Homeschooling Questionnaire: Is Home Schooling Right For You?
Home School Is Not Suited to Every Parent or Every Child
Is home schooling right for your family and your child(ren), and for you as a parent? As a person who home schooled my child from kindergarten through high-school level, I know there are certain qualities that are essential if you want to be successful in giving your child(ren) a good education through home schooling.
Below, is a list of the questions I believe parents should ask themselves before committing themselves to the challenge of home schooling.
Home schooling isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for home schooling his or her child(ren). Be honest with yourself when answering the questions below. No one needs to know your answers except you, but it is imperative that you answer the questions honestly and that you take your answers seriously yourself.
Explanations for why I believe these 10 home schooling questions are so important follow the questionnaire.
Learning Should Be Fun
Answer the Following Questions Honestly
1. Are you a person who has a lot of patience with children? Especially your own children?
2. Can you set aside the amount of time that will be needed to teach your child(ren) and provide necessary encouragement and support for their learning? When thinking about this, realize that homeschooling can be done on your schedule. You need not have school from 8 AM to 2 or 3 PM the way formal schools do. You can fit home schooling around your schedule, which is one of home schooling’s many advantages, but you do need to be consistent and allow sufficient time that won’t include rushing, whatever hours you settle on.
3. Do you have a talent for explaining things to people? Are you good at explaining new things to people so that they understand what you are saying or doing? Are you careful not to leave anything out of your explanation because you think everyone already knows this or that? Can you explain something more than one way in case the way you are using is not working for your student?
4. Do you enjoy learning new things?
5. Do you have a negative attitude about certain subjects? Do you hate math, science, reading, English grammar, or any of the things you will need to teach your child(ren)? If the answer is yes, have you thought about how you will deal with this negative attitude when teaching your child(ren) this particular subject or subjects?
6. Can you control your children without being negative or harsh? By this, I mean will they sit still and pay attention to you long enough to learn, or will you have to chase them down again and again and continually try to get their attention?
7. Can you be consistent with the time you devote to home schooling your child(ren) and can you commit to the equivalent of at least one school year to this endeavor if you decide to undertake home schooling?
8. Do you have the resources to teach your own child(ren)? This will mostly consist of time, but there may be some money for supplies and tutors necessary also. Your child(ren) may require a tutor in subjects that you are not proficient in to assure that your child(ren) receive satisfactory instruction.
9. Are you prepared to invest time to involve your child(ren) in outside your family activities so that they will have new experiences that include other people, giving them a chance to learn about the culture they must live in and how to get along with people who are non-family members? Activities that may include sports teams, theatre for children, library club or other activities offered for children in your community.
10.There are people who strongly disapprove of home schooling for a variety of reasons. Are you prepared to withstand the possible disapproval of friends or family who may disagree with your decision to home school your child(ren)?
Why Your Answers To the 10 Questions Are So Important
First of all, patience when working with children, is essential. Children learn most easily in a comfortable amiable environment where they do not have to fear being ridiculed or made to feel badly because they made a mistake. Children need to feel confident in asking any question they may have about the subject matter, and in trying again and again to get things right, if that’s what it takes.
Some people learn one subject more easily than another subject. Allowance needs to be made for the possibility that reading skills may require more effort than math skills, or the other way around. Even the brightest student may have trouble understanding certain concepts and require more patience from their instructor when learning those concepts.
Not all certified teachers have patience either, but remember, one of the advantages of home schooling is the ability to provide a better learning environment for your child(ren) than they would be in if they were in a formal school.
Some people have loads of patience for other people’s children, but very few for their own. If you want to home school your own children, then it is imperative that you have patience for your own children, because they are the children you will be teaching. Even though you may have loads of patience for children generally, or for other people’s children, it is your own that are most important if you are planning to home school them. Unless you can be patient with your own children, it might be better if they attended public or private school.
Allowing sufficient time on a regular basis is very important when home schooling your child(ren). Instruction should never be rushed, and sufficient time should be allowed to make sure your child(ren) fully understands what you are trying to teach him or her.
Having school time in the evening or partly in the morning and partly in the evening, on weekends, or whatever schedule works best for you and your family is fine, but you need to make sure there is enough time spent to allow for your child(ren) to grasp what you are teaching and to get to all the things that are important for them to learn. You need to schedule school time when your child(ren) is alert and rested sufficiently to concentrate and make sense of what you are trying to teach him or her.
One of the many advantages of home schooling is that you can present subject matter at a pace that best benefits your child’s abilities. Subjects that may be taught in public or private schools at a particular grade level may not work as well for your child(ren) at that grade level or age. Your child may be faster or slower at learning this material.
