Is your student a right fit for homeschooling?

Posted in Homeschooling on September 2, 2017 - by

A happy homeschooling family

For many parents, the decision to homeschool is one that tugs at their hearts but boggles the mind. We can easily grasp the benefits--more time together, the ability to help my child overcome learning struggles or advance at a faster pace, and the opportunity to enjoy learning outside of the walls.

But what lies ahead academically can feel like deep, muddy, uncertain waters, especially if you've never thought about taking plunge before. What exactly will it mean for me? For my family? For my child?

If you’re wondering whether or not you should homeschool your child, you’re in good company. Over 3 million students are homeschooled, about 3 percent of the US population of school children. And this number grows each year! So, how do you know if homeschooling is right for you and your child?

Ask yourself these 5 fundamental questions to be sure.

1. Am I satisfied with my current school situation?

If the answer to this question is “No,” it’s a good indication that you need to make a change. You only get one shot at your kid’s childhood and education and stakes are too high to risk frustration or failure by staying in a situation that isn’t working. If you’re not satisfied with how your child is being educated, the curriculum, the classroom instruction, the school environment, etc., the time to make a change is now. In truth, you won’t get a second chance at this grade for your child’s learning experience!

2. Is my child getting the individual attention and emotional support he or she needs at school?

Unfortunately, in today’s age of budget crises, many school districts have overcrowded classrooms and in some cases, teacher shortages. And with standardized testing and funding dependent on test results, the education system cannot focus on the needs of each individual; instead, it must be built for the whole class. This means less individual attention and focus on your child’s needs. The result: our children with unique minds, interests, and needs are not considered and often don’t get what they need to thrive and develop a love for learning.

If these issues sound familiar, it may be time to open a world of learning designed to challenge and inspire your child. . Homeschooling makes learning all about the individual, ensuring that your child gets exactly what they need, when they need it. And, since you’ll be doing much of the teaching, you’re able to tailor your child’s experience to where they are emotionally and academically.

3. Does my child feel safe and loved at school?

Let’s face it, during the school months your children are with peers more than with you! That’s why it’s so important that they feel safe, loved, and cared for while there. Large class sizes mean less individual attention academically and less control over the social and emotional climate. If you add this to the current rise in autism, ADHD, bullying, and inconsistent discipline strategies, many kids end up in an environment that feels unsafe.

Over 47% of kids ages 12-18 admit to being bullied verbally, online, or through texting. Your homes can provide the safest, most loving environment for your child to learn and grow. You’ll watch your child’s confidence and self-esteem grow as he or she feels at ease during the learning process. An added bonus, you get more time to enjoy your kiddos before they’re gone!

4. Is my child challenged and allowed freedom to explore interests?

In order to learn well and keep that information in their growing brains, children need to be engaged and challenged. Unfortunately, many kids go unchallenged and unsupported in large classes. And with increased testing and pressure on teachers, engaging activities that get kids up, moving, and fully involved in the learning process can get pushed aside. Your brainiac deserves to experiment, explore, and discover in every subject with every lesson.

Homeschooling will allow you to breeze past those topics that aren’t interesting, focus on mastery, and then camp and dive deeply into subjects and topics that fascinate and fully engage your family. This is how kids develop a lifelong love of learning! Homeschooling also allows you to tailor your child’s curriculum to his or her level so there’s less frustration or boredom and more engaged learning.

5. Do I want more family time and a more flexible schedule?

Right now, your family is tied to the hours, holidays, and schedule of your school. And this can be a pain! If you want the freedom to take off on vacation in November, you need to plan your schedule around what the school allows and be sure to buffer that with a few sick days just in case your children end up with strep this winter. And how about the rush for after school homework, dinner, and ball games, only to return home for more homework, reading, and bedtime?

If you want to have more time with your family, to be the master of your schedule and calendar, and to have time for relationships, vacations, sports, etc., without feeling harried, homeschooling is a great option! As a homeschooler, you’re in charge of your daily routine and can plan it and do school when, how, and where it works for you and your kiddos. This means more time for elite athletics, vacations, reading around the fire, and anything else your family loves to do!

In Conclusion

Homeschooling isn’t right for everyone, but it could be right for you if you’re not satisfied with the teaching or content of your child’s current education, if your children don’t feel safe or challenged, and if you want to be the master of your own days. Trust me, you won’t regret taking the plunge into the homeschooling waters when you see your child re-develop a love for learning, regain confidence, and feel safe asking those questions that mean digging deeper and exploring the world together. Because, as scary as it may be to consider bringing them home for school, their minds and childhood are worth the risk!

Bridgeway President

About Jessica Parnell

Jessica Parnell is a homeschool evaluator, consultant, and mom. She earned her MS in Secondary Education and Teaching from Bucknell University and is currently the president of Bridgeway Academy.
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