Is Homeschooling Right For You?

Is homeschooling right for you? Earlier this week we asked “why homeschool?” but just because you have some good reasons why you should consider it, doesn’t necessarily mean you should take the plunge. Today, I looked to my friend Elizabeth over at Lazy Hippie Mama, a most excellent homeschooling resource, to help families determine if a non-traditional education could work for them.  She provided me with a most excellent response, which I am privileged to share with you here today.

 Is Homeschooling Right For You?

Hippie Academy LogoHomeschooling is not the right choice for every family. Or, maybe it is the right choice this year but not next. How do you know if you should take the plunge?

I think every homeschool parent has had someone say to them, “I could never do what you do!”

The best answer I ever heard (and stole) was, “You should never try to do what I do.”

What I do is right for my family. Our lifestyle fits our religious, political, moral beliefs. We strive toward our dreams. We schedule our days around our jobs and our favorite past times and our passions. Our blended family means having kids in diapers at the same time we have kids learning to drive, sharing parenting with others with whom we don’t agree 100% of the time, and a summer family structure that is completely different from a school-year family structure.

I could go on, but the point is, unless your family is exactly like mine you shouldn’t try to do what I do.

Homeschooling is all about doing what YOU do. Homeschooling is not just school at home. It is a lifestyle of learning. What that means in your family is something that only you can figure out.

If you are holding back from homeschooling because you’re uncertain of your ability to teach, don’t let that be the thing that stops you. There have never before been more resources available. Online classrooms, homeschool co-ops, curriculums, lesson plans, Pinterest boards and more can give you more help than you will ever need. As kids get older and schoolwork becomes more complicated they can enroll in classes at local technical schools or Jr. colleges. In that way, many homeschool kids graduate high school with an Associate’s degree!

Last year's Christmas concert with the homeschool band.

Last year’s Christmas concert with the homeschool band.

Also, please don’t let the issue of “socialization” stop you. Every homeschool family will tell you that it’s simply a non-issue. There are clubs and lessons, church, scouts, play dates, study groups… Social people find ways to be social.

Homeschooling has some amazing benefits! I suspect, if you are considering it, you’ve already thought about the freedom it will offer your family, the greater choice over your child’s curriculum, greater influence over who he is spending his time with and the opportunity for more time together as a family among other things.

Be aware, though, that it is not all happy family trips to the zoo and working side by side to make Pinterest-worthy lunches every day.

You know how, some mornings, your kid is a giant grouch and you have to drag them through their morning and kick them out the door to get them on the school bus only to have them return home, 7 hours later, even grouchier with a note from their teacher in hand? Yeah… those days still happen but, as a homeschooler, you get the great privelege of spending those 7 hours in close proximity of Miss Can’t-be-pleased. Those days are hard.

The days when YOU wake up feeling like Miss Can’t-be-pleased are even harder.

For that reason, I suggest to you what someone suggested to me. Make a list of reasons why you want to homeschool. Our friend told us to list 100. I thought that was ridiculously excessive but we did it and it turned out to be far easier than we expected. (Our list can be viewed here.) The ease of coming up with THAT MANY reasons (some of which were significantly more weighty than others) showed us that it really was what we wanted to do.

Maybe your list only has 3 reasons but they are really powerful reasons – medical issues, safety concerns, a child who is really struggling or very gifted, etc.

Either way, make your list of reasons. Write it down. Keep it somewhere accessible.

When you hit those hard days where you question the sanity of your choice refer back to the list and remind yourself why you’ve chosen the path that you are on and ask yourself if those reasons are still valid. I find that my list re-assures me, even on the very worst days, that homeschool IS the right choice for my family. In the end, you are the only one who can answer the question as to whether or not it is right for yours.

 

 If you enjoyed today’s post, you might consider following Lazy Hippie Mama on Facebook or subscribing to her blog. You can also check out my guest post there, which discusses using JA advocacy to teach kids about U.S. legislation.

 

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Comments:

  1. I always think I like the idea of homeschooling my kids.
    Debi@TheSpringMount6Pack recently posted…Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Wreath CraftMy Profile

  2. I don’t think I could do it! But kudos to those who can!
    Amber Nelson recently posted…Alec Baldwin, Ireland Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin, Donna Karan and more attend Bent On Learning Inspire! GalaMy Profile

  3. Very informational post! We’ve been thinking about homeschooling our son and these are some great points to consider.
    Samantha Cuhel recently posted…Pet Blogger Editorial CalendarMy Profile

  4. I have been homeschooling my teenager for last 2 years ever since he suffers from PTSD. It has it’s advantages & disadvantages, but he decided to go back to school starting next semester which is next week. I think it will make us both happier.
    Bibiana Bailey recently posted…5 Ways To Use Eggs Outside The KitchenMy Profile

  5. My younger sister is thinking about homeschooling her daughter. I will share this link to her for some guidelines.
    Garf recently posted…Marketing Tasks for as low as £5My Profile

  6. We homeschooled my oldest throughout his entire educational career. It was the right decision for him and he is excelling in college. My daughters have returned to public school. Now that they are in HS and MS I felt they were old enough to make a decision. I feel they are now old enough and have developed a sense of ethics and morality so they will be able to handle themselves in a public school setting.
    Chrishelle recently posted…IT IS TIME TO CHEER UP IN 2014My Profile

  7. It’s such a personal decision to homeschool, and I love the advice, ‘you should never do what I do.’ Every situation really is different and takes consideration and a strong feeling that they’re doing what is right, whichever way they decide!
    Rosey recently posted…Limited Edition #TruMoo Chocolate Marshmallow Milk!! @mail4rosey #sponsoredMy Profile

