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3 Essential Considerations to Help Decide if Homeschooling is Right For You


This past month I’ve been thinking a lot about homeschooling. I’ve questioned if we’re still making the right decision, reassessed curriculum choices, researched new subjects, and ordered new homeschool books. It’s an exciting time that reignites my love for learning, making it the best time to share my experiences and advice to those considering homeschooling. 


This is the deal! This is the real stuff you need to be thinking about if you are considering homeschooling! No water-downed or sugar coated info!


Whatever Your Reason to Homeschool


There are so many reasons you might be thinking about homeschooling. For our family it was a choice we made after many unsuccessful attempts to deal with bullying, and if I’m going to be honest it was something I’d wanted to do since my oldest was in kindergarten. During the five years we’ve been homeschooling we’ve met families who homeschool for religious reasons, behavior problems, for consistency (military families), or simply because they were homeschooled and it’s what they know and want for their kids. 

Whatever your reasons - there are still factors you need to take into consideration before you make this decision and they fall into three main categories: Energy - Time - Money. 

No water-downed or sugar coated info, this is the real stuff you need to consider if you are thinking about homeschooling.

ENERGY


Do you have the energy to homeschool? The answer to that question is the ultimate make or break because while homeschooling is not physically taxing it does require a fair amount of mental energy.

Is everyone on board with this decision? ARE YOU? 

Whatever your reasons, I can promise you if you aren’t doing it for the right ones it will destroy your mental energy, potentially damage your family dynamic, and ultimately feel like/be a giant waste of time. Just as it’s pointless to work at a job you hate, so it is to homeschool if your whole heart isn’t in it. 

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Are you worried you won’t be patient enough? 

You’d be surprised just how patient you can be; besides why is it others assume homeschoolers have to be saintly patient? I can think of NO instance my patience was tested while homeschooling any more than it has been while parenting. If you have children and they’re doing okay, you’ve got enough patience to homeschool. Besides it is super easy to walk away from a lesson if it’s getting both you AND your child upset. In fact, homeschooling allows you the freedom to do just that.

Are you worried you’re not smart enough? 

This is one instance when I have to admit, I was an awesome student. I like learning, I’m geeky like that. However, I know that not everyone is like me, and that’s okay. These days there are tons of learning resources that either walk you through each step, by that I mean they're literally telling you what to say, and there are others that do the work for you. Take a deep breath and don’t worry, there are no education prerequisites for homeschooling. 

Are you worried your kids won’t be socialized enough? 

This one, mmm. Folks, I gotta take a deep breath and count to ten EVERY TIME I HEAR IT.  If you want to offend a homeschooler just say that word, socialization. 

See, here’s the thing, the public school system is not a realistic representation of our society, period. Putting 30 kids, who are all the same age (and in most cases from the same socio-economic background), in a room for six+ hours a day, five days a week, forty weeks a year is NOT socialization. It is a lesson in assimilation. Homeschooled kids interact with children and adults of all ages and from a wide variety of backgrounds, much like they will when they set out for the ‘real world.’ This concern is moot, and if hearing it gets your hackles up, homeschooling is the right choice for you. 

Are you letting other people influence you? 

We have literally had family members tell us they think we are hurting (HURTING!!!) our children by homeschooling.  

A lot of well meaning people will suddenly become concerned about your child while at the same time quizzing them and calling into question your aptitude because they, heaven forbid, misuse the word whom. When it comes to those people, give them your love and then tell them to kiss off. You’re the parent - you got this! 

Thinking about homeschooling? You MUST read this, real, honest, no sugar-coating advice.

TIME


Yes, it takes time to homeschool, (I’m writing this at 11:50pm-aka my free time) but the majority of that time won’t be filled with actual lessons.

Wait, what?

Some days it’s HARD for me to find activities to fill the schedule so that we get the needed amount of state required ‘homeschooling’ hours. There have been times I’ve let the kids play two hour long games of Monopoly because...Math and Economics-check!

Yeah, it’s not the lessons that will fill your free time. No, my friend, the homeschooling time commitment I want you to consider is the prepping, the planning, and the awful, awful grading. 


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Have no fear - there are resources out there that will help you in this department, especially after you’ve decided on and implemented a curriculum, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the free and clear.

Think about it, everyday public school teachers grade work and prepare for the next day’s lessons…that responsibility is now yours and in most cases you're not just prepping for one grade. 

I tell you this because this is where I struggle. And by struggle I mean, I may or may not have finished grading the kids Science from last year…okay, I didn’t. It’s partly my own fault because I bought cheap books with NO teacher’s guide so I have to look up answers on my own - NOTE TO SELF AND ALL OF YOU: Buy the teacher’s guide! 

Just take this factor into consideration - especially if you have time-management, follow-through, etc. issues…like me. This is not a read a book for an hour and you’re done kind of thing. 

MONEY


In the end it always comes down to one thing, MONEY. Or does it?

There are some VERY expensive and extensive homeschooling programs out there that allow you to, in essence, recreate school at home or in a co-op. If you can afford them, and they fit your family’s needs, then go for it! 

Otherwise, you have to seriously think this one over because I promise you, thinking you will go into homeschooling and not spend any money, and then trying to actually stick with that mindset will zap the er right out of your energy. Let me repeat-and you can click to tweet this one too! 


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I’m going to throw out a number for you and I promise. I PROMISE. You should not expect to go any lower! Expect to spend $100/per child. I’m positive that’s as cheap as you can go and not spend every single minute, of what you convince yourself is your free time, trying to lasso together, and work into a curriculum, supplies and resources that don’t bare a price tag. 

But…but…but…Yes, it is possible, but remember how I mentioned grading Science for children in three different grade levels - without a teacher’s guide/aka cheat sheet? And remember how I mentioned the majority of your time would not be spent on lessons…yeah. 

Don’t get me wrong. YOU CAN HOMESCHOOL ON THE CHEAP, especially when you take advantage of book swaps, free online classes, Scouting (both Boy and Girl Scouts offer scholarships), community events, the library, etc., but you’ll have to invest a lot of TIME into finding worthwhile free resources. Time that can be more efficiently and effectively used elsewhere. 

NOW WHAT? 


You MUST read this if you are considering homeschooling, real, honest, no sugar-coating advice.

This wasn't meant to scare you off I just wanted to be honest and move past the "I love homeschooling!" conversation. Obviously I DO enjoy it and the more I think about it, I have NO intention of stopping. 


When I really think about it, homeschooling is like parenting. It's best when you have a realistic vision of what you're going into. 

So, what are you thinking? Let me know in the comments below, send me a message on social media, or an email. I’d be happy to address any of your questions or concerns. 
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Erin Sipes
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