There are a lot of reasons to consider when thinking about homeschooling your child(ren). Education budget cuts are sweeping our nation and many have concerns about the effectiveness of public education in their area and can’t afford private school or to move into a different school district.
Or, your child might have specific issues like a previous bullying problem or a medical diagnosis that make homeschooling a more attractive option.
Whatever your rationale, here are some things to think about homeschooling before making the leap.
Taking on homeschooling for one or more children, especially if they are at different educational levels, is a big time commitment. You may not be teaching 8 hours a day like traditional teachers (some homeschooling moms report that they are able to streamline their days without the extra time that schools require), but you need to research curriculums, plan lessons over time and figure out outside activities that your children can participate in to fill any gaps in your knowledge, such as museum tours or a science club.
Are you able to teach for weeks and months at a time? Do you manage your time well? Are you ok with losing a significant amount of free time that you would have if your children were in school? Take an honest look at your habits before embarking on homeschooling. On the other hand, some mothers that homeschool revel in the freedom that comes from being able to teach on their own schedule, go on learning excursions when museums and planetariums, etc. are not busy, take a day off when the weather is nice and take vacations in the off season.
Relationship between you and your child
Can you be your child’s teacher as well as their parent? Some parents find it is difficult to play both roles. I have a friend that hires a tutor for her child to improve in math because she tried to tutor him herself and found that they did not do well with her as his teacher. Does your child have a learning disability? Do you have the tools and resources to address this issue? As the teacher, principal and parent, it is up to you to figure out how to get your child any help they might need. If your teaching style is a good fit for your child, homeschooling can be very successful.
Responsible for own supplies
You will be responsible for supplying all of your child’s learning materials. Some schools are so strapped that many parents donate lots of classroom materials already, but if you homeschool, you will have to factor books and other materials into your budget and still fulfill your tax requirement that goes to the schools you aren’t attending. However, depending on your budget, you could enable your child to try science experiments and art projects that may not be possible in a school setting.
In addition to researching any additional outside learning activities that might benefit your child(ren), they will miss out on organized activities that schools sponsor like sports, clubs and dances. As young children, clubs and sports and just being around other children is important for developing socialization skills. As older children, they might feel excluded when they can’t be a part of these activities. There are many activities outside schools that you can involve your child in, but it is important to consider how much it will impact your child to not be able to take part, or if they will be just as happy playing on a city sports team or organizing their own dance.
So, now that you have taken these things into consideration, you can decide if homeschooling is right for your family. Homeschooling can result in a lot of flexibility, and attending school can work well for many children, as well. Only you know what will work best for your family.