Ever started second-guessing your decision to homeschool around the time of kindergarten roundup? If so, take heart – you’re definitely not the only one!
It’s perfectly normal to wonder whether your kiddos will be “missing out” on some important school experience, especially when your friends are all posting on Facebook about sending their little ones off to kindergarten. Many veteran homeschoolers confess to moments of panic once they officially passed the registration date – even after a year of teaching their preschoolers at home!
To help with those panic moments, we’ve collected a great list of encouraging and practical suggestions from our area community to consider the bigger picture:
Remember the reasons why you’re homeschooling.
Whenever doubts creep in about your decision to homeschool, it always helps to think about your long-term reasons. Many of them include such things as one-on-one time with family, a customized academic experience, and passing on family values to the next generation.
In these cases, writing your list of reasons on paper, or having an official educational philosophy, can help you stay focused.
“I think it helps to be honest and acknowledge that there are a few things that [your kids] might miss out on,” one homeschool mom wrote. “But there are also some amazing opportunities that homeschooling provides, and if [they] were to go to school, you would all miss out on those. Remember the reasons why you decided to do this, and focus on the benefits and the reasons why it’s working out well.”
If you still want to make sure your kids aren’t missing out on something important, you can always tour the schools and meet the educators during kindergarten roundup. One homeschool mom said she went just to get all the information, but never enrolled.
“I like to know ALL my options before I make a decision,” she wrote. “And while there are days I feel like my son is missing something (like a class Valentine’s Day party), I soon realize that he doesn’t care about that stuff. He loves being homeschooled and my fears are unwarranted. And any time I think of something he’s missing out on, I quickly can find a homeschool option if he were interested.”
Consider the memories you’re already creating.
Probably the biggest concern for most parents is that their children will miss out on making memories with other little ones during kindergarten. But as one homeschool mom noted, many of the memories children have of kindergarten can be both positive and negative. Some include:
- A boy who cried all day every day for two weeks until his mom didn’t send him back anymore.
- Terror at being sent to the office for hearing tests twice, but failing both times from a head cold.
- “Learning bad words from one of the bigger kids and repeating them at home, then being totally embarrassed when my mom told me what they really meant.”
Even if your memories of kindergarten are positive, you can always recreate such experiences at home. Go on a park day with other homeschool families, or take a field trip together. Connect with a local support group or homeschool enrichment program.
“You are going to make memories TOGETHER, a whole different set of memories!” one homeschool mom wrote. “It’s always a little scary to start down a less beaten path, but you are not alone and it will be okay!”
Enjoy a school experience tailored to your own child.
Many homeschoolers cite the ability to customize their children’s education as one key benefit of homeschooling. One mom knew a friend whose daughter wanted to learn to read at age 5, but the private school wouldn’t let her start early.
If your child wants to skip ahead to some challenging topic or learning skill, let them! Or if they need extra help in a certain area, homeschooling allows you to investigate that early and provide any assistance needed.
Make the first day of kindergarten extra special.
Just like the first day of school, we have some great ideas for celebrating the start of kindergarten!
Maybe your children can enjoy a special breakfast, a new outfit or backpack, school supplies, or a special note tucked into their lunches. They can help you plan field trips and what themes they’d like to study.
“Make sure and take pictures and scrapbook the whole year,” one homeschooler wrote. “It’s fun to look back at all you did!”
If necessary, get off the comparison train.
Every family is unique, so don’t worry if your children’s educational experiences may differ from those around them! Sometimes that could even mean getting off social media.
“I have found it best for me to take a short Facebook hiatus at the beginning of each school year,” one homeschool mom wrote, “so I don’t feel the false guilt that I’m keeping [my children] from experiences.”
On the converse side, you can find strength in numbers. Talk with other homeschool moms about their kindergarten roundup experiences, and read homeschooling books and blogs. Explore our upcoming homeschool conference for ideas on curriculum, homeschooling techniques, and networking with other like-minded families.
Enjoyed this post? See 5 common mistakes made in the first year of homeschooling, and how to avoid them.