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Is Homeschooling Right for You? What You Need to Know

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TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: Is Homeschooling Right for You? What You Need to Know.Trying to determine the best path for educating your children can be confusing. Education is important, and we’re all trying to keep from messing up our kids any more than necessary. Choosing to homeschool is not an irreversible decision any more than putting them in a certain school or using a specific curriculum (although there are special considerations for homeschooling high school), but it will affect your whole family, so it’s worth putting some thought into.

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Depending upon whom you talk to, and on what day you catch them, homeschooling is either the best decision ever or a way to guarantee that your children will live in your basement forever. As with most things in life, there is a middle ground. From my personal experience, and from requests to other homeschoolers, comes this list of the good, bad, and ugly of homeschooling.

You will be different

Whether that is good or bad is up to you. Sometimes, whether it’s good or bad will depend upon the day. Despite the increasing numbers of homeschool families, there is still a stigma attached to homeschooling. “The parents are indoctrinating them.” “Teachers go to college. How do parents think they can teach at home?” “How will they learn to talk to other people?” (This one is usually worded as “How will they learn to socialize?” which doesn’t mean the same thing.) “What about sports, the prom, bullying, and all those other things that normal teens look forward to?” “How will they learn to stand in line?” (I wish I were kidding about this one.)

If your child is even slightly outside the mainstream box, whether it be because of a learning disability or a quirky habit or being “behind” in a particular subject, then it’s “because you’re homeschooling him.” For some reason, the general public thinks this is okay in public school, but unacceptable when homeschooling. Because we all know that every child in public school is exactly the same, and they are all reading, writing, and mathing on the exact same level.

For some strange reason, people think it’s okay to quiz homeschooled children (as if it’s any of their business in the first place). Most of us freeze up when put on the spot, regardless of where we attended school. How many times a day do you think those same people walk up to public school kids and start quizzing them?

You may even be different from other homeschoolers. In some areas, most homeschoolers may all be of one religion, and may or may not welcome those outside their faith. Or the majority might be school-at-homers and either don’t accept unschoolers or the unschoolers are uncomfortable with the ongoing curriculum discussions. I didn’t find a group that was a good fit until my third attempt. That was long before Facebook. Now you can search Facebook for like-minded homeschoolers (bonus points if they’re local) or sites such as Yahoo and Big Tent.

You will be with your kids almost all the time

When you’re not rushing in the mornings, separated all day, and rushing every evening, you have time to enjoy your children. They can get a hug whenever they need one. You can usually get a hug whenever you need one. Even if you use a full curriculum, you still have time to go to the park on nice days, visit museums or the zoo, go to plays or the symphony, or stay home and watch a favorite movie or play a game. You can sit with a child in your lap and read.

You get to be close-at-hand to see as they make new discoveries. This is more obvious with younger children as they learn to read and pick up basic math facts, but if your children still have their love of learning (which is why you’re homeschooling, right?), then even older students will be excited occasionally.

You can answer their questions or help them find the answers. You have the time to answer their questions or help them find the answers.

Of course, all this togetherness also means that you either haul the kids to the doctor with you or find a sitter. Coffee or lunch dates with friends don’t happen in restaurants. If you get together, it’s at someone’s house because there are kids. Kid-free errands are a rare animal. Your options are usually doing these things with the children or swapping childcare with a friend. Either way, there is no “just get up and go.”

You make your own schedule

You get up when you decide. If you want everyone up at seven a.m. so you can have breakfast and start your schoolwork, you can do that. If you function better after brunch, then you can adjust your schedule accordingly. Do you or your kids operate better with a routine than an exact schedule? You can do that. Museums, theme parks, zoos, and even grocery stores are less crowded during school hours, so you can schedule vacations, field trips, and errands for times that are convenient for you without worrying about working around school days and times.

Academics are also on your own schedule. If your child needs more help in math, but speeds ahead in science, no one complains, and there is no frustration. You can do whatever they need at the time and no one is breathing over your shoulder. (Or theirs.)

Continue reading on the next page…

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Amanda Beaty

Amanda is a freelance editor and proofreader because it allows her to get paid for her otherwise-annoying perfectionism. Her blogging ranges from book reviews and stories about her kids to rants about things that annoy her to posts about nutrition or autism.

Her time is filled with reading, her kids, her friends, writing, and watching select shows on Netflix, specifically Mythbusters, Star Trek, and other shows that cement her geek status. She is also a homeschool mom and active in a local support group for parents of children with special needs.

Amanda is passionate about encouraging women to love themselves and encourage each other, and founded the Celebrating Womanhood Event in 2012. CWE is an annual online event that focuses on sending positive messages to and about women.

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