It’s only been over a year since we started homeschooling, but I still remember how nervous we were. Well, I was the nervous one. I researched, asked, planned, and asked again. I reached out to others to find out what I should be doing before we started homeschooling, but was surprised by how little information and and support that was shared. But, we got through that first year because instead of asking others, I sat down and asked myself a few questions. Are you looking to homeschool but don’t know where to start? Start with this post. Get out your notebooks (or print this printable), and get ready to answer 5 questions to ask before you homeschool.
What Is Your End Goal?
This might be the most important question that you answer today. Are you looking to homeschool to fully immerse your child or children into one specific subject? Are you looking to teach them in a safe environment that encourages them to be well-rounded global citizens? What do you want your children to accomplish, and when do you want them to accomplish it? As parents, we tend to get upset when the school system isn’t providing a space for our kids to learn and grow, so we turn to the idea of homeschooling. That shouldn’t be the reason you want to homeschool, though. That reason is given out of frustration and worry. What is your real end goal for this journey your family will entail? To get your started with the question, think of what you would put in this blank space: “I want my child to be _________ once we complete our homeschool journey.”
Can You Make The Time?
Now, keep in mind the question is not “do you have the time?” No one has the time. In this day and age, most of us don’t have the time to brush our teeth or eat breakfast, let alone teach our kids. You will have to FIND the time to teach your children, and that may mean letting go of other time-consuming parts of life. There are pockets in your day where you can teach? For example, my husband teaches science when he comes home from work, and I teach other subjects in the morning. This works for everyone’s schedule, since my husband works outside of the home, and I take care of my online work in the afternoon when the two youngest take their naps. See? Pockets of time that are perfect for learning. You have these pockets of time too, and you can utilize them well if you choose to homeschool.
Is Your Family On Board?
Now, I don’t mean your immediate family. They should be on board already, if homeschool is something you are seriously considering. I want you to focus on those that live outside of your home. Are they supportive? Do they think it’s a bad idea? Do they think homeschooling is weird? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, that’s OK. At this point, you need to see where your support will be, and if it’s not with certain family members, then you can make sure not to rely on them for help. Once you make your homeschool mantra and family mission statements, you’ll know that “outside support from family” may not be listed as an attribute. Remember, you aren’t do this for others, you’re doing it for your children. As long as your kids understand, and your home dynamic stays in-tact, that’s all that matters.
Not sure how to make a homeschool mantra and family mission statement? We’ll talk about that in another post. Hint: this is first start to making one.
What Are Your First Steps?
Well, the first step you should take is to make sure that you legally remove your child or children from the public school system. Websites like HSLDA.org and your state’s Department of Education will help you follow all the steps needed to keep social services from visiting your front door. You should also annotate the steps you need to take to re-enroll your child into public school. No, this isn’t you admitting defeat. This is you being proactive about situations that may arise. You never know if you will have to put your children back in the system, or if your children decide that they would like to go back to public school. Be prepared by following the right steps. You’ll also want to visit the Board of Education offices in person to de-enroll your children. They tend to have great resource packets, checklists. and other important documents for new homeschoolers.
Want to know another essential first step you should do, that your kiddo will appreciate? Scroll to 6:23 on this video:
What Will Be Your Focus?
Every homeschool family needs to decide what their focus will be when learning and even choosing curricula. What will yours be? Most homeschoolers are associated with a spiritual focus, since many parents decide to teach their children at home so they can have a faith-based education. This isn’t always the case. Our family’s focus is subject-based. Our African-American son wanted to immerse himself in science, so we decided to give him a year at home to do so and re-evaluate before each new school year. There were also other reasons we decided to homeschool our Black son, which we shared in a post a few months ago. We’re now in year number 2, so obviously we enjoyed our last homeschool year. Are you homeschooling to help your child that may have a learning disability? Are you homeschooling because your raising a future olympian, and they need more time to train? Figure out your focus before you even dive into homeschooling. It will help your family stay on task throughout the school year, and give you some piece of mind.
Those are the 5 questions to ask before you homeschool. They may seem intense, but you will be so happy that you answered them before making your decision. To make this even easier for you, we’ve created a downloadable version of the questions for you to print out and keep in your homeschool binder.
Still need more help making your decision about homeschooling? Feel free to leave your questions in the comment section below.