Global pandemics have a way of bringing a few things into focus: The value of family. How much we enjoy company. How much we wish we could be apart sometimes, too!
For some parents, the imminent return of kids to school brings other questions into focus. Is the school going to be safe? Will my kids become vectors and expose their grandparents to the virus? How will my children cope with yet another big change? These all lead to one question: Should I homeschool my kids?
I’ve been homeschooling my kids for over 7 years now. There are kids sitting at the kitchen table studying (with my wife) even as I write this article. Here are some things I think every parent should consider about homeschooling.
Homeschooling is probably better for your child’s academic performance
Teaching our kids at home has been our choice from the beginning. My opinion is pretty fixed. Let me provide you with a different opinion based on actual research:
The majority of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement reveal a positive effect for the homeschooled students compared to institutional schooled students, while a few studies show mixed or negative results.
Home education is probably better for your kids in several ways. However, judge your own family’s situation by thinking of a few other things.
Can you homeschool while working?
My wife and I have made choices to empower home education. One of the most significant is our decision to limit our combined working hours to about 45 per week. Sometimes deadlines and pressure put these hours up, but we do our best to limit them.
Children deserve our attention and relationship effort. We simply cannot give them what they deserve while also working. We either neglect our kids or we don’t honor our working commitments.
Part-time or flexible schedules can help families accomplish home education while working. There are other solutions such as help from the extended family, homeschool co-ops, and even ad hoc friendship home ed groups.
If you can make the time for home education, then this is a great choice. You must be realistic about the time you have available, though.
There’s one other, super important thing to think about…
You must get along with your kids
Can we put aside the “mom guilt” for a few seconds and admit we don’t always get along with our kids?
Kids can be irritating. They mess up what we JUST cleaned up. They are often impatient or silly. They can be stubborn and difficult to motivate.
To home educate your kids successfully, you must have a strategy for dealing with your own attitude towards your kids. This is such a monumental challenge for me! But I’m the adult in the room, most of the time. When I start to feel the pressure, I have ways of coping and renewing my kindness towards my kids.
If you can’t get along with your kids all ALL day, then you might want to give homeschool a miss.
All things considered
Even now I’m reviewing our homeschool choices while writing. I don’t regret them. I believe homeschool is better for kids.
Every family is unique, so contemplate these issues and opportunities. If you can plan for the challenges, then home education is probably better for your kids.