I don’t remember when I first became convinced that homeschooling was the only type of education I wanted for our children. I do know it was long before I ever became pregnant. Now that we’ve finished our eleventh year of homeschooling, I’m more glad than ever of our choice. Homeschooling has been the perfect fit for our prepping family.
The foremost benefit for preppers like us is that homeschooling provides a continuous flow of education in spite of changing circumstances. Any event that would normally disrupt the school year doesn’t have nearly the same impact on homeschoolers. During a time of intense stress and change, a homeschooling family is together, along with the reassurance and the anchor that only parents can provide. This family survival manual will set you up with everything necessary for getting ready for emergencies.
Experienced homeschoolers know that you can “do school” at any time of the day or night. You can fill a backpack and a Kindle with all the curriculum you need and hit the road. School can happen in the waiting room of a hospital, in a Red Cross emergency shelter, or at Grandma’s house for an extended stay.
READ MORE: What if you were forced to homeschool? Could you do it? What might you need to do now to prepare?
It’s the versatility of homeschooling that lured us to this way of life and should everything hit the fan, for whatever reason, it may disrupt our homeschooling for a time, but at least we have the curriculum, supplies, and confidence to continue, even through the high school years.
No relocation trauma
If a family decides to move to another location or has to evacuate for a time, other than losing some time in the moving process, kids can pick up their schooling right where they left off. When we moved from Arizona to Texas, it did take a bit of catching up and a few hours with a math tutor to get my daughter back on track with Algebra, but within weeks, it was as if we’d always lived here and our schooling just continued in spite of the rather large blip.
(Our move didn’t go exactly smoothly, and I wrote about it here.)
The trauma of leaving one school and starting over in another is a non-issue. Our kids didn’t have to face walking into a classroom of strangers and when we landed in our little corner of Texas, little by little, they found their place among homeschoolers. We joined a large group of homeschooling families, which offered a Girls Book Club, a Boys Book Club, papercrafting classes, a homeschool baseball team, horseback riding lessons, a homeschool archery club, a rowing team, rugby, lacrosse, you name it. Within a short time, it was as if my kids had always lived here.
In case a pandemic hits, homeschooled kids will already be at home, along with their textbooks, computers, and everything else they need for learning. School closings and quarantines will be one less thing to worry about.
Will they be isolated and weird?
If you’re worried about socialization, that homeschooled kids will turn out “weird” and unable to order a cheeseburger at McDonald’s, I present to you my two children.
My daughter is now a senior in high school and, gasp!, she’s been homeschooled since kindergarten and throughout her high school years. She has taken sewing classes, been on swim teams and in a year-round swim club. She’s tried out cheerleading, took piano lessons, has been in Toastmasters for 3 years, a homeschool drama class, has dissected just about everything a Biology student can dissect and is handy with both a rifle and a handgun. She cooks from scratch, can make her own homemade beauty products, knows how to dehydrate food and can use a Sun Oven.
When she left for church camp this summer, she packed a small emergency kit with her: an emergency blanket, her Swedish fire knife, a Sawyer mini water filter, a multitool and a flashlight. She is confident and in so many ways already ready for college and beyond.
My son is now 14. He’s in Civil Air Patrol and focused like a laser on moving up in the ranks. He’s on a rowing team, plays on a homeschool baseball team, and can talk with anyone about anything, anywhere, anytime. In the past, he’s been on an archery team, gone to a shooting skills summer camp, taken horseback riding lessons, and has even made his own forge. I’ve seen him stay calm in situations where I was near panic and have come to rely on him as a strong and steady member of our family.
Just from these bits and pieces of my kids’ homeschooling activities over the years, you can see they’ve had plenty of time to learn practical skills and spend time with people of all ages. They aren’t unique. They are very much typical homeschoolers and ours is the typical homeschool experience.
The false argument, “But what about socialization?”, isn’t an issue, and it never really was. (I don’t happen to think that putting a gaggle of kids who just happen to be the same age in a room together for 9 months is the ultimate in developing well-rounded kids, but maybe that’s just me.)
Both social and practical skills
Our homeschooling has given them the time to develop practical skills, like canning and gardening, that would otherwise be limited by public school hours and homework. For preppers, this is the ideal educational setting: kids are able to learn academic subjects and still have time to explore their own interests and learn skills of self-reliance.
When I was in elementary and high school, decades ago, there were practical skills classes beginning in 7th grade. I learned how to iron, how to bake and cook, and how to use basic hand tools. Hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, and canning were once a part of everyday life for the majority of Americans. Now, if parents do not teach these skills to their kids, who will? Certainly not the public school system.
DON’T MISS: “Homeschooling: Where Academics & Survival Skills Meet“
If you want your kids, to learn practical, life-long skills, it’s up to you. This is where grandparents and extended family can play a huge role. Certainly, among the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in you family circle, there’s an abundance of knowledge and skills that could die out with that generation. Just yesterday, I was wishing that I had thought to ask my own great-aunts about growing up during the Great Depression.
Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge right in your own backyard and prepare your kids for a future of self-reliance by learning those skills now. Homeschooling helps make this possible because the “school day” is generally much, much shorter than the 7-8 hours spent in public schools, Monday through Friday.
Homeschooling for the tightest budgets
Another reason that preppers should consider homeschooling is because it’s many advantages come with a tiny price tag. In fact, there is a multitude of resources online that are absolutely free.
The curriculum that our family has thoroughly enjoyed over the years is AmblesideOnline. This challenging, 36-week curriculum is completely free and follows the educational philosophy and principles of Charlotte Mason, a British educator who established several schools in the late 1800’s. The website, SimplyCharlotteMason, explains:
The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte’s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”
AmblesideOnline provides the curriculum, book lists, and dozens of resources — the only expense is the actual books, and many of those are free online and can be found in used bookstores. For many reasons, this curriculum worked out perfectly for my family. When I saw my 11-12 year old daughter reading the original Mary Poppins, the original Peter Pan, and Oliver Twist and then discussing with me the themes of the novels without the need of a textbook or workbook guiding her thoughts and conclusions, well, I was impressed, especially coming from a public school background as a teacher, where so much literature for kids is “bottom of the barrel.” (Captain Underpants, anyone? The mindset of the public school system is that kids just aren’t bright enough to comprehend “hard” books.)
There are dozens of other curricula, though, and if you’re a beginner, you can read through my articles of advice for beginners. The main point is that homeschooling doesn’t have to cost much money at all. In fact, since so many homeschooling families are single-income with mom staying home, you’ll find yourself right at home with families who are also budget-minded and prefer to live simply in order to provide this education for their kids.
A multitude of free homeschooling resources on the web can take the place of more expensive curriculum if need be.
Self-reliant families in homeschool circles
I have found that homeschooling parents are generally eager to share their experiences and offer advice and suggestions, and chances are, there are homeschooling activity groups and co-ops in your area. However, beyond that help, you will find that homeschooling families tend toward self-reliance, and you will likely find other prepper families in these groups.
We’re used to swimming against the flow and are just a little bit rebels at heart, so prepping and homeschooling are a natural fit.
READ MORE: Here is a list of all the homeschooling articles that have appeared here on The Survival Mom.
“Follow your heart”, isn’t always the best advice, but when it comes to homeschooling, I think it’s an excellent guide. If your heart is telling you to, at least, consider homeschooling, there’s no better time to do that than right now.
This article was originally published in June, 2009, and has been updated.