Written by Misha Thompson of The Offense of Joy
To homeschool or not to homeschool, that may be your question.
And that only leads to more questions: How do I know if I should or not? What should I even start to think about? What about curriculum? If you have at all considered homeschooling these questions have probably run through your mind.
I am by no means an expert on this topic. I recently began this journey myself, so the unique questions of starting out remain fresh in my own mind.
I often wished there was a step by step list that would have shown me where to start. This is the first of two articles (the next one will be in May) that I’ve written with that list in mind.
Here are six ideas to consider as you make this important decision.
1. Know Your Priorities.
Check out this post about defining your family priorities. Contemplate who your family is and what you want to be and do together.
2. Know Your Goals.
This is an excellent article as you think about the specifics of homeschooling and your goals for home education. It is a short, superb piece that will help define your process and choices.
3. Know Who You Are.
Don’t be put off by stereotypes others have about homeschooling. I wrote this article after hearing many critiques and fears about homeschooling.
People have strong opinions about home education–listen if you must, but don’t let their strong opinions make your choices for you!
Photo by Misha Thompson
4. Know the Curriculum Styles.
These (part one and part two) two articles give an excellent overview of the main educational philosophies of homeschooling. They will provide a great jumping off point to more research on the methods that grab your attention.
5. Know Good Blogs and Websites.
I also keep a running and changing list of inspiring writers in the sidebar on my personal blog. Most bloggers are extremely helpful, warm and happy to help answer your questions. Reading about people like yourself taking on this challenge is immensely encouraging.
6. Know the Benefits.
If you are considering homeschooling you’ve probably heard a multitude of concerns about the subject. But what about the benefits of homeschooling? Think about these highlights:
Photo by Misha Thompson
- Customized Curriculum. We can follow our kid’s needs rather than our kid following a teacher’s schedule. Learning can be individualized to each child and their dominant learning styles, interests, pace and skills.
- Quality. Teaching is very effective when done at this student to teacher ratio. Independent learning, problem solving and life skills are developed. There is no rush through subjects and taking your time increases depth of learning.
- Freedom. Imagine the flexibility of being in charge of your own schedule. Less rushing, less driving, less stress. You aren’t bound by a clock or someone else’s priorities. You have the freedom to go at your kids’ pace.
- Building strong relationships with family members. You can enjoy being at home, being outdoors, impromptu field trips and family events. You can travel when it suits you. Kids learn to relate to all age levels with confidence–not just kids their own age. Bullying, sex education, faith topics – all can be taught when you think your child is ready.
- Confidence. There is so much encouragement, support and opportunity to explore and develop. Kids are listened to, given plenty of time and space to be creative, read, dream, think and experiment. They are able to develop who they are in their own way.
- Health Concerns. If children have extenuating health issues, being at home can create healing and peaceful care for children who need it. But for all students, the minimal exposure to flus and colds allows for more time for learning.
- Parental Enjoyment. This is one of my favorite parts. I can learn things I never had the chance to before. I laugh more over Shakespeare, learn so much about science and soak up subjects right along with my kids. That is both fun and contagious modeling.
What do you think are some of the benefits of homeschooling? What would you say to someone who is considering it?