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Should You Home School?

Suggested Decision Process

This article contains suggestions to help you make the best decision for you, and to help you to be clear why you decided.

Home schooling is a big decision. Even deciding whether to continue home schooling for another year can be a big decision, especially if you have had a more difficult year (which often happens in the first or second year of home schooling).

People Will Question Your Decision

One of the problems with home schooling is that it's different. It's easier to do the same thing everyone else is (sending your children to school). Because home schooling is not the norm, it's important that you are sure of your decision.

Sooner or later you will run into people who will question your decision. Some of them will be well meaning people who really just don't know much about home schooling. Some will be people who don't like home schooling for various reasons, which may or may not be valid (like they met one home schooled child who didn't know a specific thing, their mother is a teacher, or home schooling didn't work for them). And some will be people who have been brain washed that school is the only way, and every other way is wrong, and they are unable to look at the possibility of home schooling objectively (these people can create a lot of doubt in us, if we are not clear to ourselves why we are home schooling).

Two Pro and Con Lists

To decide whether to home school or not, I strongly recommend that you do two pro and con lists, one for each choice, like this:


Home School
Pros Cons
Regular School
Pros Cons

If you are looking at more than two choices, like a private school, or a school that specializes in sports or fine arts, do a separate pro and con list for each choice you are considering.

Make sure you do each pro and con list as detailed as you possibly can. Start by listing everything you can think of.

Then check our list for more ideas, here: "Proís and Conís of Home Schooling and Institutional Schooling." As you go through our list, think about each point. If you agree with that point, add it to your list, otherwise ignore that point.

Ask Lots of People for Input

Then go further. Find people who are strong believers in institutional school and ask them what they think the pros and cons are for school and what they think the pros and cons are for home schooling.

Ask them first about the education method they like best. So, ask the pro-school people about the pros and cons of school first, then what they think about home schooling, and do the opposite for the pro-home schooling people, that is, ask them about the pros and cons for home schooling first, then what they think about institutional schooling.

Again, I recommend that you do this as exhaustively as possible. Think especially of any relatives that might have strong feelings on home schooling, and that might try to influence your decision (even if you don't ask them). Consider asking them, but be careful though. If someone is extremely fixed minded, you don't want them mad at you for the next five years, and causing problems at every family gathering, because they think you didn't listen to them. Sometimes it's not worth risking damage to relationships, so consider each person's long term reaction, also.

If you have parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, or friends who are teachers or who have strong opinions on the education of children, "consider" asking them what they think.

Take your time and write it all down. Add what you think is true to your pro and con lists, and ignore the rest. Discuss it with your spouse and think about it for a few days.

Thank Those Who Helped You

After you make your decision, you should probably talk to each person you questioned closely, thank them for helping you, tell them you have considered carefully, and tell them what you have decided. You may also want to tell them why, if they are interested (if they have strong beliefs or opinions, they may not want to know, so again be careful).

Hopefully by telling them what you decided and why (and by treating them with respect), it will help you to maintain better relations with these people, and get less negative pressure in the future.

Obviously you know your people a lot better than I do, so be careful and only do this if you believe it will actually help. Unfortunately, it's possible, that some people will only be annoyed by this type of openness, so you must decide if this will help you with your decision, and if it will hurt your relationship with each person or not.

Summary

  1. Do two detailed pro and con lists, one for home schooling and one for regular schooling (and an additional one for any other choices you are considering).

    Do you own list first, then check our list for ideas: "Proís and Conís of Home Schooling and Institutional Schooling."

  2. Find people you know who believe in regular schooling, and people who believe in home schooling, and ask them their pros and cons (ask them first for the pros and cons of the education method they like best).

  3. Remember to include close relatives (unless you think this will stir up bad relationship problems - it's your decision to ask each person, and you will get the rewards or consequences, so consider carefully).

  4. Debriefing and Thank You's. After you have decided what to do, thank each person and let them know that you have really listened to them, and what you have decided. Again, think about whether this is the best thing to do for each person, for your relationship with them (especially if they are close family).

  5. (Optional.) If you have any advice for us to improve this procedure, to make it work better for others, please contact us.





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