More parents are choosing to take their children’s education into their own hands and are opting for the homeschooling concept. The main reasons include the use of different educational approaches, better family bonding, customizing the learning environment and sometimes protecting children from bullying, racism or drug use.
If you resonate with the above-mentioned reasons and would like to take into consideration homeschooling as the learning path for your kid, read the following information about how to get started.
Before committing to homeschooling, you must learn the legalities that apply where you are living. Some states have rigid regulations regarding homeschooling, while others have a more relaxed approach and fewer guidelines.
Where the laws are more strict, the state asks reports on a regular basis, test scores, third-party evaluations and at times, state officials visit your home.
The laws about homeschooling are different from state to state just like their public school curricula. Parents who choose this path must be prepared and know the state laws. Although parents are allowed to homeschool their children everywhere in the US, some states such as California, require for you to register as a private school before beginning.
Other states, such as Pennsylvania, demand standardized tests from children as they reach certain grades (3rd, 5th and 8th). In order to find out all the details you need about these rules, you can contact the homeschool association assigned to your state (HSLDS).
You should furthermore check in with the local school district to find out whether or not you must withdraw your children first. If you fail to do that and the law states you have to, you can be charged with educational neglect.
Your child’s learning style
When you choose to homeschool your child, you start with the advantage of knowing your kid better than any teacher would. Use this information to find out what learning style your student has. Take into consideration all personality traits, even their personal preferences.
There are tests that can help you find out whether your child learns better by visually observing, by listening, or by practically doing something. When you find out what has the most impact on him, you know if he/she is a visual processor, an auditory processor or a tactile/kinesthetic processor.
The learning styles of children can be more precisely determined because there are more subcategories, where more often than not, it’s a combination of two out of the previously mentioned. Also, there are spatial learners, naturalistic learners, logical-mathematical learners, and many others.
Just apply what has worked best for your kid when they were playing or when they were in a public school.
Research homeschooling methods
When it comes to home education, there are countless approaches and methods. They differ just as much as parenting styles. Here are the most common ones that are used by parents.
The traditional method — This is simple to understand as it mimics a normal public school. Your homeschool functions after the same grading system and has the same curriculum. From your child’s point of view, the only thing that changes is the location of where the classes are taking place.
The classic education method — this is a Christian method that derives from the essay “The Lost Tools of Learning”, written by Dorothy Sayers. A good book for better understanding this education method is “The Well-Trained Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise.
The Charlotte Mason method — This method is popular as it is easy to grasp by the parents and easy to follow by children. Charlotte Mason was a British educator who designed an educational philosophy based on three principles: atmosphere, which is the home environment, discipline, which are the good habits, and life which refers to ideas and thoughts.
The Montessori method — This concept revolves around the philosophy that the learning process is a natural one and it’s a self-directed process.
The eclectic method — Parents who do homeschooling using the eclectic method borrow elements from more than one method and combine them into a unique philosophy that they regard as best suited for their children.
Unschooling — This method has gained popularity in recent years. Its philosophy is centered on the student and it is also called child-led learning. In this case, the child chooses what activities they would like to try, and what information to learn. This method encourages curiosity and exploration through playing, reading, social interaction, etc. The grading system and curricula are questioned by parents who use this method.
Choose a homeschooling curriculum
When the time comes to choose a homeschool curriculum, you can simply buy one, then buy workbooks separately, use computer software, devise projects and practical activities and much more.
There are a lot of resources on the market and sometimes it can be overwhelming; however, there are websites that can make sense of it all. These websites include but are not limited to homeschool-curriculum.org and cathyduffyreviews.com.
Committing to homeschooling as a parent can prove tedious and can make you feel lonely at times without some support. Fortunately, there are resources online and perhaps even in your community. You can search for like-minded parents that practice homeschooling on online groups, and on certain websites such as homeschool.com. As these practices become more and more popular, many museums or zoos are hosting events specifically targeted at parents who educate their children at home. Moreover, homeschooling co-ops are more and more common and are inviting parents to trade expertise.
People who have been doing homeschooling by themselves for a number of years and now joined a homeschool co-op claim that they wish they had done it sooner. These experiences are vast and different. People have a lot to learn from each other and thus they can improve their methods.
Beginning a homeschooling program with your child is difficult, especially at first. Those who do it say that you get into the right mindset only after one year. Therefore, you must give yourself and your kid patience and be perseverent.
It is perfectly normal to try different educational philosophies and methods. Experience with them until you and your child feel right.
Although it is a challenge to be a parent and a teacher at the same time, these responsibilities can coexist and if are done correctly, they turn into enjoyable experiences both for you and for your child.