What are your biggest challenges as a homeschooler?

Ross Hall, Homeschool dad – a rarity!

Well, it’s been about a year of home-schooling our 10 year-old, and things seem to be settling down into a routine.

Challenges:

  • First challenge was being patient, and letting her get over her Minecraft obsession. Took about three nail-biting months, but now she goes days without playing computer games.
  • Another challenge was realizing that it is crazy trying to replicate the school curriculum at home. After all, the whole purpose of home-schooling is to tailor the education to the student. Part of this realization is that it is often better to find material that the child enjoys, rather than trying to follow traditional textbooks. For example, we recently watched some BBC episodes about Rome, led by Mary Beard. That has led to an interest in her book, SPQR. And there are so many topics in that book that relate to modern day situations … and so on. Frankly, I feel that I have wasted money on textbooks, online courses, and even some gifted classes. (However, there are a lot of great resources out there too – see the Hoagie’s Gifted website for lots of wonderful ideas)
  • The last big challenge has been allowing our child to pursue her interests in depth. Sometimes it is very surprising what she chooses. For example, for a while she got immersed in Youtube science channels, such as Veritasium, and Vsauce. She followed that thread further, and actually participated in a couple of MOOC courses (Astronomy and Newtonian Physics). That phase seems to have passed. She is currently deeply immersed in digital graphics and animation, and has started posting some creative writing online. I would never have imagined trying to push her down any of those paths.

Non-challenge:

  • I thought I would get a lot more resistance from family and friends regarding our choice to homeschool. I believe they backed off after they realized I had studied homeschooling in depth, and can bombard them with all kinds of research results and facts about how well most homeschoolers actually do.

Actually, the biggest challenge of all happened before we started homeschooling – trying to convince the school system that they were not addressing the needs of a very capable and sweet 4th grader … and that is why we are home-schooling.

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