To homeschool or not to homeschool?
This can feel like such a daunting question.
Gathering information and figuring out details often feels like a monumental task.
But there are 6 things you can do before making your decision. And these 6 things have the power to bring a ton of clarity, organization, and insight that will help you make the best decision for your family.
So let’s break it all down, shall we?
Here Are 6 Things to Do Before You Commit to Homeschooling:
1. Make a Pros & Cons List
What makes you smile and gets you excited when you think about homeschooling? Sleeping in? More family time? Traveling during the off-season?
Whatever you come up with, identify these as your PROS.
On the other hand, what causes tension and creates that pit of apprehension in your stomach? Not having a set schedule? Choosing educational materials? Possible isolation?
List these as your CONS.
Now spend a few minutes looking over your PROS/CONS list. Then set your list aside for now while you move on to step #2.
2. Do Your Research
Considering a new responsibility can be super overwhelming. And gathering research can feel especially daunting.
The awesome news is that I’ve collected all of this information for you. So if you’re scrambling to find accurate homeschooling information, look no further!
The following posts are full of information presented in simple and streamlined ways. Start here to cover the basics.
3. Assess Your Financial Situation
I know, this part is SO not fun.
But we do need to figure out if homeschooling is financially feasible for your family.
So sit down with your partner and hash out all of the nitty-gritty financial details.
Here are some things to consider:
Are you a one-income family? Up until now, have you been home full-time raising your family? Is it realistic that with an effective budgeting strategy, you will be able to continue living on one-income?
Do you currently work outside of the home, either full or part-time? Do you think you will be able to cut back on work in order to pursue homeschooling? Or perhaps quit your job completely?
What financial sacrifices are you willing to make? And what are non-negotiable areas that you cannot sacrifice?
It’s important that you GET REAL about your finances and that you are HONEST about how this will impact your decision whether or not to homeschool. And please, please, please, COMMUNICATE with your partner!
4. Gather Your Support Team
This is one of the most important things that you will do.
Let me repeat that.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT YOU WILL DO!
Identify the people in your life that show genuine interest in the possibility of your homeschooling. The people who appear to be supportive and encouraging.
Maybe at first, you are only able to come up with one person.
And here’s some more good news: Online support totally counts! Homeschooling bloggers, (like ME!) and Facebook groups are two places where you can begin to gather support IMMEDIATELY.
The important thing is that you begin to identify your potential teammates. And that you start to grow your team.
I cannot emphasize this enough.
Homeschooling is a big job and it’s easy to feel isolated. Identifying the people that encourage you and support you is critical.
DON’T YOU DARE try to do this alone!
5. Create a Self-Care Plan
Along with gathering your support team, this may very well be THE MOST CRITICAL STEP. This is the key to avoiding burnout and being able to homeschool with joy and enthusiasm.
Let’s break this down into 3 areas:
DAILY: What do you need on a daily basis in order to function well? I like to think in terms of mind/body/spirit but you do whatever works for you.
Examples: Exercise, water intake, vitamins, tea or coffee, music, podcasts, reading, watching TV, conversations with friends… Begin by Identifying 3 things. You can always add later. But for now, it’s important to keep expectations simple and realistic.
WEEKLY: Identify weekly self-care practices that keep you grounded and sane.
Examples: A yoga class, coffee with a friend, date night with your partner, walking with a neighbor, gardening… Again, identify 3 things.
SEASONAL: These are things that you do on a seasonal basis. Usually, they involve more time, planning, and money. But not always.
Examples: Weekend getaway with your partner, an entire day spent with a friend, shopping for yourself… This time, identify 1 thing you can do each season. Maybe it’s a weekend getaway with your partner in the fall. An entire day hanging out with a friend in the winter. Maybe a day of summer shopping dedicated to YOU.
The recipe for successful self-care is to make sure that it is a PRIORITY. Your self-care needs to be planned out and practiced consistently in order to become a habit.
And it is ESSENTIAL that you recruit your partner in this step as well. Make sure you let them know that your self-care is part of your overall homeschooling plan. They need to be on board with this from the beginning.
6. Commit to a Specific Amount of Time
I am the first person to say that homeschooling is not right for everyone. But in order to give it a fair shot, you really need to commit for a specific amount of time.
I suggest starting with a season. You could think of it as a school semester if that’s easier for you. Or you might feel more comfortable committing to an entire year.
You decide. And once you commit, tell yourself that you are not going to make any further decisions about whether or not to continue with homeschooling, until you have reached the end of the specified period.
This will be your time to assess and see how things are going. The time when you will decide what tweaks you want to make, analyze your overall satisfaction, and decide whether you want to continue.
But make sure and commit to a specific amount of time. It will help tremendously with focus, clarity, and stress management.
OK, now it’s time for you to get started! Do these 6 things before you decide whether or not homeschooling is for you.