There are so many things we’ve had to do differently thanks to Covid-19, including education. Distance learning threw a lot of parents a big twist and made the school year full of new challenges. Having kids home during the last few months of school has made some parents seriously consider homeschooling full-time (who would maybe otherwise not in the past).
Maybe you’re one of those parents! Having your kids home made you realize how doable homeschooling could be. Maybe you feel like homeschooling might be the right choice for your family for the fall but you still feel uncertain. Homeschooling can be overwhelming and a little intimating. Where do you start? How can you be sure if it’s the right choice? Being responsible for teaching a child, or several children, is a big responsibility. But it isn’t impossible!
If homeschooling is something you are thinking about for this fall, or in the near future, here are a few questions to you ask yourself when making that decision.
What is my motivation?
As I mentioned above, current events and the unknown has a lot of parents thinking about homeschooling. It can be scary to think about what the next few months or year ahead could hold and how that will impact education. Even though that fear is valid I will say this, fear alone shouldn’t even be someone’s only motivation for homeschooling. The fears (whether related to Covid-19, bullying, exposure to things, etc) we feel as parents are real and valid, but there must be other reasons as well motivating you to make such a big decision like choosing to homeschool.
The first question you really need to think about when it comes to homeschooling is why? Really think about it. Write down your reasons. Make a pros and cons list. These lists will vary family to family. Every family, situation, and season is different. Even for our family we have decided to evaluate our homeschooling decision year to year. So far homeschooling has been what we have chosen, but that may not always be the case. Our circumstances may change, but in our current situation, homeschooling is right choice for our family.
What does my family think?
When I say family I’m not talking every single family member (don’t worry you don’t need to call up your great aunt or 2nd cousin to weigh in on this!), just your personal family unit. For us that includes my husband and our kids. Whoever those people are, you will want them to weigh in on this decision. You probably won’t have a successful homeschooling year if you come out of left field and just announce to your family, “We are homeschooling this year whether you like it or not!”
A huge factor in our family’s success when it comes to homeschooling has been that my husband and I are on the same page. I do a majority of the homeschooling in our house, but it’s important that my husband and I are on the same page about it. I couldn’t do it without my husband’s full support.
When you are evaluating your decision make sure you and your partner are looking at things together. Consider their perspective and input. If your child is older or mature enough, you may even ask them to be part of the conversation and decision-making process as well. Everyone in your family may not agree 100%, but you still need to invite them to be part of the process.
What are my expectations?
I’m sure you have a picture in your head of what homeschooling looks like. Maybe it’s based on a picture you saw on Instagram, a friend’s experience, or just assumptions you’ve made. Maybe you think homeschooling is just like public school but it’s at home in your pjs.
Whatever expectations you have, let them go.
Expectations are not always wrong or bad, but they can be harmful when they aren’t based on reality. It can be tempting to think that homeschooling will look a certain way, and when our experience doesn’t match that we can feel a little like a failure.
I can’t tell you what homeschooling will look like for you. The beauty about homeschooling is the flexibility and how it works for different families. But I can tell you some things that homeschooling is NOT. Homeschooling is not perfect, always easy, one size fits all, for every family, or exactly like public school at home.
If you do decide to give homeschooling a try, make sure you set aside your unrealistic expectations. Have an open mind and give yourself (and your kiddos) a little extra grace as you figure out a new normal.
Any more questions?
You can’t limit this kind of conversation to only a handful of questions. It is helpful to ask lots of questions and get a variety of perspectives! Write down all the questions (big or small) that come to mind. Look at your pros and cons list and see what kind of questions you come up with.
Now take all of those questions and ask away! Find a homeschool mama (maybe a friend, acquaintance, family member) and get their perspective on things. Chances are that if you have a question about homeschooling, someone else has had the same questions or concern at some point. Even if you know someone casually, it doesn’t hurt to ask about their homeschooling experience. Asking multiple people will also give you multiple perspectives and insight.
Maybe you don’t really know anyone who homeschools. That’s okay. Between YouTube, social media community groups, and even Pinterest, you can find so many resources and communities to help answer your questions. It may take a little digging but don’t be afraid to look, research, and ask. And of course, you can always drop your questions in the comments below!