In Part 1 of this series, we outlined the first step in trying to decide between public, private, and homeschooling – gathering information. I know it’s not exciting, but it is a non-negotiable for those who want to make the best decisions for their children’s education.
In case you missed it, here’s Part 1, where we elaborated on the information that you need to gather when considering your local public school. In Part 2, we recommended two questions that you ask in evaluating private schools. Today, we’ll walk through the first three questions to ask if you’re considering homeschooling.
1. Is an adult really available to homeschool your child? In most cases, this is the mother. However, you could also consider grandparents or homeschool tutors. Consider the “opportunity costs” involved with most homeschool scenarios of working with your child at least half of every day. If you have a life complicated by care for an aging parent, a farm or home-based business to look after, or your own health issues, please understand that you will likely spend half of your day at least four days of the week on homeschooling. An excellent homeschool education conducted by a frazzled and stressed-out parent probably isn’t the best you can offer your child.
2. Are both you and your spouse clear on your reasons for considering homeschooling? Homeschooling isn’t easy and needs at least some involvement and buy-in from both parents. If you aren’t on the same page, you will hit some bumps along the road. I personally would never recommend that you homeschool unless both parents are on board.
3. Are you considering homeschooling because your church or community has implied that it is the only viable option (if you really love your kid)? As an educator and a person of strong faith, I beg you to cover your ears and sing your favorite song when you hear this. I don’t claim to have a direct line and word from God about this for you. But my 10 years as a teacher and 16 years as an education consultant with families using all kinds of educational options, education degrees, and my strong faith and active participation in church and mission work for most of my life – all lead me to cringe at the knowledge that there are pastors, church communities, and fellow God-seekers out there telling you that they know how to educate YOUR child.
If this is your primary reason for homeschooling, I humbly ask you to reconsider. If there are other compelling reasons to homeschool, great! If not, practice smiling and saying to your mirror, “We’ve decided that public school is best for Suzy next year,” (or whatever you’ve decided) and then turning away.
Later this week, we’ll wrap up this series and talk about how to put all of this information together. Until then, have a great week!