If the spring of 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is for certain. Cities on complete lock down, major sporting events cancelled, and schools completely empty are something no one could have predicted. One of the most glaring issues facing families stuck in quarantine together is school work. How do you start homeschooling your child? How can everyone coexist and get work done all at the same time?
Why Should I Consider Homeschooling?
There is little doubt that deciding to home school your children is often adifficult choice to make. However, there are many reasons a family may begin to consider it. Dissatisfaction with local public schools or school curriculum, the ability to provide a religious education, or wanting to be free of strict school attendance policies are just a few. According to A2Z Homeschooling, 3% of the nations children, aged 5-17, were home schooled for the 2017-2018 academic year. That may seem small, but consider that there were 54,561,232 children in that age range, meaning that approximately 1,642,027 were home schooled.
So why do so many families decide to home school? According to Calvert Education Research, the top 5 reasons parents decide to home school their children include;
- Making A Change From A Negative School Environment
- Getting A Higher Quality Education
- Improving Social Interactions
- Supporting A Learning Disabled Child
- Educating Children During A Family Relocation To Another State Or Country
Benefits of Home School
The factors listed above certainly do not encapsulate all of the reasons why a family would choose to home school. Similarly the benefits of home schooling are numerous. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, some include,
- the home-educated typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests.
- home school students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income.
- whether home school parents were ever certified teachers is not related to their children’s academic achievement.
- degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement.
- home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions.
- home school students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.
So what’s stopping more families from homeschooling? Perhaps not knowing how to start homeschooling is part of the issue!
How Do I Start Homeschooling My Children?
Curriculum? Schedule? Assessments? Regulations? How do you even start homeschooling when there are so many items to think about!? Thankfully, there are some simple steps parents can take to make the jump from public school to home school.
One great place to start is the laws that you must follow if you do decide to home school. State regulations vary from many regulations to only a few. It will be important for you to know what regulations you must follow before you make other decisions about homeschooling. You can find out more about your state regulations here.
Once your regulations are determined, what your children actually study, and what resources you will use, become the next big questions. Any Google search for home school curriculum will result in thousands of results and a myriad or different sites and material. How is one supposed to determine which is the best for them? Try a few first, to find out how you and your children like it. In addition, you can read reviews of home school material from a HomeSchool.com survey.
How Do I Stay Motivated to Keep Homeschooling?
Once you have started homeschooling, there will surely be days you think about sending your children back to public school. For certain, many parents find home schooling enjoyable and also frustrating! To keep yourself and your children motivated there are a few tricks to keep in mind.
Keeping your children motivated with interesting material is likely the most obvious. If your kids aren’t happy, you won’t be happy either. You know the saying, “time flies when you are having fun!” You can imagine seeing your kids excited about their learning and how that will keep you motivated each day. Providing material that keeps your student excited will keep you from forcing the work on them and at the same time, will keep you motivated to keep going.
Just as important as finding interesting material, is connecting with other home schoolers around you. Thank fully, many home school families are eager to find others like them for social activities and group projects. Locations to find other home school families are easy to find. Consider going to the library or local parks. Most likely, you’ll find families just like yours there!
Have a Plan
Finally, having a plan will help you from scrambling on the day to day lessons and able to look at the bigger picture. Plan lessons and activities far out in advance. Think about where your student would like to go on a field trip, who he would like to call for a research project, or what he can build from materials at home. Planning projects in advance will keep your learner excited about what’s coming and keep you from scrambling to fill a day for learning.
There are many different reasons why you may be considering home school for your child. You might be looking for a higher quality education, needing the ability to adapt to a learning disability or behavior issue, leaving a negative school environment, etc. Sometimes starting is the hardest part. If you are seriously contemplating home school, be sure to know the home school regulations for your state, have a plan for curriculum (you may have to try a few different ones out!), prepare activities, projects and lessons that will keep you and your child motivated, and plan ahead so that you don’t feel like you’re scrambling each day. Home schooling is definitely a challenge, but for some students, it’s just what they need to thrive!