Is homeschooling a good option for your family?

Facebook and instagram have been tracking me hard this week. Not only have all of these tutoring businesses popped out of nowhere (hello back to school and advertising budgets) but so have homeschooling options. Homeschooling programs, questions in groups, tutors — homeschooling everything.

Why? Well sometimes, it feels like many of these places are trying to make a quick buck (if I am completely honest!), and a lot of them are trying to sell you curriculum resources and content so that the parent interested in homeschooling can just have the information and give it to their child.

But is this really helpful?

Where does it leave your child if the materials and the questions just aren’t helpful to their learning?

If you are looking into homeschooling, but want all of the curriculum provided and support – then perhaps it is better for you to look into distance education, where this is supplied.

Traditionally, the idea with homeschooling, was not to recreate the classroom within the home environment (worksheets, questions, assignments
to complete and mark). The whole idea was to create a learning experience that was more flexible and adaptable to your child’s strengths and learning differences. To provide learning that was not just sitting with paper and answering drills (or sitting at a computer and watching someone explain, answering questions and then filing it away as done). However, with the rise of COVID, the Omicron variant and parents concerns about sending their children to school, the homeschooling option has basically begun to look like schooling…….but at home.

Homeschooling presents an option for you as the parent to really work with your child in creating activities, that don’t feel like activities at all – but are just pure rich learning experiences. It is your chance to pick texts for English that your children love! It is your chance to show your children what Maths looks like “in the real world” and the applications for Maths in the environment around us.

So it this a great option for your child? Well, it depends if your job also allows you the flexibility to be present with your child to help them. It depends if you are willing to create opportunities for your child to learn in – such as seeking out and taking them to social gatherings, homeschool groups, joint opportunity experiences such as “excursions” with a group for your child to experience the rich social side that schooling provides.

It also depends if you are still willing to invest in additional assistance if your child requires it: speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychological services, tutoring, sporting and extra curricula opportunities.

Are you willing to organise your paperwork and collate and display the activities you have been doing with your child for the homeschooling officer visits? Are you willing to wade through curriculum requirements for your children every year if the rolled out, cookie cutter options you bought into don’t work for your child?

There is a wealth of opportunity for you and your children if you decide to head into homeschooling. The one thing that you need to remember though, is that it isn’t going to solve all of the issues you have been experiencing in schooling. Your child isn’t going to have any more access to a designated teacher through that homeschooling curriculum you’re eye balling to invest in, than they would in a classroom. Your child’s mental health issues are not going to suddenly evaporate and no longer be prevalent (you WILL need to invest in appropriate psychological services to help your child to move forward). Your child’s bullying issues at school are also not just going to evaporate magically (because – internet). Your child is not going to suddenly understand everything they struggled with in the classroom, at the click of the fingers…… it is going to take something different, different ideas, different teaching, different strategies to get them there.

It is not going to solve all of the problems at the click of your fingers — and that is what I want you to consider.

What are your reasons for looking into homeschooling? What are your goals with applying for homeschooling? How are you going to create opportunity for your children in the homeschooling environment.

Believe me, it is certainly possible. It can certainly change your child’s academic outlook, perspective and opportunities – but it requires you, the parents and caregiver, to equally invest yourself in continuing to provide your children with the support they need.

Buying curriculum (new look – same stuff), hoping for better outcomes and expecting a teacher to still be there teaching (unless you actually enrol your child in specific courses) is not the homeschooling experience that many parents are currently being led to believe. So jump in (i’m not advising against it), but jump in with your eyes wide open and a plan on what it is going to look like for your family! You can always jump right out if it isn’t the fit that you’re looking for….. But it is better to have done your research thoroughly first, instead of thinking it will be the magic wand fix that you were hoping for!

Who is Alysha Griffiths?

Alysha Griffiths is a passionate educator, owner of Breakaway Education and a mum to June. With over 15 years teaching experience, Alysha’s passion lies in education and helping kids and parents to connect the puzzle pieces of education! With a Masters in Teaching (Secondary) a Bachelor of Arts (History, English) and a Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties), Alysha continually works to gain more insight and knowledge across many areas of education.