A Warning About Homeschool Forums & Online Groups

Posted in Just Starting Out on May 8, 2017 - by

Tons and tons of light-bulb opinions

I homeschooled for more than 25 years. I made mistakes and I watched mistakes unfold. I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. I couldn't leave the wonderful world of education and home education, so I now work as a homeschool tutor and consultant.

Today I want to share a word of wisdom for young and new homeschooling moms. My warning is about online homeschool forums and online homeschool groups.

The Struggles of a New Homeschool Mom

What if I mess up? What if I don't pick the right curriculum? What if something goes wrong? What if my children hate the way I schedule the day?

There are a lot of worries and sometimes a lot of pressure.

Even if you read a bunch of encouraging blog posts about how it is okay to be unique, there are plenty of pitfalls waiting to undo your progress. Today, I'm going to focus on our urge to look to "successful" homeschoolers as an example.

Looking for Authority

To conquer the fears of "doing homeschooling wrong," many parents look to Facebook groups, homeschool forums, and other online communities with authoritative veterans. Back in my day, Yahoo groups and Forums were the most popular places for moms to congregate. Today, I believe Facebook groups take the cake with forums a close second.

The Problems with Forums and Niche Facebook Groups

1. False authority.

When you start frequenting an online community, you'll start to notice which people are constantly active. These people speak with authority and seem to know exactly what is right and wrong. This is especially prevalent on niche forums.

It is extremely easy to get sucked into the trap of believing what they say.

You must have the full curriculum. If you don't purchase the XYZ program you will be a failure as a homeschool parent.

The other parents on the forum/group who stand by a specific curriculum or product may not actually be authorities. They may only be 1 year ahead! Nevertheless, it might not stop them from touting their own (limited) experience.

2. We like to share our successes, not our failures.

We're loud about our successes and quiet about our failures. When a style or curriculum doesn't work for a family, they often move on, silently.

When you do hear parents complaining about something, it is often in conjugation with praise for their current system. For instance, maybe Easy Peasy failed for us and we've moved onto Abeka. You'll hear me praising Abeka on the Abeka Facebook group as a "much better option." But, I silently left the Easy Peasy group.

3. Drama, Drama, Drama.

Not only is there always drama, it can waste a lot of your time! I'll never forget this epic piece of Sonlight drama. And don't get me started on the number of removed posts at the Well Trained Mind.

4. Every homeschool is different.

There are lots of options out there because each family is different! Don't fall into the trap of believing there is 1 curriculum above all the others. And certainly never believe anything anyone on a forum as the absolute truth.

5. What works for one family might not work for you.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could ask your general questions in a homeschool group and receive the "correct" answer back! This is a danger of online groups because this is the approach many parents take! They give a brief description of their situation and then ask for help.

I love that the homeschool community is so willing to help and offer advice. But the feedback often sounds authoritative and black and white. Remember, it is all subjective!

It may work for some people, but you and your family are unique. Ultimately, you have to come back to what your family needs. What you need. What your children need. What will fit into your life right now?

Homeschool Mom

About Neni

One of the pioneer homeschool bloggers, you may recognize Neni from her first homeschooling blog, HomeschoolingPages.com. For personal reasons, she retired her site and moved some of its contents here. She now contributes when she is available.
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2 Responses to “A Warning About Homeschool Forums & Online Groups”

  1. Sam says:

    Hi Neni,
    Great article and totally agreed as Home schooling should be different and customized for each and every Kid.

    I have 5 kids and currently they are studying in a private school. The issues which I am facing right now is my believe that current education system was designed to full fill the needs of Industrial Revolution therefore we have an emphasis on 3R's [Reading, Writing and Arithmetic] however 21st century needs different skill sets like Collaboration, Creativity , Problem solving, digital literacy etc. Just because instead of Copy and Pen my kids are using Surface Pro's or Laptop doesn't mean that they are digital literate or have the necessary skills to survive in 21st century.

    Need your advice in regards to the way forward as all these education system doesn't prepare my kids for what to come :).

    Looking forward to hear from you soon.

    Thanks

    Sam

  2. Beachy says:

    A curriculum not work for one family. That same curriculum may not work for individual children in thst same family. I've seen parents switch the whole family to annother curriculum, because it was wrong for one child and the new one was disastrous to another.

    I've also seen way too many change curriculums because they don't like it or it isn't something they are used to. Never mind it works for the kid.

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