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Homeschooling: points to consider
April 11, 2011
by Jenni Sebora

Did you know that there are about 16,000 homeschooled children in Minnesota?

In talking with parents of homeschooled children over the years, the reasons that were cited for homeschooling were the desire to give a more religious- or faith-based education, desire for family togetherness, health or other special needs of the child, disappointment with other education options available, and concern for the safety of the child.

What ever the reason, there is no doubt that homeschooling has exploded in Minnesota.

These are some things that families who choose to homeschool should consider.

Time commitment – remember you are your child’s teacher and are responsible for your child learning the required material. You must plan and give assignments, grade papers, supervise experiments, and plan projects.

Socialization – even with many siblings being homeschooled socialization can, but does not have to, be an issue. Your child must develop skills that will enable them to appropriately act in social situations. As a caring, loving parent you are in the best position to provide the foundation for socialization, but your child should be given plenty of opportunities for your child to be exposed to social situations with others.

Many homeschool families participate in homeschooling “coops” where families that home school join each other on occasion to educate their children in a larger group setting and provide additional social situation for children.

“Me time” – even the most dedicated parent needs some down time. Since you and your child(ren) will be together most of the day every day, make sure that you plan for times when you can refresh yourself by exercising, relaxing, or being with your friends.

Teaching – there are a wide array of curricula and lesson plans available that can assist you in teaching the required material to your student. For more difficult material or subjects that were not your strong suit, you may need to consider the help of another homeshooling parent, a tutor, or online or software help.

Income – if the person who is going to be instructing the children had been bringing income into the family, how will the family adjust without that income? While there may be some tax credits or deductions for homeschooling activities, how will materials, supplies and out-of-the-home learning activities initially be funded?

Thick skin – is an important, and possibly the least considered, aspect of homeschooling. Be ready for the numerous comments from people ranging from the curious, “Why isn’t Johnny in school today; is he sick?” to the confrontational, “What’s the matter; isn’t our school good enough for ya?”

Homeschooling isn’t for every family, but, for some, it may be.