1. There is no “how to”. You have to make your own decisions about what is important in education. You have to read lots of books and do lots of research to ultimately to figure out who you are, and you will soon learn, there is no “right” way to educate.
2. People will always ask you why you homeschool. Then you have to deal with their questions somehow. This. Never. Ends.
3. It is very likely that someone you love will absolutely hate the fact that you are homeschooling, and will make it clear. Wouldn’t it just be easier to do things the way your family expects you to? You’d get along better with them if you do.
4. You have to create your own social networks and be able to make friends without the constructs of a school setting. And the kids have to learn how to get along with people in the real world. The real world is scary sometimes, and it’s not always easy to know how to meet people.
5. You will have to answer all of your kids’ questions. And sometimes, (ok, maybe often), you’ll have to admit that you don’t know something. And you can’t say, “Ask your teacher tomorrow.” Instead, you will have to say, “Let’s look it up.”
6. The first step to successful homeschooling is to let go of everything you ever knew about education, and to start from scratch. If you really like how school works, you may be surprised at how different homeschooling is from that version of reality. Sometimes, that causes smoke to rise from the ears as two sets of gears try to go in opposite directions.
7. There are a million things to buy out there. It’s easy to get sucked into the “it’s for our kids’ education” trap. And beware homeschool conferences. They are like going to an endless mall of educational materials and ideas. If you go to too many of them, you may even be coerced into speaking at one.
8. Even if millions of parents have homeschooled before, nobody will be able to tell you what to expect. Homeschooling is like being a parent – every family is different and you’re going to have to become your own expert and do a lot of research. Sure, it’s possible to homeschool without research, but that’s like parenting without thinking about why you make our choices. So, once you’ve decided to homeschool, you will be spending just as much time as your kids with your nose in a book, or doing on-site research (park days and info nights). In fact, in the beginning, you’ll probably be learning a lot more than your kids are. That is a very tiring.
9. You run the risk of filling your house with books, magazines, science projects and pencils. You may need to convert part of the bathroom into a library. And what’s worse, is that whenever someone starts talking about a topic, you won’t be able to stop yourself from saying, “We have a book on that! Here, let me go get it.” People will either stay away from you to keep from being told all the nuts and bolts about taking a radio apart, or they will always be bugging you for help on their school science projects because they know you have all the books and info (and experience).
10. You are free. Completely and totally free. Do you really want to be free?