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Making the Decision to Homeschool: 10 things to consider

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Making the Decision to Homeschool: 10 things to consider

Deciding to homeschool is a big decision for any family. It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make as a parent. Over three years into our homeschooling journey, I have such a peace knowing that it was the right decision for us. But, actually making that decision is tough! Are you considering homeschool? Here's a list of things to consider when making your list of pros and cons.
#1 Do you enjoy learning? 
Yes, you will be teaching your children, but do you enjoy learning? Because you will without a doubt be learning! As you work through your child's curriculum (no matter what style you choose), you will be learning right along with them. If you enjoy learning and naturally have a heart for sharing what you learn with others, you will make a great teacher. 

#2 Do you have a support system in place?
It is so important to find other homeschooling families that you can  connect with. I cherish my friendships with other HS moms, and my kids looks forward to every get together! We all need support. Reach out to some moms (or dads) that you know already homeschool. Look for families that seem like they may be a good fit for your preferred style of homeschooling. Ask them to sit down with you sometime soon. Pick their brain for curriculum ideas, planning tips, and group gatherings. Get an idea of what the homeschooling community looks like near you. 

#3 Does your schedule allow time for homeschoool?
Talk about wearing many hats! I have two children. I put in about 30 hours a week for school. That includes planning, teaching, field trips, and all things school. We're not sitting at the table with books 5 hours a day, but when I add up the time I put in, it's easily a part-time job. It would be very difficult for me to do if I worked outside the home, or had large demands on my time outside of schooling. Can you make the time adjustments needed to make your homeschooling journey successful?

#4 Does your spouse support the decision to homeschool?
Having support from my husband is a big factor in the comfort I had to finally make the decision to begin homeschooling, and his continued support makes a big difference in our journey. 

#5 Do your finances allow this choice?
Although you can be very frugal and really pinch every penny when it comes to buying what you need, there is still a cost. It's nothing compared to a private school tuition, but it does require more money than sending them to public school, obviously. There are many resources to keep costs low! Book swaps, trades, and even some FREE options. But, you will need to consider the costs. Begin preparing a mock budget for your school year. Add up the costs of your potential curriculum choices, and extra curricular activity expenses to get an idea of what you can expect to spend. 

#6 Do you have decent organization skills?
Planning and organization are probably my worst quality as a teacher! But, I manage. Homeschooling will require lesson planning and organization. If I don't prepare ahead of time our school day is a nightmare. You'll need some time each week to plan, gather materials needed, and organize work samples in your child's portfolio. It's not an exact science, and there's no right or wrong way to do it. But, be prepared to plan!

#7 Do you have a work space suitable for learning?
Get creative! We struggle with small spaces here, but we make it work. Your child needs a good place to learn and work. You know your child best. But every child needs a designated space. Your child's work space needs to be free of clutter, and clearly designated during school hours. We have to transform our dining area into the school area daily. My oldest also has a nice work space and desk in his room. We don't have a separate room for school or anything like the rooms I drool over on Pinterest extravagant. It doesn't have to be perfect to work. But, it does need to work!

#8 Do you feel qualified?
I'm not asking you if you have a teaching degree or if you have any kind of background in education at all. I'm simply asking you if you think you can teach your children. I'll be honest. This was my biggest fear! I was so worried I wasn't qualified. But, the truth is. I am! And more than likely, so are you! If you love your kids, enjoy learning, and have a heart to teach them, you can do it. Just really think about how you actually "feel" about teaching them.  

#9 Do you have a desire to incorporate your faith or religion into your child's education?
Bottom line? They are not going to get this at public school. How important is that to you and your spouse? Yes, values are taught at home no matter where your child goes to school, but how important is it to you that they be incorporated into their day-to-day learning? I love being able to incorporate our beliefs into our school day. It blesses our family!

#10 Do your kids like the idea?
Now, let me just say this is not a decision for your children. But, how do they feel about it? I think it's important to weigh in this topic with them at the right time in the decision making process. Kids give great insight. Do they like idea of being home? Both of mine love the idea, so that helps. But, I'm not sure how I would feel if they hated the idea.



At January 27, 2012 at 9:52 PM , OpenID simplystriving said...

Oh, this is an excellent list! My oldest is only 3, but I've been praying about homeschooling and think that is the direction we are going to go. . . .

Thank you for laying it out so well for me! :)

All for Him,

At January 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM , Blogger Cindi said...

Very good list with valid questions to ponder before making a decision.

At January 28, 2012 at 6:26 PM , Blogger Pam said...

VERY good advice. We are a long time homeschool family, and it was a really difficult decision. In Debra Bell's Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, one of her points was that you should enjoy being with your children a lot. Not just that you love your children, but that you love to be WITH them a lot. I thought that was interesting at the time, but such a good bit of advice!

At January 29, 2012 at 5:23 AM , Blogger Barbara said...

Very good list! I always think that once we move back to the US this is the route we will need to go.

At January 29, 2012 at 9:56 PM , Blogger Missy said...

All awesome. I can't even pick a favorite! My brother's family home schools 7 kids. It's pretty awesome to talk to them about it.

At February 29, 2012 at 1:55 AM , Blogger jmommymom said...

This is the best list for making the homeschooling decision.


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