Starting out with fear of the unknown, Sherri Seligson had a simple philosophy about homeschooling: “I figured I couldn’t ruin kindergarten.”
This spring, 16 years later, her youngest son graduates from high school, and she has also homeschooled her other three children, two boys and a girl. She took the process one year at a time and, each time liking the results, steadily continued.
Now, with a graduation at hand, Sherri is able to reflect on the achievement. “It’s like running a marathon,” she says. “At the end of the marathon, you’re exhausted, but you’re happy.”
With so many years of homeschooling experience behind her, she is also able to offer advice. Atop her list of helpful tips for parents: If you’re interested in homeschooling, don’t be afraid to proceed. There is so much available to you.
Sherri had attended public school, so that’s all she knew. As a result, she initially lacked confidence that her children were receiving what they were supposed to be getting from their education. Particularly with the first child — her “experimental child,” she says — there was plenty of trial and error. “I was fearful of doing it wrong and ruining my kids,” she notes, adding that the concern is common and quite addressable.
The remedies, she cites, were passion and faith that God would both lead and provide. “They [parents] do not have to be experts; they just have to love their kids. So much help is available,” she says.
Sherri also advises homeschooling parents to tailor their teaching styles to match the student. In other words, one size does not fit all. While one of her sons would have been classified as having attention deficit disorder, which typically would have slowed progress at public school, she found an alternate way. “Because we were able to do math in the sandbox, he excelled,” Sherri explains. “He was able to use his physical energy to learn rather than having to sit at a desk.”
She began teaching others too. A marine biologist before beginning to homeschool, Sherri found that families often needed help with science, so she teaches two annual classes totaling 30 students. These efforts led her to write two books, one about marine biology and the other about high school internships. She also encourages families by speaking at homeschool conferences, including the FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention.
Sherri has no regrets about homeschooling — only satisfaction. She even points out that her graduating son has indicated he’d like to homeschool his future children, which comforts her motherly heart.
Apprehension has been replaced by confidence, along with the understanding that parents will make mistakes and have limited knowledge. “You can’t be totally in the know about everything,” Sherri says. “And we’re never perfect. Give the best that you can give and trust that God will do the rest.”