Preview: “Should I homeschool?” is a question many parents struggle to answer. There’s no one right answer, but these 10 questions will help you decide if homeschooling would be a good fit for your family.
“What about science?”
“What about socialization?”
“How do you run errands?”
“Tell me again how you plan your homeschool year, please.”
These were just a few of the questions my friend asked as we watched our daughters participate in a gymnastics class. She was considering pulling her children out of public school to homeschool them.
Before taking the plunge to homeschool, my friend and her husband wanted to understand homeschooling better. They wanted to make an informed decision and decide if homeschooling would be a good fit for their family. (By the way, they did decide to homeschool.)
“Should I homeschool?”
I assume you are considering homeschooling since you are reading this post.
Deciding whether your family should homeschool can be an overwhelming decision. Many parents struggle to determine if this educational choice would be a good fit for their family.
You probably have a lot of questions. Most parents do. These ten questions will help you decide if you should give homeschooling a try.
10 Questions That Will Help You Decide If You Should Homeschool
Record your answer (yes or no) to the following questions. The questions can apply to one child or multiple children. After answering the questions, tally up your yes and no responses, then see how you scored. You can click on any of the questions to dig a little deeper and read more about each issue.
- Is your child struggling academically in a traditional school setting (i.e., do you have a gifted or struggling learner)?
- Is your child struggling socially in a traditional school setting?
- Are you concerned about your child’s safety at school?
- Are you seeing your child’s love for learning start to wane?
- Do you want to be more directly involved in your child’s education?
- Do you want to provide your child with a religious-based education?
- Do you want to develop more meaningful relationships with your child?
- Would you like more flexibility in your schedule?
- Do you and your spouse agree about homeschooling?
- Do you feel God is calling your family to homeschool?
How did you score? Should you homeschool?
If you answered “Yes” to 7 or more questions, homeschooling would be a good fit for your family. You can read more about each question or skip to the “Next Steps” section.
If you answered “Yes” to 4 to 6 questions, homeschooling might be a good fit for your family. You should read the answers below and think about why you answered “no” to some questions. If you feel your responses have changed after learning more, retake the assessment.
If you answered “Yes” to 3 or fewer questions, you might want to consider homeschooling at a later time. It may not be a good fit for your family at this time.
A closer look…
Is your child struggling academically in a traditional school setting (i.e., do you have a gifted or struggling learner)?
Homeschooling can be an excellent educational choice for children on either end of the learning spectrum. Traditional classroom settings meet the needs of the average student.
Teachers must set a pace of learning that will accommodate the majority of students. If your student is on either end of the spectrum, she may not receive the individualized attention she needs.
When you homeschool, you can tailor your child’s learning plan to her individual needs.
A gifted learner or a student with an insatiable appetite for learning can dive deeper into a subject or learn at a faster pace.
A struggling learner can spend longer on a topic until she masters it. You can also provide a struggling learner the individualized, one-on-one attention she needs to succeed.
Is your child struggling socially in a traditional school setting?
Some children are wired differently, causing them to stand out from the crowd and be bullied or ostracized in a traditional school setting.
Homeschooling can provide a safe environment for you to help your child master the necessary social skills. He will also have the flexibility to explore different groups or clubs where other children have similar interests.
Are you concerned about your child’s safety at school?
Children are exposed to drugs, alcohol, pornography, and sexual temptations at a younger age than ever before. And school violence has become a common occurrence in many communities. School safety is a growing concern and is a valid reason to consider homeschooling.
Are you seeing your child’s love for learning start to wane?
Some students want to understand the purpose of learning subject material beyond the simple answer of, “It’s in the book, and you need to do what the teacher said.”
Other students want to learn but have a learning challenge that slows their progress or requires a creative learning environment.
Homeschooling provides an opportunity to bring learning to life and help your child experience history, science, and even math in a relevant and engaging manner.
Do you want to be more directly involved in your child’s education?
When you homeschool, you can choose the curriculum, pace, evaluation methods, and schedule that is right for your family and each child. Because of the one-on-one tutoring environment, you know what each child is learning and if he understands it.
Instead of waiting for report cards or parent-teacher conferences, you will see your child’s progress each day and week and can make adjustments to his learning plan accordingly.
Do you want to provide your child with a religious-based education?
No education is neutral; it is always influenced by a worldview or set of beliefs. Because you can choose the curriculum for your homeschool, you can determine your child’s curriculum’s worldview.
