I believe that the right to home-school does not make home-school the only right choice. I would always assume that you make deliberate educational choices based on all the factors your family has to consider.
All that being said, maybe home-school is the right choice for your family. But how do you know for sure?
Before you make the decision, let’s go through a few questions that can help you make this important decision.
Do you want to?
Really. Do you want to be home with your children and be in charge of their education? Do you want to juggle books and papers and projects and planning, especially with all the stuff you already have on your plate?
Do you want to read great books with your kids and learn alongside them? Do you want to give up time and space and money to help your children learn at home, and can you have enough passion for it to get you through the tough spots?
Wanting to home-school is only the first step because even if you feel like you should, or you could, or if somebody else thinks you ought to — that isn’t going to get you through the hard days. It’s not going to help you with the doubts and the arguments from naysayers and children.
Set aside the scariness of it. The place to start is with desire and willingness, and if you have one or both of those, in any measure, you can home-school your child.
Are you able to?
I’m not talking about your qualifications. I firmly believe that any loving parent who wants to home-school can give their child a great education, regardless of their own educational background or lack thereof.
I’m talking about real things like illness, finances, special needs children, spousal support, and other family dynamics.
Home-schooling is not a hill I would choose to die on. If I had a child who had extreme special needs and I also had a strong desire to home-school, I would have to weigh those two issues very heavily against one another and choose to put the needs of that child above my own desires.
That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to home-school a special needs child. It simply means that each situation is unique and requires deliberate prayer and decisions. If you have enough desire and support, you can home-school your special needs child, but it doesn’t mean you are making a lesser choice if you choose not to.
Home education itself doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, especially in the younger years. It will require your time and attention though, which can mean that you are a stay-at-home mom (or dad) and may have to find alternate ways to contribute to the family’s income, if needed. There are ways to do it, even as a single parent, but some families are legitimately not financially able to home school.
If you are married and one of you wants the kids to be home schooled but the other adamantly does not, be encouraged to put your marriage first. Home is the most important part of any child’s education — traditional or home schooled, and disunity among parents will hinder any educational choice you make.
Many people will say, “I could never home school my kids.” That may be true for various reasons, but if you have enough want-to, I believe you can do it and you can do it well. And if you don’t want to, I hope you’ll be involved in your child’s learning in whatever setting you choose to put them in. You are the most important person in their education.