10 Fundamental Questions to Ask Before Homeschooling

Making the Homeschool Decision for Yourself

If you are considering homeschooling, this article is for you.  I will walk you through the most important questions to ask yourself before making this life-changing decision.  

1. What is your motivation?

Your motivation should be the driving force that inspires you to take on educating your child.

My motivation comes from knowing that our kids can complete their core subjects in less than 3 hours, allowing the rest of the day for playing, reading, coding, and spending time with Daddy.  Take the time to consider why you want to homeschool.  Then take your “Whys” and determine if they will motivate you to keep going on the days that your kid is cranky and you are cranky… we can’t be perfect every day, can we?  

2. What is your personality?

Are you an introvert, an extrovert, or ambivert?  Do you thrive best with a structured day or going with the flow? Recognizing your needs will set you on the right path of determining your ideal homeschool style. There so many homeschooling methodologies that it easy to get lost in the endless amount of information.  Trust me, I have been there.   

I am an ambivert that loves lists, organizing, and being outdoors. I need some structure to feel accomplished, but not so much that I feel overwhelmed.  Our weeks are intentionally planned to have both quiet time to regroup and quality social time to get energized.  

3. What personality traits do you recognize in your kids?

Consider your children’s personalities and how you will manage if each of them learns differently.   I suspect that your little ones are not cloned copies because mine are far from it (aside from their looks).  We have a 3rd-grade girl and a pre-school boy, one is strong in reading and the arts and the other is strong in math and logic.  

Is your child an outdoor adventurer, a bookworm, a perfectionist, a rebel, self-driven, or indifferent?  I have finally figured my bookworm and rebel out…..but man it would have been nice to think that through at the beginning.

4. Will you enjoy learning alongside your children?

Believe it or not, you will not jump up and down over everything about homeschooling.  Science was my least favorite subject in school and I have found that it is still my least favorite to plan for. (Shhhhh….. Don’t tell my kids.)  I tell you this to convey that you need to look forward to learning as you are teaching, not dreading it.

If possible, do a test run during a holiday or summer break.  Pick any topic of you or your child’s choice, then take a trip to your local library and scour all the resources they have on that topic.  Gather your resources, then allocate a set amount of time (3-4 days a week) to read, discuss, perform activities, and/or write about that topic.  On a small scale, this activity will determine if you and your child will thrive.  We allowed ourselves the summer to experiment, and that time confirmed our decision to homeschool, and that I was not crazy for considering it.

5. Is your partner on board?

In all honesty, homeschooling is rewarding but at times it is stressful.  On those stressful days, it is important to have someone that can encourage you.  Yes, ideally this would be your partner, but if not, you will need to have someone (a homeschool group or a close friend) that can encourage you.  

I have had days that my daughter dramatized every task that was asked of her while my son was bouncing from one piece of furniture to another (yes, literally) and I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away.  Kory then tells me to take a few minutes for myself and then helps wrangle the monsters.  Parenting and teaching is a team effort, no matter what the team looks like.

6. How does your child feel about homeschool?

Maybe your child proposed the idea to you, so you are well aware homeschool is what they want.  But for a large group of us, we are making the decision when our children have already spent some time in the typical classroom. Once we decided homeschooling was a serious option, we involved our oldest in the conversation. She shocked us by stating her concerns, but also arguing points that supported homeschooling.  I cannot express how much that conversation meant to us.  

Involve your child in the conversation. Whether they are for or against the idea, you are informed.  Be aware that if your child is not sold on the idea, you may be faced with some kickback and a longer adjustment period.  

7. Can you financially justify your investment in homeschool?

Homeschool resources range from free to “not so free.”  Your actual investment in homeschool supplies and curriculums could potentially be the same as it would be for traditional public school.  However, unlike traditional school, you have to invest you or your partner’s time.  Not only do you need time for lessons, but time for researching lessons, finding resources, taking field trips, and planning social activities.  This is all time that you could otherwise be spending at a paying (not in hugs and kisses but actual money) job.  

Consider that the time you dedicate to homeschool will come from the time that has otherwise been spent on something else until now.  

8. What is your objective?

Write this one down or brand it in your memory.  Your objectives will help determine your structure, curriculum, field trips, extracurricular activities, and schedules.

For example, your primary objective is to get your16-year-old ( that recently left public school) to complete high school and prepared for college.  In turn, you find an online curriculum that is similar to his previous school curriculum including online teachers, testing, etc.  His schedule is very similar to a typical high school.  You add in ACT/SAT prep courses and then allow him free time to pursue potential degree interests and/or get a job to save money and gain employment experiences.

This is only one of the endless amount of scenarios that could play out.  But I cannot express enough the importance of fleshing out your objectives.   As time passes, what you want to achieve may evolve so reevaluating objectives through the years will be important.

9. Can you adapt when your plan is not working out?

I went into homeschool knowing that I was okay admitting that it may not work for me and my kids.  However, it never occurred to me to consider how I would handle it if the Grammar book I purchased did not work well for my daughter.  I spent my time researching, not considering if I was willing to toss out my curriculum decisions if it did not fit our needs.  Because, hey, that costs money!  So, as much as you try to get the curriculum right based on all your research, are you willing to cull something if it is making learning more difficult?  Or for investment sake will you trudge through the difficult lesson?  

Know up front that you can spend as much or as little as you want on homeschool materials.  Some will work and some will not so be prepared to decide if you will be marrying your curriculum or just dating it.

10. What are your state homeschool laws?

Homeschool is legal in every state, but you need to be aware of your state homeschool requirements before making the jump.  Each state’s regulations are different and vary largely.  Use this Homeschool Laws by State provided by homeschooling advocates to determine your state’s regulations.  If you live in a moderate or high regulation state, you must be willing to provide documentation of your child’s education.

In Summary

Homeschooling is not a decision to be taken lightly.  You should seriously consider:

  • Your Motivation
  • You and Your Child’s Personality
  • Your eagerness to Learn
  • Where you will find support
  • Child Cooperation
  • End Goal(s)
  • Adaptability
  • Affordability
  • State Laws

Walk through each question presented above, discuss them with your family and you will be on your way to shopping for homeschool supplies or buying next year’s school uniforms.

Talk to Me

I would love to hear how these questions helped you, or other considerations that have been important during your process.  Leave a comment below or reach out to us via our contact form.

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