How Homeschooling is Like Learning to Drive a Car

So have you heard about the “home-school-amatic?”  It slices, dices, and solves quadratic equations in 60 seconds or less!  You haven’t heard of it?  Neither have I.

Let’s face it, there is nothing automatic about home-schooling.  It takes work and commitment.  It also reaps benefits that are far-reaching and profound.

Okay, so you’re asking: but how is home-schooling like learning to drive a car?  Well, here are three comparisons I came up with.  Add your own in the comments!

1)  No matter how long a child has been anticipating learning to drive, no matter how eager they have been to take that step towards furthering their independence – the first time they get behind the wheel themselves is unnerving.  Thinking about and planning to drive is one thing, to actually DO it is another matter all together.

Home-schooling is like that.  Parents hear about home-schooling, become interested, research it, talk to other home-schoolers about it, go to a convention, order curriculum and then the day comes.  The first day of home-schooling!  They are excited, yes.  But it is all a little unnerving too.  There are doubts.  The first time their child fails to understand a math concept or simply refuses to do their work, many parents panic and fear they are doing irreparable harm to their little ones.  Just so you know: you’re not.

2)  People don’t just teach themselves to drive, at least not in this century.  Most often, a child is taught to drive by their parents.  Some kids are taught at Driver’s Ed and others go to driving school.  But whoever teaches them to drive the point is: they are not alone.  Someone is in the passenger seat beside them.  Granted that person may have white knuckles and alternately be screaming and praying, but they are there!

Likewise, when we are starting out on our home-schooling journey it’s good to have a friend who is along for the ride.  Someone who has been there before; someone who has experience that we don’t have.  Perhaps it’s a large support group, a small group of moms, or even just one astute home-school friend – whatever it might be it is extremely helpful to have someone who can get you through those initial white-knuckle days of home-schooling.  Someone who will laugh with you, perhaps pray with you, and most importantly, share a latte with you.  (Okay that last one is just my personal preference – I believe a lot of the daily challenges of life can be better managed when accompanied by a latte!)

3)  You don’t take your child out driving one time and ta-da! – they now know how to drive.  You probably won’t even start with taking your child out on the road.  When I first started teaching my kids to drive I would take them to an empty parking lot somewhere: a school (on the weekend) or possibly a church parking lot when there were no services going on.  When we finally got around to going out on an actual road I tried to keep to ones that were less-traveled, and finally, after weeks (or months) of practice we would finally head out onto the busier roads.  There are so many facets to learning to drive: navigating not only the rules of the road but dealing with other drivers and learning how to react to certain situations.

I can practically guarantee you that once you actually start home-schooling your children it will not be what you expect.  It’s not that it will be better or worse necessarily, but “getting behind the wheel” will feel very different from all the planning and preparation.  You will continue to learn; you will make adjustments to “road conditions.”  Over time you will become more and more comfortable with your role as driver – I mean, home-schooling parent.  After awhile, you will be able to quickly make adjustments when you see how your children are responding to a particular curriculum, for instance.  You will gain experience and as you do, your confidence will grow as well.

Perhaps one of the most important lessons to learn from this comparison is that, when you face difficulties as a home-schooler – as you invariably will – don’t quit!  My children experienced a lot of frustration when they were first learning to drive but do you think it ever occurred to them to give up?  Of course not.  Because they knew that if they stuck with it there would be a reward at the end – a driver’s license!  In the same way, there are rewards to home-schooling that you cannot begin to envision now.  As I am now in my third decade of home-schooling, I can assure you that any bumps along the road are well worth the rewards that just keep coming and coming.

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  • Jane

    I have a group of home schooled children come to me for pottery lessons. Great bunch of kids with parents who work hard educating them. All the children apart from one family took the children out of school because they werent getting the support they needed in school and thought they could do better for their children. I would say they have as the kids are all polite, well rounded and knowledgable and love learning new things

    • Anonymous

      Jane:

      Thanks for stopping by and letting us know about your experience with these kids. One of the things people tell me all the time is how “polite” my kids are. I love hearing it!

      I also want to thank you for contributing to these kids’ education. My children are, and have been in the past, involved in so many outside activities, mostly with people that aren’t home-schooled, and it’s nice to have someone with a positive attitude to interact with our children.

  • Dave Fowler

    Anne, for those about to embark on homeschooling it’s great that they have someone like you to offer support, guidance and the sort of encouragement you provide in this post.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks so much Dave! Like you, I’m on a mission…to share my experiences in the hope of helping other parents.

  • Ordinary Em

    Soopah Doopah…convicting. Thanks so much. This was just what I needed today. I found you at SITS.

    • Anonymous

      Well I am glad you found this helpful! Thank you for stopping by. I have been making such great connections at SITS Girls.

  • Sle4life

    I love this! I wrote a post similar called How homeschooling is like running. My local HS association printed it in their newsletter. Very encouraging!

  • Anonymous

    Umm… I totally needed to read this post! Thank you for writing it. I don’t have to be “perfect” out of the gate!

    Stopping by to say “hi” from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

    Ashley

    • Anonymous

      So glad you liked this! Thanks for the encouragement and glad you stopped by!

  • Jill

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog today……enjoying yours very much!
    Blessing to you,
    Jill @ Sweet Diva

    • Anonymous

      Enjoyed YOUR blog todayl! I have been meeting such great ladies through the Hop! Thank you for stopping by.