As this school year winds to a close I have heard from several parents who are thinking of homeschooling their children. We are completing our 13th year of homeschooling and over that time I have helped several families weigh their options and get started. I want to start out by saying homeschooling is not for everyone. Homeschooling is one of the biggest committments you will make as a parent.
The reasons families chose to homeschool are as varied as the families themselves. Many families homeschool because of religious reasons, special education issues or poor local school systems. We homeschool mainly for religious reasons but also because I was a public and private school teacher and I was appalled at the low educational expectations, lack of respect and discipline issues in our local schools.
Before diving in to homeschooling you need to make sure you are ready for the committment. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I want to homeschool my children?
- Do I have 4-6 hours a day to focus on my children and their education?
- Can I handle the added responsibility of being mom/wife/housekeeper/teacher ?
- Do I have a support system that believes in the benefits of homeschooling?
- Can we afford to homeschool? Each year we spend more and more money on homeschooling books, resources and activities.
Make sure you can answer these questions and then discuss them with your spouse. Your life will change when you begin to homeschool and you need to both be on the same page each step of the way. Once you are both united in this adventure it is time for you to do your research.
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states, though the rules differ from state to state. A great starting point for learning about your state’s regulations is HSLDA.org, the Home School Legal Defense Association is a wonderful organization of lawyers dedicated to the cause of homeschooling and the rights of parents who chose to legally homeschool their children. When you visit their site click on the tab “About Homeschooling” and start reading.
Next time we’ll look at the most asked question “Where do I get books?”