Home schooling is the process of teaching, or educating, your child from home rather than sending them to a traditional school setting. Many parents have found that schools to not provide enough individual attention. Lessons plans are not focused on the level of their child (both advanced and beginner levels are left out.) More so, some parents find that home schooling is just the natural thing to do.
As you read through this series, keep in mind the importance of making this decision as a family. You will find that homeschooling can be incredibly beneficial to you and to your family, but it is critical for you to all be committed to the process, or you could end up with more problems than solutions.
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK
People want to be able to be in charge of their child's education and they want to know exactly what their child is learning. But, they are often overwhelmed at the mere thought. Questions arise like...
Is this something that I can do?
Am I qualified?
Do I have enough time?
Time Time is the biggest factor in many people's decision to homeschool, or not to. You may need to dedicate a good portion of your day to the tasks involved in homeschooling, especially if you are acting as the instructor. The process can become quite involved, more than spending a few hours reading over books. You also need to manage things like experiments and field trips to parks. Plus, you have to commit to lesson plan design, which in itself can take up a lot of your time.
Financial Aspects Believe it or not, home school does not have to cost too much money. The only drawback in terms of money is the fact that one parent really does need to be at home, doing the homeschooling, rather than working. This type of sacrifice may be acceptable in some families but in others it may not be possible. When you are paying for childcare it can be a blessing
Social Skill Development Because students are at home, there is often the need to provide extra socialization time for them than they would normally be getting from classmates, teachers and others in a school setting. You will need to commit to getting your child involved with other kids as social contacts are critical to their development.
Your Time While time is already mentioned, realize that home schooling can encompass so much of your day that you may find yourself overwhelmed, without any time left for yourself. It is best to focus solely on yourself, at least for a few hours a week, so that you can be refreshed.
Organized If you do not have an organized plan in place, chances are good that you will struggle during homeschooling. Not only do you have to worry about all the things that there are to do with homeschooling, but you also have to manage your home. All of the books, appears and projects need to be organized, neatly. This clutter can be hard for some people.
Beyond these aspects, there are several other important things for you to consider. First, are both you and your child's other parent in agreement about the benefits of homeschooling and taking on these important tasks within the home? It is common that one parent will be the "teacher" for lessons but the other needs to be the backup. Talk to each other about the commitment and responsibilities so that both of you are in agreement before pursuing this task.
Also, talk to your child about your desire to home school them. In particular, if the child has been enrolled in school previously, he or she may not be too sure about homeschooling. Talk to them and be sure they are alright with the process. If not, find out why and be sure you consider their abilities to cooperate with you.
Many people are frustrated with the thought of homeschooling because they are focused on one aspect: the teaching! As long as you can read and write well, you will be able to work through the programs with your children. More so, if you do not understand something, there are plenty of examples and notes for you included in most quality curriculums. If your child becomes so advanced that you can no longer handle the process, consider working with a tutor or even using online programs for these challenging areas.
BENEFIT OR DISADVANTAGE
As you consider homeschooling your child, take in some of the important factors that play a role in this decision. In particular, consider the benefits versus the drawbacks of educating your child within your home instead of using a traditional setting.
Benefit: Your child is working with you, at his or her grade level. This is a huge benefit to children who may need some extra time in some areas and, for those students that are not being challenged enough.
Disadvantage: It does encompass more of your time. Especially in the younger grades, you will need to commit to your children on a regular basis. You will need to be hands on with them most of the day. For some parents, there just is not enough time in the day.
Benefit: You can incorporate your own religious beliefs into your program. A nice feature about homeschooling is your ability to teach students what you wish them to understand about religious, creation and other areas. More so, if there is a topic that you want to spend more time on, you can do that. You do have some flexibility in the curriculum that you teach. What's more, the curriculums that are available today are high quality and are easily used to accomplish these types of goals.
Disadvantage : You do have to stick with state standards of education. It may be difficult for some parents, but homeschooled children do have to maintain the specific requirements of students within the state. This means passing state required testing and it means teaching key subjects to the level expected of the child.
Benefit: You can enrich your child's education more. While many schools are very limited in the actual experiments, hands on activities, and other enriching activities due to budget restraints, this is not the case in homeschooling. You can take your children to the park to explore a natural animal habitat up close. You can do amazing experiments within your home. There are unlimited opportunities for advancement here.
Disadvantage : Stereotypes are out there. There is nothing wrong with homeschooling but you may find that some people are not happy about them. They may feel that children are not socialized or not educated as well as they could be. So long as you do a great job in these areas, it is likely that your child will score better on achievement tests than those students who remain in standard public schooling.
It is important to note that you are not wrong in making your decision to homeschool. If you are still unsure about whether or not this is the right choice for you, consider contacting a few professionals that an help you to decide.
Talk to your family, especially if there are other homeschooling families in it. What is their day-to-day life like? Is this something you can handle?
Talk to friends and local homeschooling parents. You can often find them through quick local searches online or by contacting your local educational department.
Talk with your city's educational department. Find out from them what they offer for homeschooling families, what the process is like and if there are any local concerns that you should know about and oftentimes plan for.
Get online. There is great help available to any parent who is considering homeschooling. Learn from the people that already know what it is like and who can help you to make the best decisions regarding your children because they have been there and done that!
Once you have determined that the benefits of homeschooling have outweighed the actual disadvantages (which they normally do) then you will want to jump right in. You can start homeschooling in the middle of the year, at the beginning or even with your toddlers. The key is to get started.