If you're reading this you have either thought about homeschooling or have already decided to do it. Homeschooling is more than a full-time job. It can be miserable and difficult for all involved or it can be enjoyable and rewarding. It literally is what you make it.
To homeschool or not to homeschool?
This can seem like an impossible question or the answer may be perfectly clear to you. If you are still on the fence, here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you decide.
- What educational accomplishments would you like your child to achieve?
- Will they be met in local schools?
- Why do you want to homeschool?
- What do you expect to accomplish by homeschooling?
- Do you have the support of your spouse?
- Are you prepared for the challenges of educating your child?
It may be helpful to write you reasons for homeschooling down, for reference when things get tough, even the most experienced homeschooler has bad days. Sometimes it’s good to have a reminder. Some people write a mission statement and frame it on the wall to stay focused on their goals.
It is important to set goals. Decide before you begin what you want to achieve. Make a list of things you want to teach, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your child. Start with some basics such as math, reading, science, and history... Then decide on what you want to achieve in each subject. Make sure they are measurable educational goals. Such as “I want Little Johnny to learn long division”. If this seems difficult, there are tons of pre-made curriculums out there that can help you. And they are highly recommended for beginning homeschoolers.
Make it Fun
Being both parent and teacher has its challenges. Homeschooling is never what you pictured it being and it will not always be fun, but there is a lot of fun to be had. Use legos to teach math concepts, go on a hike for life science, put on a play or bake cookies to take to a local nursing home. The possibilities are only limited by you. Enjoy your children, the rewards are immeasurable.
Organize your books, materials, your time! It can be useful to set up an area in your home that is your “classroom” where you are free from distractions. This may be a room if you have one or simply a spot in the dining room. Just have a designated spot when you and the kids know that learning is done.
It can be very helpful to set a schedule. Such as school starts at 8 am lunch is at 12... It doesn’t have to be strict, whatever works for your family but it is good for you and the kids to have some idea when things will happen.
Homeschooling can be expensive. Budgeting can be crucial. Consider your curriculum, supplies, creating a “classroom” or learning space. Don't feel like you need to buy the most expensive curriculum on the market for your child to get a good education. There are countless resources available to homeschoolers these days. Some are even free. Good budgeting can allow you to have a cushion for unforeseen events and expenses.
There isn’t a homeschool parent out there that hasn’t been ask, “What about socialization?” And it is important to make sure your child’s social needs are being met and they have a group of peers.
You may be the only one in your group of friends that homeschools their child, but you are not alone and joining a homeschool group or community will give you and your child social interaction with people who have the same goals as you and your child will have friends that share similar experiences. Get\keep your child involved in the community, whether it be organized sports or troops or volunteer service.