Homeschooling is an excellent educational option, but that doesn’t make it the right choice for everyone. Just as public school suits some children while private school is a better option for others, homeschooling helps some children and their families thrive.
For others, not so much. Since you can’t use your neighbor’s experience as a gauge, you’ll have to consider your unique situation and then make a choice.
Here are five questions to help you decide whether homeschooling is right for you:
Do you want to homeschool because it’s easy?
If you think you should homeschool because it looks easy, run–quickly–in the other direction. There’s a lot of work involved in choosing the right way to teach your children, obtaining materials, planning, and keeping your children not only on track but also interested. Even if you purchase a comprehensive curriculum with all the bells and whistles, you may eventually discover that it’s not right for your children.
Then, it’s all up to you to tweak it or replace it with something else. Then, there’s the actual time you have to spend teaching and finding creative ways to cover concepts when your children don’t understand. And keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for your children’s education even when you’re tired, cranky, sick, sad, broke, bored, or feeling lazy.
Can you switch gears quickly and multi-task?
Homeschooling isn’t the best option for parents who hate multi-tasking or simply can’t do it. If you must focus on only one task at a time, you may find homeschooling frustrating. Picture this, your child is humming along with some independent fraction work you assigned. Then he gets stuck.
Just as he asks you for help, the dog has an accident, the phone rings, a deliveryman shows up at your door, your baby cries to be fed, and your daughter’s educational program crashes. To comfortably homeschool, you have to be able to switch gears at a moment’s notice and handle multiple tasks.
Do you think your child is a super genius?
Maybe little Tim or Tina was reciting the times table up to 10 before he or she was even out of diapers, but all children hit stumbling blocks from time to time. If you expect your children to master everything without tooth pulling (theirs), hand wringing (yours), or tears (yours), you’ll be sorely disappointed at some point in your home education journey.
If you’re up to the challenge of teaching your children, even when the going gets rough, homeschooling may be a good fit for you. Likewise, it might make sense for your family if you’re willing to re-learn concepts you’ve forgotten or never learned in the first place. Homeschooling can prove educational for parents, too!
Are you patient?
Hate repeating yourself over and over again? That’s practically universal among parents. But if you homeschool, you may find yourself repeating, reminding, and cajoling a whole lot more.
If you’re patient enough for that, home education might make a good choice for you and your family. If, however, you are prone to snapping, yelling, throwing your hands in the air, or storming off when things go wrong, another educational option may make a better choice.
Are you committed to the best education possible for your children, no matter what that is?
As a homeschool parent, creativity will come into play—a lot. You may find that your child best learns some subjects or concepts by doing rather than sitting for a lesson. Some children may benefit from game play, music, movement, or visuals when learning certain concepts.
Being willing to alter materials, create learning aids, or seek out creative resources is key to successful homeschooling. If you’re committed to adapting your homeschool program to meet your children’s changing needs, homeschooling might be a good choice.
Many children thrive in a home education environment, and many families find it fits their lifestyles perfectly. Is it right for you? Only you know the answer.
Use the above questions to help you decide whether you and homeschooling make a good match.