If you are considering homeschooling your kids, is it better to create two personas (a teacher persona who is concerned with schoolwork and a parent persona who may be more lighthearted) or a single persona? If you create a single persona, how do you create boundaries between homeschool and home?

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Jenny Bristol, Homeschooling Parent, Writer, and Editor

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What a great question!

I strongly believe in creating a single persona. Your kids need to know that they can come to you with non-school-related questions during the day, and that you'll be an understanding parent even during lessons. They will need you to be your regular self.

I find that the kind of boundaries I've created as a parent are exactly the same ones that work for teaching. If you're too strict with teaching (or have a persona who is not at all lighthearted), your kids won't feel like it is the same person teaching them.

As you learn how to homeschool your kids and fit education and learning into almost every aspect of your life, you'll find that it will begin to all blend together anyway, especially when your kids are younger. There won't necessarily be clear divisions between "school" and "the rest of your life". For older kids, with more formal lessons, it ends up becoming more clear where the boundaries of formal schooling, casual learning, and other times are. You don't need to artificially create them. But if you prefer to do that, perhaps certain times of the day are reserved for schooling. Then everyone will be on the same page.

I would think that it would be pretty difficult to maintain two separate personas. Perhaps others homeschool their kids differently from how I do it, but I think it would detract from the experience to try to be someone else during school hours. Plus, my kids would wonder what happened to their parent.

Kimberly Patrie, Writer, Entrepreneur, Homeschool Mom

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I think your question stems from some confusion about what homeschooling is.

If you have chosen to homeschool your kids, do you really want to bring school home? Or do you want to build relationships with your kids so they maintain their love of learning and want to spend time with you? I don’t think you can have it both ways.

If you are transitioning your kids into homeschooling from a public school experience, it’s extremely important that they know who you are and feel secure in their relationship with you.

The most important thing is to be yourself. If you start acting like a different person, I would think that would be extremely confusing to your children. In order to maintain your relationship, I strongly suggest you do not try to be someone you are not. Your relationship with your kids is the single most important aspect of homeschooling. Yes, academics will play a part. But if you don’t maintain a loving, respectful relationship with them, you will give up when the going gets tough. And believe me, it will.

I also recommend you do not try to emulate a classroom, because your home is already its own classroom, but better. It’s the place where your kids feel safe, learn at their own pace, and are loved and accepted for who they are.

There is not really a way to “create boundaries” between home school and home; it’s all the same. Learning happens 24/7, whether it is structured or not. So your kids are constantly learning, whether you give it a name like “school” or not. Reading books, playing outdoors, watching YouTube videos, it’s ALL learning. Then you can add in things like field trips, math, and science along the way, and you have home school.

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