The next generation to homeschool features the millennial mom at the helm. What is it like homeschooling as a millennial? Well, it’s definitely not the homeschool stereotype.
How Homeschooling Has Changed
I grew up in the ’90s. Which means I wore a flannel shirt tied around my waist and pretended I had a twin like Mary Kate and Ashley. I rode my bike in the cul-de-sac and caught fireflies until after dark. Kid Cuisine frozen meals were the highlight of our grocery shopping trips as my mom and I jammed out to Alanis Morrissett on the way home. “TGI Fridays” with Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch started out the beginning of another care-free weekend.
I remember my dad bringing home our first computer and I always asked to play a generic version of ABC Mouse. My childhood was pretty typical and I don’t remember my parents showing much thought to how we were being raised. We got up, went to school, played, and eventually grew up.
Today, as my husband are in our 30’s we are raising a family of our own. I often wonder what type of parents we would have been when the world still seemed so very small. Would we have been just as carefree as our parents seemed to be?
Our Decision to Homeschool
One area we differ from my own upbringing is that we decided rather than sending our children to public school, we would homeschool instead. There are many reasons we came to our decision, most importantly among all of them was that we felt the option would fit our lifestyle best. We have a small homestead so we really wanted to give our children a firsthand experience with life. This includes daily interactions with nature and our farm animals. So far it’s been a huge blessing for our family.
Homeschooling Today as a Millennial Mom
Homeschooling now looks a lot different now, than when my mother-in-law homeschooled my husband as a child. Homeschooling is on the rise and it has been for a while. Many parents choose to homeschool for lifestyle purposes, religious reasons, educational support, or just because they don’t want to miss out on these precious years. Either way, no longer are homeschoolers the weird, social outcasts (cue the scene from the movie Mean Girls). In fact, homeschoolers might even be the new cool kids.
To parents these days, homeschooling means freedom. Freedom from the normal schedules that would tie us down from 7am-4pm. Freedom from desks and classrooms with four walls.
Pushing the Limits
Now, most millennial parents work remotely and can travel and take their families with them while road schooling. Not only are there no limitations for parents but for the students too. Children can learn from real-world and first-hand experiences.
My children didn’t learn their ABCs with pencil and paper, they learned them by playing in the sandbox. Which in my opinion is the best kind of sensory bin. They are not rushed and have ample time to explore and discover who they are. I don’t want them to feel the pressure to fit into a mold. So, I don’t like to ask my children “who do you want to be when you grow up?”
Instead, I like to ask them “what type of person do you want to become?” I know that answer can’t be found on an aptitude test or any standardized test at all. Rather, it lies deep within their character and the life choices that lie ahead of them.
A Virtual Homeschooling Community
As a homeschooling millennial mom these days I feel there is an amazing community for our movement. Places like iHomeschool Network and the Wild + Free Community build up and encourage mothers to take the lead on their children’s education. They consistently put out podcasts, blogs, and conventions to help support homeschooling families.
Social media wasn’t around in my parents’ generation but thanks to Facebook and Instagram we are now instantly connected. Which means encouragement and advice from other like-minded mamas is only a click away.
More Homeschooling Resources
When my mother-in-law homeschooled there weren’t as many resources and my husband often remembers her shopping for curriculum from a catalog. Now resources abound, in fact, at times it can be almost overwhelming with the options to choose from.
Thankfully, I did learn that figuring out what type of educational philosophy best resonates with you and your family helps to whittle down the options. We gravitated toward the Charlotte Mason Method based on our family values and my love for her opinion that children are born persons.
The Homeschool Comparison Trap
While there are many advantages homeschooling as a millennial mom it doesn’t come without its struggles. Social media is a fantastic tool to connect each other but at times it can draw attention to the things I lack. We don’t have perfect shelves with all natural wooden math manipulatives lining them. Nor did I do anything for Pine Tree Week in Raising Little Shoot’s “Exploring Nature with Children” curriculum.
I don’t enjoy paper-mâché and glitter but for some reason, I still feel a pang of guilt when someone posts their craft of the week. When I go there, I have to quickly remind myself that their homeschool is completely different than ours and that’s ok!
The Uniqueness of Homeschooling
Our home is unique and my children are too. We have the freedom to choose how and when we want to do school. We have an excellent community to support us in our journey. Along with resources from all over the world available at our fingertips.
While I can tend to fall prey to the comparisons I am continually reminded that homeschooling today is so much more than it was twenty years ago. To me, homeschooling is a tool to help me build my children’s character. All the while providing the opportunity to nurture the big ideas that grow inside their hearts and minds. It is a blessing, a joy, and a true privilege to be a homeschooling millennial mom.