The choice of where to educate your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. There are many options: public schools, private schools, charter schools, and homeschooling. Is homeschooling the right choice for you and your child? Here are some things to consider.
Is There a Reason?
Homeschooling is a wonderful option for many families, but you need to ensure you are making the decision for the right reasons. Do you want to present your family's religious views to your child as a part of schooling? If so, homeschooling may be right for you - although if this is your motivation, you may want to consider a private religious school as well.
Do you feel that the school will not encourage or foster your family's political or philosophical views? This could be a legitimate reason for homeschooling your child.
What are the schools in your area like? If you live in a neighborhood with excellent public schools (bearing in mind that excellent can encompass both academics and teacher/student quality), homeschooling may be like "reinventing the wheel." Don't create extra work for yourself when a quality option is available to you - one which, incidentally, you've already financed with your tax dollars.
If your child has a special need, homeschooling may be a very appropriate option. That special need may run the spectrum from autism to ADHD, or from a mental challenge to giftedness. Special needs kids often benefit greatly from the individualized attention that homeschooling makes possible. Even if your special needs child is in a traditional classroom with an excellent teacher, he will be sharing attention with a couple dozen other kids. Let's face it: a teacher can only give each child so much individualized attention. A homeschooling situation can result in your child be able to learn at his own pace.
In the midst of determining whether homeschooling is the best choice for your child, don't forget about yourself. Do you have the self-discipline necessary to plan lessons and gather the needed materials to homeschool your child? Are you organized enough to keep a regular schedule, grades, and the documentation necessary for homeschooling in many states? Would you enjoy homeschooling your child, or would you begin to feel resentful of the admittedly huge imposition on your time? Knowing your child, would she enjoy homeschooling, or does she feel strongly about going to "regular" school?
Another consideration is financial. Generally, an at-home parent is necessary to make homeschooling possible. Is this an option for your family financially? If you work at home and plan to homeschool, you will need excellent organizational skills to fit both your business and your child's education into your day.
Finally, will your child develop adequate social skills if you homeschool? There are many options for socialization: Girl/Boy Scouts, church groups, homeschooling co-ops, 4-H clubs, and more - but you will need to coordinate these activities to ensure that they happen.
Homeschooling is a wonderful and increasingly popular education choice. Think through your options thoroughly before deciding whether it is the best choice for your family.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.