"How do I decide if my family should homeschool?"
Because of the pandemic and the ever-changing political climate, more and more families are choosing to homeschool. In fact, since March 2020, the amount of American children who are homeschooled has risen from 3% to an astounding 11%.
So how do you decide if your family should homeschool?
I want to answer a few of the most common questions I receive, hoping this post will offer practical encouragement!
What if I don't have the patience to homeschool?
- First, are you willing to allow the Lord to sanctify you in this area? He can! He has used homeschooling to grow patience and love and joy in my own life, and if you are willing, He can do the same for you. Be honest with Him about your hesitations and your shortcomings.
- Do you have support? Are there pockets of time when you can get your own work done or just be alone? Or is there money in the budget for a babysitter or mother's helper every once in a while to give you a needed break?
- I highly recommend instituting a daily rest time, even for older children. You all need the space and the quiet and I find that 60-90 quiet minutes rejuvenates me for the rest of the day. I also find that it's imperative to wake up earlier than my children to have time in the Word and to prepare for the day.
What if my husband isn't on board?
- Here's my suggestion: Take him out to dinner and have a candid, uninterrupted conversation about his reservations. Just listen. Then pray through each hesitation before responding.
- If he's open to it, offer information about homeschooling that he can process in his own time. Is there a homeschool family in your church that you respect that you could go to dinner with to ask questions? Perhaps offer a book you could read together as you process the decision (I recommend John Taylor Gatto's Dumbing Us Down).
What if I don't want to do this forever?
You don't have to commit to forever when you choose to homeschool. But give it some time. Give it at least one semester, but even better, a full year to determine if this is a good fit for your family. No major life transition is ever perfectly smooth, and homeschool is no different. Know that you may not choose the right curriculum or settle into a perfect rhythm in the first few weeks, and that's ok! This lifestyle is a journey. Our family reevaluates from year to year to see if homeschooling is still the best fit for our family. I encourage all homeschooling families to do the same!
But what about socialization?
After experiencing homeschooling for the past 4+ years, I would argue that homeschoolers have more opportunities for socialization, not less. Yes, you have to be intentional. But the opportunities are endless: co-ops, nature groups, church, neighbors, and even siblings are constant sources of social interaction. Our children are not required to sit quietly and not interact with each other during schooling hours. Socialization worried me before we started homeschooling. Now, I don't give it a second thought.
What if I still don't know?
- Like anything worthwhile, you have to count the cost. Every family has unique factors: chronic illness, marital tension, little support, limited finances or the need to work, and so much more. It's important to weigh all of these factors before making this decision. But also, are your children paying a higher price by being in a less-than-optimal school? If in a public school setting, are they being taught values that align with your family's faith and values? Are there sacrifices that you could make in order to bring them home?
- PRAY. Pray that the Lord would give peace, unity between you and your spouse, and wisdom in your decision - whether to homeschool or to pursue other options. Pray that He would give joy in whatever option you decide.
Ultimately, this is a decision between you, your spouse, and the Lord. You have been given the task of impressing the truths of God on your children (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). This weighty responsibility was not given to your parents, your neighbor, or the grocery store clerk that asks what your kids are doing out of school.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Jesus
This decision can make anyone feel weary. We all want what's best for our children: emotionally, spiritually, academically, physically. Be encouraged that God promises to give us rest when we hand our burdens over to Him. And take heart that if He has called you to this journey, He will equip you in every way.
I've written a post about how to get started homeschooling here: