So You’re Thinking about Homeschooling?
There is a lot to consider when you are thinking about homeschooling.
Why are you Considering Home Education?
It is a good idea to start by writing down the reasons you are interested in homeschooling. This is a huge decision that is not to be taken lightly and you will want to thoroughly wrestle with it before making your decision. Don’t just mull it around in your head, get it down on paper so you can go back to it over and over again.
Consider these questions:
- What are you unhappy with in your kids’ current educational situation?
- If your kids have not yet started in a traditional school, why do you not want them in a traditional school?
- What do you think about homeschoolers/homeschooling? Are these legitimate, or are they stereotypes or ill-informed impressions?
- What do you KNOW about homeschoolers/homeschooling?
- What do you want to know about homeschooling? Make a separate list of all your questions.
- Why do you NOT want to homeschool, or what has prevented you from doing it in the past?
- What fears do you have about homeschooling?
- What are your biggest concerns about homeschooling?
- What was your schooling experience growing up? What did you like or dislike about it? Do you feel like you have been well-educated?
- What would you have liked to change with your own education when you were growing up?
- Make a separate list for good and bad effects of your children’s current education model.
- Which of the lists from the previous question carries more weight?
- What are your biggest concerns about our society? How do you see your kids navigating these issues?
Potential Side Effects
Write down the possible repercussions homeschooling might have on your family. Among these should be:
- Impacts on your schedule
- Time commitments
- Work commitments
- Lifestyle changes
- Financial concerns and possible solutions
- Experiences you want for your kids
- Goals in educating your children
- Your family’s priorities
- The values, worldview, character traits, and skills you want your children to learn
- Your vision, your definition of success for your kids
What Are You Working With?
- Perceived weaknesses
- Who do you know that you could go to ask for help, advice, or insight?
Ask Questions From People Home Educating
Ask homeschooling families that you know (preferably with a few years under their belt) about their experiences. This will help you get a better picture of how homeschooling works and the impact it has had on their lives, and what your life might look like if you make the move to home education.
How has homeschooling changed the following aspects of their lives?
- Family dynamics and relationships as they experience more time together
- Lifestyle changes
- Experiences they have had to give up by not having their kids in traditional school
- How they compensate for those missed experiences
- What a homeschool day looks like in their home
- How do they get help to teach subjects they aren’t strong in themselves
- “Me time” for whoever will be the primary educator
- Household chores and responsibilities
- Socialization for the kids
- Homework schedules
- Any other questions you have
Take time to reread your notes and lists and continue to write down your thoughts and feelings as you read through them.
If you are a person of prayer, then pray a lot, ask the Holy Spirit to give you discernment and confirmation about what the correct decision is for your family.
If you are not a person of prayer, meditate on what life would look like as a homeschooling family. Envision life as homeschoolers. Envision your life if you choose not to homeschool. Which do you prefer? Which life are you more comfortable with? Think about both the short term and long run.
If you are married, talk over your notes with your spouse. Talk with your children too. If possible, decide as a family whether or not to homeschool. If you decide this is right and your children aren’t on board yet, make sure that you and your spouse are either on the same page, or you at least have your spouse’s support to move forward.
If you are a single parent, reach out to other single parents about how they manage homeschooling. Talk to friends who would be willing to support you as a single-parent homeschooler. Have them voice concerns.
If you decide to home educate, keep your notes where you can reference them. There WILL be hard days. There WILL be days when you want to quit. When you doubt yourself, go back an reread your notes to remind yourself why you started home educating. These notes will help you during hard times. When your children are older, you can share your notes with them to allow your children see your vision and why you chose to home educate them.