Should I Home School?

We all want our children to get the best education possible, especially

in those early, formative years. Yet we have to admit, in most cases,

that the public school system has become inadequate at best, and

just isn’t teaching our kids the basic skills they’ll need to survive in the

real-world job market.

Private schools can offer a better option, but the cost may be greater

than the average family can afford, especially if there is more than one

child. And the parent usually has little control over the curriculum or

the peer group the child will fall in with.

Many people are looking into the option of home schooling. They are

asking “Is home schooling for me?” This is an important question. And

there are several related questions you should answer before diving in.

Answering these questions should give you a better understanding of

what home schooling is all about.

First, why would I want to home school?

Most homeschoolers believe the public schools are not doing an

adequate job of educating. Slow learners are falling further and further

behind while gifted students are not adequately challenged. At home

slower learners can get the one-on-one attention they need. And gifted

students can move ahead at their own pace and even finish early.

In a home school setting the parents can adjust the schedule to fit the

child. I have two children I’m currently homeschooling. The older

one is a quick learner with a photographic memory. He doesn’t need

much repetition of facts in order to remember them. My second child

is just the opposite. He needs hours and hours of repetition. Isn’t it

amazing how different two blood brothers can be?

Parents can also adjust the curriculum to fit the child. I had no trouble

teaching my older boy to read. So I used the same curriculum with

boy number two. It didn’t work. Hmmm, OK. So I switched curriculums.

Now my second son is doing much better, and not nearly as frustrated

with learning. And Mom didn’t have to get frustrated, either. Parents

and students can be flexible when they teach and learn at home.

What are some more reasons?

Many parents are choosing to homeschool for safety reasons. Let’s face

it, schools simply are not safe. Sadly, many students in public schools

are faced with criminal situations every day. At the very least they

probably have to put up with bullies. And when was the last time you

heard of any POSITIVE effects from peer pressure? It’s easy to see that

this type of environment is usually very stressful and distracts from the

real purpose of being at school, namely learning.

Another reason many people home school, is because they are fed up

with public schools teaching evolution, sex and other hot button subjects.

Homeschoolers generally view these subjects as topics that should be

taught at home, not at school.

They feel that when the schools teach these subjects the schools are

usurping their parental authority. By choosing to homeschool, parents

can take back their God-given authority/responsibility to raise their

children with a Biblical worldview.

Whatever your reason for homeschooling make sure you define it.

Knowing why you are doing something will help you to stay focused

when things get rough.

How can I be sure I’m teaching my child the things he/she needs to

know?

Once you have decided to homeschool, you should contact your local

school board and ask them what the requirements are. Some schools

require that you register your child, some do not. Some schools will

allow you to use their curriculum (if you want to). Virtually every

school is different. And every state has different requirements.

Many local libraries also have information on what needs to be taught

at different grade levels. Of course, there have been many books written

on the subject as well. And let’s not forget the web. Doing a search on

home schooling will turn up loads of information.

Where can I find curriculum to use?

There are so many publishers of educational materials out there that

the question becomes “How do I know which to use?”

But let’s answer the first question first.

You can find curriculum at your local library, at homeschooler’s book

sales, book stores, used book stores, on-line retailers, on-line used

curriculum sites, and direct from the publishers.

How do you decide which to use? That depends on you, your child and

your goals. For example, if your child has learning problems, you would

buy curriculum designed for children with learning problems. If you

want to teach Biblical values you would purchase from a Christian

publisher.

First, evaluate your child’s situation, decide what your goals will be,

and choose the area of study upon which you wish to concentrate.

Then go to the stores, libraries or publishers, or spend some time

online, and make your selections based on these criteria.

Finally, do I have time to home school?

Ah yes, the big “T” question. There never seems to be enough time

with our busy schedules these days. Obviously, if you’re not going to

be home for at least six waking hours (your child’s, not yours), then

it’s going to be very difficult to provide a quality education.

Ideally, there should be a stay-at-home parent to do the teaching, but

even if you have to work the standard 8-hour day, it’s still possible

by adjusting and pairing your schedules. It’s all a matter of priorities.

We’ll always find the time to do the things we consider most important.

Take the plunge.

Once you have your student(s) and curriculum in front of you the fun

can start. Did I say fun? Forgive me, I’m not trying to be sarcastic.

Oftentimes it may seem more like work, but you can make it fun with

the right attitude. Think of it as a new, life-changing adventure that

you and your child will be taking together.

Many home schoolers are even incorporating educational games and

toys into their curriculum. Games can make learning easier and a lot

more interesting. Just one more reason to make the bold move away

from the public school system and over to the home school system.