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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Major

Homeschooling Hidden Benefits: A Teacher’s Perspective 

Updated: 6 days ago

I have to tell you about a few of my biggest challenges when I was a public school teacher because when you hear about them, I think it will help you see that those highlight some hidden benefits in the land of homeschool (or just alternative options to public school). While everyone has different experiences, these can be common challenges in traditional school. But in a homeschool setting, they can be far less significant of a challenge, and I think they can actually show the benefits of alternative options. In this blog post, I will share the 3 greatest challenges I faced, how these can be a flex in homeschooling, and some tips I learned for overcoming these if they do still show up for you. 


Biggest Challenge #1 - Classroom Management


The first one (I want to say most significant, but to be honest, all three of these were hugely present in my day-to-day life as a teacher ツ) is classroom management. 



Here’s a definition of what that even is: Classroom management refers to the wide variety of skills and techniques that teachers use to keep students organized, orderly, focused, attentive, on task, and academically productive during a class. 


Can you imagine a classroom full of 28 kids that were 5 and 6 years old? And not only keeping them all alive and well, but also teaching them math, writing, reading, science, social studies, etc.? Sometimes I can’t even imagine it and I lived it, haha. Umm keeping all those kids organized, on task, and productive? (Side note - not sure why we’re so concerned about keeping 5 year olds on task and productive but I digress). Talk about a DAILY challenge! There were kids that didn’t know their alphabet, and kids that were reading chapter books. Kids that had just missed the last week of school, and kids that hadn’t had breakfast that morning. Kids that had lost their 18th pencil that day and kids that had ADHD. Kids that could make friends with anyone, and kids that were shy and had cried when their mom left that morning. That was 1st grade, and 7th grade had similar and different challenges. Can you imagine how many problems are just completely removed if the class had just 1 or 2 kids? Or even 8 if you have a big family? I honestly would probably still be teaching if my class was that small. 



My point is, each day kind of felt like chaos, and obviously that doesn’t just go away in a different environment….we’re humans for goodness sakes, we’re messy and busy. But having the ability to have deeper relationships with a smaller class allows for HUGE benefits. Especially if you’re homeschooling - nobody knows your kids better than you. It allows for more personalized ways to help them be engaged and “productive” (and can I just say that playing is productive for a 5 year old, okay thanks for letting me get that off my chest). It allows for freedom when there’s a hard day. More kids are seen, and you can have more fun when you’re not constantly worried about an orderly and focused group of kids. Orderly, focused, and kids don’t really belong in the same sentence anyways.


Biggest Challenge #2 - The Comparison Trap 



This one is my arch nemesis….the comparison trap. MAN OH MAN has this been an area in need of much character growth for me. I struggle in general with always wanting to be the best I can possibly be and I definitely have  high overachieving tendencies (which is a topic for other blog posts lol). This caused me to feel like I was NEVER good enough. When I was a new teacher, every day was exhausting trying to learn how to best teach my kids that day, and when there’s experienced teachers around you all doing things differently, you look right, then left, then right again, and left again. You try something and it doesn’t work out, so you go through the process all over again. It’s overwhelming and mentally draining day in and day out. Burn out becomes inevitable and that’s probably why 30-50% of teachers leave within the first 5 years. I have grown a lot in this area and I can see now how I could have handled them better. But being in an environment where your worth feels like it’s determined by how well kids do on a test at the end of the year still feeds into that narrative. I don’t know how you feel, but there’s SO much that can come out of those years and I think a lot of it CAN’T be measured by a test.


Homeschooling takes a lot of that pressure off. I know comparing doesn’t magically go away, but there is a lot less structure and rigidity. You can learn how your child learns best and how you teach best. In homeschooling journeys, it almost feels expected to be different and I think that’s the biggest flex of homeschooling - it allows for learning journeys to not all be the same. And who wants a world full of people that are all the same?! HOW BORING.


Comparing is, I think, a natural human tendency. Or maybe it’s just me, lol. When I was teaching, it was SO hard not to compare myself to other teachers. Not to constantly feel like I wasn’t being the very best for my students. Whether you’re teaching, homeschooling, or just momming and you struggle with that like me, this is something that has served me well. “I’m not a great teacher/mom/_____ for the things I know and do, but rather for who I am.” Just as Christ loves you for who you are, not the good works you produce. It’s not about the things you accomplish in the day. It’s about who you are and how you make your kids or those around you feel while in the midst of your day. ♡


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2: 8-9


I’d argue more comes out of relationships when both people admit to not being perfect, learning together, and just being yourself. My favorite memories of teaching are not the moments I was explaining things to kids. It’s the moments where the kids and I were laughing together over something silly or bonded over something we both enjoyed doing. I hope you remember that when you struggle with comparing.  


Biggest Challenge #3 - Time


This is another one of my arch nemesis’....you’re just making me bring up all the things that get under my skin, LOL. Actually, the things that make me feel uncomfortable are just things I need to work on in life, which is also true for the topic of time. This is another one that I struggle with in other aspects of my life, so it makes sense that it got me in teaching, but I know I wasn’t alone because I heard this topic come up almost daily from other teachers too.

THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH TIME. Doesn’t that just feel gross. I hate feeling like there’s enough time. How do you feel when you say that? I feel anxious, stressed, and defeated. All those feelings make me either shut down, get defensive, and just not be my best self. One of the most defeating things as a teacher is looking at the curriculum you get for the year and seeing how it already doesn't fit into the school year. To me, that feels like my kids are already missing out on things…like they didn’t even get a chance. It starts the year off with the understanding that we can’t get through it all, but we’re going to try our best. Which is fine, but also feels like I failed before I even got started, you know? 


In a different environment, you #1 - get to pick the curriculum you want,  #2 - you get to choose the pace you go at, and #3 - you have a keen understanding of what your child gets, doesn’t get, and what you think is important or not important. You get to choose. You get to decide what’s best. You get to start the year off knowing you guys will adapt and change as needed. Your goal isn't to just get through everything. It’s to enjoy the process, be responsive to needs, and have fun being together! Learning will happen throughout the day-to-day life, and you get to watch the growth that comes from your child in many aspects as a result of it. That just feels so much better.


Can you see it too?


Teaching is a tough gig - whether you’re in a public school, homeschooling, or something in-between. But goodness, it is so rewarding. With that being said, anything that you can do to start off with less headaches, the better right?! A lot of the faults we see within public schools such as classroom management, not enough time, and comparison can often be less significant in a different environment. Those faults can be a homeschool family’s greatest asset and I hope you can see the value like I can. 


Much love and I’m rooting for you, 

Brittany


 

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