If you are a product of the public school system, homeschooling can be quite a change for you. When your children begin homeschooling after public school, they can develop unexpected struggles. Nonetheless, it is possible to transition and transition well, by learning to let go of the public school mindset when you start homeschooling.
I grew up in the public school system my whole life, and all of my children have experienced public school before homeschooling. Our journey was not comfortable and a little rocky. There were some stigmas I needed to let go of and I needed to de-school my children before we could move on.
At times, the public school mindset creeps it’s little head back into our minds, but we can combat it now and re-center. I can say that the public school system failed me, or I failed it. Where the failure really lies is debatable, but what I do know is that I don’t remember much of anything in public school and I never read a full book until college.
Therefore, it is mind-boggling to me to think that my mind and expectations still find it tough to let go of the cookie cutter public school mindset.
Everyone in a public school has to learn the same thing, they have to believe the same thing or get a bad grade, and they have to learn to catch up — just keep moving with not learning at all. When people talk about washing away the public school mindset, you can see how it makes good sense that it needs to be washed away. It is consuming and hard to break away from.
I just knew that things would be different when I started to homeschool. I had this idea and thought we would be free, and the kids will love learning now that I was teaching them. After all, they didn’t have to learn alongside 25 other students. It didn’t quite work that way.
We all had growing pains. I like order and organization. Therefore, I brought my routines and rules with me to homeschooling from being an early learning teacher.
My daughter wanted to homeschool since she felt like an outcast at public school and was made fun of for being different. A few months down our homeschooling journey, and she was complaining she has no friends.
My son did not want to homeschool, yet found that he flourished in it because I was able to work with him one-on-one. I could adjust his lessons around his learning style and activeness. He loved it.
What is a mom to do with these flip-flop reactions when starting to homeschool after public school?
My mindset had to change. I had to start letting go of what public school said my kids should be like, and start realizing what God has created them to be. I had to put my homeschool in His hands and view it in His perspective. We had to make our homeschool our own.
Here are a few things from my public school mindset that I had to let go of to make homeschool our own:
1. School didn’t need to start full-force in August. Just because we saw yellow school buses all over the streets, didn’t mean we had to hurry and start school then too.
2. We didn’t have to “do school” Monday through Friday. We take Fridays off from homeschooling. We use Fridays for free days or make-up days. Mom uses Fridays as workdays.
3. We didn’t only have to take one field trip a year. We could take one field trip a week if we wanted to. Children can learn so much from nature and exploring life around them.
4. Core subjects do not have to happen every day. Not even public schools have every subject, every day, yet I found myself trying to fit everything into the day, and it just did not work. Having only two children to homeschool gave me more time to focus on each child, and we did not have to finish a topic by a specific time. Assignments and lessons were adjustable if they needed to be.
5. Math, Science, History, English, Reading — and interests. These subjects need to be taught, yes. However, when there is a subject or topic that piques your child’s interests, you can use that subject to teach any one of these to help your child to get motivated about learning.
6. Your child is not always falling behind. What are they falling back from? Stop comparing your child and start being concerned about them progressing at the level they are in. You can work with them and meet them where they are.
Our kids no longer have to “do school” with 25 other kids. They can get one-on-one attention, and you can practice subjects until they “get it.” Schooling does not stop when homeschool hours are over. Children can always be learning if we are intentional about them growing and critically thinking.
There aren’t parameters to stay within unless you set them. There are boundaries to be pushed and explored, and your child is only racing against who he was yesterday.
Letting go of the public school mindset when you start homeschooling can be a doozy, but you can do it.
Sometimes you don’t even realize you are reverting back to public school thinking. That is OK, homeschooling provides the freedom for you to adjust and teach your children in a way that works for them.
It is not too late. Make homeschool your own and break away from the public school mindset.
Need some help keeping your home and homeschool organized after transitioning from public school to homeschool?
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!