should i homeschool

“Should I homeschool this year?” is a question I’ve found myself asking each and every year of our homeschooling.  I admit, we’ve not been well-planned in the area of knowing what our kids’ education will look like from year to year.  Some years I think I have it all figured out by mid-summer (if even then), and other years I blunder through into September attempting to sort it all out.  You can watch this video to see how my journey back into online school with my teen daughter has taken our family into a twist of events we weren’t exactly planning for.  So, we’re definitely far from perfect and always ask ourselves “Should I homeschool?”

What are some reasons why homeschool parents might ask themselves this question?

First off, as I mentioned, no one is perfect.  There are days we might wake up and wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into.  We might be questioning our ability to begin or to continue homeschooling.  We might wonder if it makes us stand out amongst our community, our friends, or relatives just a bit too much. All of these questions are reasonable and it’s understandable that we might be doubting that we should embark on this journey from year to year.  Despite the pretty Pinterest pictures of the perfect homeschool room, homeschooling looks nothing like it, and is not a perfect scenario. Also, you might have your children enrolled in public or private school and may be contemplating a huge change in your family this year by bringing the kids home.

So, let me get into some of the reasons you might or might not want to homeschool this year.

Should I homeschool if I have an only child?

I know of a few families with only children that are doing it well.  Jimmie Lanley, co-owner of the iHomeschool Network is one example. She homeschools a teen daughter who is talented, and insightful, and Jimmie is enjoying life as both a homeschool mom and a wahm. If you have a younger child, getting him involved in extracurriculars or after-school activities once in a while would be imperative, in my opinion, just to keep the social aspect going. Better yet, if you have family friends from church or neighbors with whom your younger child can play with regularly, homeschooling an only child can be a blessing to both you and your student.

Should I homeschool if my child is being bullied in school?

Taking your child out of school is not an easy decision, especially when you come to it by way of bullying.  It’s awful that many schools are suffering from constant bullying issues and worst if your own child has to experience this. If you as parents are ready to take on the responsibility of homeschooling and are able to balance this with any outside work responsibilities, then homeschooling might be an option for you to consider.  However, homeschooling is not always the best option for every family.  Moving your child to a different school might be an option.  There are also states in which having your child homeschooled in another family is perfectly possible and might be a good solution for you if both you and your spouse work. If you are working and have some flexibility, homeschooling can work out for both you and your child.

Should I homeschool if I’m working?

Another great question to consider, and one that I rarely touched on in the above question.  Yes, and no.  If you have flexible hours, you can definitely work this one out. Owning a business or working for a flexible company might allow you to telecommute or work from home. I know of several homeschool working moms and dads who are making both happen successfully.  I’m one of those wahms (work at home moms) that juggle both homeschooling and running an online business. It is possible to accomplish both, but being extremely organized and dedicated is a must, so it’s not always an easy feat. I often find myself getting behind in one or the other.  I’ve allowed myself a lot more slack than I once did, as a result. I tend to my business, work with clients, and plan my daughter’s homeschool days with equal attention, but I allow for more room for flexibility in how we attain our homeschooling goals. I also don’t put more on my plate than I can manage with business.

Should I homeschool if I have a high schooler?

This is definitely a big question to consider. As kids grow older and become young adults, their educational needs  change to such a degree that homeschooling parents like myself often freak out. Yes, I admit…I have freaked out on quite a few occasion.  My daughter just turned 14 and is entering the 9th grade this year…and I freaked out.  Are we still homeschooling this year after 10 years of homeschooling?  The answer for us is both yes and no.  She will be home but is enrolled in online school.  I needed to pass the baton this year and allow someone else to take up my slack in areas of biology, geometry, and french.  Sure, I could have dug in and really tried to make this work, but who am I kidding?  I had to be honest with myself.  I’m running several blogs and a coaching business for mompreneurs, and I’m also homeschooling my 8-year-old.  So…I did have to cut myself a bit of slack when it came to high school.  This decision kept me from hyperventilating (once I came to the conclusion that it was a decision I liked!) and I realized just how much help this school would offer our family. (In case you’re wondering what school we’re using, here’s a video.)

In most cases, my opinion is this.  If you’re up for the challenge (and yes, homeschooling high school is a challenge), and both you and your spouse AND your high school student is on the same page, homeschooling can definitely work for you.  Homeschooling teens is very different than homeschooling littles and requires a shift in mindset.  For the most part high schoolers who can do their work independently with some oversight and support and are responsible can homeschool quite successfully.  The main question is, how much support will you, the parent receive?  If you plan to keep a support system in place for yourself then you will be okay.  And of course, our teens need support too- both from mom and dad, and from their peer group.  If you feel you have a positive stance on what it would be like to homeschool your high schooler, then shoot for the stars! You may as well go all the way.  But if you’re like me and need extra support in another fashion (i.e.- enrolling your child in school), that’s okay too.  You just have to know what works best for you and don’t worry about how others are doing it.

Resources I discussed in the podcast:

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About Demetria Zinga

Demetria is a homeschooling mom and "mompreneur" who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, two daughters, and a Shih-Tzu. She currently runs two podcasts for moms, blogs, writes music, and spends lots of time at coffee shops. Her goal is to be an encourager and motivator of women, helping them to find success and joy in homeschooling, business, and motherhood.

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