Part II - You think we should homeschool? Yeah Right!
Our lives took on a whole new meaning when my wife and I decided to homeschool our two boys in 2012. We experienced a lot of ups and downs as a family, but I can positively say it has been well worth the ride! Besides being extremely blessed and having a wife who is committed, I remained steadfast by telling myself over and over "I have one shot to make the greatest impact on my sons’ lives, so make it count." I basically had a Stephen Curry mindset when it came to homeschool – if we can hit a 3-point basket from half-court, then we’re going to take the shot. Thankfully, we've made it more times than we’ve missed!
For many families, homeschooling just isn’t possible. With more and more parents working to support the family many people don’t have the luxury of staying home to school their kids, even if they do feel homeschooling is the best option. However, if you do find yourself in the position to homeschool, there are many things you need to consider before making the ultimate decision to start. Here are just 6 simple questions to ask yourself before you decide.
1) Do we have time?
First and foremost, you need to know that homeschooling tends to take up a lot of time in your day. It is more than just sitting down with books for a couple of hours. There are experiments and projects to be done, lessons to prepare, papers to grade, field trips, park days and the list goes on. It can be much like a full-time job, but this is your child’s education, so making that kind of commitment needs to be fully understood for them to benefit. Having a set schedule can help you manage your time as well.
Homeschooling also requires a certain amount of personal sacrifice from one or both parents. The homeschool parent may have limited personal time or opportunities to spend alone. If care is not taken to set aside time for yourself, it is easy to get overwhelmed and never have time alone. That can be extremely stressful, so make sure you schedule time for yourself.
2) Can we afford it?
There is a financial commitment for the family, but homeschooling can be accomplished using a sound budget. Keep in mind that at least one parent may have to reduce their work schedules back to part-time or maybe not work at all. My wife was the designated person to homeschool our boys and reduced her work schedule to part-time. The important thing to remember is that one-size does not fit all. Some financial sacrifices will need to be made, especially if the family is living on two incomes.
3) How will it change our everyday lives?
Homeschooling will undoubtedly change the way your family operates. For example, as you begin your homeschool journey, life will require a certain amount of mundane work in order to maintain an orderly household. Housework and laundry still must be done, but it probably won't get done first thing in the morning. If you are a stickler for a spotless house, you might be in for a surprise! Depending on the age of your children, this can be a perfect opportunity to teach them how to contribute to a family unit through chores. Yes, it does take a village to raise a child, but in my village, you have to work!
Another adjustment will be made in your child’s social environment. Even though school will take place at home, your child will still have many opportunities to develop outstanding social skills. We were able to involve our boys in various clubs, classes, sports and other social groups that I don't think they would have been a part of otherwise. Unlike a public-school setting, homeschooling allows you turn "the world into a classroom". For example, my sons spend on average one day a week at my office, learning about what I do, interacting with professionals and meeting people from all walks of life. This kind of exposure and creative social interaction has afforded me the opportunity to hire both of my sons to their first job working for me, dad!