6 Things Homeschooling Parents Can Teach Teachers

Published in
7 min readApr 11, 2022

Parents who homeschool their children have a different insight into learning. Here are six things that homeschooling parents want teachers to know.

By Alisa Taylor

mother and son learning in their garden while homeschooling

There are lots of reasons a parent might decide to homeschool their child. It could be that the pandemic prompted you to become an overnight homeschooling whiz. Or it could be the pressure and high expenses that often accompany traditional schooling institutions. It might be because your kid is simply gifted in other areas, making school a frustrating, scary, or even triggering place for both of you.

Either way, the transition from traditional schooling into homeschooling can be a tough one. Trying to do what’s best for your child while keeping them happy and engaged is no easy feat. But there are some great lessons to learn along the way.

Homeschooling, just like institutional learning, is not perfect. There are pros and cons to both forms of education. The only things which should determine the right path for your child come down to learning style, individual temperament and, of course, your own willingness to teach them.

I’ve homeschooled my two children (Alan, 7 years old and Amanda, 13 years old) since the start of the pandemic. Although I have a background in education, I’ve never been a teacher, and homeschooling opened my eyes in numerous ways. I now see the schooling system and my children in a completely different light.

My homeschooling experience has been a teachable one, and we’ve all grown tremendously. For us, homeschooling is the way forward, pandemic or not.

In this article, I’ll share six things that homeschooling parents like myself see from a different perspective.

Let’s get stuck in!

1. Kids Need Routine And Flexibility To Thrive

In any educational modality, there needs to be a balance of both structure and flexibility.

Homeschooling can often provide kids with the legroom to exercise both things in moderation, as well as additional control over the timing and pace of how they’re experienced. In a conventional institution, kids have to conform to the overarching structure set by the school.

While that can be comforting and stabilizing for some, others may find it constrictive, causing resistance and frustration. Within a homeschooling environment, kids have more control over the way their school days play out.

That means they get to experience education in a way that embraces their natural impulses. Such as the time they wake up, how long they spend on a subject, and when breaks get taken. This sense of autonomy can instill confidence and encourage more active engagement during educational hours.

Within a few weeks of starting our homeschooling journey, I noticed that my young son was wide awake and ready to participate early in the morning. But my teenager was far less alert. Teenagers typically need more sleep, so we adjusted our schedule, so that Alan started earlier and Amanda an hour later. We still stuck to a schedule, but having that degree of flexibility made a huge difference to her mood and willingness to engage in her schoolwork.

2. It Really Does Take a Village…

You know the phrase: It takes a village to raise a child. This ancient proverb about the importance of community within a child-rearing context is not often lost on homeschooling families.

Homeschooling has a somewhat outdated reputation for being almost exclusively practiced by isolated, strictly religious families. However, in 2022, homeschooling is cultivating a much broader, more inclusive status, something pushed forward by the need for community support.

Homeschooling can be daunting — especially in the beginning. Having other families around you who practice the same educational methods is not only important for the sake of social interaction but also for the sake of parental support when times get tough.

In America, the homeschooling population grows at a rate of 2–8 percent each year, contributing to the 9 million people that have undergone homeschooling at least once in their lives.

The wonderful thing about a growing community of homeschoolers is the increased level of support and connection available to both the kids and the parents who teach them.

Homeschooled kids are likely to develop social skills at a slower pace than school-going kids, making social integration at a later stage a little harder. But as the numbers grow, more and more opportunities for engagement and support arise.

We opted for extracurricular team sports for both children as this meant that they socialized and learned to work with others, often under pressure. I also set up regular playdates and encouraged visitors to pop in regularly. Fortunately, both children had a wide circle of friends prior to being homeschooled, and they’ve managed to maintain most of those relationships and create new ones.

3. Include Mental and Emotional Health in Your Regime

It’s no secret that there is a notable gap in the conventional education system for learning and understanding mental and emotional health.

In my experience, public schools rarely if ever show a great interest in educating children on personal psychological health. But it is an extremely important aspect of life that children need to be taught about to lead happy, well-rounded lives.

Homeschooling provides a welcome opportunity to fit in education around soft skills, such as listening, empathizing, and practicing self-discipline in this area. How do chemicals and hormones affect your decisions? How can you recalibrate when feeling sad, angry, or conflicted?

Teaching kids to understand both the science and personal experience behind what drives mental and emotional health can impart powerful lessons about how to approach life in general.

As part of our weekly lesson plan, we spoke about a different element of mental and emotional health every week. I tailored the discussions to be age-appropriate and often separated them to talk on a one-on-one basis. As Amanda is a teen, there was a lot that she didn’t want to discuss in front of Andrew, so a separate approach helped. I gave them both journals to write in, and while Andrew isn’t a regular writer, Amanda has said it helps her figure out her feelings.

4. Children Really Do Learn Through Play

When it comes to younger kids, there’s a lot to be said about the power of learning through play. Even though traditional schools have allocated slots for recess and relaxation, it often isn’t enough for kids to fully receive the benefits offered by this underestimated form of learning.

Play activates parts of the brain that promote memory, risk assessment, creativity and imagination. Physically, too, it can help to improve fine motor skills and increase spatial awareness.

Because of the flexibility that homeschooling offers, parents can create a schedule for their kids that’s better suited to their natural inclination for free play.

Running around the garden and experimenting with different tools and toys might not look like education. But it can provide a necessary space for kids to experience curiosity, problem solve and cultivate a passion for the natural world. Playing can also include chores and daily tasks that are given a fun element to them. Everything from tidying up to keeping the laptops they learn on clean and the books they read in neat piles can be infused with a sense of fun and playfulness.

This was harder with Amanda as she’s older, but we decided that twice a week we’d go on an adventure walk. We explore new places at times when other children are in a traditional classroom, and I’ve noticed that both kids seem less inhibited when there are none of their peers around. They both run and play with complete abandon. It’s also been a bonding experience as they don’t always have much in common.

5. Kids Want to (and Should) Pursue Their Natural Interests

Most parents want to see their kids grow up doing what they love. Many public schools do what they can to provide kids with the resources necessary for pursuing certain interests and career paths. However, this intention is not always carried out in reality.

The limited capacity for time, attention and practical resources often means that kids cannot follow their natural interests with the same verve and acceptance that homeschooling can allow.

From a young age, homeschooling facilitates an environment for pursuing what naturally stimulates kids, setting them up for a life that’s fueled by passion rather than weighted expectations.

It’s amazing what you discover about your children when you’re overseeing their schooling. Both have discovered completely new passions that I’d never have guessed as they’ve had the freedom to explore new things. Andrew is fascinated by filmmaking after playing around on Zoom, and Amanda is really interested in math now that she understands it better. Previously she’d battled as she didn’t grasp some of the basic concepts, but now she’s ahead of her grade.

6. Everyday Life Is a Form of Education

When it comes down to it, one of the things which makes homeschooling so rich with potential is its recognition of the fact that life is learning, no matter where you are.

From breakfast-time chats to bedtime snuggles (and everything in between), homeschooling reminds us of how much value there is to be extracted from everyday living. No schooling method is perfect. But if you can impart one lesson to your kids over the course of their education, this one is pretty good.

With the rise of homeschooling and the more our worlds become more hybrid and home-based, parents have a unique perspective of how their children learn, grow and develop. Sharing parents’ insights with teachers can help encourage and nurture children in ways that best suit them within the traditional classroom environment.

Alisa Taylor is an ink slinger, editor and full-time homeschooling mom. Her major focus is on education, graphic design and business, but she’s always looking to broaden her horizons and learn new things. Sharing words with the world at large fuels her passion.




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