There, I said it.
I should have been saying that all along. Instead, as a home school advocate who loves the opportunities for sharing life and learning with my own children, I have often declared that anyone with good reading comprehension can home school.
I was wrong.
I submit my list of reasons people should NOT home school:
If the teacher is depressed, he/she should NOT home school.
If you wind up depressed, send the kids to public or private school, take some time for yourself, and everyone will be happier. See a doctor, try medication, and find some counseling. If you are a 'fully committed, convicted Christian family', then by all means seek out some secular counseling. Get some balance in your life.
If you are truly sealed by the promised Holy Spirit, you have nothing to fear from seeking secular counsel. IF a counselor gives you advice you feel contradicts the Bible, reject that advice. Counselors do not have mind control powers; they can't brainwash you or anything.
On the other hand, if you are reading your Bible and studying God's Word everyday, or were before you got depressed, and you wound up unhappy and fatigued, then obviously you need more than Bible doctrine to recover your joy in living.
If you are sick with a fever, and prayer doesn't heal you, I hope you are smart enough to see a doctor. If the doctor diagnoses a bacterial infection, I hope you are smart enough to take antibiotics. Your brain is an organ of your physical body, and if it is stressed you will be depressed- physical fact. Get help for your physical body. It is not a sin to admit you are a biological creature, it's a fact. It is not a sin to take medications when something is amiss with your body, it is wisdom. Anti-depressants work most of the time.
Don't try to home school if you are weaning off of anti-depressants, and NEVER go off of them cold turkey.
If you think it's time to wean off, do it during the summer or put the kids in school for the semester. Walk in wisdom.
If the teacher is not enthusiastically excited personally about teaching, he/she should NOT home school.
Home schooling is a serious full-time undertaking. You wouldn't go to a job you hated for no pay every day. Don't home school for no pay everyday just because someone else convinced you that you "should". A reluctant, resentful teacher could put a child off of learning permanently. And don't kid yourself that you could hide your unhappiness about it forever, either. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Your students/children will know you don't like teaching/learning, and it will crush their own love for learning. Don't do it.
One should never home school because of someone else's convictions.
This is the flip side of the above adage, but well worth repeating. Too many moms have met someone like me, who loves home schooling and gushes enthusiastically about how great it is, and have tried home schooling only to wind up hating it. If you meet someone who is loving home schooling, and you "catch the bug" from them, don't immediately pull your children out of school.
Take the energy from that enthusiasm and channel it into research. Look at curriculum, read books all across the home schooling spectrum: from unschooling to classical education, eclectic to strictly religious. Go to conventions with your bulls*** detector set on sensitive. Look at home school teens and try talking to them. Seek out home school graduates and talk to them. Keep your eyes wide open.
Romans 14 says that every person should make up his/her own mind about disputable matters, like method of education and family style, and that we should each be fully convinced in OUR OWN minds. Make up your own mind, don't let someone else's enthusiasm or dogmatic demands make up your mind for you.
If you can't afford to purchase quality materials and helps, the little extras, or spend the gas money to get out of the house and into the real world on a regular basis, don't home school.
Experiential real world exposure is one of the great advantages of home schooling. You are free to get out and go places while other students are locked in a classroom all day. But if you can't take advantage of that freedom, then let your kids go places on the school system's dime. A few rushed, large-group field trips are not really adequate for a great education, but they are much preferable to none.
I used to say that you didn't need a lot of money to home school, but that is only partly true. You do need some money to home school adequately, and a nice surplus to home school well. I know I will really anger some people of limited means who are telling themselves that isolating their children in their country homes IS real world experiential learning, as opposed to isolating children in classrooms at the public school.
To those people, I say: Stop kidding yourselves. Most of the school year in one particular building is stifling and repetitive. It is just as stifling and repetitive if it is the family home rather than a school classroom. At least in school a student has a greater stimulation from other students interests and talents.
If you can't read fluently, use and understand good grammar for the official language of the country you reside in, and if you are not comfortably competent at math through the level you intend to home school, don't home school.
This seems self-explanatory enough. You can hire tutors in real life or on-line for higher math, but you must be able to give your students a sound mathematical foundation to build on for that to work. Ditto with reading and writing (for Americans) proper English. You can't teach what you don't know. If a child can read fluently, with good comprehension, they can learn almost anything they want to learn for the rest of their lives. The same goes with basic math. If a child can understand numbers and how they relate to real life and why we use basic math symbols to calculate and can do that well, they have a great foundation to learn higher math if they want/need to do so later.
But, if they can't read fluently, forget learning content while they are still decoding phonics. And if they don't understand that multiplication is merely a shortcut for adding the same number to itself a certain number of times, forget algebra, much less calculus. Do not discount the importance of these skills.
Finally, though there are probably other really good reasons NOT to home school, I must say this to all home school enthusiasts:
If your belief system is more important than your children's mental, physical, spiritual and social health, you should not home school.
If unschooling, Charlotte Mason, raising your children Ezzo's way or Waldorf's way, or any other philosophy of education or child rearing is your true cause, you should reconsider home schooling.
I have met unschooled children who were content and learning happily, and I have met unschooled children who were very unhappy and resentful that everyone else their age could read and they couldn't. Many students thrive with a Charlotte Mason education, but if you have a child who hates to draw and itches like crazy when they are out in nature, those nature sketches will be a nightmare. Always put your students needs above your educational/pedagogical theories. If you can't do that, don't home school.
Okay, well that's probably enough feathers ruffled for quite some time. I won't be checking comments right away, as I have a boat-load of studying to do. If I don't respond right away it doesn't mean I won't dialogue with you eventually, so be patient.
Peace and good will, SS