Short Term Homeschooling: How it Could Work for You

If there’s one objection to homeschooling that I’ve heard from almost everyone, it’s “But what do I do when they reach _______?” Fill in the blank with “junior high”, “high school”, or especially “advanced algebra”. Sometimes we get carried away by thinking much further ahead than we need to.
I recently read this very interesting article about short-term homeschooling. It’s the story of a mom who decided to keep her daughter home for one year. Called One Good Year: A Look at Short Term Homeschooling, it’s a very honest tale of a mom who was reluctant to homeschool but agreed to do so if the end was in sight.

The author, Laura Brodie, shares the many reasons that she took into account when making her decision. They include the increasing boredom and anxiety felt by her daughter. The turning point for her was when she found her daughter hiding in the closet one day – to avoid having to do her homework. Here’s what Ms. Brodie said after she found her daughter in the closet:

I sympathized with her aversion. Today’s public schools seem to have responded to the endless cry for achievement! by adding more worksheets to the homework pile. Math worksheets, grammar worksheets, bland spelling exercises. I wouldn’t mind so much if the work seemed more valuable–if Julia was asked to perform a fun science experiment, or to walk outside and compose a poem about the sounds in her yard. What rankles is the monotony of colorless paper, the columns of equations and fill-in-the-blank history.

As it turned out, Julia’s homework was minimal that afternoon. Once she climbed out of the closet and sat down in front of her books, the whole ordeal took barely ten minutes. She had spent an hour hiding to avoid ten minutes of schoolwork, and the thought of that warped equation broke my heart. It confirmed what I had been thinking for the past year–that my daughter needed a break, an escape, some air. Julia needed something to quell her growing misery.

I don’t think I could come up with a better indictment of traditional schooling if I tried!

I have to admit that for myself, I’ve often seen homeschooling as something we can move in and out of (indeed, already have) based on the needs of our children and our own circumstances. For now, my kids want to stay home; if that changes, we might change our plan to include attending a Montessori school.

For those of you who’ve thought about homeschooling but feel overwhelmed by such a large commitment, you might want to consider trying it for one year, and making any further decisions after that year is over.