Mental Health and Homeschool Parents
HARO believes that homeschooling families and communities need to equip not only students and alumni with adequate information about mental health issues, but also parents and teachers. Parents and teachers deserve the same structures of support if they suffer from mental illness as would be offered anyone suffering from any other illness.
HARO urges homeschooling families and communities to do the following:
Maybe you struggle with a mental illness and felt alone or ashamed in your own community. Or maybe one of your fellow teachers has. 26% of adults in the U.S. suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. That means, out of every 4 homeschool parents in any given area, 1 of them is dealing with one or more mental illnesses in their daily lives. Do you know have support one another? Are you letting each other know it’s ok to talk about, that you won’t judge? That you will be there for one another?
2) Homeschool parents with mental illness need to realize that their illness will — whether they know it or not — impact their children.
This is something our communities should be open to talking about. Because sometimes, even though we wish it wasn’t the case, children need a break from their parents if their parents are mentally unwell. Again, are we equipped to bear one another’s burdens like that?
3) Homeschool parents need to manage their own mental illness — and get outside help whenever necessary — if they are going to ensure a safe, nurturing environment for their children.
4) Homeschool parents need to have established contingency plans in the event that their mental illness becomes too much to handle along with dedicated homeschooling.
The possibility (or likelihood) of such an event ought not bring shame. It is part of life. But that situation needs to be planned for, so that both the parent’s health can be attended to as well as the student’s (or students’) educational needs continue to be met.