Answers to the most important questions about homeschooling
Whatever the reasons that have led you to consider homeschooling, trusting yourself to make the "right" decision doesn’t come easy. I know all too well that this decision process can feel like “make or break”. I could easily tell you how homeschooling has completely changed my life and my children's for the better (more on our story here). But as great as it is to hear success stories, it doesn't help you get to any real answers for your unique situation. So, having made the decision to homeschool a few years ago and really never looking back, I thought that the best way I could help is to address some of the questions I could never find answers to.
How much does it cost?
Well that's actually up to you! There is a whole world of education resources out there. And it is honestly one of the most fun experiences looking through all the curriculum and unit studies you could be doing in your homeschool. And the best part? There is something for everyone, no matter the budget. I truly believe you can homeschool with nothing more than a library card, some art supplies and an internet connection!
The resources you choose will ultimately determine how much it costs to homeschool. It’s important to understand that you are not expected to be an expert at every subject. If it’s something that you're not feeling too comfortable teaching, consider using specialised programs for that specific learning area.
For example, my daughter is so excited to learn to read. She has been getting herself so frustrated with the current work we have been doing, as she likes to be able to do some things independently. After some research we decided she would learn best with a multi sensory reading program where I can use a guide to support her. This allows me to focus on teaching to my strengths which are science and history. These types of solutions can do wonders to help you along the way and allows you to learn new approaches with a fresh perspective.
Do I have enough space?
You do not need to turn your home into a classroom! Homeschooling can work in all types of homes, apartments, townhouses and even caravans. Thanks to technology, you don't even need a bookshelf! We have a learning space in the living room with a wall dedicated to the important things, such as our memorisation work and our current learning focus, which at the moment is outer space. We have used a low cost sideboard as a clever hack to hide our printer and stationery. We keep our art supplies in a trolley by the dining table as that is our messy project area.
And, remember, homeschooling doesn’t have to take place in the home, it’s a common misconception! We spend a good chunk of our day outdoors at our local waterfalls, a park or even just the backyard. Having some handy clipboards for writing and baskets to hold our nature treasures really helps. The point is, I learned quickly that it's pretty easy and cost effective to work with what you have.
What about socialisation?
To be frank, this is a non issue. But homeschoolers are relentlessly questioned on it so I felt the need to acknowledge the concern.
It has been my experience that friendships are actually harder to maintain in the school environment. With so little time for free play and schools often restricting which grades can play together, socialisation seems somewhat manufactured and, consequently, doesn't teach any real life social skills.
Studies have shown that it is beneficial to have a child socialise with varying ages, and generally this is the case with co-op or homeschool groups. The ages usually range from kindergarten to highschool. In these situations, older children help the younger, and they collaboratively play and learn together. The younger have the chance to learn from the older children and the older children learn patience and responsibility for the younger. Everybody wins!
If you are in an area where perhaps it isn’t as easy to find these kinds of groups, try reaching out to businesses around you. Our local gymnastics club has just started a homeschool group and there's a trampoline park that does discounted rates for homeschoolers on Fridays. With homeschooling numbers increasing drastically each year, chances are you will find something that works for your family. It certainly doesn’t have to be just homeschoolers that your child socialises with anyway! There are after school sports and nature schools on school holidays. You can easily find these types of programs on social media.
I'm not a teacher! Can I really do this?
YES! Some teachers can be exceptional but like all professionals they vary in experience and dedication. And, as a teacher once told me, what they are trained in most is managing large numbers of kids in classrooms.
Here is the single most important difference between you and a teacher... you are invested in your child for life which makes you far more qualified than any school teacher! Like any job, it’s not always sunshine and lollipops! However, I truly have not experienced anything more rewarding or motivating than witnessing the progress in my kids as they work hard to achieve their hopes and dreams.
Homeschooling is so much more than teaching our kids at home, it’s giving them the opportunity to shine for the things they truly care about. It’s building their confidence to question and research and follow rabbit trails until they are fully satisfied with a conclusion! Homeschooling breaks the walls of education down and turns it into something far more magical.
I’m thinking if you have made it this far maybe something resonates with you. And at this point I would suggest you go make yourself a coffee, take a deep breath and settle in, perhaps you’d like to read my 5 Homeschool Tips I Wish I Knew Sooner!
Until next time, take care
P.s. Did I miss something?! Have you still got questions? Feel free to contact me with anything you need to know. I’ll always do my best to answer any questions.