5 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Start Homeschooling This Year

Are you just starting to homeschool? Thinking about it? Totally committed? No matter where you are on your homeschool journey, we think it might be a good idea to stop right now before the school year gets going and ask yourself the following five questions:

1. Why are we homeschooling our kids? 

It's a basic question, and maybe you have a simple answer. If you can clearly define and then write down the reasons you've chosen to educate your kids at home, you'll have something to remind yourself when the going gets tough in, say, October.


2. Do we feel pressure by our friends, family, or church to homeschool?

This is the second dumbest reason to homeschool. If you're feeling pressured to homeschool because someone in your life is communicating to you that your kids will be ruined and ravaged by the world if you don't, it's time to re-evaluate your choice. 

There is yuck everywhere, from the grocery store checkout aisle pornography-masked-as-fashion magazine covers to the F-word scratched into the picnic table at church to the Wendy's where my daughters and I recently had lunch and were treated to a business meeting at the next table over in which the men were spouting profanities like free water. 

If you are going to homeschool this year, make that decision based on you, your kids, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. He's a lot better guide than peer pressure. Besides, peers who push us to do as they do are trying to find their acceptance in your acceptance of their choices. Go back and listen to Homeschooling Will Save Your Kids, Part One, and Homeschooling Will Save Your Kids, Part Two. Our hope is in Jesus!


3. Are we homeschooling because we fear the world will taint our kids or public school will be their downfall?

This is the dumbest reason to homeschool. There are legitimate reasons to pull kids out of public schools or keep them home for a season or their entire school career, but fear shouldn't fuel our forward momentum. 

I know parents who pulled their kids out of public school after the Columbine shootings and Sandy Hook. It's scary stuff, but do you know that a child is 200 times more likely to die in an auto accident than in a school shooting? And we're all still driving cars . . .

See the second paragraph under Question 2, then remind yourself of the truth:

The LORD is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

You who fear him, trust in the LORD - he is their help and shield. Psalm 115:11

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children - Psalm 103:17

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10


4. Are we equipped to do what we're supposed to do this year?

Do you have needs that are known now, such as an impending pregnancy that will require lots of sleep and down time, a job change or move during the school year, or a lack of sufficient finances to carry you through while one of you stays home with the kids?

Pretending those needs aren't imminent will not make them go away. Trust God to help you through and to provide all your needs while facing reality and making a plan. Need help? Ask. Don't be afraid to ask.


5. Can we accept other options if homeschooling isn't the best thing for our kids?

We just toppled a giant sacred cow simply by asking that question. Die-hard homeschoolers (of which we used to be) will communicate in no uncertain terms that homeschooling is the only option. Period.

Meanwhile, you've got a teen with anger issues directed expressly at you, a junior higher begging to be able to go to "real school", a 4th grader whose math skills are already beyond your scope, and a baby on the way. Do you have options?

Yes. Always yes. You may ultimately decide that keeping your high schooler home to work on your relationship is the best option, but you might also find a compassionate teacher in a well-run school who loves on your teen and points him to Jesus, the only one who can overcome the anger anyway.

You might find that online schooling is a major problem-solver (helloooo Currclick! {affiliate}), part-time classes on campus are the bomb (our two high schoolers do and adore this), and homeschooling was great for a season but now it's time to move on.

Our God is a God of creativity and surprises. Never does one size fit all. Happy homeschooling!