04 Feb

Homeschooling your children. This has been something on the rise. It sounds great at first. My son has high functioning autism, school is difficult. One year he behaves, one year he gets good grades, but not always together. His emotional outbursts throughout the years has been difficult. We live in a city so busy and very unorganized that we fell through the cracks of the public school system. No amount of emails or letters to the superintendent for the public school seem to work. I got fed up and put in him in Catholic school. We are not a religious family, the kids are not even baptized, but I needed structure for my youngest son. 

When we went for the tour my oldest son saw how behaved everyone was and asked if he could go too. Of course if my son wants to better his future he will not be denied. After so many years of dealing with behavior plans and modifications from the teacher I thought about homeschooling. I thought about my oldest son too, has been bullied before and what are they really teaching kids in school? Then I really thought about it, I am not trained to teach children. Of course I teach my children everyday the ways of life, but am I qualified enough to teach them an education to send them out to provide for themselves in their adult lives? 

Time Commitment  

Homeschooling can take up a great deal of time each day, particularly if you'll be homeschooling more than one child. Educating at home is more than just sitting down with the school books for a couple of hours. There are experiments and projects to be completed, lessons to planned and prepared, papers to grade, schedules to plan, field trips, park days, music lessons, and more.

Those busy days can be a lot of fun, though. It's amazing to learn alongside your kids and experience things for the first time through their eyes. And, if you're already putting in a couple of hours a night helping with homework, adding a couple more may not have such an impact to your daily schedule.

Personal Sacrifice  

Homeschooling parents can find it difficult to carve out time to be alone or to spend time with their spouse or friends. Friends and family may not understand homeschooling or be opposed to it, which can strain relationships.

It is important to find friends who understand and support your decision to homeschool. Getting involved in a homeschool support group can be an excellent way to connect with like-minded parents.

Swapping childcare with a friend can be helpful to finding time alone. If you have a friend who homeschools children close in age, you may be able to arrange play dates or field trips where one parent takes the kids, giving the other a day to run errands, time out with their spouse - or enjoy a quiet house alone!

Financial Impact  

Homeschooling can be accomplished very inexpensively; however, it usually requires that the teaching parent not work outside of the home. Some sacrifices will need to be made if the family is used to two incomes.

It is possible for both parents to work and homeschool, but it will likely require some adjustments to both schedules and possibly enlisting the help of family or friends.

Social Opportunities  

The question most homeschooling families would name as the one we hear most often is, "What about socialization?"

While it is, by and large, a myth that homeschooled kids aren't socialized, it is true that homeschool parents usually need to be more intentional in helping their children find friends and social activities.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is being able to play a more active role in choosing the social contacts your child makes. Homeschool co-op classes can be a good place for children to interact with other homeschooled students.

Household Management  

Housework and laundry still have to be done, but if you're a stickler for a spotless house, you might be in for a surprise. Not only does housework need to be let go at times, but homeschooling creates messes and clutter in itself.

Teaching your children the valuable life skills of cleaning house, doing laundry, and preparing meals can - and should! - definitely be a part of your homeschool, but be prepared to lower your expectations a bit if you decide to homeschool.

Parental Agreement  

It is important that both parents agree to try homeschooling. It can be extremely stressful if one parent is against home educating. If your spouse is opposed to the idea, do some research and talk to some homeschooling families to learn more. 

Many homeschooling families started out with a trial run if one or both parents were unsure. Sometimes, it helps to have a previously-skeptical homeschooling parent talk to your spouse. That parent may have once had the same reservations your spouse does and can help him or her overcome those doubts.

Long-term Plan  

Homeschooling doesn't have to be a lifetime commitment. Many families take one year at a time, reevaluating as they go along. You don't have to have all twelve years of school figured out to begin. It's okay to try homeschooling for a year and make a decision about continuing from there.

Teaching Parent's Reservations  

Many would-be homeschooling parents are intimidated by the idea of teaching their children. If you can read and write, you should be able to teach your children. The curriculum and teacher materials will help through the planning and teaching.

You may find that by creating a learning-rich environment and giving your students some control over their own education, their natural curiosity will lead to lots of exploration and self-education.

There are plenty of options for teaching difficult subjects other than teaching them yourself. 

Why Families Homeschool  

Finally, it can be very helpful to learn why other families chose homeschooling. Can you relate to some of them? Once you discover why homeschooling is on the rise, you may find that some of your own worries are put to rest.

Are you willing to make the personal and financial sacrifices that homeschooling requires? If so, give it a year and see how it goes! You may discover that homeschooling is the best choice for your family.

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