What you’re already doing in your homeschool is working well for you and your children.

My message promoting the benefits of self-directed homeschooling is not for you if what you’re already doing in your homeschool is working well for you and your children.  If you’re happy with wherever you fall on the spectrum of homeschooling, your kids are learning and thriving, and you aren’t completely stressed out, there’s no need to change a thing.  Keep on confidently doing what you’re doing.  Self-directed homeschooling might not be for you.

You enjoy fighting with your kids over their schoolwork.

Now, I know no one actually enjoys fighting with their kids over their schoolwork.  However, no self-directed homeschooler (or unschooler) I know ever fights with their children about schoolwork, and a lot of traditional homeschoolers I know do.  If you would rather die on that mountain than investigate an alternative, then self-directed homeschooling is not for you.

It doesn’t matter to you that people learn more and better when they’re interested in the information; there are things your kids just have to learn, and by golly, they’re going to learn them when you think they should.

This is an indisputable fact: people learn more and better when they’re interested in the information. Somewhere along the line, though, we’ve bought the lie that children cannot get a rich, full education if it is guided by what they’re interested in learning.  The scope and sequence of a “good” education in school isn’t gospel truth.  It was created for convenience.  The simple fact of the matter is that there really isn’t anything that children actually need to know if they’re not interested in learning it.  If you force it, they might comply – long enough to pass the test and get you off their backs.  But have they really learned?  If you’ve bought the lie and you aren’t willing to debunk it, self-directed homeschooling isn’t for you.girlsapples 001

You aren’t willing to have what you believe about education challenged.

Let’s face it: self-directed homeschooling is a huge departure from the way we as a mainstream society have thought about education for several generations.  It takes courage, trust, faith, and a hearty conviction deep within your soul that there must be more to an education than the commonly prescribed scope and sequence in order to embrace self-directed homeschooling.  Examining the tenants of self-directed homeschooling will require you to contemplate the merits of the status quo and ask yourself some potentially uncomfortable questions.  If you aren’t open to doing that, self-directed homeschooling is not for you.

You aren’t willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

This one sort of goes hand-in-hand with having your beliefs about education challenged.  For someone who has long believed in the benefits of what we think of now as a traditional education, shucking that belief will be uncomfortable.  It will create all sorts of anxiety and doubt initially.  If you aren’t willing to consider that a better approach to education might exist right outside of your comfort zone, then self-directed homeschooling is not for you.

You allow fear to rule your life.

Rejecting the status quo is always scary.  In this case, you’re turning your back on a sacred cow of education: get good grades so you can get into a good university so you can get good grades so you can get a good job.  Does rejecting the status quo doom your children to unsuccessful lives?  Will allowing your children’s interests to guide the scope and sequence of their educations leave them with insurmountable gaps in their knowledge and skill base?  Are you utterly failing them?  The anxiety and doubts that someone who hasn’t fully embraced the foundational beliefs of self-directed homeschooling will undoubtedly feel can be crippling if you let them be.  The only remedy I know of is to simply refuse to allow fear to make the decisions.  If you are more comfortable allowing your fear to rule your life, then self-directed homeschooling is not for you.

You don’t care, deeply, about your child’s education, and you aren’t willing to heavily invest your time, energy, and money into it.

Now, before you get your feathers all ruffled, hear me on this: I am not saying that people who don’t unschool don’t care deeply about their children’s educations.  I am saying that if it is not something that burns deep within you, self-directed homeschooling is definitely not for you.  It is a myth that unschooling parents leave their children to their own devices.  In a lot of ways, supporting your children as they dive down rabbit holes and chase their passions requires a lot more of parents than simply following prefabricated lesson plans.  If education isn’t really important to you, please don’t unschool.  You make the rest of us look bad.  

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