Homeschooling families are increasing in number and the reasons that lead families into homeschooling vary. But several things remain true. When you have decided to homeschool, there are a few things to keep in mind and periodically consider when you take on this role for your children. If you are just getting started, you might want to read a related article, “Six Things You Need To Start Homeschooling,” but for the veteran, it’s always good to reassess your role from time to time. Some of these things to consider are for your kids, and some of them are for you, but frequently consider the following factors when homeschooling your children.
- Are you focusing on core academic subjects so that your children are growing in knowledge and readiness to perform at the next level? Be sure that you don’t get “lost” in the wealth of options available to homeschool families for supplemental courses or activities. Outside agencies, whether higher level schools or standardized testing services are able to validate your homeschool program in the areas of math, sciences, language arts, etc. Focus on these core subject areas when you homeschool, before you add in the extras, and keep track of how your children are scoring on these types of outside validation tests. You should be seeing steady, upward growth.
- Are you looking for ways to keep your children engaged and participating in the community around them? Homeschool families have an incredible opportunity to get out into their communities and learn the value of citizenship in a unique way. When the school day is over or even worked into the school day through unit studies and projects, allow your children to represent themselves, and homeschooling, to those who can most benefit from seeing the positives first hand – your neighbors and surrounding businesses. Consider adopting a local business and letting your children serve by maintaining their grounds, supporting their company, or finding ways to serve them. It’s an unusual gift that homeschoolers can offer, and it creates long-term relationships in the community.
- Are you getting counsel for those subject areas that need extra help or accountability, and are you staying on track for graduation goals? Often the answers to these questions can be easily solved by getting the appropriate outside counsel on your homeschool program from time to time. That may mean a homeschool coach or it might mean making sure that you spend time with homeschoolers you know who have been successful getting their homeschool children through high school and into college. Whichever route you choose, get outside counsel and evaluation on your homeschooling program on a regular basis.
- And finally, for the primary educator in the homeschool, are you getting some free time of your own, away from the role of educator? You will find that it is hard not to think of the next project, assignment, upcoming lesson, etc. and that your mind tends to be on “school” all the time as a homeschool mom or dad. Be sure that you are getting some free time to clear your head and some time to refresh your spirit. Consider the old adage that you can only freely give away what you have stored up. If you are “spent” and fatigued due to lack of rest, you will have nothing left to give!
Homeschooling is a great honor and privilege. Consider frequently how you are doing, and what, if anything needs to be adjusted along the way to keep your children thriving in knowledge, on solid footing academically, and your homeschool program robust, healthy, and successful!