Seven Considerations to Make Before Homeschooling Your Kids

Have you been hearing about more and more parents pulling their kids out of school, or not registering them in the first place, so they can be homeschooled instead? Well, you aren't imagining that the trend is growing because according to statistics homeschooling is on the rise here in the United States. A study was conducted in 2016 and showed that there were more than 1.6 million students ages 5-17 that were currently classed as homeschooled, and that number is expected to grow to 2.3 million by 2020.

So, what is the big draw? Why are so many parents opting for this route? Is it something you should be considering for your own child or children? Here we’ll take a look at the top seven considerations to make before you decide whether or not homeschooling is right for your kids.

What Are the Top Reasons for Homeschooling?

The first thing to consider is the “why” aspect of homeschooling. Why exactly are so many parents going down this route? While each family is unique, there are some common reasons that parents give when it comes to homeschooling.

For many parents, it is about the actual school environment. If parents and kids feel the school environment is negative, doesn't offer the kind of support and attention needed for kids, if bullying is an issue, stealing, violence, etc., then parents are choosing the route of homeschooling. This type of negative environment can lead to depression in kids, problems sleeping, low self-esteem, and so much more.

Other common reasons are to offer better support for kids with a learning or physical disability, get a better-quality education that better challenges your child, and improve and diversify their social interactions.

How Will You Know What to Teach Your Kids?

Another thing to think about is the actual teaching aspect of homeschooling. You will be taking over the role of the teacher, which can seem pretty intimidating at first. How do you know what to teach? Where will you access a curriculum? What if you don't understand the content? These are all common fears that parents can have.

Here's the thing, as long as you are able to read and write, chances are you'll do fine. There is a large variety of teaching materials, resources, and curriculum available for families looking to homeschool, so you aren't expected to go into the situation blind.

If you do feel that you are in over your head with some of the content, then you can always hire outside help such as a tutoring service. Math is one subject that can prove especially difficult for parents to teach, especially as the lessons become more complex.

This is where programs such as Mathnasium can prove to be beneficial. The Mathnasium program is a center-based program wherein kids attend group sessions and work on various worksheets together. There is a tutor on-hand for the session offering them instruction and help. You can find out more about the program and the Mathnasium locations here.

Are You Able to Make the Time Commitment?

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider is the time commitment that will be required from you in order to homeschool. This will most likely mean quitting your job if you work full-time out of the house, and possibly rearranging your entire schedule.

Typically there is more involved than just studying and teaching for a couple of hours a day. In order for your kids to get a well-rounded experience, you will also want to include field trips, lessons outside the house, outdoor time, visits to parks, some sort of organized sport, and you need time to prepare their lessons and grade all their work.

Can You Deal with the Financial Sacrifices?

As you think about the time commitment and the fact you will most likely need to quit your full-time job, it’s then important to think about the financial impact homeschooling will have. Can your family still pay the bills if you don’t have that same salary coming in? Perhaps you can arrange to work part-time hours from home instead, or even on a contract/freelance basis.

Are You Willing to Create a Workspace?

It's also a good idea to think about where your child will work during the day. Spreading out the books at the kitchen table is fine in a pinch, but ideally, you want to have a more permanent set-up for them. When creating that perfect school space at home, it’s best to have a spot that is free of distractions such as the television, has a door that you can close to block out noise, has a proper desk set-up, task lighting, and storage space. It’s almost like setting up a home office.

How Will You Keep Up with Socialization?

A big part of school is the socialization that kids get. They are able to meet a variety of people, take part in activities and sports with friends, and really work on creating bonds. If you plan on homeschooling your child, it’s important to ask yourself how you plan to meet all their socialization needs at home. The answer typically involves taking your child outside of the house to join clubs, sports teams, events, and activities with other kids their age so you fill that void.

How Does Your Child Feel About Homeschooling?

Finally, you want to be sure you speak to your child about the prospect of homeschooling. Is this something they are on-board with? Forcing them into a situation where they aren't happy, comfortable, or secure can lead to a lot of problems. Ask them to voice their feelings, worries, and doubts so you can chat about things as a family.

Ready to Make that Decision

By looking at all of these considerations and talking things out as a family, you will be much more likely to come to a conclusion that is best for your child. Keeping their needs and priorities as the main priority will be imperative, as it’s all about what is best for them and their future.