Should I Homeschool?

I am considering it, but am unsure.

The idea of homeschooling feels like hanging from my ankles!

Doubts. One reason you may be considering homeschooling is what you observe in either public or private school options. Maybe school is not quite working as you hoped. Maybe your son or daughter is not doing well in that environment. Are they getting stigmatized, are they getting in trouble often? Are you disappointed or frustrated with the IEP process and/or level of services rendered? Or—are your kids simply not learning all you think they should? Maybe you have preschool-aged children, and you don’t like what you are hearing about elementary school?

I am here to let you know that all of your concerns ARE valid. Education has changed a lot! You are wise to listen to that small voice you hear in your heart that says, “Maybe I can take my kid/family in a new and different direction.” You must trust yourself and these questions you have. At the very least, they are grounds for exploring the options.

My (lack of) teaching ability. Schools have professional teachers. They know what kids “should learn” in each grade. They know how to teach all the learning styles. How will I ever come close?

From personal experience I can honestly say I am as surprised as anyone that I chose to homeschool. My mother was a full-time art teacher in a private school. She made comments to me like “I am not sure about homeschooling. What about the socialization?” Her words impacted me. Until the conventional school situation did not work for us when my eldest was in the third grade, I was doubtful about homeschooling myself. I only got into it because — I had to get into it.

Work. I have either a full or part-time job. Is homeschool even an option? This is an great thing to be asking yourself, if you have work commitments. If your kids are in middle school and above, it may be doable to work part-time. Here is the truth: Homeschooling is a job. If your work level raises your stress level, your kids may feel that, and approach their homeschool work with stress also. Kids are intuitive. Read my blog article about why I had to stop homeschooling. In truth, your level of stress about homeschooling will probably increase if your kids are stressed, and your family may suffer from ever increasing cycles of stress. It may be the best idea to wait until you are at a point where you can ease up in your work.

Here’s a personal example: This next year I am jumping back into homeschooling in a different way, but I know for it to be a good experience for myself and my boys, grades 4 and 7, I have to let go of some of my work goals. For myself, that looks like not writing another book next year. If I attempt it, I will be driven to do my thing, and not be as sensitive or available to my boys. I don’t want to risk being frustrated and have the experience be a bad one.

If you are unsure if you can handle work and homeschool, you may still want to give it a try. Give yourself one-year to try it, and see how it goes. It really is okay to try it and conclude it’s not working. Even one year of trying it may give you some relief from regretting that you did not try it. Homeschooling is hard, and not for everyone. The biggest driver I can see–if you try it, you must have a strong conviction; this will get you through the ups and downs. (But get support also!)

I am so intrigued. How can I get more information to figure this out?

Doubts, feeling of lack of ability, and work concerns may be perplexing you. There really may not be a perfect solution to any of your concerns. If you are asking yourself these questions, honor your inner voice and get some answers. It is a sacrifice to perhaps not have the career you want, and the personal space you have come to appreciate with kids in full-time school. But, if you wanted to keep exploring, how could you get armed with information?

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