Every parent who considers homeschooling has many questions. It’s a serious and wonderful decision!
This post is a round-up of the most frequently asked homeschooling questions and answers. It will answer most of your immediate concerns and point you to further helpful resources on each topic.
Is homeschooling legal?
Check the laws in your country. Contact your local homeschooling legal defense organizations for answers regarding regulations, requirements, registration, etc. In some countries, this will impact your choice of curriculum.
Side note: International constitutional law is on your side as well, for what it’s worth. See the following links:
and US: HSLDA
South Africa: Pestalozzi Trust
New Zealand: National Council of Home Educators
Australia: Home Education Association
Can I homeschool if I’m not a teacher? I don’t have a graduate degree
Yes. You are the parent. You know your child best. If you trained your child how to eat and use the bathroom, you can teach them their ABC’s and continue from there. There is a wealth of information and support available online as well. You don’t have to do it alone!
What about homeschooling through the high school years?
Again, you have options – online support, online curriculum providers, tutors, tutor centers, etc. Ask friends and family members who are experts on certain topics to help out as well in exchange for a lovely dinner. You can do it!
How do I start homeschooling if my child was in a mainstream school?
There are a few factors to consider, such as your circumstances, and the reason for withdrawing your child from school. But the simple answers to this question include:
- Deschooling – take a break for a week or two, or a few months. Strengthen your relationship with your child at this time. Remember: the relationship is always more important than the curriculum.
- Consider your child’s learning style, interests, goals, and expose them to different activities.
- Don’t rush out and buy a curriculum. Try a bit of this and a bit of that first. Talk to other homeschooling families whose children and circumstances are similar to yours for advice.
What approach do I follow when teaching my child?
Take a look at this post on the different approaches to homeschooling. Whatever you choose, you’ll make it your own. That’s the fun part! (Bonus tip: most parents end up using the eclectic approach.)
What curriculum should I use?
There are so many options, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Don’t rush into it. Talk to other families. As mentioned above, many parents use an eclectic approach, using one curriculum for Math and another for Language, and yet another for Science. Whatever you select, consider the following:
- Your child, his/her learning style, interests, career goals
- Resources – you don’t have to buy the most expensive materials.
- Your homeschooling goals and approach – what is your worldview? What are your values and beliefs?
- Your child’s preference for learning online versus printed books or a combination.
- Read this post on choosing curriculum for more advice.
My child has special needs. Can I still homeschool? I don’t feel equipped.
Yes, but get as much support as you can. You are probably familiar with advocating for your child already, so homeschooling simply forms another part of it.
There are many resources to help children with special needs. If you can’t find sufficient resources, set up a support group to create it! Talk to other families and engage on social networks and support groups.
Helpful posts on this subject:
How do I connect with other homeschooling families?
Look on Facebook for local groups and join Whatsapp groups as well.
Ask around, someone will know someone!
Look for homeschooling events and socials to attend.
How do I homeschool if I have a full-time job?
This is difficult, but it can be done. Join Facebook groups of working homeschooling parents for advice and support.
- Your child could stay with a family member or friend during the day.
- You could hire a nanny/au pair to help out.
- Arrange flexi-hours with your employer, or ask to work from home part-time. Make sure to present the benefits of remote work to your employer.
- Train your child(ren) to entertain themselves with their schoolwork and other activities, at work. (If this could work for you, that’s great, but obviously this isn’t an option for everyone). It’s a great way to keep an eye on your child’s progress and safety while you work.
- Start a side-hustle that can eventually take over your full-time job, to get work-from-home flexibility.
- Yes, your budget may take a knock if you reduce your working hours, but the sacrifice is worth it.
But how will my child socialize?
You’ll have to plan for it, but it can be done. Sports, Scouts, Girl Guides, and clubs centered around your child’s interests are all opportunities for socializing. Collaborate with other parents to plan playdates.
Read this post on socializing your homeschooled child for more info.
Will my child get into university and be okay?
Yes! There are plenty of children who go to university and actually do and cope better than their peers.
There’s a homeschooling documentary you can view for encouragement.
What are my child’s options for entrance to universities or colleges?
This will differ depending on the country you are in.
Start with your child’s career goals and interests, and keep their options open as far as possible.
Based on their interests, you can start looking at relevant options. A career in a specific trade will mean trade school, rather than university. A law degree will have different requirements. If your child is an entrepreneur and wants to run a family business, consider business school.
For info on GED: https://ged.com/blog/what-does-ged-stand-for/
For info on American High School Diploma: https://www.foresttrailacademy.com/american-high-school-diploma-for-international-students.html
For info on CAPS and IEB (South Africans): https://oolfant.com/matric-for-homeschool/
Is homeschooling really better than public school?
Based on research regarding overall achievements, social skills, and how children learn best, the answer is a very clear YES.
See the following articles for the info:
How do I deal with criticism? My friends/family are against homeschooling.
Read this post on how to deal with criticism.
- Draw boundaries, do what’s right for your child. Be confident even if you don’t feel like it. You know best. Ultimately, your child’s education is your responsibility, not those who criticize you. Take input with a pinch of salt; only keep what’s helpful.
- Find those who do support homeschooling and build friendships you can lean on.
- Register with a legal defense organization for homeschooling, if possible.
How do I do it all? How do I create a homeschooling routine?
First, realize that you won’t always get everything done the way you hoped, planned or expected. That’s okay.
Your routine will not be the same as other families and that’s okay too. Learn from others and take the tips that work for you. If something doesn’t work, change it!
Read this post on creating a routine that works for YOUR family.
The main essentials to cover in your routine are reading, maths, language and maybe one other subject. Consider the age of your child and what they’re working on. Center work around their interests as much as possible.
You could do Math every other day and language studies in between.
You could homeschool Monday through Thursday and take Fridays off for fun outings.
There are so many ways to make it work!
My child wants to go back to school. What now?
The crucial question here is, WHY did you decide to homeschool in the first place? Whose decision was it? Remember, YOU are the parent and here’s why: there are many areas of life where children (and teenagers) simply don’t have enough life experience and brain development to have a good perspective. But you do.
As important as it is to involve your child (to an appropriate extent) in family decisions, the decision on the education that will affect their future (not just their career), should be made by YOU.
If your child is missing public school because of socializing, look for other ways to solve the problem. Explain to your child that school is not a real-life reflection of actual social relationships anyway. After graduation, it’s unlikely that they will see those children ever again. Real friendships and solid relationships are usually better formed outside of school, rather than under the (often unhealthy) influence of peer pressure.
You alone know your circumstances, resources, needs, and challenges. Whatever you decide, you are doing the best for your child and that’s the key. Some children benefit from experiencing the practical and educational differences between public school and homeschooling and then change their minds soon enough. Take heart!
I’m scared I won’t cope with homeschooling my child
This fear does not make you a bad parent. Don’t beat yourself up about this. Homeschooling is a commitment and it’s one of the most important things you could ever do. That said, it can be as fun and liberating as you make it. Watch your mindset – try to focus on a perspective of possibility, rather than one of fear of failure.
Remember that you need to take care of yourself as well. You are your children’s world and you’re important. Model self-care to your children. If you feel overwhelmed at times, know that it’s normal. Check out this post for some helpful coping tips on the tough days.
Did I miss any other questions? Comment below and I’ll add them along with some helpful answers.
Please share this article with friends who are considering homeschooling.