Deciding to transition your child to homeschool from a traditional classroom setting is a major decision. As parents, we question whether it is the right decision for our child’s future.
5 Tips for Parents Starting Homeschool
The good news is that there are many resources and support groups available to homeschooling families, making it a much smoother transition than it once was. However, despite the availability of resources, starting home school for the first time can be daunting. Here are few homeschooling tips for families making the switch.
- Research Homeschooling Laws in Your State
Every state has different laws and regulations for homeschooling. Before officially withdrawing your student from their public or private school, do some research to make sure your family can abide by the homeschooling guidelines in your state. Some states require homeschooling parents to obtain a special certificate or have achieved a certain level of education, such as a high school diploma. Typically, the state government will list these regulations on their website.
- Explore Homeschooling Curriculum Options
Homeschooling is about taking your child away from an institutionalized education and introducing them to a new way of learning. This means that homeschooling does not have to look like a traditional classroom, and parents have the liberty to choose the best homeschooling method for their child.
Since every child is different, there is not a one-size-fits-all method of teaching at home. Some parents base their curriculum off textbooks and workbooks while others purchase online homeschooling curriculum. Online options typically come with video lessons and engaging coursework. Although plenty of homeschooling curriculum options are readily available, some parents opt for a more laid back way of schooling that is lead by their children’s natural desire to learn. Experienced homeschoolers refer to this as unschooling.
The greatest benefit of homeschooling over a traditional classroom setting is that your student is not locked into a certain way of doing things. If you discover something doesn’t work for your child, you can makes adjustments as you go.
Period of deschooling
- Implement a Period of Deschooling
Deschooling is a similar concept to unschooling. After you withdraw your student from public or private school, parents should implement a period of deschooling. Deschooling is when students unlearn the structure of a typical classroom and explore areas that they naturally find interesting. This period varies in length based on how old the student is and how long they have been enrolled in school. For some students, the few months of summer break is plenty long enough; however, older students may need between six months and a year of deschooling.
During this time, your student can fill their time by doing a variety of things that are still educational. Here are just several activities that you and your student can do during deschooling:
- Watch documentaries
- Bake and cook
- Explore nature
- Check out library books
- Draw and paint
- Play educational computer games
- Do jigsaw puzzles
- Visit museums
- Take trips to historical sites
The student’s interests should drive the deschooling process. After an appropriate amount of time, you can begin to introduce homeschooling curriculum back into your student’s daily schedule.
Set realistic expectations
- Set Realistic Expectations
Like anything new, there will be bumps in the road when you first begin homeschooling. It is necessary to set realistic expectations for both yourself and your student, so no one becomes frustrated. You should not anticipate becoming a homeschooling pro overnight. Rather, be patient and have open communication with your student. If something isn’t working, chat through it to find a way to make it better for both of you.
Your child may compare homeschooling to their past teachers and classrooms, especially if they attended a public or private school for a long period of time. Do not be discouraged if this happens, but instead, use it as a learning opportunity, because it may provide insights into how they learn best.
Getting comfortable with a new style of learning will probably take some time. As your student becomes acquainted with homeschooling, they may struggle in some areas. Practice patience with your student as you both get used to this new way of doing things.
Stay flexible, change as needed
- Change as Needed
When you run into issues, it is okay to switch things up. This not only applies to parents just starting homeschool but also those who have been at it for a while. You may have been using the same homeschooling curriculum for years. If your student begins to struggle or get bored, it’s okay to switch to a different method or program.
As students become older, their needs may begin to change. You may have done a wonderful job explaining math concepts up until algebra, but now they may need instruction from a subject expert. Parents should not be hard on themselves if they need to use more resources or even subscribe to a homeschool curriculum program. Remember, it is all about finding what works best for your family.