C. E. Clark homeschooled her child from kindergarten through high school. Public and private education is high in importance to Ms. Clark.
Homeschooling Is Not for Every Parent or Child
Is homeschooling right for your family and your child(ren), and for you as a parent? As a person who homeschooled 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 homeschooling.
Below is a list of the questions I believe parents should ask themselves before committing themselves to the challenge of homeschooling.
Homeschooling isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for homeschooling 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 homeschooling questions are so important follow the questionnaire.
Answer the Following Questions Honestly
- Are you a person who has a lot of patience with children? Especially your own children?
- 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 homeschooling 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.
- 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?
- Do you enjoy learning new things?
- 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?
- 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?
- Can you be consistent with the time you devote to homeschooling your child(ren), and can you commit to the equivalent of at least one school year to this endeavor if you decide to undertake homeschooling?
- 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.
- 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.
- There are people who strongly disapprove of homeschooling 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 bad 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 homeschooling 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.
Make Sure You Have the Time to Homeschool Your Children
Allowing sufficient time on a regular basis is very important when homeschooling 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 homeschooling 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.
Make Lesson Plans Creative and Flexible
Homeschooling 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.
Read More From Wehavekids
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.
Teach What You Love
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.
Be Willing to Use a Tutor (If Necessary)
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.
Make Sure Your Teaching Environment Is Positive and Free of Distractions
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.
Make Sure You Can Commit to Homeschooling
Before you begin on this journey of homeschooling 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 homeschooling 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 Necessary Resources
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.
Invest in Learning Opportunities Outside of Homeschooling
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 homeschooled children to participate in some classes or extracurricular 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 17, 2015:
Regular public and private schools will be starting soon in the Houston area. The teachers are already busy preparing for that first day of school. People making the decision to home school their children have probably already made up their mind if not already doing it. It is a big decision and your questionnaire should be of help. Sharing this once again.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 19, 2015:
Patricia (pstraubie48), thank you for reading, voting on, pinning and sharing this article, and for sharing your thoughts on this subject along with how it might work for your grandson. My daughter's education would never have been so thorough and turned out so well if she had attended public school. I have no regrets.
I hope everything works the best possible for your daughter and grandson, and for you. Very much appreciate your kind words. The home school market is pretty well saturated and that's why I don't write more on the subject. Was originally planning to put nuts and bolts articles on here on how to do various things since our method was somewhat unusual, but with so much out there already it doesn't seem worthwhile.
Children need stability and so I think it unwise to embark on home school if one doesn't intend to follow through. Unforseen things can come along no matter what decision is made, but if one makes every effort to maintain what they start, things will go better as a rule.
Again, best wishes to your daughter and grandson for the best possible outcome. Hopefully angels will be surrounding them both and working towards a the best possible outcome on their behalf.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 17, 2015:
Exploring all of these questions that you present is so important when considering home schooling.
It can be so positive and rewarding for all involved if those who are involved are invested in it.
My daughter would home school my grandson if she were not so sick, I am sure. If for some reason he is unable to manage in public school (he is autistic, high functioning, thankfully but still has issues) I will be his teacher I have been to this point. They are moving an hour away so she can be closer to her hospital and medical care so we are hopeful public school works.
You know, AuFait...you should publish your homeschooling tips in a brochure or ebook ---there are many who like to have it on hand
Well said...voted up+++ and shared pinned
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 14, 2015:
DeborahDian, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Agree that the answers to these questions are important. Home schooling shouldn't be taken lightly, nor should public education, for that matter. Our children's educations will serve them well -- or not -- all of their lives, and so it is important to get it as right as one possibly can.
I have seen home schooled children that I knew were going to be at a great disadvantage all of their lives because their parents took them out of public school to prevent them from learning important information and concepts they disagreed with.
Personally, I think everyone should strive to learn all they can about everything.
