While homeschooling isn’t quite mainstream in Australia just yet, it is growing in popularity for a range of reasons. Could homeschool work for your family? Let’s take a look.
It can start differently for every family. Perhaps there’s a school bully causing your child to be unhappy or perhaps you have always considered the idea of homeschooling for personal or spiritual reasons. It could even be a case of your parenting instinct telling you that mainstream school just isn’t a good fit for your child, or that your child has special needs. Whatever the reason for your family, the decision to homeschool will be a very personal one.
Choosing to homeschool is a major decision that will impact many areas of your family life, so the first step to deciding if it’s right for your family is to be very clear about your reasons for considering homeschool. Remember, there’s no wrong answer, and every single family will offer unique perspectives and reasons for choosing this education path. What’s important is that you, your spouse and your children are all working toward the same goal, for the same reason.
Can your family finances cope?
Finances can be affected by homeschooling. In most homeschooling families, one parent will stay home and out of the workforce in order to play the role of educator. Alternatively, parents may both work part-time and alternate the role. Financially this can place strain on families who have previously maintained a double income and it will be an important consideration when making your choice.
Can you be dedicated and organised?
Dedication is an important trait in the homeschooling parent. Self-reflection is very necessary before taking on the role of educator. It’s not always easy to homeschool your own child, and it can mean reaching deep into your energy reserves in those weeks where nothing has gone right and you’re exhausted. Organisation helps to keep everything on track, and one of the benefits of homeschooling is flexibility, so having an easy activity backup plan that places less strain on the educator is always a great option for those tough weeks.
Ready for social adventures?
There’s a big myth that homeschooled children are socially lacking. As homeschooling increases in popularity within Australia, so do the number of homeschool groups around the country. Finding and joining a local group is a great way for you and the children to meet other families to swap ideas and make new friends. Libraries, museums and galleries take on a new meaning when you realise their educational value. Don’t forget that one of the best ways for homeschooled children to socialise is to be involved in team sports, and these are abundant in most areas, too.
Will it fit with your own family?
Remember, you don’t need to rush your decision to homeschool. Read as much as you can and seek out homeschool forums and groups to do research and ask questions — homeschoolers love to share. Trust in your instincts and know that homeschooling is different for every family. The best thing you can do is decide just how it might fit into your own family and make an educated decision for you and your child.