How to Tell if Homeschooling is Right for Your Family

Homeschooling is legal in every state, but the choice to homeschool should not be made lightly. Research and discussion are required to make a wise decision. How do you tell if homeschooling is right for your family? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering homeschooling as an option for your family.

  1. Am I comfortable spending all of my time with my children?One of the main reasons that people homeschool is because they love their children and want what’s best for them. They also genuinely like spending time with their children, which is good since you’ll be spending all of your time with them. If your children frustrate you easily, homeschooling might not be a good match for you.
  2. Will questions bother me?Homeschoolers are usually asked a lot of questions. Those questions could be about what curriculum they’re using or about socialization for their children. If you homeschool, it helps if you don’t mind answering the same questions more than once.
  3. How can I find out about homeschooling?Check out books from your public library. There is more than likely a large selection of books that will tell you everything you need to know. The librarian might even be able to tell you if there are any homeschoolers in the area, since most homeschoolers rely heavily upon the library for source materials.
  4. Is there a support system available?After you’ve read some books, find local homeschoolers, or do an online search for “homeschool groups (your city)” or “homeschool groups (your state).” There are homeschooling co-ops available in many places, as well as opportunities for families to get together and have fun.
  5. What if I have other questions?After you’ve found some families that already homeschool, and ask them about the pros and cons of homeschooling. Most families will be honest about their reasons, and will be more than happy to help you make an informed decision. Ask them what types of hardships they had to deal with when starting out. Should you be concerned about socialization for your children? What about curriculum? Do they have suggestions about what to use or not to use?
  6. What curriculum do I choose?Curriculum choices are astronomical — in the variety available, and often in the price. While it is possible to have “school at home” by choosing books very similar to what are offered in public schools, it is also possible to homeschool without using a set curriculum at all. The library books you checked out earlier should have explained about the different methods, and should have given you an idea of what your child should learn in each grade.

If you are considering homeschooling your child, or children, answering the above questions should help you make an informed decision. Not everyone will choose to homeschool after investigating the option. However, if you want to be more involved in your child’s education, homeschooling might just be right for you.

Homeschool Basics

If you’re new to the idea of homeschooling, you likely have questions. Are you overwhelmed at the different choices you have to make? How do you prepare for the school year? Do you have to buy a specific curriculum, or do you even need one? Before you allow yourself to get too stressed, the following guidelines might help to make the process easier.

1. Learn your state’s homeschooling laws. Each state has their own laws concerning educating your child. Make sure you understand and obey the laws in your state.

2. Write down your educational goals for your child. This will help you decide which curriculum will best meet those goals. It will also give you a guide to see if you’re on track throughout the year.

3. Develop an educational philosophy by determining what you believe to be important. Are you concerned just about academics, or do you consider character development to be equally important? Do you want your child to be able to learn for a test, or do you want them to learn to think for themselves?

4. Decide what type of personality your family has — do you normally schedule everything down to the minute, or are you more spontaneous. Knowing this one piece of information can make a big difference in choosing the style or method of homeschooling you choose.

5. Know your child’s learning style? Are they a hearing, seeing, or doing learner? Knowing their learning style will help you determine what items you will need to best meet their ability to learn.

If your children are very young, you don’t have to purchase the latest curriculum. Spend time with them helping them learn to write their alphabet, learn simple math, and prepare them to learn to read. Small workbooks available at most discount stores. Use candy or beans to teach math concepts. Teach them to form their letters properly, use shaving cream or rice on a cookie sheet. As you can see, you don’t need to spend a great deal of money to teach the basics.

After teaching the basics, make sure your child has an opportunity for fun. Get involved in a support group with other homeschoolers. Plan some play days or field trips; let the children run and work off some of their pent-up energy. Having a support group helps moms, as well, especially when you have questions or need guidance.

Subscribe to some homeschooling magazines or newsletters. This will also help when you have questions because you’ll be able to see how other people homeschool and learn how they handle the different aspects of daily life while homeschooling. It will help you to know that you’re not alone.

Plan on going back to school yourself; continue reading and learning as you teach your child. There will always be new things to learn, so plan on becoming a life learner. As your child grows you may need to try a different approach. By reading and learning along the way, you’ll be better able to make the necessary changes.

Choosing to homeschool is not always an easy decision to make. However, when you realize that you can do it and follow these basic guidelines, you’ll soon realize that you made the right choice. Homeschooling is an awesome opportunity for you, your family, and your children to learn and grow together.