Are you Considering Homeschool?
It’s that time again. Back-to-school time. This is the time of year when parents check the school supply lists and wonder about classes. We try to decide if our child truly needs 10-pronged folders in 5 different colors. However some of you may be struggling with a much more important decision than whether or not you should pick up an extra box of #2 pencils. For some this time of year will bring up the question “Should I homeschool my child?” Considering homeschool for your child can be a tough process. However there are considerations that can make this process easier.
There are 6 questions to ask that can (and should) play into this decision.
1. What are the Laws in my State?
Each state has specific laws that govern the act of homeschooling. Some states have very loose regulations. The only thing that you have to do if you want to homeschool your child is SAY that you are homeschooling your child. However in other states the regulations are much more stringent. In New York parents must submit a yearly homeschool plan as well as quarterly reports documenting progress and annual assessments. In Georgia (where I live) parents must submit a declaration of intent to homeschool each year starting at 6 years old. Children also are subject to standardized testing every 3 years starting in 3rd Make sure you understand the requirements for your state if you are considering homeschool for your child.
2. How does my child learn best?
Every child is different and different children thrive in different situations. There are many types of learning styles. Understanding how your child learns can be quite helpful in your decision about whether to homeschool your child. For example my eldest daughter, Samantha, enjoys the many opportunities, both social and academic, that public school affords her. She is a visual and auditory learner and does well with the lecture orientation of many of her classes. My son Joshua, however has special needs and does poorly in the crowded classrooms of most public schools. He tends to be more of a visual and kinetic learner. As you are thinking about weather to homeschool your child, consider how your child learns best.
3. Do I have the time to homeschool?
I’m not going to sugar-coat this. Homeschooling takes a bunch of time. If you are considering homeschool you should be aware if this. Time expenditures related to homeschooling occur in 2 stages: planning and administration. Even curriculum that is “self guided” or virtual school requires some amount of planning on the part of the parent. You have to research and choose the curriculum as well as gather any needed materials. On the administration side, even the most relaxed homeschool invoves some sort of administration and record keeping. Also depending on your state there may be official records that you need to keep (see question #1)
4. Who will supervise my child during the day?
Perhaps you have a parent that can stay home with your child. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t. Not everyone has the ability or desire to stay home all day with their child. However anyone can homeschool their child if they want it bad enough. As a single, working mother much of our homeschool activities take place in the evening and on the weekends. However, children have to do SOMETHING all day. In the case of younger children they need to be supervised by somebody all of the time. One of your considerations as you think about homeschooling should involve who will supervise your children, both during homeschool activities and, as in our case, when you may be at work but the kids are not in public school.
5. Can I financially afford to homeschool?
Homeschooling can be accomplished nearly for free. However it can also be quite expensive. In my experience there seems to be a correlation between the amount of planning time involved and the cost of homeschooling. If you need to use a prepared, fully laid out curriculum, you may be expected to pay for it. If cost is more of a factor you can expect to spend more time planning and searching out free resources. (There are, of course, exceptions to this rule on both ends)
6. How organized is my household?
Being able to get and stay organized is crucial to a successful homeschool. When I say this I don’t just mean organization of school supplies and records but household organization as well. As you begin the process of considering homeschool you should think about how your homeschool will fit into the general management of your homeschool.
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These are only a few of the factors that should be weighed when considering homeschool. There may be many other considerations such as the suitability and safety of nearby schools or religious factors that weigh on the decision to homeschool. However, while homeschooling can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding things that you can do for your child this is not a decision to take lightly. What’s best for one child may not be best for all of your children.
Keep these factors in mind this fall as you begin the back to school process. Also make sure that you sign up for our list so that you can be notified of all of the great homeschooling and other great content that we feature at Exploring Expression
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