Process. Pray. Research. Choose. Making the Decision to Homeschool
About six months ago, my husband looked over at me and said, “I think I’d like you to homeschool next year.” While I am over-the-moon excited to homeschool NOW, I wanted to be completely transparent and let you know that my initial reaction wasn’t full of rainbows and unicorns.
I believe my initial response was:
“I hope God is planning on stepping out of Heaven and speaking to me directly, because that’s what it’s going to take for me to even consider that.”
Not all homeschooling moms set out to be one. This wasn’t a part of my plan.
Sure, I’d considered homeschooling several times before – especially after becoming frustrated with some of the things happening in public school. But, me – a homeschooler? It was initially a hard pill to swallow.
I am so thankful I didn’t decide hastily, or make a decision based on my emotions. So often, we are prone to making decisions in the midst of a bad day, or without really taking the time to fully think things through.
If you are out there mulling over the decision to homeschool- I want to encourage you to take some time and fully think it through. Whether you are hesitant but considering it, or gung-ho and considering it, it is important to make a well-informed, rational, and thoughtful choice. Deciding how to educate your children isn’t a knee-jerk kind of decision. It isn’t something that should be rushed or made impulsively. Take pause. Reflect. Mull. Contemplate. Process. Pray. THEN choose.
I started by making a pro/con list. My initial list reflected my workaholic tendencies and the thoughts of a mother nearing burn-out. I knew I could do it and do it well -but I wasn’t sure I wanted to. And honestly, like I mentioned in my post 10 Things to Know and Expect When You Decide to Homeschool, you’re going to be a more effective teacher (and more capable of withstanding the less-than-ideal days!) if you WANT to homeschool.
I took TIME. I knew this wasn’t a decision to make based on initial gut reactions – or even based on negative public school experiences. I wanted to carefully think through the experience as a whole, and reflect on how it would impact our whole family. This wasn’t a choice we made in a day – in a week – we took our time.
In keeping with my belief system, I knew my choice needed to begin with prayer. I prayed that if homeschooling was something we were supposed to do, that God would soften my heart towards it. My heart-change was almost immediate. I started researching like crazy. I read books, articles, and stalked homeschooling bloggers online. I had several late-night pinning frenzies. I began to think about unit studies. I started looking at various curriculums. My heart was changing – in a BIG way.
Pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Pray you’ll make the decision that is in the best interest of your family.
After processing what homeschooling would mean for my children and our family and praying for guidance and wisdom, I was feeling led to homeschool. However, I felt like careful research was critical. At this point, I really wanted to homeschool, but sometimes our desire isn’t enough. For example, I really want to tour Europe, but now is not the right time for that. I really want to hike to the top of Mt. St. Helens, but I haven’t put in the training to be able to do that just yet. I needed to make sure that in spite of my desire to homeschool, that it truly was going to be a viable option for our family. I needed to make sure that there was a path that would work for all of us – in keeping with our strengths, abilities, interests, time, etc.
Like the processing step, I encourage you to take your time when researching homeschooling. Homeschooling is NOT a one-size-fits-all type of education choice. Every homeschooling family does things a little bit differently. There are SO many schools of thought, options, curriculums, choices – it can be overwhelming to wade through, but it is so important to do so!
I looked back through my earlier research, found even more books, gathered more ideas, started asking questions, found out the laws for my state, had lots of late-night conversations with my husband and THEN felt ready to decide.
I took my time. I thought it through. I prayed. I did my research. I took more time to process. I figured out a game-plan that would meet the needs of my children while working with my schedule and strengths. (We’re going to be eclectic homeschoolers – but more on that in another post!)
You may end up deciding to homeschool. You may end up deciding that it’s not for you or not the right time for you. However, if you followed the above process, be confident in your choice. Fret no more. Set aside the worry, the mom guilt, and the back-and-forth brain that happens when you set out to make this choice. If you thought it through, prayed about it, and researched your options – trust your decision – even if it’s not a decision you ever thought you’d make.
It might be for you. It might not be. Only you know – and you’ll have a better idea if you process, pray, and research before you choose.
I’m here if you need me, have questions, or just need someone unbiased to listen. You can make this choice!