Homeschool gives parents the ultimate level of control over their children’s education and permits students to move at an individualized pace, allowing flexibility not found in many traditional classrooms. An experienced homeschooling mom talks about why homeschool might work for your family.

Christina Strickland, the owner of Homeschooling in Detroit, has been homeschooling her daughters for over 12 years and talks about how homeschooling enhances and challenges her family.

Choosing homeschool

Christina talks about what influenced her family to consider a homeschool program.

When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, she was bussed to a school that was 45 minutes away, although we had two elementary schools within a 10 minute walk of our home. She would get on the bus at 7:30 a.m. and get home at 4:30 p.m. By the time she finished homework, it was time for dinner and then bath and bedtime. I asked myself, "Who is parenting her?" It wasn't me because she was gone all day, and I couldn't expect it to be her teacher.

Embracing flexibility

A homeschool curriculum can be as rigorous and diverse — if not more so — than that of a traditional curriculum, and with planning, students can be exposed to a variety of peers, adults and experiences. Flexibility is one of the major advantages for Christina's family.

After bringing [our oldest daughter] home, we discovered so many benefits of homeschooling. We enjoyed that our children had time to "just be kids" and time for fun stuff like hanging out with their friends. We have been able to tailor our curriculum to each of our children's interests and learning styles.

Emotion versus education

Even satisfied homeschooling parents can tell you homeschooling has disadvantages. Taking full responsibility for your children's educations means you need to be able to separate yourself emotionally when something isn't working, since self-blame is unproductive. Christina warns about the challenges.

The biggest challenge is not letting yourself feel guilty when something goes wrong. When your child isn't reading at grade level, it's so easy to blame yourself. Sometimes a child just isn't ready, and we have to take a deep breath, regroup and carry on.

Where to begin

Deciding to try homeschooling can be daunting. Having a strong support system and access to curriculum resources, ideas and like-minded parents can mean the difference between feeling confident and feeling isolated. If you believe homeschooling is a viable choice for your family, Christina suggests two crucial resources.

Check out the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. You don't need to be a member to access the information there. Find out what the laws in your state are so you can comply.

Then search for local homeschool groups and plug in. It's so important to be a part of a group of like-minded people so you can get advice, swap stories and make friends. If you are in the Metro Detroit area, check out my website, homeschoolingindetroit.com, for lists of local homeschool groups, programs, events and a section on how to get started.

^ Find Christina at Homeschooling in Detroit and Detroit Mommies or on Twitter @MrsStrick.

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