Is homeschooling the right choice for your family? Let me start by saying only you and your family can decide if homeschooling is right for you. For my busy family homeschooling works but so does public school. My two older boys go to public school because for them that is what is the best resource. My next in line homeschools and my youngest does a mix. Each child is different so I used each child’s strengths to decide what was the best. So how do you decide if homeschooling is the right choice for your family? Here are a few things to consider as you decide if homeschooling is right for you
Evaluate Your Child’s Desires
The first step to deciding if homeschooling is right for your family is to discuss your child’s desires. Does your child want to homeshool? Depending on your child’s age and maturity you can always ask them if they think homeschooling would be good for them. If your child does not want to homeschool they may rebel and the environment not be proper for learning. If they have behaviors or special needs you may need to make the decision regardless of their wishes. But if at all possible take their wants into consideration.
Evaluate Your Schooling Goals
When deciding whether or not to homeschooling is right for your family consider what your schooling goals are. Make a list of things that you would like to achieve with your child during the first year of homeschooling.
- Meeting or exceeding state requirements for grades: If you have a advanced child homeschooling is definitely a option. This is why we chose to homeschool our son. He excels at learning but when he was in school he felt bored. Homeschooling allows us to achieve state requirements at a very accelerated rate and then focus on what he loves to learn. For example he is technically 6th grade but he is currently doing 8th grade work. He also focuses on language, programming, and engineering. Homeschooling allows us to build his knowledge loves.
- Your child’s learning style: What is your child’s learning style and can that be met better in a homeschool environment. My son learns best by experience. For each lesson we do a field trip or hands on activity. Homeschooling allows us the time to focus on the parts he thrives in. For example we did a lesson on finance so soon after he participated in a kids sale in his co-op. The kids made their own crafts and sold them. Then I had him do a lesson on profit and loss based on how much he paid for supplies vs how much he made selling his bracelets. For him this is what works educational wise. He is able to hear about it then participate
- Time Control: Children are only children once. To me spending all day in a classroom when the world is a classroom is the opposite of what childhood should be. I love that our days are not controlled by school. We can take a day off and go on a hike anytime we want. We can also learn the subjects that we don’t like at a accelerated rate vs having to learn at the pace of 20 other students
- Socialization: Think about your child’s social habits before deciding on homeschooling. Some children are highly social and learn best around other children their age. Other children may shy away from social situations or experience bullying and teasing at school. Think about their social habits and decide if they would benefit from homeschooling. My son is in the middle socially. He does enjoy his peers but at the same time thrives with adult interaction and working at his own pace. To ensure he receives socialization comparable to what he was used to in traditional school we participate in co-ops, field trips, music classes, 4H, sports, and I think you get the point lol. We keep him busy and afford him the opportunity to be around children his age, older, and younger multiple times per week. Before homeschooling decide will these opportunities meet your child’s social needs and do you have the resources to provide these opportunities.
Evaluate Your Families Circumstances
- Finances: There are a lot of financial considerations to think about with regard to homeschooling. You need to decide what curriculum and extra curricular activities you will include. There are ways to homeschool inexpensively but you need to weight what you can budget for schooling. Also consider if you are going to homeschool you will need time to be home to teach your child. Evaluate can your family survive on one income of your spouse. If you are a single parent evaluate if you will be able to school around your work schedule.
- Special Needs/Health: If your child suffers from health problems homeschooling may be an ideal option. There will be significantly less exposure to colds and viruses. If they have other special needs homeschooling may afford them one on one attention they may not receive at school. It will also provide more freedom with having time to make appointments or therapies. There is the other side to consider also. If you are in a good school district sometimes the school can provide more services and options for special need students. For example my oldest has various special needs and is in a program geared directly towards that. It would not be a benefit to him to homeschool him and remove him from the services he is thriving in.
- Your Strengths and Weaknesses: If you are going to homeschool your child you will need to assess your own strengths and weakness. Evaluate what subjects or areas of study you can comfortably teach and what subjects you will need assistance with. For our family I need help with math. To take this weakness into consideration my husband helps with that subject. Since he works full time I supplement what he teaches with online courses and online tutors. That way my weakness does not take away from the opportunity for my son to learn.
Make sure to do your research so you are prepared and know all your options.
- Research State Rules: When deciding if you are going to be homeschooling look up the rules pertaining to your state. Homeschooling is legal in all states, but some states may require you to outline the curriculum you’ve chosen to teach, or provide proof of your own educational qualifications. Other states such as the one I live in just require you to fill out a notice of intent, get it notarized, and submit it. Visit HomeSchool Legal Defense Website for the laws that pertain to your state.
- Consider Curriculum: Choosing curriculum can be a daunting task. There are so many options out there. Browse different ones and decide do you want a ready made one or will you custom make your own. I went through about 10 before I decided on one that worked for us. Then I incorporated other ones to focus on certain subjects.
- Find Local Homeschool Resources: Homeschooling cooperatives are groups of families who join together to educate their children. Families split up teaching and lesson plans so that each family contributes something to the group. For example my husband did the lesson on electricity since he is a licensed contractor who taught electricians for years while other families do lessons that they excel in. Finding co-ops for your family will be vital for your homeschooling success. It takes some of the pressure off and allows your child socialization in a laid back academic atmosphere.They also afford opportunities for science fairs and other educational opportunities that your child would have at traditional schools.
- Look Into Extracurricular Activities: Extracurricular activities can provide homeschooled kids with social friendships, physical activity, and leadership skills. Allow them to choose a extracurricular that meets their interest.
Deciding if you want to homeschool is a decision that only you and your family can make. Hopefully a few of these tips will help you make the best decision for your family. Whatever you chose just know you can always reevaluate and chose differently if the first does not work for you.