Learning, knowing, and understanding things doesn't mean one must incorporate the ideas or concepts into his/her life. Doesn't mean one accepts the idea or concept as fact or law, but may allow a person to understand what is being discussed around them. It also helps to understand people who think differently and why they do so.
Understanding, IMHO, promotes getting along, being able to work together, being able to live in the same neighborhoods, and being able to appreciate each other's differences and the things that are common. Understanding promotes peace.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on January 11, 2015:
The answers to these questions are so important. Some people would like to take their children out of the public schools, but they are just not well-equipped to home school them. Other people are able to do a fabulous job. You have to be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 25, 2014:
kaiyan717, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! Most people who object to home school have not thought things through. While it may not be for everyone, that doesn't mean it is for no one. I have found many people put importance on a lot of things that are not important at all, and place their children in second, even third rate public schools as a result.
There are usually many roads to a particular destination. Some are good roads, some are bad, and some are simply different. Wisdom is in knowing the difference between them and taking the best one for your children.
kaiyan717 from West Virginia on October 22, 2014:
I have to agree whole heartedly with number ten, some people are very opposed to it and are quite vocal as well.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2014:
Sending this good article of yours to G+ and will once again share. More and more people are homeschooling these days. Your article is a good starting point when considering such a commitment.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 06, 2013:
Thank you moonlake, for pinning this article!
moonlake from America on December 01, 2013:
Had to come and add this to my board on Pinterest....
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 07, 2013:
Thank you Peggy W for pinning and sharing this article! More and more people are indeed choosing home school, and I'm so glad I did.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 28, 2013:
Pinning this again into another category of mine titled schooling. More and more people seem interested in doing this! Will share this again.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 04, 2013:
Thank you Deborah-Diane for reading and commenting on this article, and for sharing it with others. I feel that deciding to homeschool one's child is a long term commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly and that giving them a better education than they can get in public or private school should be the goal.
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on August 02, 2013:
I didn't home school my children, but I can definitely see the advantages for the right person. You have presented some excellent questions that people need to be able to answer before making up their minds. Definitely passing this on!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 26, 2013:
Thank you rose-the-planner for reading and commenting on this hub! Very kind of you to be so complimentary. My daughter was a cutie, and she's still pretty cute at almost 25! ;) I think if one undertakes to educate their children they should do so with serous intent of seeing it through and doing a better job than public or private schools can do. Otherwise, what's the point?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 24, 2013:
Thank you Peggy W for sharing and pinning this hub!
rose-the planner from Toronto, Ontario-Canada on July 21, 2013:
Great article! I believe that anyone considering home schooling their children seriously need to consider the questions that you have listed. I thought the explanations you gave backing up the questions you presented were exceptional as well. By the way, your daughter was adorable. Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2013:
Pinning this and once again sharing in case people wish to check into home schooling prior to the Fall school schedule which will be opening in the not too distant future.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 10, 2013:
Thank you Sweetie1, for reading and commenting on this hub!
In fact home school allows parents to be very versatile in their schedules so that one need not be a homemaker or stay-at-home mom to home school one's children. Even dads can participate, and I strongly urge them to do so.
Classes can be held on weekends and evenings, and homework, if it is applicable, can be done at the babysitter's, or a sitter can come into the home and oversee the homework. Or one can engage another person they feel is qualified to tutor their children during the day. There are many ways to educate one's children with home school and one of the best parts is not having to adhere to the public school schedule.
sweetie1 from India on February 09, 2013:
Hi Au fait,
I do not think home schooling is allowed in India and even though government schools may not be good but private schools are good and hence most middle class families send their children to private schools. But a very good blog on home schooling and those ladies who are home makers should look at this option if possible.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 31, 2013:
Thank you moonlake for commenting and voting on this hub! There are now more than 2 million children home schooled in this country and with the way the public schools are going, I think any parent who is able should give serious consideration for home schooling their child.
moonlake from America on January 30, 2013:
Lots of great information about home schooling. It seems like more and more people are homeschooling now days. Voted up.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 30, 2013:
Thank you Peggy W, for reading, commenting, and tweeting this hub! My daughter is now 24 and my living and shining example that home school is great!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2013:
I admire you for what you are doing regarding your children's education. Last time I shared with my followers, so will Tweet your well written article this time so that more people can read it.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 13, 2012:
Thank you for taking time to read and comment Peggy W. This is one of my most popular hubs and it was one of my first too.
