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The biggest mistake homeschoolers make

Newsletter · Aug 29, 2021


After talking a bit about career opportunities for homeschoolers on Instagram this week, I was sent a stack of very cool life stories from adults who grew up being home educated. I’ve picked a few of my favourites to share here, because they’re SO encouraging:

“I was homeschooled and have gone on to complete a Diploma of Business, Bachelor of Arts/Education and a Masters of Education (Special Education) with Distinction. Basically, I love to learn and I credit that to my amazing parents who went out on a limb and homeschooled us. All my siblings have full-time meaningful work. Socially we haven’t missed a thing, I would argue that we have gained more.”

“My sister and I were homeschooled from 5th grade onward. I have my MBA and a thriving career as a business analyst for a multi-billion dollar company. She just finished law school with multiple job offers. Homeschooling definitely helped set us up for success in many different ways!”

“My siblings and I were homeschooled grades 1-12. It wasn’t particularly rigorous or impressive. We mostly read a lot of books, honestly. I’m an RN with my BSN, graduated with honors from a very difficult program. My sister is an OT with her MSN. My brother decided not to go to college at all and is a computer programmer. He manages an international team at his company and makes more money than my sister and I combined.”

“I was homeschooled. I went on to live in several different countries around the world. Have worked many jobs that I was passionate about and learned SO many great things about life. Now I own and operate two AirBnbs and homeschool my 5 kids! I have more friends than I can keep up with because I learned to love well, not because of my social skills.”

“My homeschooled, math-avoidant husband taught himself higher math to take the GRE in his mid-30s for a career change (after the undergraduate degree in philosophy/theology he achieved in his early 20s). Once he had a motivating reason to learn it, he had no trouble finding resources, studying regularly, and even falling in love with it! He’s now halfway through a data science/programming masters degree and loves it. Being empowered and confident to control one’s learning is SUCH a gift.”

“My brother and I were homeschooled. Never stepped a foot in a school. I am a self-employed photographer (now homeschooling my own children) and my brother is a chiropractor.”

“I was homeschooled ‘K-12th’. I went on to get my BA and MA. I now work as a paediatric speech-language pathologist. My husband and I are homeschooling our son. Can’t imagine a better education!”

If you’ve ever worried that not going to school will limit your child’s career options…you can now exhale.

Ok, onto one of your questions!

Your Questions & Answers

Sarah: “What’s the biggest mistake homeschoolers make?”

Focusing on the education more than the child.

A very typical homeschooling path is to replicate much of school at home. To create a dedicated learning space, to fill it with supplies and workbooks and printables, to decide on a curriculum and subjects and schedules and timelines…

None of that is inherently wrong, and lots of kids will be more than happy in an environment like that, but plenty won’t be. And if we start with the ‘school’ part – deciding where our child will learn, what they will learn, when they will learn it – we’re not leveraging one of the most powerful aspects of choosing a life without school: the chance to tailor your child’s journey through life to them and their strengths.

I genuinely believe one of the main reasons more people don’t grow up to do something that gives them meaning (the stats say only about one in four of us do) is because they’re not given enough time to explore those things during their formative years. Home education is the best possible platform for that – but only if you step back and give those ideas and passions a chance to breathe.

Thanks for reading – I hope you walk away from this feeling super inspired by those amazing stories!

Talk soon,

Issy Butson, aka Stark Raving Dad. Author of The Grandparent's Guide to Home Schooling

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