Home schooling lets you fit your schedule and the curriculum to your child’s needs and abilities. However you decide to design your curriculum, you need to make sure you spend enough time so that your child is understanding the material before you move on, and at the same time, not going so slowly your child is bored. Make sure you can set aside the necessary time to work with your child so that s/he won’t be short changed.
In addition to allowing enough time to be thorough and clear, you need to be good at explaining new things so that your student will understand what you mean. You may need to explain some things more than one way, since different people learn by different methods. You may also have to explain some things more than once or many times. Patience is essential.
Be creative and incorporate your child’s interests into your study plans as much as possible. For example, instead of using hash marks to explain counting, addition, or subtraction, use kittens or puppies. Here we have 5 kittens and we take away 3 of the kittens. How many are left?
If you love to learn new things it will be much easier to convince your child(ren) that learning is fun, enjoyable, and interesting. When learning is fun and interesting children just naturally want to do it. That makes teaching easier for you because your child(ren) will look forward to school time and they will learn more and learn it more quickly. Most people naturally excel at the things they love. If there is a subject you hated when you were in school, chances are you will convey that opinion and attitude to your child(ren) without intending to. Children are very astute and clever at picking up on attitudes without a word ever being spoken. If you truly hate a subject, math for example, it may be a good idea to find a tutor who loves math to instruct your child(ren) in that particular subject.
Whenever possible, children should learn from people who love the subject they’re teaching because that enthusiasm is conveyed from teacher to student with no effort. Your child(ren) may still not love the subject himself or herself, but they will be more open to it if the person guiding them does love it.
Your tutor need not be a professional or hold a teaching certificate any more than you need to. The most important things are that your tutor should know the subject well and love the subject. It could be a neighbor, a relative, or a friend. Anyone who meets the necessary requirements of knowing the subject well, being in love with that particular subject, and having the patience to teach that subject, is what matters most.
If you cannot control your child(ren) while at the same time creating a comfortable positive learning environment, it will be very difficult to teach your child(ren) anything. All your time will be spent disciplining and it may well affect your parent child relationship adversely. In a situation of this kind I would recommend parenting classes to first learn how to discipline and control your child(ren) in an acceptable way. If your child(ren) is/are having tantrums and running through your home and into the yard and everywhere uncontrolled while you are attempting to teach them, nothing is likely to be accomplished. It should not be necessary to say this, but when you are trying to teach your child(ren), unless you are using the television to assist you in some way, it should be turned off. There should be no distractions.
Before you begin on this journey of home schooling your child(ren) you need to think carefully if it is something you can follow through on for a minimum of one year. You do not want to throw up your hands and enroll your child(ren) in public or private school in the middle of the school year if you can help it. It can be very difficult for children to feel like they belong when all their classmates have a head start on them and they are the outsiders coming in.
Think hard about all the aspects of home schooling before making your decision to do it. I think it is great and it worked well for my child. It works well for millions of people across this country and abroad, but it still may not be the ideal choice for you or your family. There is a great deal of responsibility in guiding your child’s education and it should never be taken lightly.
Make sure you have the resources to provide your child(ren) with a quality education. Ideally a higher quality of education than they would receive in a public school. If you cannot do that, then your child(ren) may well be better off in public school. There is the investment of time, a few supplies, and the possibility that you may have to engage one or more tutors for some subjects. This will depend on your own time and proficiency constraints if you have any. If you are knowledgeable and capable of teaching all subjects, and you have sufficient time, then there is no need for tutors.
In addition to time, supplies, and possible tutors, you should consider possible costs for field trips and memberships in organizations that will help your child(ren) learn to get along and work with other people of all ages. Your children need social opportunities as much as they need to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Be prepared to enroll your children in a variety of activities. Youth theater productions, children’s chorus or choir, music lessons that include concerts and/or recitals, and organizations like Girl or Boy Scouts. I will say more on this in another posting regarding socialization of your child.
Encourage your child(ren) to volunteer to organizations that help the underprivileged or have a mission of helping animals or improving the environment. Enroll your children in sports activities if they are interested in a sport, or in dancing lessons. Enter the National Spelling Bee or Young Writer’s competitions.
There are many opportunities available for your children to interact with other children and people of all ages if you only look for them. Many home school associations offer group activities, and some public schools will allow home schooled children to participate in some classes, or extra curricular activities without being enrolled as full time students. Check out these possibilities and options in your community.
Are you creative? Not only in finding ways to present and explain different concepts, but also in making your own teaching supplies and props. It isn’t necessary to have the expensive glossy flashcards and other materials lots of teachers use nowadays.
When I was in school my teachers often made their own flashcards on 3x5 or 5x7 inch index cards. That is what I did when I taught my daughter phonics, and also when I taught her how to read music. You will need to purchase some supplies, but you can save money if you make some of your own where that will work just as well.