So, you’re thinking about homeschooling, and have heard lots of great things about it. Everyone says it really works. Plus, you’ve read the research, and it confirms that, too.
But, you’re still not convinced. Just because it works for other people, how will it really work for you? After all, your life is so busy/crazy/hectic. Your children are so <fill-in-the-blank>. Your spouse/relatives/friends aren’t all that supportive. Your home is too messy/noisy/small. Your budget is well…non-existent. And though you understand there is no crystal ball, you’d at least like to know that you stand a pretty good chance at success.
First of all, rest assured, these concerns are not uncommon. Most parents, homeschooling and not, admit worrying about how well they’re doing every once in a while. It’s only natural to worry if you’re doing the right thing. It just shows how much you care. So that is that.
Next, remember that homeschooling doesn’t have to last forever. If you happen to still be on the fence, leaning more toward taking the plunge, but still not 100% sure, it may help you to understand that you can always put the children back in school if you someday change your mind. Boom.
So, with those concerns out of the way, let’s get to the real question, which is:
How will you know that homeschooling is successful?
…or, stated another way:
How do you know you children are learning?
There are lots of ways to measure homeschool success. It all depends on who you are and your definition of success. Some define success as ‘good grades’, while others look more at physical/emotional/mental gains. I’ll tackle every single one of these measures of success in future posts, if I haven’t already. But in the meanwhile, here they are.
Some measure homeschooling success by…
- Final grades
- Test results
- Textbook/course completion
- Logging enough hours, however many that may be
- Personal testimony from teachers/tutors/parents/others who know your student
- Readiness for the next course/level/book
- Direct observation — seeing for yourself
- Discussion (a/k/a talking to your child)
- Demonstrated ability to do something new/better
- Completion of a project
- Comparison with a peer group
Others measure homeschool success by…
- looking at a student’s level of satisfaction
- plain old happiness
- eagerness to learn
- ability to conduct research or discover new things
- and on and on and on…
No matter your definition and which measure(s) you use, the nice thing is that it doesn’t take long to gauge homeschooling success or failure. Because homeschooling is a lifestyle that you live 24/7, successes quickly make themselves apparent and problems tend to rise to the surface rather quickly. And — the great thing is that the process is so flexible and dynamic, that a couple of simple tweaks can easily improve success; thus, even so-called failures take very little time to turn around.
So, how do you know homeschool is working? You’ll know. Have confidence that you have made good parenting decisions in the past, and will have the same ability to make good homeschooling decisions in the future. You’ll know.