Written by Emily Nichols
There are many things to consider when deciding if homeschooling is right for your family. Here is a list of ten thoughts, written by NSA teacher, and homeschool mom, Emily Nichols.
(1) Consider the “why”–Is your family moving toward an ideal or away from something less than ideal? It’s probably going to be a little of both, but it should mostly be to move toward something rather than simply away from something undesirable.
(2) Consider your children as individual learners. When choosing a method, a curriculum, a set of resources, or even a set of outcomes, it’s important to remember that each of your children is an individual person made in the image of God and for His purpose. Individual learners have individual needs. One type of learning, might not fit all your kids.
(3) Consider your season. Is your family choosing to homeschool for one year, several years, or for the entirety of your child’s education? Are you homeschooling through a rough patch? Health issues? Family instability? Knowing how much time and resources to invest will depend on the goal your family has set and when you decide that goal is reached.
(4) Consider educational philosophy. Yep. I said that. You owe it to your children to understand how the curriculum you have chosen works and why it works the way it does. Do the research to choose a philosophy, method, and style of education that firstly, is based on sound research and philosophy, and secondly, you can actually implement. Not one single philosophy will fit, so do the research to find the one that fits best or the ideas that you can best group together to reflect your own, personal philosophy of learning.
(5) Consider the money. In order to homeschool, some families have to make a financial sacrifice. If both you and your spouse are currently working full time, one of you will have to change schedules to prioritize your children’s instruction. Homeschooling requires financial resources for curriculum and supplies, so consider how your family’s budget must change to accommodate your choice to homeschool.
(6) Consider training. If you or your spouse will be the primary instructor in your homeschool, look into some instructional methods courses, especially in subject areas or in grade levels where you may have no experience. It’s of utmost importance that you and your spouse be the primary “learners” in your household, setting an example for your children to be learners.
(7) Consider your village. Research what community resources are available to you within 20 miles of where you live. Are there co-ops, official or unofficial homeschool groups, or homeschooling families in your local faith gathering or neighborhood? How will your family’s decision to homeschool your children be received by your immediate family members and friends? This might not sway your decision, but you have to consider the “shockwave” your decision might set off. You might alienate some friends and draw other friends to you. Be prepared for a variety of reactions.
(8) Consider success. If you do plan to homeschool your children through to graduation, make a plan for what that might look like. Seek advice from parents who have successfully graduated and homeschooled their children through to graduation and consider interviewing the homeschool graduates about their experiences, their do’s and don’ts–what it was like for them once they graduated and pursued careers, technical education, or higher education.
(9) Consider failure. What will your family do if you attempt homeschooling and find that it’s not for you? What is your next step or your backup plan? Not every family was made for homeschooling, and it’s wise to keep that in mind. Failure at homeschooling does not mean failure at education; it just means this isn’t the season or this isn’t the method.
(10) Consider what you haven’t considered. Stay open to all kinds of non-traditional learning that could support and benefit your homeschooling efforts. There are so many educational options available today: private tutoring, cooperative learning, 3/4 time classes, individual in-person courses, a la carte online classes, and of course, full-schedule online schooling. Be willing to remain flexible depending on your children’s needs and the needs of your family in each season, and you will be stepping into blessing as you step into homeschooling.
NorthStar Academy partners with homeschooling families all over the world. Some of these students are full time, but many are part time as parents may just enroll in one or two subjects that they feel less equipped to teach themselves. You can learn more about NorthStar Academy here.