My Homeschool Lesson

I vividly recall the day – no the moment – that my son taught me how to homeschool. He was five, and it was our first official year homeschooling, and although he was continuing to stay home with me as he always had, it felt different. I regularly vacillated between being overly concerned, and reasonably relaxed. I recall that I felt the need to prove I had made the correct choice in homeschooling, and that I didn’t want to make a mistake and ruin his life. I felt the societal pressure of how much more important things were now that he was old enough for kindergarten. Typical beginner emotions, I’ve since learned.

We were visiting his grandparents that day, and they suggested going to a museum. What could be better than a field trip? It was another opportunity to experience the advantages of homeschooling. I was ready!

As we walked through the exhibits, I carefully pointed out things because it now seemed important that he not miss anything. After all, his peers were in school this was the big league now, and I felt the pressure to “do it right.” We moved on to an antique car.

Knowing his interest in mechanical things, I wanted him to view the simple engine so he could learn something. I enthusiastically got down on the floor and suggested he get down with me to look under the old car. Then I looked up and saw that he was still standing and patiently pointing to a large floor mirror that I had not noticed. It was directed at the underside of the vehicle, and he was busy observing the engine details, only from a more comfortable standing position.

At that moment, I received the greatest lesson of the day. I learned to relax and trust my son. He didn’t need me to tell him how to learn! I stopped pointing out everything, and began trusting that he had the ability to see these things for himself.

These days, he’s the one who shows me things that I might otherwise miss, and I’m pleased to accept his help.

Originally published in “The California Homeschool Guide”.


Karen Taylor’s always homeschooled son attended a local community college after graduating from homeschooling. He transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior, and received a PhD in neuroscience from UCSF.  She shares homeschooling comments and links on Facebook, Pinterest, and this blog.