If you want to provide a religious-based education, you could implement any of the following approaches in your homeschool.
Conversely, you could implement none of the following if you want to provide an education from a different worldview or with no references to religious beliefs.
- Use a religious homeschool curriculum.
- Read a religious text each morning and memorize passages from the book together as a family.
- Guide discussions about what your child reads to point out the authors’ biases and beliefs while explaining your thoughts about what you read.
- Study religious history and significant figures in your faith tradition.
- Pray together during your school day.
Do you want to develop more meaningful relationships with your child?
The reality of homeschooling is that you will spend a significant amount of time with your child. You will have an opportunity to discover what motivates and interests her. You can build family bonds as you read books, play games, and take field trips together.
Many homeschool parents state that they appreciate and value how much time they can spend with their children. Instead of only seeing their children after school, when everyone is exhausted, families can learn and play together when everyone is more refreshed.
Would you like more flexibility in your schedule?
There are many reasons for desiring flexibility in your schedule. Some examples include the following.
- Your family travels commonly during the traditional school year.
- Your child has a particular interest that demands a lot of time.
- You move frequently.
As long as you meet the educational requirements of your state, you are free to schedule your homeschool in a way that best fits your family’s needs.
You can decide when to complete lessons each day and throughout the year and how many days each week to have school.
Do you and your spouse agree about homeschooling?
It is possible to homeschool if you and your spouse disagree, but it will cause tension in your home that could affect your child’s learning and his emotional state. If you disagree about homeschooling, spend time discussing your concerns, motivations, and desires.
Begin by praying that you would receive clear guidance and discernment about homeschooling. Ask for peace while you wait for a unified decision.
Working through On the Same Page: 7 Steps to Help Spouses Come to an Agreement About Whether You Should Homeschool may help you understand your spouse’s desires regarding homeschooling. You can download this free guide when you register for the free Homeschool 101 Workshop.
If possible, you should both agree that homeschooling would be a good option for your family. Remember, this does not need to be a long-term commitment. You can decide to try it out for a year and reevaluate before the next school year.
Do you feel God is calling your family to homeschool?
You may not feel equipped to homeschool your children. I guarantee very few homeschool parents felt equipped to homeschool when they first started, even those who were teachers before deciding to homeschool their children.
Remember that God rarely calls the equipped; He equips those He calls. He will provide the training, mentoring, and resources you need. If you feel God is calling your family to homeschool, take a deep breath, trust Him, and walk in faith. You can do this!
What’s your next step?
You are undecided.
Are you still wondering, “Should I homeschool?”
If you still have questions and would like to learn more about homeschooling, you could read more about the benefits of homeschooling.
Or, you could watch the FREE Homeschool 101 Workshop. It’s an on-demand workshop that you can watch at your convenience.
“Do I have to commit to homeschooling for the long haul?”
Definitely not! What works for one family does not always work for another. And what works now for you family may not work later.
In this episode of the All in a Homeschool Day podcast, Tiffanie Smith shares practical tips to help you find your groove and make homeschooling work for your family. She also reminds us that it is okay to have the perspective of homeschooling just for this season. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now.
Highlights from the interview
- Make the decision to homeschool just for this season. You don’t have to make a forever decision. It is okay to take it one day at a time.
- Allow yourself the flexibility to make changes. It is okay to change your plans, even mid-year. You might need to try different curricula until you find what works for your family. You might also discover that it looks good in the catalog or like it in theory, but realize it will not work in practice. It wasn’t a wrong choice, it was a step to take you in the right direction.
- Paper does not reflect real life. Schedules or plans may look good on paper, but they may not work out in real life. Don’t let a schedule dictate your day.
- What works for one family may not work for another. It is okay to embrace what works for you and let go of the guilt of trying to do what works for someone else.
- What advice would you give to a new homeschool mom?
- Homeschooling is the hardest thing that you will ever do in your life but it is the most worthwhile.
- Have grace and mercy for your kids and more importantly for yourself.
- Try not to focus on teaching them everything. Everyone will have gaps. Raise children who love to learn so they can keep learning on their own.
- Relationships are key above all else. Make sure your days reflect this.
You are ready to give homeschooling a try.
Or, are you ready to start your homeschool journey, but you aren’t sure how to start? Check out the Homeschool Roadmap. It walks you through establishing your homeschool with confidence and joy, one step at a time.