I apologize for rushing into the advantages of homeschooling and expected everyone to know what I am talking about. I should have outlined the basics before bragging about my kids. That way you could decide for yourself whether it is the right thing to do for your situation.
Obviously your home is your school, but you don’t have to be the teacher. It is perfectly fine to hire a tutor if you can afford it. You may be able to create a mix of being a teacher and hiring a tutor for specific subjects that you don’t excel in. Most people hate math, but for me it is as natural as a baby’s smile! I think it is genetic, as Peter is a math major. But I also play the guitar and have a knack for charcoal drawings, so my children get both hard skills and soft skills from me. English and history? Please send the tutor!
Another part of homeschooling is how the children learn. The Internet makes teaching and learning so much easier, as there are web sites for just about every school subject and homeschoolers from around the country have banded together to create web sites that are both informational and provide practical help. As long as you know (or are willing to learn) how to use a computer or tablet and navigate the Internet, you don’t have to worry about establishing a curriculum or lacking resources for teaching.
Personally, I use a computer and my children are “techier” with tablet computers, and it is hard for me to make any kind of evaluation on how easy homeschooling would be without them. But I am sure there are parents who manage to be successful at it with the more traditional teaching tools. Regardless of what method you use to homeschool, you will be in control of what your children learn and how they develop emotionally and morally – without the pervasive negative influences that exist in public or private schools.
One question that I am asked often is whether it is cheaper than sending your children to public school. I don’t really see it as an issue of money as much as an investment of time. Peter, my oldest, is more of an academic so the local library and the Internet were very low cost resources in educating him. James is getting more expensive because his interests require certain tools, and replacing things he claims he has fixed – then stopped working altogether. So it depends. I guess one important advantage of homeschooling that I overlooked is that your children do not end up being latchkey kids.
Earlier I mentioned the issue of social isolation, but I think it depends on where you live. It becomes a much bigger issue if you live in a rural area or small town. The social isolation issue is a common misconception, but a I said, I think it is more about the individual child than homeschooling itself.
After evaluating all the pros and cons of homeschooling, the real dilemma is whether it is right for you and your children. Full time working moms can shelve the idea, while moms whose children are very active should look at how homeschooling will affect their attitude towards learning in a homeschool environment. On the other hand, if your child proves to be exceptionally intelligent or motivated to learn, homeschooling may be exactly what is needed to maximize their potential. Evaluate each child and their specific needs, then make a final commitment. Because that is what homeschooling is, a commitment you make for the next decade – or longer.
If you’re looking for more resources and information on homeschooling your children, I’d recommend visiting www.home-school.com.