How to Tell if Homeschooling is Right For You
The decision to homeschool is not an easy one. Homeschooling is a huge commitment that requires all kinds of time and patience. If you're on the fence as to whether it's the right thing to do for you and your family there are a few things you should consider before making a final decision.
We've been homeschooling for four years now but this is the first year I'm homeschooling the majority of my kids. It has been a huge undertaking and I'm still learning to relax and trust my instincts when it comes to everyone's learning needs. This year, before making the full jump to homeschooling, my husband and I considered a lot of different things:
1. Can we make the time commitment? Homeschooling means that generally, your kids will be with you every minute of every day. Can you handle never grocery shopping alone? Can the kids handle that much togetherness?
2. Can we make the financial commitment? If you or your husband are planning to homeschool this means one of you will not be bringing in an income, unless you are able to work alternate work schedules. I used to do a lot of freelance work and have had to nearly cut all of it out this year because of the time commitment involved in homeschooling. There's no sending the kids off to school to get your work done!
3. Are there enough social opportunities? So many people worry about this before homeschooling. In short, the answer is almost always yes. Once you get connected to your local homeschooling community you will find more social opportunities than you can fit into your daily calendar
4. Do I have the patience? For me, this is a HUGE one. Teaching your own kids is a big exercise in patience. Our kids often listen better to other people and it can take a lot of time to find a groove when it comes to getting them to work with you as the teacher and as the mom.
5. Will my kids thrive at home? This was a big "yes" for us but I know it isn't for everyone. My younger kids are very close in age, they enjoy playing together and generally like being home. Last year, my son went to public school kindergarten and he liked it on most days but generally wanted to be at home learning with his sister who was already being homeschooled for health reasons. For us, it works.
6. Can I meet everyone's needs? Of course we all want to say that we can be it all for all of our kids, but sometimes that is just so hard to do. My oldest daughter has autism, she thrives on routine and a very set schedule to her day. Homeschooling her while teaching the younger kids just doesn't work best for all of us. She enjoys going to school so she has continued and that's what works for us.
7. Do I have the right resources? When you begin homeschooling, you may be thinking about all that you need to teach your children and how in the world you will find the tools to do it. It takes some research and sometimes a good library but you can find what you need to put together a curriculum. If you aren't comfortable putting together your own curriculum there are all kinds of sites out there that offer learning plans now that homeschooling is becoming more popular.
8. Do I want to do this? This might sound like a silly question but it's probably the most important. Homeschooling is a huge commitment and you have to want to do it to make it work. It's perfectly okay to say no and stick to a formal school system but if the answer is yes than you can definitely make homeschooling work for you!
No matter what, the decision to homeschool or not to homeschool is a very personal one. Only you and your family know if it's right for you.
Do you homeschool? What helped you make the decision?