By Susanne Loxton
There are many different reasons why modern parents consider homeschooling. Some do it for religious reasons, while others may do it because of lifestyle reasons and flexibility. Still others decide to homeschool because they’re dissatisfied with their local public schools, and private schools are not an option. No matter the cause, if you’re thinking about diving into the world of homeschooling your children, you need to remember that it’s not all fun and games. Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to homeschool your child.
It’s a Full Time Job
Especially with younger children. While middle schoolers and high schoolers may be able to be somewhat self-directing while completing their work, elementary school children will need near-constant supervision and guidance. Kindergarten curriculums are very hands-on and there’s no escaping it, you’ll have to be involved all day. In addition to the actual time spent teaching, there is a large amount of record-keeping and organizing that needs to be done. You need to keep very strict attendance records, as well as standards compliance ones. You can expect to invest quite a bit of time in maintaining your home-school.
You’ll Drive Each Other Nuts
Children can be a hassle, and many parents relish the time each day that they are able to send their children off to school, and get some peace and quiet. If you decide to homeschool your kids, you miss out on the 7 or 8 hours a day that many parents depend on for their sanity. You’ll need to make sure that you are able to find some time each day to get away from each other. You already have the role of parent to your child, and if you take on the additional role of teacher, you’ll have to make adjustments for that as well. Spending too much time together can create tension and lead to added frustration and hostility.
You Need to Be Committed
It’s easy to wake up one morning with a headache, and decide that you can skip a day. Or two. When there isn’t someone else keeping track of your daily activities, it can be easy to let things slide. You may think you’ll be able to make up the time later in the week, or over the weekend, but if you aren’t diligent about maintaining your schedule, it can become easy to fall behind. Maintaining discipline and structure are critical for any student to learn, but especially a student that is outside of a traditional classroom setting.
Can your family afford to have a parent leave the workforce? Many people don’t consider the effect that this may have not only on your current financial situation, but also on your long-term earning potential. Leaving the workforce for several years is not a viable option for many, and trying to fit in your work hours around your children’s schooling hours can be exhausting. It can also have a detrimental effect on how well your child learns. Before you jump in, you need to consider whether or not it is financially possible for your family to homeschool.
It Can Be Fun
Before you start thinking that it’s a terrible idea, let’s take some time to discuss some of the more positive aspects of home schooling. One of the best parts is that you get to decide how to incorporate your own values and your child’s interests in the school day. Field trips such as visits to museums, to the local theater, as well as some of your vacations can easily turn into lessons that your child will remember for life. These experiences can even enhance your own life, and when paired with lessons about the subject matter, can really add to the knowledge absorption – for both you and your child.
One of the most disturbing things we note today in the public school system is the self-esteem issues and bullying surrounding kids. Removing the peer pressure and the constant comparison allows your child to thrive. Kids who are homeschooled tend to be more self-assured and have less concern for what others’ opinion of them is, or if they are keeping up with the rest of the kids when it comes to fashion, music and technology. Your child is much freer to explore his/her own likes and tastes, without worrying about what others think.
Without having to cater to the needs of an entire classroom, you can get through a whole day’s worth of schoolwork in just a few hours. If your child is smart and focused, you can easily breeze through the daily schedule in the morning, and then have the afternoon for play, sports, or other extra-curricular activities. If you’re in a program that allows it, particularly bright children can advance at their own pace, and can move forward without having to wait for other students to catch up.
If you’re considering homeschooling your children, don’t jump in without examining all of the issues listed above. However, be sure not to dismiss it because of a few difficulties. Homeschooling can be a fabulous way for you to both educate your child, and to increase your family connectedness. When done well, having a great relationship with your child is worth it in the end.
About the author: Susanne Loxton is an experienced writer with a passion for learning and education. On a daily basis, Susanne works for Aubiz, a compendium of knowledge about companies in her native Australia.