Should I Keep Homeschooling?
You did it. You survived one or more year(s) of homeschooling. Congratulations. But just because you’ve done it, should you continue to homeschool? Here are some things you may want to consider before making your decision.
Do you still have reasons for homeschooling?
Sometimes homeschooling is necessary or preferred because of a life event. Here are a few “temporary” reasons to homeschool: a sick relative or death in the family, a worldwide pandemic, moving to a new city or state (especially during a non-optimal time of year), intensive therapies/treatments for a health or mental disorder, the list goes on and on.
If you started homeschooling because of a temporary situation, and that situation has since resolved itself, you can decide to move forward because you like homeschooling (and it works for your family), or you can make the choice to return to traditional school.
If your reasons for homeschooling were more long-term, consider if those reasons are still important and valid. It is okay to change your mind. It’s okay to take a year off from homeschooling if that is what works best for your season of life. But once each year, think about the reason/s you are homeschooling. If you can’t think of a reason, you should probably re-evaluate!
Do you still have the time to homeschool?
Homeschooling is a full-time job. Yes, it’s possible to homeschool in less hours than a child would spend in traditional school, BUT it does require a thoughtful parent to help plan learning experiences, gather materials, offer feedback, and organize the day. It’s not something you can just squeeze in on the weekends or after work. If you have a side hustle, work outside of the home, or even work FROM home, consider if your kids have been getting enough of YOU in their homeschool day.
Are you stuck in a rut?
Homeschool isn’t always out-of-this-world science experiments and field trips to national landmarks. Sometimes it’s revising the same essay for the fifteenth time. Sometimes it’s learning multiplication facts through flash cards. But if you and your kids are consistently finding yourselves bored or disengaged, think about some changes you can make. Do you need to find new curriculum? Do you need to start taking more field trips or conducting more experiments? Do your kids need a subject or two outsourced to someone who loves teaching in that area? If you can find ways to get yourselves out of that rut, great – keep moving forward. But if it’s a futile effort, you may want to think about switching to a different model of education.
Does your child still want to homeschool?
You can be the best homeschool teacher in the world, but if your child isn’t a willing or able participant, it’s going to be a hard sell and could potentially damage your parent-child relationship. If your kid isn’t on board, there are some things you can do. Evaluate WHY your child is struggling with homeschool. Do they miss their peers too much? If so, figure out a way to join a co-op or have your child attend classes with friends. Do you and your child clash when it comes to teaching and learning? Take some time to discover how your child learns best and teach to the way THEY learn. Does your child have an intellectual or emotional disability? Get support by finding educational/mental health professionals who can guide you. Ultimately, you need your child to be a partner in the homeschool process. If it doesn’t seem like that can happen in a reasonable time-frame, consider other options.
Do YOU have the willingness to learn?
Your child will not stay at the same level forever. It may have been a breeze to teach your child to learn to read, but what happens when your child begins working in an area in which you are not as confident (I see you, Algebra 2)? As a homeschool parent, it is your job to be a model for your child. They watch your every move, and how you handle subjects or topics that are difficult for you. If you can stay resourceful and are willing to grow as your child grows, you will probably be a successful homeschooler. But if you have reached your “max,” be willing to let homeschooling go so that your child can continue to develop as a learner.
It’s important to evaluate whether or not homeschooling is right for you. It’s okay to homeschool through twelfth grade. It’s okay to do it for a year and then move along. You need to make the decision that is best for your family.