Homeschooling is on the rise, which I am so glad for.There are more resources and information than ever before. And there are more families than ever finding out the benefits of this lifestyle! If you are exploring the possibility of homeschooling, here are six questions to ask to see if homeschooling might be right for your family!
1. Does my family need more flexibility or freedom in our lifestyle?
Whether a parent works a unique schedule, your family wants to travel more, or you just envision your children having more time to pursue individual interests, homeschooling allows your family more freedom and flexibility than any other kind of schooling.
2. Would my child benefit academically from a customized, 1-on-1 style of education?
If your child is struggling in school or is academically advanced, a 1-on-1, customized education could be a huge benefit to them. I love that in homeschooling there is no comparison. There is no one to judge whether they are ahead or behind, and kids are allowed to move along at their own pace. You can linger where your student is struggling and advance ahead in subjects they have mastered.
Homeschooling also allows time and space for kids to study and explore more of what they are passionate about, so if you have a child who is excited by a certain subject or hobby, you can customize their education to match their interests!
3. Am I morally or ethically opposed to things being taught in alternative school options?
No matter what values your family holds about politics, hot button topics, religion or other things, you may find that your school district or teachers are teaching your children things you are ethically and morally opposed to. Or that they are teaching them before you feel like your child is ready to learn and benefit from this knowledge.
I know of families who have pulled their children just because they have wanted to be the first ones to have these ethical and moral conversations with their children. They want to be the ones to lay this foundation for their child's adulthood and to be able to teach them their family values before a teacher with potentially differing values (good or bad) is having that strongest voice of influence.
4. Do I want to be more involved in and have more control over my child's education?
Maybe you are unhappy with the lack of representation and diversity found in your public school's education. Maybe your child has an IEP you are concerned about. Some families feel like the time they and their child spend doing homework (or fighting about it) isn't benefiting them, is causing too much stress or is sucking up all their family time, that homeschooling would just be simpler.
I know some parents grieve the loss of teaching their child when they leave for kindergarten, because those years of teaching them how to walk, dress, use the potty, etc. etc. have been so sweet. If you're feeling unhappy, underwhelmed or like you're missing out by sending them to school--you can choose to homeschool! Seeing that spark of knowledge, making connections and learning together is a true gift of doing school together!
5. Would my child benefit from the social environment of home education?
We all know how good school can be when it's good, but also how bad school can be for a child when it's bad. There are many reasons a child may not benefit from a classroom setting, not limited to: being bullied, being overlooked, being labeled, not conforming to expectations, not fitting in, mental health challenges, physically health challenges, not connecting with their teacher, etc. etc.
A good home is a nurturing and safe place for a child to be free to be who their are, to grow and to learn without judgement and where they are unconditionally loved and cared for. What better place for them to be educated? There are many comforts of home, but the beauty of a child knowing they are safe, seen and loved may be the greatest comfort of all. This feeling of safety can lay an incredible foundation for a true and rich education.
6. Would taking on the responsibility of homeschooling align with our current family lifestyle?
Should every family homeschool? No. Should any family ever feel pressure to homeschool? Definitely not! But can any family who believes homeschooling is best for them find a way to make this lifestyle work? YES!
It's important to listen to your intuition. You know your children best, you know you family finances and family dynamics best and I think, deep down, most parents truly know if homeschooling is right for them or not.
But it is a responsibility. It is a responsibility, and a privilege. It does change your family culture and often it changes your family finances. So weighing all of the options is important.
If the logistics of the responsibility part--of figuring out your state laws, curriculum choices, scheduling, how to manage your home, change in finances on top of schooling without burning out, how to handle other's opinions, find community etc.--is keeping you from homeschooling, let me help you! If you're reading through all of these reasons and find yourself saying "YES!" but the practical part is tripping you up, you need to take my Homeschool 101 course.
This course will walk you through all of the nitty gritty of getting established for your first year of homeschooling. It will help you find a curriculum based on your family values, will help you learn to schedule your year and your week, will get you thinking about how to manage your home, create an atmosphere of education and how you can avoid burning out with the added weight and responsibility of homeschooling (and so much more!). It's truly everything you need to get started!
Making a decision like this takes a lot of thinking, discussing and praying, but I hope you have some additional clarity as you reflect on these six questions!