So you think you want to homeschool?! Well, first of all, welcome to the club. I, for one, love homeschooling and think everyone should do it! Ok. Maybe not everyone, but I think it’s pretty awesome. I never thought I would homeschool my kids, so I know all the thoughts and feelings that go through your mind when your contemplating this decision. While brainstorming a post to offer my advice, I thought of 5 things to keep in mind if you want to homeschool.
Homeschooling is an investment in your children but it is also a huge investment in your time. In the beginning, it seems like it takes up all of your time. Reading up on homeschool laws. Time to research all the methods of homeschooling. Price comparing curriculum. Researching which curriculum will fit your kids! So much research to do, so little time. Granted you really only have to do all this research once. Over the years you will do some tweaking and adjusting, but not the all out planning/research extravaganza you begin with.
But the time doesn’t end there. Then you need to consider the time it takes during your day to sit down and complete your curriculum. Educating your children at home is going to take time. It seems rather obvious to say this but you will probably take LESS time in the day for schoolwork than you think. A traditional school day is typically 8-3, but most homeschool days are half or less! The great thing about homeschooling is you can customize your days to make the best use of your time.
Much of day will not include “doing school,” but your kids will still be at home. How will you fill your time the rest of the day? Homeschooling is about educating your children, but it also means you are WITH your children much more than if they go to regular school. Which is awesome and part of the reason you are wanting to homeschool, but that doesn’t make it less difficult. And leads me to my next consideration.
Like I said, you are with your kids 24/7. Let me repeat that, you are with your kids 24/7. Depending on the person, that is either awesome or horrifying. You just need to keep in mind how much do you need or do not need personal space? How big is your home. i.e. will you actually be able to get away from each other if need be. What ages are your kids and will they understand if you say you need space?
Personal space shouldn’t be a deal breaker in your decision to homeschool, but it is something you should keep in mind and create a plan of attack on how to deal with it. If you are already at home with young children and choosing to educate them at home rather than sending them to school, your days probably won’t feel much different. If you are pulling your child out of school, it may be a little different not having any time to yourself during the day, for both of you! And having personal time during your day is gonna be sacred because homeschooling is a lot of work!
Homeschooling is a ton of work, but an awesome work. Sending your kids to school takes work, but this is different kind of work. Researching, learning, teaching, doubting, reading, buying a curriculum, putting together a curriculum. It’s a full-time job. And if you have a job from home (or outside of the home) you really need to plan out your days to make sure everything gets done!
The awesome thing is you will get in a groove and homeschooling will not feel like work. You will come up with a system to organize your time and soon you will be taking an hour out of your week to plan for the upcoming days and weeks. Don’t let the amount of work intimidate you. Homeschooling is a lot of up front work, but as you continue you will find it’s more about adjusting your sails rather than directing the wind.
Without peers to compare them to (which isn’t always a good thing of course) you will not realize your kids are quite capable of being independent. Just like you don’t notice them growing from day-to-day but after a year you see they have grown 2 inches! It’s a lot like that in regards to independence. Because you are with them all-day, every day, you sometimes don’t notice they are growing up and more than capable of certain things. Not because you are sheltering them or want to do it for them, it’s just time goes by differently when you homeschool. Homeschooling lets kids stay kids longer so you can forget that even though they still play with what some would consider “baby toys” they are quite capable of cleaning up, playing independently, making/getting their own food, etc.
I, for example, tend to forget that if my kids were in school, they would be without me from 8-3. I need to give myself grace in making them more independent. Not every act of misbehavior is because they want attention from me.
If you homeschool you are always asked the socialization question. I was originally concerned because we didn’t have a built-in support network. We don’t got to church, and we aren’t originally from this area of Wisconsin. We don’t have many friends or neighbors with kids the same age as ours, and if you can’t tell, we are introverts. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may worry about socialization but once you start homeschooling, socialization is the furthest thing from your mind.
We have made friends with our local homeschool group and by just meeting people at the library. If you already have a support network in place: church, family, friends from when kids went to school, don’t worry. It may take a little adjusting, but you will be fine. Your kids may keep or lose their school friends (an excellent life lesson btw) but they WILL make new friends. It may not happen as quickly or easily as you like, but it will happen. Sometimes when you least expect it 🙂
Making the decision to homeschool is a big one! Many times it is a sacrifice the whole family makes to create a learning environment you are passionate about. You will consider many things while pondering this big decision: time, money, sleep, socialization, etc, but in the end it is worth it. Every sacrifice and doubtful moment is worth being there for your kids and their education. It’s not better or worse than traditional schooling, it’s just different. And in homeschooling, different is good!