As families look back upon the challenging circumstances of the past year, they find themselves equipped with fresh perspectives and new understandings about their children’s education. While experiences have varied widely, parents inadvertently have become more informed about the impact and effectiveness of their educational choices and the needs of their individual children.
As this unique school year rounds the corner and approaches the finish line, parents find themselves considering their options for next year. A continuously growing number are debating whether homeschool would be the best choice for their children.
If you’re thinking about homeschooling your kids, here are five things to consider before you take the leap.
What’s the Point?
Understand, fundamentally, what the purpose of school is for you and your family. If you were the designer, artist, and architect of the ideal educational experience for each of your individual children, what would you include? What would you omit?
Then ask yourself why. Why did you design your vision that way? Why are the things that are important to you important in the first place? Keep asking why until you feel you’ve articulated the values you deem most important in your children’s education and schooling. Write those down and keep your “why” at the center of your decision-making process.
‘How’s That Working for Ya?’
Next, ask yourself that helpful question that Dr. Phil once made famous—”How’s that working for ya?” Evaluate your and your children’s satisfaction with their present schooling choice. Understand and evaluate what’s being taught in school. Especially in recent years, many changes have been made to public school curriculums. You probably caught a glimpse this year of what’s being taught. It’s a good idea to know the ins and outs of your children’s curricula and whether those things line up with your family’s values. Overall, ask yourself if the current arrangement is your best option or if another choice would better serve each child and your family as a whole.
How Committed Are You?
Homeschooling is a lot of things, but easy is not one of them. You don’t need to be a teacher to homeschool (and actually many teachers who homeschool find their teacher training gets in the way), nor do you have to be an expert in any subject, but you do need to be willing to do the work. It takes commitment and dedication as well as a sense of confidence to navigate a choice that can feel like swimming against the tide and choosing the path less taken. It’s also one of the most rewarding choices a parent can make, but it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
Is It Worth a Try?
On the other hand, you can turn down the anxiety dial by realizing that a decision to homeschool is never irreversible. You can always re-enroll in public school or elsewhere. So ask yourself if it’s worth a shot. Can you commit to allowing enough time to work out the kinks—probably a full year, at least—and see if homeschooling is right for you?
Is Your Family on Board?
Homeschooling is a family affair. How does the rest of the family feel about the prospect of homeschooling? Before diving in, get input from everyone and encourage open communication and honesty. Ensure you and your spouse are on the same page. If everyone’s in and you’re ready to take the leap, get excited and begin to set the wheels in motion. You may just find you’ve made the best parenting decision of your life.