Wednesday, August 8, 2012

X is for... eXpectations

There's a whole series of books with titles like "What to Expect When..." and I honestly don't know if there's one titled "What to Expect When You're Homeschooling" but maybe there should be.  Or maybe it would be too daunting to write because the realities of what to expect are just too varied.

I don't remember exactly what I expected when we started.  It was just too many years ago.  But I'm pretty sure that the reality was quite different from the picture I had in my head.  For one thing, I'm pretty sure I had some kind of expectation that my kids would be the perfect little darlings and be so smart that they graduated high school at 12 years old with full-ride scholarships to the prestigious universities of their choice. Well... I really did sort of expect the first part - that my kids would be unbelievably well-behaved and that they would be self-motivated students. 

The reality is that my kids are very much like most other kids in a lot of ways.  They prefer playing video games to studying algebra; their favorite TV shows include cartoons and sports rather than a steady diet of the History Channel; and they like to sleep late, test boundaries, and try to get out of doing their chores. But unlike some of the other kids I know, they have a respect for authority, retain what they learn in school, and have enough time that they can still play video games and watch TV without neglecting their studies (much!).  

But it really didn't turn out quite the way I expected, like the fantasy I had in my head of a neat classroom in our home complete with a blackboard and flag and students that couldn't wait to get started on the next lesson.

There were, and are, a lot of expectations from others.  Some of our family members and friends expected that our kids would not learn properly, that they would fall behind in reading and math, or that they would be seriously handicapped by not having "professional" teachers.  I'm happy to report that at least some of those have confessed to me that they see that they had nothing to worry about on those scores.  Some people believe that homeschoolers are all socially awkward and don't know how to behave "in the real world."  But the truth is, homeschooled kids are much more likely to be exposed to the real world in context, and I really can't think of any homeschooled kids I know that are genuine social misfits.  They all have friends, and their friends are likely to be of varied ages and interests too.  They know how to relate to all kinds of people and can have intelligent conversations.  They are respectful and responsible and diligent.  I suppose that might make them "different" from their peers in some cases, but in a good way, if you ask me.  If these kids don't dress like, or act like, everyone else, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.  I find it funny that a society that claims to value individuality is quick to point a finger at someone who doesn't always run with the crowd or follow the latest fad.

For those who are just starting out with homeschooling, I'm not sure what to tell them to expect.  Homeschooling seems to be a unique experience for each family, and that's the way it should be.  Education shouldn't be one size fits all.  That's why we homeschool.  I can predict a few things to expect:
-bumps along the way as you adjust and adapt
-you will need to learn some things along with your kids
-you will need to be transparent and teachable if you hope to disciple your kids
-it will often be hard work
-it will be fun and rewarding
-it will be worth it

And...  Expect great things from your kids.  They will tend to rise to your expectations.  

What did you expect when you started homeschooling? Is that the way it turned out?  Leave a comment and let me know!


Blogging through the Alphabet is a weekly link-up hosted by "Ben and Me". Please visit to join in and to see what thoughts this week's letter has prompted for other bloggers.


Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.