One question I’m constantly asked when people find out that I’m a homeschool mom is “how did you know that homeschool was the right decision for your kids?”. That, my friend, is one tricky question.
In fact, I didn’t think homeschool was right for us. I actually had so many misconceptions about homeschooling that I swore I was NEVER going to be a homeschool mom. Well, my mother did always tell me “never say never because you never know what the future holds”. Ain’t that the truth!!
To learn about our journey into homeschooling check out this post.
But, we’re here to talk about you….right. So here are my tips for How to Know if Homeschool Is Right for Your Kids.
How to Know if Homeschool Is Right for Your Kids
To be honest, only YOU can decide what’s right for YOUR family. I get lots of flack from my family and friends about homeschooling my kids. Many of them have the same misconceptions about homeschool that I used to have.
The thing is, you need to tune out all of their negativity and choose what’s right for you and your child.
If you’re on the fence, I can completely understand. It’s a monumental task to take on as a parent, although it shouldn’t scare you away from giving it a go. But, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when deciding if homeschool is right for you.
Evaluate the reason for choosing to homeschool.
Is there something happening at the school that is making you want to pull your kids out? Are you like me, and find yourself thinking about homeschool during a pandemic? Is your child falling behind in class? Are they not being challenged enough?
Knowing the reason you’re thinking about homeschooling can truly help you make the decision to homeschool. This is also handy if you’re trying to convince your spouse to give it a try.
Decide on a time that you’ll dedicate to homeschool.
The awesome thing about homeschooling is that you can do it whenever you want! There are no set rules saying you have to start at 8am or you must homeschool Monday through Friday. If you have an odd work scheduled, you can still homeschool effectively.
What you do need is a set number of hours each week that you will dedicate to homeschooling your kids. There’s no magic number of hours, but my experience has been that I need at least 2-3 hours every week to plan the curriculum and a minimum of 1-2 hours a day to work with my kids.
Plus, you’ll want to figure in time for fieldtrips and hands on activities. One of the most amazing aspects of homeschool is the hands on approach you can take. I love diving into learning with my kids and finding museums, plays, farms, etc that we can go learn from.
What’s Your Budget for Homeschooling
Again, this question definitely helps if you’re trying to get a spouse on board with the idea of homeschooling. But, it is something that you should take into consideration.
Sure, there are tons of free homeschool programs but this circles back to the amount of time you have to dedicate to homeschooling. I’ve found that free programs require me to spend more time supplementing the curriculum and many times you get what you pay for.
When I first started this homeschool journey I was completely overwhelmed with all of the choices and I spent WAY more than I should have on curriculums. Seriously, I was completely lost and just grabbing at straws to find something that would work and be engaging for my kids.
Without setting a budget, you’ll wind up buying programs, using them for a bit, and then switching to something else. I blew through at least 4-5 programs that I spent way more than I would want admit to Hubs.
I would recommend going to a local homeschool store and just spend 4-5 hours exploring curriculums. Trust me, the employees working there won’t mind and they can be the biggest resource for helping you figure it all out. Dive in and see what you think your child will connect with and then see how it will fit your budget.
Check and see if the curriculum you’re looking at offers a free lesson or two. Try those free lessons and see how your child responds to the lessons.
Identify Your Goal for Homeschooling
What is the goal for homeschooling? When I started homeschool last year, the only thing on my mind was giving my kids a sense of stability. I didn’t want them going to school and then being sent home because of quarantines. I didn’t want them to start school online with the possibility of returning to class but not knowing when or even if that would happen. My kids don’t do well with last minute changes, they like routine, they prefer to have a plan, they want to know the plan….so I knew that giving them the stability of knowing we were homeschooling all year was what was best for them.
Now that we’ve been through our first year, I’m focusing on goals. What is the goal for homeschool. Other than advancing to the next grade level, what do my kids want to learn about? What would they like to be able to do by the end of the year that they can’t do now? What do I want them to be able to do by the end of the year that they can’t do now.
By having an end goal then we can check our progress along the way. For example, I want my 4th grader to be capable of writing a 2-3 page book report using an outline. He wants to be able to have a conversation with his dad in Spanish. His dad wants him to be able to code a computer program.
With these goals in mind, I can structure a curriculum that includes baby steps for each of these. Over the course of the year we can work on these and it won’t feel so monumental but at the end of the year we can look back and say “wow…look at everything we were able to accomplish”!
Just as with anything, setting goals for homeschool is extremely important to keep yourself and your kids motivated. Plus, who doesn’t love a good celebration when you achieve those goals?!
How to know if homeschool is right for your family?
Like I said before, only YOU know what is right for YOUR family. If you’re able to jot down some ideas from each of the sections above then I say give it a go. As long as you’re willing to put forth the time, effort, and resources to homeschooling you should give it a try even if it’s just for one year.
No one says you have to remain a homeschool family. If you give it a go and it turns out it’s not for you…it’s okay. You can always send your kids back to conventional school. But, you may also realize it’s the perfect fit for your family!
To learn about our journey into homeschooling check out this post.
Having trouble getting others on board with your homeschool journey? Check out my post on Overcoming Homeschool Criticism- Dealing with Homeschool Negativity.