturb to enforce the time separations.

4) Let Facebook create real-life relationships, not substitute for them.

We’ve all heard about the studies that have concluded social media cannot replace real-life interactions.

In fact, the more we use social media, the worse off we can become – physically, emotionally and mentally. This Harvard Business Review article is just one example:

Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being. These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year. We found consistently that both liking others’ content and clicking links significantly predicted a subsequent reduction in self-reported physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction.

What to do instead:

  • Use Facebook as a way to meet new people within the homeschool community – through groups, friends, extended friends, and more.
  • Make time for real-life meetings instead of virtual meetups. Examples: Schedule a park day, arrange a playdate, or volunteer with other homeschool families or within a co-op.
  • Avoid comparing your homeschool with the pictures you see on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest … you get the idea!

5) Consider the wider Facebook audience when sharing about homeschooling.

Sometimes parents face opposition within their family as they start to homeschool, or they may feel uncomfortable sharing their journey with friends who are in public or private school settings.

If that scenario is familiar to you, posting publicly to Facebook can just add fuel to the fire!

What to do instead:

  • We’ve written before about ways you can control your homeschool info on social media – including list options, privacy settings, custom posts and more.
  • Make strong friendships and support systems off line, where you can vent privately if necessary. Sometimes a quick phone call to another homeschool mom in the trenches can make all the difference!
  • We have an amazing Mom to Mom mentoring program available for MPE members at the Family tier or higher. Everything is kept strictly confidential between our mentors and those being mentored. Make sure you’re making use of this resource as needed!
Shanxi Omoniyi

Shanxi Omoniyi (@ShanxiO on Twitter) is MPE's online content director. A homeschool alumna, Shanxi graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in journalism and English. Her company, Wordspire Media, helps businesses and nonprofits share their stories through content marketing, social media management, and email marketing.

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