Home schooling is serious business and should not be undertaken lightly. While there is more discretion in home school in states like Alaska and Texas, consistency is important and making sure you will have the time and patience to do this is a major consideration.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2012:
This is a good article and you have nicely laid out some things to consider as to the pros and cons of home schooling. It is an important decision for many parents regarding the quality of their children's education and should be considered carefully. Voted up, useful & will share.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 29, 2012:
Home school should be a serious commitment. I realize it isn't for everyone, but it sure did work great for our family! Thank you for your comments!
Brett C from Asia on February 22, 2012:
You raise some very important questions on this subject. I personally will probably opt for a combination approach, using the standard schooling system, but also dedicating a portion of time each week for homeschooling.
Socially shared, up and useful.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 22, 2011:
Thank you for your comment Shyron.
One of the nice things about home school is that you can fit it around yours and your family's schedule. It really doesn't take as long as you might expect. The hard part is finding someone to stay with the children and supervise while both parents are at work, but it can be done. More and more people are doing it successfully.
I have touched on this aspect of home schooling a little bit in some of my hubs, but one of these days I will get busy and write an entire hub dedicated to how 2 working parents can home school their children.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hub. Y'all come back soon! :)
Shyron Shenko on December 22, 2011:
I always had to work and could not devote the amount of time it would take to home school my children, but I have always admired anyone who was capable of the educating their children.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 12, 2011:
Thanks again, Keith, for taking the time to read and comment on my article!
Keith Storey on September 12, 2011:
Although home schooling is generally frowned upon in England I am sure has its advantages.
Under the previous Labour government many public schools failed to give children a solid education.
The lack of discipline being a factor in many schools.
Anyway Au Fait gives some great guidelines and many pointers to anyone considering home schooling.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 04, 2011:
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article, David!
Dave Carr on September 04, 2011:
A very interesting article. i found myself jumping the gun (probably the only exercise I get nowadays) and asking about socialisation about two thirds through the article. You answered this very well with your field trips and other outdoor activities. The fact that other outside persons should be incorporated to vary the curriculum was a very valid point too.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 04, 2011:
Thank you Dr. All, for taking the time to read and comment on my article!
Dr Maaruf Ali on September 04, 2011:
I am an Assistant Prof and what has been written is still true and applicable to the 18 year old first year university students that I get to teach. Whether they are 8 or 18, the same principles still apply, even more so than ever. Thank you to the authors for writing this very useful article, it has been most useful to me.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 30, 2011:
Thank you for taking the time to read my hub. Home school can be the solution for children who are ready to learn early and who might not get the encouragement they need in a public/private school setting. Best wishes to your daughter and her son. I think she'll be a great home school mom too, if that turns out to be her choice!
LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on August 30, 2011:
My daughter is thinking about homeschooling her son...he's almost two right now...these questions may help her decide if she is up to it...I think she is...she has the patience of a saint, and a special ed. degree...and her son is one of the brightest little guys there is...he has known sign language and used it to communicate since he was 6 months old and now has a vocabulary (oral and sign) of about three times that of other children his age...he is learning to read already (his mom was reading at a third grade level before age 3!)
Anyway...great hub...voted up!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 30, 2011:
Yes, there is a lot to consider when making a decision about educating your children. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Nspeel from Myrtle Beach on August 30, 2011:
I have not yet become a parent but my girlfriend is expecting in late January so I have been asking myself a lot of questions like this and many others I am sure you asked yourself. Bookmarked and voted up thank you... Great HUB!!