Are you considering homeschooling your child? It’s a major decision, with pros and cons. This article can help you sort out some of your thoughts and clarify what you want and the information you may need to make your choice. It may also give you an idea of whether you have the personality to homeschool, and if it’s the right thing for your family given your unique situation and needs.
How much time to do you have?
Homeschooling will take up a lot of your time. Instead of just a few hours of helping your child with homework, you can expect a whole day of planning lessons and executing them: experiments, projects, research papers, field trips, arts and music lessons. Even when you go on errands, you may want to take your child and turn it into a ‘everyday teaching opportunity.’ A supermarket trip becomes a Math lesson. A visit to Grandma can be part of a history lesson on the second world war.
Can you afford to give up a full time job?
You will need to buy books and invest in good educational material and supplementary classes. But that’s not all: the teaching parent will not be able to focus too much on a career, since you have practically hired yourself to be your child’s teacher. Look not just at today’s budget but the impact on your family’s long-term goals. How will it affect your retirement plans? Your ability to keep up with mortgage or credit card payments?
How conducive is your home environment to homeschooling?
Do you have an area where your child can work? A place where he can put his crafts materials, study aides? Remember you’ll be conducting experiments and will often be leaving art projects out to dry. You can’t pack up after every lesson or avoid the clutter that is part of learning.
Do you have the whole family’s support?
This is a family commitment, and you and your partner should at least agree on the decision. It is even better if your partner is willing to share some of the responsibility of teaching your child, or taking over some of the field trips or discussions. You will also have to talk about how you can divide housework and other responsibilities so that you can still have your “me time”.
Does your child want to consider homeschooling?
How does your child about not being part of a regular school? Ask what he thinks and what he expects (he may have misconceptions). If possible introduce him to other kids who are being homeschooled. He may want to know what it’s really like from another kid’s perspective. But it is very important for you to know and respect his opinions and fears. While, as parent, you have the final decision, you need to know what your child’s emotional needs and factor that in the adjustment period.
Photo from doverpubliclibrary.org