Being an Accidental Homeschooler

Have you ever heard the term “Accidental Homeschooler?” Yeah, I hadn’t either back in the fall of 2005 when I pulled my son out of public school.

Let me back track for a minute. Even before I had kids, I never thought for one second that any children I had would be homeschooled. I did well in public school. I was a social butterfly, with many friends, and an honor roll grade point average. It wasn’t always awesome; there are always bullies and bad experiences. But, in my case, the good outweighed the bad.

Moving forward to the moment I pulled my son out of school. After a couple of months of dealing with a bad situation, and watching my young son change from a little boy who loved going to school into a little boy who cried every single morning because he didn’t want to go, I ended up pulling him out of school in a fit of anger. We explored private school options, but we were a single income family so that really wasn’t financially feasible. So we jumped into homeschooling, and another accidental homeschooler was born. Fortunately, we had a lot of support from most of our family and friends.

An accidental homeschooler is someone who never expected to make that choice for their children, and yet they find themselves homeschooling anyway. Some have problems in the school system, like I did. Some realized that their religious or spiritual beliefs changed and can no longer be met by, or mesh with, the school system. Some have children with special needs, or who are gifted, and a traditional classroom isn’t working for them.

As a homeschooling parent, I can’t say that anyone views homeschooling as easy. But I do think an accidental homeschooler may have a more difficult time getting started. Those who have planned to homeschool may have some idea of what method they like, or what curriculum/program they think they will use. Those who haven’t put any thought into those things can most likely feel like they are floundering.

If you are an accidental homeschooler, I would suggest trying to find a local support group. You’d be surprised at how much hearing first hand experiences helps when trying to find your place in homeschooling. Get online and find forums and blogs; those things can be invaluable resources. Online forums can be very active and there is always someone looking for support and help. Bloggers love to review products, and those review posts usually get a lot of responding comments, which may help you decide about certain books, websites, programs, etc.

Most importantly, you need to know that you aren’t alone and that you don’t have to fit into one mold. There is no reason why you can’t take aspects of a couple, or several, homeschooling methods or programs to find what works for you and your family. We can’t be classified as unschoolers because we use a curriculum. We can’t be classified as traditional homeschoolers because we don’t use a schedule. Whether you were an intentional homeschooler, or an accidental homeschooler, there is no right or wrong way; there is only you and your family and your homeschooling adventure.

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