5 Things to Consider Before You Decide to Homeschool Your Child

As I said yesterday, there are as many ways to homeschool your child as there are families who homeschool.

Exactly the same could be said for reasons to homeschool your child.

There are many reasons why parents choose to homeschool their kids. But whatever your reasons for wanting to homeschool, there are certain things to consider before you make the decision to homeschool your child.

Read on for the 5 things to consider before you decide to homeschool your child.

So, why do parents choose to homeschool their kids? SO many reasons!

Whilst you are considering homeschooling because your child is being bullied, the folks next door never sent their kids to school because they wanted to follow a Christian curriculum at home, and the people down the street love to travel so they wanted the freedom to world school for long periods of time outside the confines of school term times.

Whatever your choices, there are some things all homeschool families have in common - almost none have made this decision lightly and nearly all of them have had to give up something else to make homeschooling happen.

Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling isn't some kind of knee jerk reaction against the school system, it is in fact a decision TO do something, rather than NOT attend mainstream school.

5 Things to Consider Before You Decide to Homeschool Your Child

Making the decision to homeschool is a difficult decision to make, it can often bring us into conflict with family and friends, and it is invariably a financial choice that means sacrificing something else.

Ultimately, whether to homeschool or not is a personal decision for every family, but you should consider these 5 things when making that decision:

1. Time commitment

Homeschooling takes up a fair bit of your time every single day.

Not just lesson time which may be done in 3-4 hours a day or less, dependent on how many kids you are homeschooling, but preparing lessons, planning your school year/month/week, planning and going on field trips, making time for co-ops or other meet ups with homeschooling friends.

You may also need to find time for extra curricular activities, often in the traditional after-school slot, such as sports training and matches or competitions, music lessons, Scouts or Guides and more.

All this takes time, organisation and a lot of patience!

2. 24/7 life

You are going to be with your family pretty much 24/7. You spend almost all your time together and this can be a blessing to some, a curse to others.

As a homeschooling parent you will have very little personal time or time alone away from your children.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed so you have to make sure you schedule in some self care time each week, even it's just a walk or reading a good book in the bath.

For siblings, spending so much time together creates a stronger lifelong bond is most cases, but there will still be plenty of squabbles and niggles along the way!

3. Financial sacrifices

Whilst homeschooling doesn't have to cost a lot of money, it does usually require one parent to be available all day.

This can often mean one parent giving up working outside the home so some sacrfices may need to be made if the family is used to living on two incomes.

For single parents this can be an even more significant problem, although there are more and more ways for people to earn money working from home, whether that involves setting up your own business or remote working.

There are also the additional costs of field trips and bought curriculum if you choose those.

4. Your home will be messy!

Of course, not necessarily all the time but I kind of feel like homeschooling needs a 'neat freaks need not apply' proviso! (As does parenting!)

Yes, housework and laundry and all the other stuff will still have to be done, but it probably won’t get done first thing in the morning and you'll need to be proactive at grabbing a few minutes here and there.

Unload the dishwasher while they complete a couple of maths problems; put a load of laundry on while they eat a snack. It's a constant juggle.

If you are a neat freak, you might be in for a shock because, not only does the housework need to be let go at times, but homeschooling creates tons of messes and clutter on its own.

You'll have science experiments happening in kitchens and bathrooms; treasures found in the forest or the beach everywhere (skulls, crab claws, random rocks); and a whole ton of stuff you never had before.

To keep a vague level of company ready home you will have to be super organized but you will also probably have to let some of it go and enjoy happy, eager to learn children rather than a spotless and dust-free home!

5. You need a thick skin!

Oh my, other people's opinions. You know how everyone becomes an expert when you're pregnant or taking a baby out in a pram? That times a thousand!

You will get unasked for and potentially incorrect parenting advice everywhere you go, and on top of that everyone will have an opinion on your child not being in school.

From the everyday "No school today?" to full on discourses about why they should go to school, we get it all. (And plenty of praise and envy too!)

Recent encounters we have had:
  • Elderly man literally pushing my children out of the way and moaning about them not being in school.
  • Lovely middle-aged couple in a cafe asking if the girls were home educated (UK term) and saying how wonderful and what amazing opportunities they had.
  • Shop assistant asking me if we have to invite other children round at 10.20am for playtime.
  • Random person on a bus testing their times tables.
  • Mid-20s girl telling my girls she wished she had been home educated because she hated school.
  • Elderly lady in pub talking to Sophia about travelling and urging her to make the most of every moment in life.
  • Other children asking me how the girls get PE time and what years they are in.
  • Complete stranger coming up to tell us we are wrong and we should let the girls go to school so they can 'be normal'. Apparently it's not right keeping them away from school and stopping them learning.

And that doesn't even take into account all the questions from family and friends who are not 100% in favour of your decision (that's putting it nicely).

Yep, you need a thick skin!

There are lots of things to consider when you are making the decision about whether or not to homeschool your child, but I believe there are so many more advantages than disadvantages.

It;s certianly the best decision we have made and we love it.

Just make sure you think through all these factors and that you are thoroughly prepared for all of the time and commitment that is involved.

If you are thinking of choosing homeschooling for your child, I hope this list will help to make your decision a success.

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