Should you homeschool?

The answer to this question depends on your family values and goals. The first step to identifying if these values and goals align with a homeschool lifestyle is for you to write a family mission statement.

An example mission statement would be, "Our family will pursue growth, value one another, serve our community and glorify God through all our choices."

Now, evaluate whether that mission statement aligns with homeschooling. Traditionally, homeschool families value a Biblical worldview. Homeschool families fundamentally value education. They also value community. All of these values are demonstrated in this mission statement and homeschooling is probably a great option for this family.

Here's another family mission statement example. "Our family will succeed in all we do, be successful in our careers, and live life extravagantly."

Arguably, this family is more focused on worldly success than personal growth, and the two are not the same. A person can achieve career success, and completely neglect his or her family. Also, homeschool families traditionally strive for a more simple life, built on faith and education. This family should strongly consider whether homeschooling is the best option, and understand that they will make lifestyle sacrifices they may not be willing to give up.

A family mission statement is paramount before you decide to homeschool your children. Homeschooling requires a family to prioritize education, and your family will need to decide if that is a priority.

Do you have time to homeschool?

Homeschooling requires a parent to become a teacher, which leads to another hard question a family must ask itself - "Do we have margin to homeschool?" It is extremely challenging and time consuming for a parent to homeschool children, and even more so when both parents work full time. The majority of homeschool families have one parent who is full time stay at home, and that model is arguably the most successful for the best homeschool experience. This lifestyle requires consistency and focus, which is almost impossible to obtain when neither parent can focus all of his or her attention on their children's education each day.

The best homeschool experience is when one or both parents can focus on their children's education.

Do you have the support system you need to homeschool?

Both parents need to be in support of homeschooling for the experience to be complete. This doesn't always happen immediately. Sometimes it takes a few years for a spouse to see the value of homeschooling. It is important, though, that both spouses value this educational model before the journey goes too far. A spouse will feel devalued when his or her counterpart is not supportive of this rewarding decision. What do you do if your spouse is not in full support, or completely against the decision? There is no easy answer to this question, but rest assured, you are not alone and sometimes it takes time for both parents to recognize that this can be the best educational model.

Another obstacle a family may face is opposition from government and/or extended family. Many states are not supportive of homeschooling, and cause the experience to be that much more challenging. HSLDA is a great organization to become part of if you live in a state like this. As for extended family opposition, never forget that YOU are the parent! Your family may have warped views of homeschooling, and they may warn you that you are damaging your children's futures. Arm yourself with the facts by joining a community that can give you all the resources you need. This is your best defense against opposition.

Joining a homeschool community is necessary for you to make it through the difficult times, especially when you do not have full support from your spouse, family and/or state.

Benefits and Success Rates

Your children can and will be well-rounded, successful adults when your homeschooling journey is over. Homeschooling is how education was founded, and going back to our roots is the most wholesome choice you can make for your family IF your mission statement prioritizes this value. Start with the HSLDA's website if you want quick facts on how much success homeschooler's achieve in life. You can also visit our resource page to find groups to connect with locally. This is only a small sample of the homeschool community in lower Southwest Michigan, but you will find direction and reassurance after connecting with these families.