Should You Choose Homeschool For Your Children?
As I sit down to the computer with my fresh cup of coffee, I try to decide what will be the article I write next as my online project. Intermittently, I have to say "be quiet" to the incessant chatter behind me. Whereas many article writers who view this as their full time job clear the room so they can think, I have to learn to think inside the box. Since my children are being homeschooled, it’s impossible to have a total quiet moment. My thoughts, however, have to work around fifth grade math, third grade English, first grade phonics, and seventh grade spelling.
Homeschooling is not something that should be taken lightly. No one can decide to homeschool, and then start the next day without research and preparation. I remember when my parents decided to homeschool my siblings. We went to many workshops as they tried to figure out how things worked, and what to use as curriculum. If homeschooling is something you have thought about, here are some things you may want to consider.
What is your ultimate reason for homeschooling your children? There are many underlying reasons for wanting to pull your children out of the current education system to bring them home to learn. Each parent is different, but there are a few that stand out. First of all, you may not be happy with the quality of public school education in your area. Second, the public school environment may not be what you consider ideal for proper learning. Third, teaching your children at home allows you to incorporate religious beliefs. Ideally, you may make the homeschooling decision because of all three of these reasons. It helps to have a clear purpose for your actions, because this will keep you focused and motivated.
Are you comfortable being with your children most of the day? We all love our children, of course, but not all of us can be around them all day! I have had many career women tell me they admire my commitment to stay home with my children all day, because they just couldn’t do it. Likewise, when other stay-at-home mothers are complaining their children are having "another day off" from public school, I’m happy to have mine home with me. If you don’t think you can tolerate having your children with you for the better part of the day, homeschooling is not for you.
Are you ready to go back to school? Unless you were a teacher in your former worklife, you will be re-learning everything you have forgotten from your own schooling. The reason Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader stumps so many adults is because frankly, we just don’t remember everything we learned as a fifth-grader! Therefore, you will be re-learning everything as you teach what your children are learning for the first time. Knowing what you are doing in the first place will allow you to teach them effectively.
Do you mind doing some of the same things over and over? You may have to teach something more than once. Even the smartest children don't always get it the first time. Small children, especially, need repetition. That's how they learn best. For whatever reason, my oldest daughter has a mental block where estimating is concerned. So everytime it is re-introduced in her math book, I have to teach it all over again. If redundancy is irritating to you, teaching homeschool may not be the option for you.
Are you willing to do the necssary research? At the mention of the word research comes the frowning of faces. It's just not a fun word. Research denotes painstaking, detailed, tedious work that most people wish could just be skipped. The truth is, though you still must research subject matter for the attaining of knowledge, there are other areas that need to be researched also.
One very important area that must be researched is curruculum. What books will your children use while home? Will you use books the public school gives away because they are no longer being used? What type of curriculum is out there just for homeschoolers? The world of homeschooling is a vast, busy place. There's more out there than you know. It's very easy to get overwhelmed. You should research different curriculums, and find out which ones appear to meet the needs of your children.
Another area that should be researched are field trips. There are some things in schooling that are reinforced with hands on experience. Depending on where you live, there may be many places that you can visit. If there are only a few, you may have to travel a little. You need to know mileage, prices, rules, times, content, and availability. All of these factors must be known ahead of time so that your field trips will be fun, informative, and run fairly smoothly.
Can you create a schedule and stick to it? Kids have a tendency to respond well when they can depend on certain things to happen at cetain times. We have actual school hours so thst my children know that between the times we have set, we will be doing school work every weekday. Also, a schedule can help you to plan your day around the homeschool hours. That way, the children receive their education, and you can still get errands done in a timely manner.
Will you stick to your choice without having a chip on your shoulder? Making the decision to homeschool is not usually a popular decision, especially among family and friends. People are going to ask you why you are pulling your children out of "real" school, and they will not be nice or understanding about it. You had better have your reasons lined up, and stick to them.
If you feel you should not have to defend your decision, you're right. But don't back down. Know that your reasons for bringing your children home are your own, and you are entitled to do so. My children are, at minimum, two to three grades ahead of their public school peers. That is, in itself, its own arguement! But that will come later for you!
There are many factors that go into homeschooling your own children. You should weigh all of your options before making an ultimate decision. In the end, you are the one who decides whether homeschool is the right option for you and your children.