Are You An Accidental Homeschooler?

(You may be privileged to get two posts from me today.  It’s one of those days when I have a lot to say.  No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)

My boss, John Edelson at Time4Learning coined the term “Accidental Homeschooler” a while back as a result of talking to thousands of subscribers to the curriculum, and finding out that so many of them didn’t start out with designs to homeschool their kids, but because of circumstances beyond their control – – either with the schools, or with special health needs, or other reasons – – homeschooling became the best option for their families.

He and a homeschooling mom who considers herself an “accidental homeschooler” wrote another article recently on the subject that I hope you’ll check out if you get a chance. 

We were definitely accidental homeschoolers in the sense that I had never even considered homeschooling until Uber’s health scare right before he began kindergarten. (He came down with rheumatic fever of the brain and suddenly lost his ability to talk, walk, eat, etc.)  I had a huge learning curve to overcome in that next year where our days were consumed by physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and I somehow had to figure out how to be flexible enough to fit some formal education in there as well.  I found myself in the role of a homeschooling mom, and it was entirely unfamiliar territory for me. 

Flash forward to 10 years later, and I’m busy writing about things like integrating assistive and educational technology into your homeschool, interest-led learning, and homeschooling children with special learning needs.  Weird.  Time has a way of turning gravity upside down. 

What about you homeschoolers out there…did you always KNOW you would be educating your children at home or did the winds of reality knock the breath out of you and send you spinning to find an educational option you hadn’t planned on? 



11 Responses

  1. We always knew we’d do it, but I consider myself accidental because of the way we “do school”. It’s all very accidental, see? 😛

    What a scary way to start out your homeschooling career! But I think it’s a good example that homeschooling is not always a preciously planned event–sometimes it “just happens”!

    Gotta love T4L.

  2. We fell into homeschooling quite by accident.

    For the first couple of years I was so ambivalent about homeschooling that I kept slaving away at my career and let Mom #2 do all the home educating. Mom #2 was determined and insisted it was the best thing for Baby Boy since he missed so much school anyway with all of his health problems.

    Of course, once I saw the real-life results and how great the bond between them became, I quit my job, stole the homeschooling from her, and took all the credit for the whole idea. 😉

  3. Total accidental homeschooler here. It was actually on my long list of Things I Will Never Do for many years.

  4. We are SO accidental – I have my M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education and actually taught in a public school, so I definitely never gave it a thought… until Luke got to school, and the stress of it made him so sick, we pulled him out of 2nd grade. Now, we tell people that we homeschool because he was “allergic to school.”

  5. See Karen’s answer, except that I never sent DS to school. Take your normal 5 yo high energy boy and then put him on steroids and you have the energy level of DS and, I kind of like him that way. But, I’m thinking school won’t. So, it didn’t really seem like an option.

    BTW, I finally tried T4L for math. It rocks! Thanks.

  6. I can clearly recall having a conversation with another mom in Cody’s kindergarten class regarding homeschooling and saying those fateful words: “Oh, I could *never* homeschool my kid!” Flash forward 4 months, with me sitting on the floor of the family room surrounded by every single homeschooling book the library had to offer, taking copious notes in a spiral notebook (which I quickly filled). And here we are, 7 years later!

  7. Sarah – – Well, it’s nice to meet someone who actually planned for all of this!! 😉

    Mom1 – – I didn’t realize that you had each had a chance to homeschool Baby Boy. That is so wonderful!!

    Obi-Mom – – Don’t you hate that list??!! I’ve almost completed mine now…

    Karen – – I’m stealing that one…”allergic to school”…LOVE it!

    Holly – – thank goodness you didn’t let the energy get sucked out of him…good foresight! Glad T4L is working for you.

    FM – – You should find that notebook…wouldn’t it be FUN to see what you wrote in it ?? And how wrong it all was?? 😉

  8. I actually know THREE families where one parent was a teacher and being a teacher convinced them to homeschool (the schools in my area are BAD)

    My mum was quite accidental and both parents rebelled against it for quite awile. Eventually though, they accepted homeschooling, as if it has chosen them instead of the other way around. As for myself, I fully intend to homeschool my children.

  9. Hey there Topsie- I see your comments over at ObiMom’s blog so I thought I’d pop over to your blog….what a great blog!

    And to answer your question. We’re *sorta* accidental. I had planned on hs’ing but my program in a box, “I’ve got this all under control” plans went to to the wind when my son was diagnosed with a litany of “issues.”

    I decided the real issue was the box I was trying to fit him into. And against everything in my soul, I threw curriculum to the wind and discovered new ways to learn. (Or would that be….had my eyes opened to wonderful ways to learn.)

    (BTW….my boy, now 14, is thriving!)

    Great discussion you’ve got going here!

  10. Great post, Topsy! Our kids are past the homeschooling age (I’m not doing college at home) and we never did homeschool. But, there were times when we came pretty close…and it would have been totally accidental on purpose if other options hadn’t worked out.

  11. We were pretty sure, all along, that we would homeschool. The road block was dh for a while, but he got over his hang ups pretty fast and became totally on board with the idea. Public school scares him now too 🙂

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