Many parents are choosing to homeschool their children around the world. There are varied reasons why parents decide not to send their children to the usual private or public schools. Whatever the reason may be, it is undeniable that the numbers of parents who choose to homeschool are on the rise, not just in the US but in other countries as well.
Some may worry that their children will not have other activities if they homeschool. That is not entirely true. You can also choose to enroll your children in other non-academic classes, such as one-on-one or online piano lessons, voice lessons, or art lessons.
If you are planning to transition from traditional school to homeschool, here are the things that you should know.
You must want to homeschool your kids.
Now, here is the most important thing. You, the parents, are the ones who will teach your kids when you choose to homeschool. If you have more than one kid, you can set separate hours for each of them, or you can teach them simultaneously in one sitting. It’s all up to you. However, you must want to do it. It should not feel forced. You must enjoy being in the company of your children, answering their curious questions, and keeping up with their energy. If you do not enjoy the process, it will be stressful not just for you but for your child as well. Learning will not be useful if you, the teacher, are not happy with what you are doing. At worse, it will hurt your relationship with your child.
If your child has not attended any school yet, you can begin homeschooling him when he reaches school age. However, if your child has already started traditional school, and you decided to transition to homeschool, you will need to notify the principal through a letter of withdrawal.
Homeschooling rules vary by state.
Each state has its own rules when it comes to homeschooling. In Massachusetts, for example, you will need to submit to your school district an annual notice of intent that contains the following information:
- Description of your proposed curriculum along with the number of instruction hours
- Parents’ competency, although, you don’t need to have a college degree to homeschool your child in Massachusetts
- Instructional materials you will use such as textbooks and workbooks
- Assessment method
Every year, you will need to submit a notice that you wish to continue homeschooling your child. The state of Massachusetts will require that you teach your children the following subjects:
- English Language
- History and Constitution of the United States
- Health (with CPR)
- Duties of an American citizen
- Good Behavior
- Physical Education
You may be required to give your child standardized tests to evaluate his or her progress. The evaluation method must be agreed upon by both the superintendent and the parents.
You need to find your teaching style.
Find the teaching method that works for you and your child. If you feel lost and overwhelmed, you can join homeschooling groups in your area. Families who have been homeschooling for years can help answer your questions and uncertainties. It’s a support group where you can get some new ideas on how to make your homeschooling exciting and fun for you and your child.
You need to create your homeschool space.
To make learning more effective, create a space dedicated to your homeschooling sessions. Get a desk, a whiteboard, some shelves for the textbooks and workbooks, and comfortable chairs. If you need to connect to the internet, make sure that you have space for your laptop or computer. Organize your supplies and teaching paraphernalia in baskets to make your area neat and conducive for learning.
Set your short-term and long-term goals.
Write down the academic goals that you wish to achieve for your child. Set short-term and long-term goals for the school year. Writing down your goals allows you to keep track of your progress with your child. Under each goal, write the activities needed to achieve those goals. It could include an hour of lecture, a thirty-minute hands-on activity, and arelevant field trip.
Create your schedule and stick to it.
One of the advantages of homeschooling is the flexibility it gives you. You get to set your hours for your homeschooling sessions based on your family’s schedule. Once you have mapped out your goals and activities, it’s time to create your homeschooling schedule. When you set a plan, you set a standard with which you can base whether you are on track or behind your goals. But this does not mean that you have to force your child to go to the next topic just because you are behind schedule. The one-on-one setup of homeschooling allows you to work with your child until he has fully understood and grasped your lesson.
It is usual for first-time homeschoolers to run into some hardships. The most common issue that arises for first-timers is the feeling of isolation. Make sure to check with your local homeschooling group so that you do not feel so alone. Things will be much easier once you and your child have adjusted.