Is Homeschooling Best?
“How do you know if homeschool is right for your child?” This is a question that I am often asked. Truth be told, I think people expect me to tell them that it is always the right choice for their child. It is almost as if they are asking my permission to homeschool or wanting me to make up their mind for them.
I have always said that “public school is made for every child, but not every child is made for public school.” This is absolutely the case for homeschool as well. With issues in the media such as sexualization of students and the Coronavirus, more and more families are looking towards homeschooling to protect their children. I completely understand this; however, I want to clarify that homeschooling isn’t an easy out.
Homeschooling is hard. Very hard. In fact, I think it is harder to homeschool my three children than it was to teach 25 students in the public-school setting. It isn’t for the faint of heart, that is for sure. However, it is very rewarding.
So, how do you decide if homeschooling is what is best for your child/family? Read that sentence again. How do you decide if homeschooling is what is BEST for your child/family? Best is the key word. Homeschooling isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of education. There isn’t a magical formula for success.
So, how do you decide?
First, you need to look at the motive for homeschooling. There could be many of them. Is your child not receiving the individualized instruction that they need? Are they being bullied to the point of it impacting their learning and performance? Are you concerned that the things they are learning conflict with your beliefs? Do they have an illness or medical condition that would cause them to miss many days of school? Are you concerned for their safety?
All of these reasons are reasons that justify homeschooling. There are others, but there are also reasons not to homeschool. Are you wanting to homeschool because your child got into trouble and you are mad at the teacher? Are you mad at the way a situation was handled concerning another student? Are you wanting to homeschool because your friend/family member is, and you want to have something in common?
After determining your motive, you need to look at your finances. I am going to be about as honest as I can ever be with you. It is not cheap to homeschool. Even finding completely free curriculum, there is still a financial cost to homeschooling. For starters, someone must be with the children, which means that often one parent quits their job. This is what happened in my case. This was a major financial cost to our family. My husband has a great job and we are financially able to handle this; however, it was something we had to consider.
Not only this, but my children are big eaters. They no longer are given two meals a day at school, which means that our food budget was increased — drastically.
Curriculum is expensive. While there are means to homeschool with cheaper or free options, I personally like to use curriculum because they help me stay on track.
The cost of printing and other school supplies is also important to factor into the cost of homeschooling.
If your motives are sound and you are financially committed to a homeschooling endeavor, you need to look at other factors such as method of delivery, structuredness of you and your child, as well the requirements of your state.
Children learn differently. Some children need more hands-on approaches to learning while other children can sit in front of a computer and learn. If your child learns better through a hands-on approach, you cannot expect them to learn from a computer. They will struggle, and the experience will not be enjoyable for them. My children would not do well in this type of environment. This impacts my routine. I cannot simply expect them to do the work themselves so I spend a good portion of our homeschool days working directly with them.
I am very structured. I have a plan for every day and to-do lists a mile long. Even with this structuredness, I find myself wanting to take a day off here and there. The beauty of homeschooling is that our schedule is ours to make; however, I have to make sure that they are getting their required hours/days of learning. If you are someone who would put education second to going to the mall then homeschooling might not be for you. You have to make education a priority.
State requirements are important to look at as well. My state of Kentucky is one of the easier states to homeschool in. Students have a day/hour requirement. They do not have to complete end-of-the-year testing, not keep a portfolio. (I do, just in case there is ever an issue). If we were homeschooling in a state with different guidelines, this might not work for us.
Please do not think that I am saying that people who homeschool and work are not successful. I am not. Nor am I saying that people who are more laid back cannot be successful in their homeschooling endeavors. What I am trying to stress is that there are many factors to consider about homeschooling, and it isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
If you are on the fence about homeschooling your child, talk to people who are homeschooling now or have homeschooled in the past. Ask them questions. Ask if you can meet with them to discuss what it entails. Do not go into homeschooling blindly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Joanna Yates – I am a 36 year old mom of 3 beautiful children. My husband and I adopted our 3 children from foster care. We live in Kentucky, but live to vacation anywhere with a beach. I taught public school for 12 years before stopping to homeschool my children. I am a Christian.