If you are thinking about homeschooling but aren’t sure if you can, this message is for you. The truth is, if you decide you want to, then it is possible. This decision is too important to be made by default, so if you feel called to pursue this possibility then you should definitely give it serious thought.
Possible doesn’t necessarily mean easy, but not easy doesn’t necessarily mean not worthwhile. It is almost certain that a high level of commitment will be involved, but the reason we choose to make and keep such commitments is that they allow us to grow as individuals, satisfy our values, and improve our lives.
In considering the question of whether to homeschool, you may have to confront some larger issues about your life. For example, in a family where both parents work outside the home, this may be seen as an obstacle to homeschooling. The question then becomes, is this really how you want your life to be organized to begin with? Are you really satisfied with this arrangement, or is it something that you would like to change for its own sake? Or, you may feel unqualified to be in charge of your children’s education. If so, are you prepared to become a student yourself in order to learn what is necessary? When you have shifted the tone of your questioning from “Should I…?” to “How can I…?”, you are on the track to making real progress.
Here are some suggestions for guiding your thought process:
- Weigh the costs and benefits. One way to overcome the obstacle of being daunted is to ask yourself what the benefits are, and how much those are really worth to you, and what the costs are, and how much you really value them. This will help you make a decision that is in alignment with your true values, rather than just following the path of least resistance.
- Think long-term. Your kids will only be children for so long, and they have their whole adult life ahead of them. Ask yourself what kind of experience you will want to have had, and what kind of memories you will want to have created, while they are still in their childhood. This will also help ensure that you don’t take the easy way out by default.
- Include your kids. Your kids themselves should absolutely be included in the decision making process, and you should take their wants and needs into account. After all, the whole point of considering the decision is to do what is best for them. If they actually want to attend school, then by all means they should be allowed to, but if they are clamoring for an alternative then this is all the more reason why you should find the resources within yourself to provide it.
- Be prepared to make a commitment. You don’t have to make a commitment before making a decision, but you certainly need to be psychologically prepared to make one, if that is where your values lead you. This will once again ensure that you are able to make a true choice based on your values, free from restrictions of fear or scarcity.
- Convince yourself that it doesn’t have to be permanent. Consider making the change on a trial basis only, and set a specific time period for evaluating the results. Give yourself the option of making a different decision in the future. This will take some of the pressure off and allow you to act in the face of uncertainty.
Finally, remind yourself that even if it seems like you would be the only family in the world homeschooling, that is patently not the case. There is a small but active and growing community of homeschooling families across the country and around the world who are all pursuing their dreams in different ways. This community is diverse and highly supportive, and produces tons of materials designed to help other families get started. So know that you won’t be alone, and that whatever kind of help you need will be available.
If you’ve thought about homeschooling but haven’t followed through with making a decision, decide now when you can bring your family together for an in-depth conversation. The rewards of getting clear about what you want will be well worth the effort, and the quality time will come as a bonus.