Are you an Accidental Homeschooler?
What is an "Accidental Homeschooler"?
While some families know from the start that they want to homeschool, others arrive somewhat "accidentally". These are families who had initially put their children in traditional schools. Over time, perhaps due to the environment, the curriculum, or the relations with the other students or teachers, they become convinced that the available schools are unacceptable.
Although many are people of strong faith, they start to homeschool not for religious or philosophical reasons, but as problem solvers trying to do the best for their children. "I never thought I would homeschool, but after trying my son in several different schools, we were at our wit's end. Our son was miserable in school and doing badly. After one particularly bad day when he came home in tears and humiliated, we agreed to try homeschooling for the rest of third grade. That was two years ago and it has really worked out for us." We coined the "Accidental Homeschooler" term to describe those starting to homeschool motivated by a process of elimination, not because homeschooling is their primary choice. There was one particular conversation that got us thinking about these families and the process of suddenly jumping into homeschooling.
One mother who had called to find out about our curriculum, felt it important to explain to us that: "I don't really believe in homeschooling and I don't want to do it, but I have to because of my children and the way schools worked." Uh, right.
We noticed that she was not the only one who followed a bumpy conflicted path into homeschooling. It's striking that we rarely hear from people planning to start homeschooling in a few months or weeks. But, we hear daily from families that have decided to homeschool and want to start immediately.
While we can't seem to find any data, we believe that about half of today's homeschoolers started in traditional schools. So, with some fear of over-generalizing, here are some characteristics of accidental homeschoolers that we have observed: