Homeschooling – Why Would You Want To Homeschool Your Children?

There are almost as many answers to the question of why you should homeschool your children as there are parents undertaking homeschooling.

Some parents wish to remove their children from a public school system which they see as failing, or as being positively harmful to their children. Other parents wish to school their children at home for religious reasons, or to instill certain values into their children. Whatever the reason, there can be little doubt that most parents choose homeschooling because they believe that it is the best educational choice for their children.

For many there are two sides to homeschooling comprising those things that it brings to the child and those things that it removes from the child’s environment. Peer pressure and bullying are rife throughout the public school system today and can place children under considerable pressure and, at times, even place them in danger. Homeschooling your children allows you far greater control over just who your children do and do not come into contact with and how they are influenced.

In terms of a child’s growth and academic development there can be little doubt that, in the majority of cases, homeschooling produces superior results and this is evidenced in such things as home schooled children winning the National Spelling Bees and the number of home schooled children attaining degrees (in many cases Master’s degrees) at some of our finest universities, often at remarkably young ages.

Of course many people will claim that such children are simply gifted and that their success is due to their natural genius rather than to homeschooling. However, if this were the case then we are certainly blessed with an abundance of geniuses in our younger generation. The simple fact of the matter is that the numbers do not support this view.

The numbers, produced not simply by advocates of homeschooling but by bodies such as the US Department of Education, clearly show that home schooled children do far better than their publicly schooled peers with home schooled children a grade ahead by the age of 12 and as much as four grades ahead by the time they reach the equivalent of the 8th grade.

Homeschooling is certainly not an easy option and is certainly hard work for most parents, especially in the early days, but there is little doubt that it works and the rewards for both children and parents are well worth the effort.

Five Minute Tips for Avoiding Homeschool Burnout – Part 3

In the world of homeschooling, the balance between enthusiasm and fatigue, excitement and concern, and joy and despair is usually an issue of proactive planning, solid academic progress, and a few indulgences along the way. Avoiding burnout is in part, connected to the above issues, but even if you have planned well and rewarded your children accordingly when they’ve deserved it, you may still find yourself struggling to find the joy in your homeschool program. Five minutes here and there, though, can truly make a difference and help keep you fresh rather than burned out.

As discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, homeschooling burnout is often the result of feeling behind, overworked, and under rewarded for your efforts. Taking a few simple steps and spending only a few minutes in planning can significantly offset those feelings, however. But there is still more to this issue. Sometimes, the feeling of being burned out is a result of inward-focus, not outward-thinking. In simple terms, sometimes we homeschoolers spend too much time thinking about ourselves, our programs, our children, our day, our activities, and on and on and on. We spend far too little time thinking about others. The result is that we tend to lose friendships over time, we wonder where “we” went as parents, and we forget that we have a life outside of school.

There is no fault in pouring yourself into your family, and I will be the first to advocate for that. But, if you are only thinking of your own interests, then you will lose touch with the rest of the world around you. One of the primary reasons that most homeschoolers begin to homeschool is to effect change in the lives of their children, to equip them with the skills to be effective adults, and to teach them to interact with others with integrity, solid character, and leadership skills. However, if we fail to interact with others around us, then those skills will be untested.

Because of this, one of the most powerful ways to avoid homeschool burnout is to get involved outside of the home. This presumes the fact that your students are on track, making solid progress in their academic pursuits, and gaining the skills that they will use outside of the home, but once those things are well underway and incorporated into daily plans, then you can begin to plan for outward-thinking time.

The five-minute version of this is to send a card or note to someone just to encourage them. Make a call to a friend just to see how they’re doing. Think about others for a few minutes every day, those who are outside of your home, and teach your homeschool children to do the same. You would be surprised at what a difference it makes just to spend a few minutes thinking about someone else. For instance, you could undertake a letter-writing campaign to soldiers, and in five minutes, write one letter each day. The impact that your family could have on others in such a plan is tremendous, and all in only five minutes every day.

If you have more than five minutes, go visit a friend with a surprise package of cookies, hand-deliver a note, or take on a volunteer project as a family outside of the house. Homeschoolers are in a unique position to be able to plan for the unexpected by planning their time to suit their schedule. Perhaps your family would want to serve for a meal delivery through a community organization. Those things can be planned for, incorporated into your schedule, and thus create an outward focus as long as you are planning your time wisely.

The combination of proper planning, core subject progress, rewards for attainment of goals, and giving time to your community or others will help to keep the homeschooling parent and student from feeling overwhelmed, burned out, and frustrated. Avoiding burnout is about the combination of activities, and if you are feeling out of order in your homeschooling program, check the order and emphasis of the things you are doing each day. If things are askew, spend five minutes each day, working to reorder these aspects of your homeschool program. You’ll find more success, a sense of accomplishment, and all of your feelings of burnout will fade away.

(To see Part 2 of this series, click here.)

How to Finance Homeschooling

Financing homeschooling

  • When people talk about teaching their children from home in the absence of any definite or structured curriculum, it is perhaps natural to think that homeschooling is cheap or at least a cheaper option that traditional or “structured” schooling or education.  This is in fact far from the truth. Although homeschooling in general does not stick to any particular text, this is perhaps more of a bane than a boon, when it comes to finance.
  • When you need to make sure that your children receives state-of-the-art education so that they can compete with regular school goers, expenses will naturally mount.
  • The actual cost of educating a child at home is surprisingly high. Up-to-date textbooks, course materials, a library, computing equipment, lighting, specially designed furniture all cost money. In this case, the cost may be slightly lesser when it comes to homeschooling the second child. Add to this any additional tuition cost for tutors who come to teach subjects that cannot be handled by parents, like higher-level math or science. The total cost can be a bit mind boggling.
  • If you take another important factor into consideration, homeschooling costs may effective triple. The need for having one of the parents tied to the house and fully dedicated to providing education deprives the family of a second earning member. The average homeschooling teacher is usually a lady with a college degree. This means that she can easily bring home a pay of $35,000 p.a. (R350,000,00) or more. It is also interesting to note that research in USA shows that most families that have more than 2 children do not opt for homeschooling at all.
  • But, there are those who have been successful in carrying out homeschooling at low rates. This is dependent on the size of the family, the support group, and the type of materials used and the availability of the material. When successive children can reuse the materials, cost goes down. Much of the course material can be got from vendors of homeschooling materials.
  • A membership in a public library, theatre, concerts, ballets and other cultural events also help in cutting costs. Sometimes, it is even possible to barter expertise. For instance, the mother of an 8-year old gives dancing classes, and her daughter receives drawing classes for free.
  • Support groups allow you to divide the cost of field trips, science projects and fairs.
  • Whatever the cost, advocates of homeschooling say that the benefits far outweigh these considerations. When you are able to decide what knowledge your child receives and when he or she should be taught and to what extent, it gives you a lot of freedom and a lot of power. Both the children as well as the parents benefit from this mutually enriching experience.

Tips

* Make extensive use of the internet and free resources. Download! Download! Download!
* Searching for free curriculum and free workbooks or worksheets on any particular subject will produce for you any number of age appropriate printable materials that will enhance your teaching experience.
* You will soon gain the knowledge and experience to create your own worksheets and before long have an on line storage system that will contain everything you need from A-Z.
* Although preferable, a 24 hour or super-fast internet connection is not vital.
* Utilise the resources you obtain from internet & library research and create your own workbooks, together with your children.
* This has proved for us to be the most effective way of including your child in the studies and promoting him or her to the position of author.
* By the time the child gets to actually work in the draft masterpiece he or she will have gained so much knowledge on the subject that going through the workbook or worksheets will be an easy task for your child, and one of which he or she will be proud of when showing you the final product, content in the knowledge that he or she has played a vital role in creating the learning material.
* Repetition is often necessary, be it in a certain subject on the whole or a certain aspect of a subject. Repetition does not necessarily have to mean monotony.  Repetition does not necessarily mean printing out the same worksheet five times.  An activity can be re-worked in such a way that the results aimed at can be achieved through use of the essential elements within a topic and disguised in various other formats.
* Make every activity fun. Fun worksheets, fun activities, field trips, fun discussions, working together as a team. 
* Make a motto such as “Make learning fun” and  in every aspect of homeschooling you are involved in.
* It is not necessary to purchase expensive Homeschool Curriculum if you are inclined not to do so or not in a position to do so. Everything you require is at your fingertips (or an internet search) and freely available or can be obtained at very minimal cost.

Warnings

* Harsh criticism is never a good thing for any child in a learning environment and can discourage your child from a certain subject. 
* Avoid criticising your child when he or she doesn’t quite grasp a subject.
* Make allowance for the fact that at least one parent will not be earning an income whilst homeschooling the child/children.