  8. I know homeschooling isn’t right for me and my son. But I have inmense respect for people who do it. I try to do my best to teach my son good values and make sure the school where he is does the same. He is currently studying in a Catholic school and we have both been very happy with it.
    Joanna Sormunen recently posted…Wenesday factsMy Profile

  9. I believe it is but to convince my hubby…. I don’t ever see that happening 🙁
    Mindie recently posted…Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Basic Hand SewingMy Profile

  10. My children are 1 1/2 and 3 1/2, so we still have a LITTLE time before we have to make up our minds. We have been doing preschool at home with a lot of success. I think this idea of making a list of 100 reasons why you want to home school so you can refer back to it when times are hard is a great idea.
    Christy Denton recently posted…Best Ever Homemade Sandwich BreadMy Profile

  11. Great post! Homeschooling is something we’re seriously considering for our son. I was homeschooled my entire life (well, I had one year in a tiny Christian school), so I guess I’ve never worried about the process too much, and I know that socialization really isn’t an issue. I’m also a professional educator, so I’m confident I can teach my son. But there are a ton of curriculum options available for people who are unsure.
    Elisebet F recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: 1/29/13 #winterstormleonMy Profile

  12. I wish I had friends that were in admiration of what I do! Instead, Instead, I often feel like everyone is continually pointing out how their public schooled student is so much smarter and better adjusted than my kids. My friends encourage me to “just put them in school”. That is when I have to remind myself of all the reasons that homeschooling is the right choice because *I* know it is-no matter what anyone else says. Exactly like you said, I have to go back to the reasons why our family chose it originally, namely because of our belief that it is God’s will for our family. Since that hasn’t changed I must remain firm in my convictions, and remember that I don’t make decisions for other people’s families (or try to make them fit my mold!) and I can’t allow them to do that for me. I am definitely making a list-it and maybe I will frame it! I need a good reminder. 🙂
    Clare recently posted…Avocado, Corn and Black Bean SaladMy Profile

  13. I think for us to determine yet if home schooling is right, my son will have to try regular school first. He’s a very outgoing child and thrives around other people. But not all people are designed the same way. I think home school environments are awesome for kids who need or parents who want to do it. I do have a question though, what do you do about standardized tests thought? I don’t have any kids in school yet, but will this August and know they start testing in 3rd grade.
    Heather recently posted…$100 Visa Gift Card #GiveawayMy Profile

    • Many public school systems allow homeschoolers to participate in “specials” like band or art, as well as the standardized testing. Our system through k12 provides standardized tests too.

  14. I definitely think home schooling is a great idea. More and more people are pushing there children to do it.
    Felicia recently posted…Some Focus on the OfficeMy Profile

  15. If the system in my country would allow it, I’d choose homeschool anytime. I find the educational system lacks a lot and I am afraid my daughter would be pick more damage than good from there.

    • Petro, what country are you in? I thought most countries allowed some type of homeschooling option nowadays. That is interesting, but sad to me that you couldn’t exercise that option.

  16. I’m a personal trainer who used to be a classroom teacher. Lists like this work amazingly for my clients want to start a fitness program, but are worried about those times that they won’d be motivated to work out or make healthy choices. I think it’s a great way to prepare for any big change. I don’t have kids of my own yet, but after working in schools I often think about whether or not I will homeschool my own kids. There really are so many great options for homeschooling these days. Great article 🙂
    Catherine | Fit Armadillo recently posted…What’s for Dinner? Wednesday: Swai Wrapped with Proscuitto and ArugulaMy Profile

    • There are a lot of great options, but homeschool isn’t for everyone, and isn’t always the best choice for families every single year, but it can be for some! I think it all depends on your situation, your inclination, you and your child! Making a list is a great way to gain insight for any big change. I can see where it would work for diet and exercise as well. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I agree with all of the above. The most important thing to remember is that we can’t replicate another family. Once we have that figured out, we stop playing comparison games and focus on what’s best for us. Great post!
    Angela Taylor recently posted…Teaching Children ResponsibilitesMy Profile

  18. I personally am not a person that would homeschool or have my wife homeschool.. even though she is a teacher it would be easy for her.. If it works for you, then great!

    • We NEVER thought we would homeschool either, then our circumstances changed dramatically, and it really was the best solution. That being said, we hope to transition back to traditional school next year, as things are changing again, and that may be a better fit for us in the years to come. Its important to keep open minded, explore ALL the options, and then choose the best fit for your family at that time.

  19. Great idea to make a list to look back to. I plan to homeschool my daughter during pre-school and then go from there.
    Michelle F. recently posted…Bluum Box January 2014 Toddler – 20 Months #ReviewMy Profile

    • I agree Michelle, making a list really does help crystallize the reasons why you should or shouldn’t undertake a homeschooling program in your family. I think its a great idea to revisit the decision every year, and make sure that it still makes sense!

  20. Absolutely! I am still up in the air about homeschooling next year. I am going to work on a list myself. My husband spent his last months in the Navy writing all the reasons we decided not to re-enlist in a notebook. Throughout the years, especially when we were fighting about it, we have taken it out and reminded ourselves of the reasons.
    Herchel S recently posted…Encouraging independence with a Kid’s PantryMy Profile

    • Herchel, I think the list idea is great, and as you pointed out, can work for so many other big decisions in our lives as well! Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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