For me homeschooling has been an absolute joy! Quite frankly it has been a joy from the very start, what was not enjoyable was the preliminary deluge of should I's or shouldn't I's. While I am still very new at homeschooling compared to my close friends and my favorite bloggers, being sort of a "newbie" has its advantages. One of which is the fact that I am still very acquainted with what "beginning" to home school feels like. That's not a quip to the more experienced homeschooling moms, their information, blogs and experience have all been and continues to be a huge support and comfort to me and thousands of other homeschooling families I'm sure!
All of that being said, I woke up about 4 mornings ago and thought to write a post on 10 things to consider before you homeschool. After atetmpting to organize my thoughts on the subject, I've cut the list in half (grin). It's not that there aren't 10 things that you could considered, honestly depending on who you are, your circumstances and your child(ren) there may even be more than 10. I don't advise going overboard in all of the "beforehand" drama of making the decision to home school. However, it does take an equitable amount of forethought.
The list that I've complied though, I've taken from my very own experience and whittled it down to what was most pressing or important during that time of transition. So here goes...
1. The time commitment. Homeschooling is indeed serious business. It can be fun and I hope yours is. In my experience all work and no play makes for cranky kids and burnt out mommy. Essentially you are saying I volunteer to be responsible for teaching my child(ren) everything that they need to know for whatever age level your children are. That is honorable, in my opinion but also a big responsibility and commitment. On average a home school day could range from 2 to 4 hours. Do you have that kind of time? While it is true that most home schooling parents are also stay-at-home parents, I know several moms who work full-time in the home, moms who work outside of the home part-time and I've recently met a mom who still holds down her full-time job at Bank of America who also home schools. In each of these cases though, a serious look at what sort of time you have available is a prerequisite if you are earnestly looking at homeschooling. There are regulations in place that specify from state to state what is expected time-wise for home schools. Which leads me to number two on my list...
2. Your State's home school laws. You will find this listed on every single home school website and blog that deals with entertaining the possibility of homeschooling. You absolutely must find out what is expected of you legally before jumping into the warm, sometimes hot waters of homeschooling. While some view the government's involvement with education an overstep...I think it should not only be important to parents but to our Nation's Leaders also how educated out kids are. The kids will one day run our Nation or start vital companies within our economy, etc. and how sad would it be if they could not read, add and subtract, think critically and objectively, and a whole host of other things that it takes to be a productive part of society? While I may differ in opinion with our National Leaders on just how involved they should be in the educating of our kids...concerned and involved and I think they should be. So, check out those laws by going to the Board of Education website for your City and State. Check out the Homeschool Legal Defense's website (you'll read about this organization on almost every home school website or blog as well, and rightfully so).
3. Financial commitment. As I read once, homeschooling isn't free! It can be very nearly close to free but it is not 100% cost prohibitive. Whether you will be purchasing curriculum every year or faithfully searching for and printing out information, worksheets, creating binders and so forth...there will be a level of cost that is strictly related to your home school so consider that. It may not necessarily be for curricula, you will probably buy more supplies than you normally would if your children were going away for school. You now have to think about Teacher supplies. Where you might have opted out of the class field trip given at school you will most definitely want to take your home school student on field trips to get you both out of the house once in a while. And yes, you can do field trips sometimes for little to no money but there will still be some cost associated with it that wouldn't be there if your child was in public school. I have heard of a website about home schooling on a shoe string budget. That being said, there is information out there on how to do it inexpensively so don't allow the fact that it will cost you something to be a deterrent from homeschooling.
4. Drive and passion. Do you have the drive that it takes? Some may view home schooling idealistically. Meaning, they envision, getting up, having breakfast, getting dressed, sitting down to a school day filled with fun activities, productive teaching, enthusiastic learning, intermittent breaks, healthy lunches, enriching projects, well organized lesson plans, trust me the list of what is "ideal" goes on. Instead you may find, like I did our first school year, that your kid needs LOTS of help focusing and you, like me, will have to spend most of your school time, calling him or her back to attention. Not at all what homeschooling dreams are made of but definitely what a home school day is. During those time you will have to dig deep to find the strength not to slip your hand in the air and say "oops, my mistake, public school is what I was thinking of, not home school" (lol). Trust me it happens! Especially around 2:45 or 3:00 when the big yellow bus is pulling up dropping the kids off from school. So considered your level of passion and drive. What is important to you as it relates to your child's education and is that enough to keep you going when the times get rough?
5. Do you have a tinge of control-freak-ness in you. LOL! Believe me when I say that I believe the vast majority of home schooling parents (moms especially) have just a tinge of the desire to control things. And in balance, that's not bad. It could actually make for a very productive home school because you will more or less make sure your child knows what, if not more, than the kids his or her age with whom they interact. And then too, why wouldn't you want to know what's going into your kid each day? I know for me, I always had thoughts of "is Madison being pushed hard enough in this area or that." "Is she being pushed too hard in this area or that one." I had these thoughts because after staying home with her for 5 years, I had a pretty good handle on her strengths and weaknesses. See...control freak. I could say more, but I'll play it safely and stop number 5 right here. You get the idea. ::wink::
Bonus. Consider that there will be other things to consider should you definitely decide to home school. Nothing too big though!
Thanks for reading...hope it helps you.