Homeschooling – is it the Best Decision for the Family?

Whether out of concern for safety or education, parents across the country are choosing the option of homeschooling as an alternative to traditional education.

Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the United States of America, though laws do vary, sometimes greatly, from state to state.

Parents now have clear-cut options for keeping their children at home and teaching them through various means, whether it is simply a stay at home education taught from a textbook curriculum or the more varied approach of “unschooling”, using everyday experiences and tasks to teach anything from reading to math to life skills.

Choices and Reasons

Parents that choose to homeschool often have as many different reasons for doing so as there are approaches to education; some do so for religious reasons, others for the sake of knowing that their children will be safe while getting an education.

Still, essay writers state that others choose to homeschool over the traditional public or private schooling to retain control over the education that their children receive, or because circumstances prevent staying in one place to attend a traditional school.

Whatever the reason, and whatever the educational approach used (or curriculum choice that is made), homeschooling is not a decision to be taken lightly.

By choosing to homeschool, parents assume not only the responsibility but the cost of their child’s education. Each must be considered for anyone that wishes their offspring to succeed in the world of life after school.

Questions to Ask Before Starting

Before leaping into homeschooling unchecked, questions must be asked and considered. Though they may seem obvious, and some that are listed below may not apply, jumping headfirst into the homeschooling experience without any consideration can have drastic and hazardous consequences.

Therefore, before beginning any homeschool venture, hold a family meeting and ask the following questions honestly:

  • What are the reasons for considering homeschool in the family?
  • Can one adult in the house afford to quit their job (if necessary) and stay home to homeschool?
  • Can homeschooling offer more than the local school systems at this point in time?
  • What resources are available, around the neighborhood or locally, to enhance the homeschool experience?
  • What do the adults in the family expect to gain by homeschooling?
  • What will the family do about subjects that the parents know little to nothing about? Will they hire outside tutors, or consider a homeschool group?
  • What activities can be done to provide the children with an opportunity to be with other children? Are community sports, play groups, or volunteering viable options?
  • Can the children participate in elective classes (art, music, band) offered by the local school system, or will alternatives have to be provided privately (and at the parents’ expense)?
  • What alternatives can be explored, other than homeschooling?

Though the last question might seem to defeat the purpose, it actually does not. Every alternative should be explored, no matter how big or small.

If the children in the family are already in school, and/or old enough to answer, the following questions should also be considered:

  • Do the children like leaving the house to go to school, and being with their own peer group?
  • Are the children being harassed or bullied and losing focus in school? Are their grades slipping?
  • Are there constant confrontations with the teacher/administrators?
  • Does the traditional classroom setting of 20-30+ children work for them, or do they need a method of teaching not readily available in the classroom?
  • What do the children expect to gain by homeschooling?
  • Are the children able to work somewhat independently, or do they need constant guidance and redirection?
  • (Depending on the age of the child) What are the plans for higher education? Should homeschooling be considered as a temporary option or will it be done all the way through high school?

While homeschooling does not have to be expensive (the cost can be as low as $50.00 to cover the entire school year for one child, depending on what is purchased and the curriculum used), and can be a legal option for any family, it should not be the decision of one parent or one child alone.

While textbooks can be purchased used at eBay or, sports, homeschool groups, and other activities can quickly eat into a budget. Parents owe it to their children (and children to their parents) to make sure that homeschooling is a decision made together, and with consideration for costs, time, and finances behind it.

Julie Higgins
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