Jaime: Our biggest homeschooling challenge would be dealing with other people's misinformation about homeschooling. So many people do not have correct information (or any at all) about homeschooling and judge us or challenge us in our decision. We have many uneducated questions thrown at us and many people drawing conclusions that are unfounded.
We deal with this on a case by case basis. Here in Alberta we have quite a few "rules" as homeschoolers and it helps to tell people them. For instance, we have to be enrolled with a school board and as such are subject to teachers and principals. We are lucky as a family to have a wonderful teacher who affords us much freedom, but people hear teacher and think TEACHER in school. We also hear a lot about grades and tests. Here in Alberta we still have to take standardized government tests every three years and we are issued a report card. This seems to take care of most of the questions.
If someone is truly interested in what we are doing though, we find that after all of the questions, they want information. We are more than willing to provide it.
For us it has not been a challenge in the traditional meaning, we just need to remember WHY we homeschool and we can explain the HOW to people who don't know.
Tristan: Two challenges come to mind for me. First, my oldest daughter really struggled with math from Kindergarten through the end of 2nd grade. It brought tantrums and tears from both of us and we quit all math before her 2nd grade year ended. After a few months off we began a different math curriculum, starting way back at the beginning with the first level of math, even though my daughter was heading into 3rd grade. It was wonderful! She built up her confidence and skills and now we have no more tears at math time.
The second challenge is really an ongoing one in my life, it is the challenge to homeschool my older children with babies and toddlers always around! I have been pregnant and/or had a baby every year for the last 6 years, (baby #6 will arrive in about 8 weeks!). There is always a little one who needs mommy, or a not much bigger one who is mobile and getting in to everything. As everyone is always growing our coping strategies change regularly. With a baby I wear them in a baby wrap so my hands can be free. As they begin mobility we try to baby proof and keep a baby gate between the math manipulatives and the crawler. When they are walking and insist on being right in the middle of the action at the table we use a booster seat with a seat belt. They go at one end of the table with safe things to play with, while the other children get their work done out of reach further down the table. It is a never ending balancing act, but we just take it a day at a time and enjoy each new stage together!
Dana: I think the biggest challenge I’ve experienced in homeschooling is ME. Self-discipline is so important, especially in homeschooling. If I am lazy, impatient or whatever negative trait you can imagine, I bring it with me to our learning environment. I have to be able to push myself to rise above the “nature man”- in this case woman - as King Benjamin directs us in the Book of Mormon. ☺
Another challenge for me is, that sometimes the conveyor belt, fill their brains with x, y, and z, mark off this study item, public school mentality sneaks its way into our learning. Even though I KNOW that it is detrimental to true learning, that mentality sometimes pops back in for a time, until I realize it for what it is and am motivated to offer something better for my crew.
How do I meet this challenge? Prayer, commitment, pondering, and loving my family. As these challenges don’t seem to go away entirely, I often have to forgive, recommit, and try again. But no matter what challenge is before us, we always manage to find joy in the journey.
How about you? What challenges have you faced in your homeschooling experience?