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Is Home School the Right Choice for Your Family?

Updated on December 31, 2017

Look Before You Leap: Top Five Questions to Answer

1. Do I believe home schooling is the best way to meet my children's academic needs?

As a parent, you know your own child. You also know your own strengths and weaknesses. If you are confident you can follow a teacher's guide and teach your child the subjects you deem important for the upcoming academic year, then home schooling is an option to consider. If your students are teens, determine if you can handle subjects such as trigonometry, biology, and advanced English—or if you can make arrangements for private tutoring or online classes.

2. Will I have the confidence and persistence to teach even when it is difficult and to defend my school in the face of opposition?

Home schooling allows great flexibility, but you are still responsible for making sure your child is learning. You must commit to finding the right resources if your child has problems with a subject or has general learning disabilities. Documenting learning is especially important in more controlling states that require annual portfolio reviews.

Laws vary by state with some allowing home schools almost complete freedom and some just barely tolerating them after decades of judicial challenges. If you live in an intolerant state, you may need to enlist professional help if your child has learning disabilities or differences. Some states have harassed home schools about student achievement even if a child had been doing poorly in a government-controlled school before being home schooled.

3. Are there friends, family, or support groups to encourage us in home schooling?

Home school families tend to be more self-sufficient and independent in philosophy than typical families. This does not mean you should be a "Lone Ranger." Support groups such as HSLDA are important, especially if you live in a relatively hostile state or have custody issues with children in your home/school. Local groups that meet in libraries or churches can be great for field trips, holiday parties or just general fellowship. If your extended family is hostile to your school choice, you will need a sympathetic shoulder on occasion as well.

4. Can I handle the workload of home schooling?

If you have multiple preschoolers in the house, a spouse who works at home, ailing parents who need assistance, or a baby on the way, consider how those factors may impact your school decision. I know a family that found homeschooling to be a blessing when a great-grandmother was terminally ill. The children were older and were able to appreciate the time they got to spend with their loved one. They learned from their mother/teacher's example: the dignity of human life, compassion for the hurting, appreciation for the stories our elders can tell. If the children had been much younger, however, a different school option might have been needed. Be realistic about your stamina and your time commitments.

5. Is home schooling the best way to meet my children's non-academic needs?

Home schooling can give great peace of mind to parents and children if a child has a serious medical condition that may be dangerous or disruptive in an institutional school setting. Children with special social needs may also benefit from a home setting rather than an age-graded environment. At home a child can have immediate access to an asthma inhaler or insulin instead of having to go to an office and wait for a school nurse. At home, gifted children can have extra time for piano practice, do fifth grade math, and read Tolkien even if their handwriting skills and social skills are still at a second grade level. Children who need extra help can get it at home without the stigma of being labeled and set apart publicly--or being pressured to take drugs just to sit through each school day.

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    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub. Very good points you have. A must read for anyone considering homeschooling! Voted up.

    • SPK5367 profile image

      SPK5367 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Interesting hub and you make a number of very good points. I've homeschooled for many years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think there are a number of ways in which to accomplish this goal of educating our children and I am grateful that I am free to choose from among them.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I love getting feedback from my kids and others who have been homeschooled. I'm sure your mom appreciates the positive feedback, too!

    • Joelipoo profile image

      Joelipoo 5 years ago from Ohio

      My mom home-schooled all four of us during our elementary years. I will always be thankful that she did it because I believe it put us far ahead. There are factors to consider because home-schooling isn't right for every child/parent. Great hub. Voted up and useful.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      You are to be commended for doing what your family needed at each stage of development. We transitioned from homeschool to private school when I had a difficult pregnancy, although I did later bring a child home to finish high school. We need to be aware of each child's different needs and adjust as needed, taking our own needs into account as well.

    • profile image

      PWalker281 5 years ago

      I homeschooled my daughter for 2 1/2 years back in the early 90s because the school she was in was threatening to label her with ADD. She was a high-energy, inquisitive child who had a kinesthetic, learn-by-doing learning style that didn't match the rigid classroom environment of public school. Plus, she had previously spent several years in a Montessori school where she had a lot more freedom to move around the classroom. But after 2 1/2 years at home, she decided she wanted to go to public school because she wanted a locker! I transitioned her to public school with a year in another Montessori school.

      While I enjoyed homeschooling her, I was burned out at the end of those 2 1/2 years (I was a single parent), so it was good that she was ready to go back to public school. Also back in the early 90s, while there were some homeschooling curricula available, there weren't nearly as many homeschooling resources that are available today.

      You've listed some excellent factors that parents need to consider in deciding if homeschooling is the best option for their children. Voted up, useful, and interesting.