If the thought of never having to make a 6am start, put up with a less than adequate education for your children or force them to learn things they hold no interest in sounds appealing, you may be considering home education.
It may be helpful to ask yourself a few questions before taking the big leap!
1. Are you ready for a major commitment? If you decide to be your child’s primary tutor, you will have the main responsibility not only for educating them, but for motivating them as well. Finding resources online is easy enough, but are you willing to take the time and make the effort required to make learning truly fun? This is your chance to not just be a good teacher, if not a great one, so you will need to lay the groundwork, taking trips to libraries, museums and science parks with your child, finding practical, fun ways to teach them facts and ideas they only learned in theoretical form at school, and teaching them that a home education definitely does not mean a goal-free education.
2. Is homeschooling economically viable for you? Many two-parent households these days are forced to rely on two incomes to meet expenses. Being a home tutor requires flexibility in your hours, making a full-time job out of the question and even a part-time one rather challenging to upkeep. If extra income is an issue, consider freelance work, which you can undertake in your free hours. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the most common expenditures you can expect to incur. These include the price of a homeschooling course (should you decide to purchase one), supplies, transport, tickets to museums and galleries, etc.
3. Are you willing to seek out opportunities for your child to socialise with others? Most home-schooled kids say that the biggest challenge of homeschooling lies in building a good social network. Other homeschooling parents will be of great help, since theirs is a tightly knit community that is used to sharing information and resources, and bringing their children together to learn vital inter-personal skills.
4. Are you confident enough to withstand possible negative reactions from family and friends? Extended families are often not very receptive to the idea of home schooling and most of the time, this resistance can be traced back to fear for your child’s education/future. Friends (and especially other parents) can be harsher, since they may feel that the validity of their own decision to continue with traditional schooling, is under threat.
5. Are you prepared for homeschooling to not work for you? Most parents and children who are home-schooled say they would never go back to traditional schooling, but if for some homeschooling doesn’t work out for you, other options (such as flexible schooling or a change of schools) may be the answer for you and your child; the key is for both parents and children to feel comfortable with your decision.