One of the most frequent questions our homeschool attorneys get asked by email and at homeschool conventions, especially by new homeschool parents, is this: “What’s the best way (or right way) to homeschool?”
The answer to this question is simple: “Whatever way works best for you and your family.” There’s no magic formula (even though many of us wish there were).
To be honest, it takes a certain amount of courage to begin homeschooling. By keeping our children home, we are asserting our God-given responsibility to train, educate, and nurture them. By doing so, we become responsible for their entire educational experience—and we can’t shift the blame if things don’t go so well!
Be wary of anyone, either an “expert” or a vendor, who tells you that “their way” or “their curriculum” is the only “right” way to homeschool. Virtually everything in a homeschooling home should be up for discussion, other than those core values and religious beliefs that we as parents wish to instill in our children. And while those beliefs typically will not change, how we go about teaching and instilling them will change as we hear different ideas and as our children get older.
There’s no doubt about it: choosing curriculum and making decisions for your children’s education can be intimidating. Sometimes we get so bogged down in researching others’ opinions and methods that the information we amass becomes overwhelming. We fail to discern that what works for one family with two elementary-aged children where mom is home all the time may not work for the family with twin infants, a six-year-old with special needs, a teenager, and a mom who runs her own business. There are vast differences in the number and types of circumstances that homeschool families must accommodate. And while the regulations differ from state to state, each of us has been blessed with flexibility in how to organize and implement our homeschool. Those of us who choose to homeschool do so because we believe it to be the best educational option for our children. And somehow, in some way, we all make it work. Take the recommendations of the curriculum “experts” for what they are: recommendations. They are not and should not be gospel to you. Let your ultimate choices by guided by your analysis of what is best for your family.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues you should consider when deciding how to homeschool this year. They include:
Your homeschool will never be perfect. But it can be incredibly rewarding. Remember, what works for someone else may not work for you…and what works for you may not work for others. As you evaluate the upcoming school year, take some time to consider your goals and map a course for your family that will move you toward those goals. And then be willing to change things up when the need arises (trust us, it will!).