This week in our Homeschool Series we talk about the things you need to know as you get ready to take the leap to homeschool.
The decision to begin homeschooling your children can, at first, seem daunting – even overwhelming. Take a deep breath. You’ve already done a lot of “homeschooling” – you were your child’s first teacher. You can do this!
In 2012, 1.77 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 were homeschooled! Parents are choosing to homeschool for a variety of reasons: from religious and moral reasons to personalizing a curriculum based on their children’s needs.
Whatever your reason for choosing homeschool, it can be tough to figure out where to start. Experts at Educents have put together a must-read list of things you need to know to get started on your homeschool journey.
Legally Speaking: Check your state’s homeschool rules
Homeschooling is regulated at the state level and the laws governing homeschooling vary across all 50 states. Before you begin planning lessons, make sure to check your state’s requirements.
This handy map of the United States from Home School Legal Defense Association – an organization founded by two homeschooling dads – explains the laws in each state.
You are required to follow the laws of the state you are present in – including any temporary locations where you plan to stay for over a month! If you are a “roadschooler” – a traveling homeschooler, this list of tips from Educents experts will help you get ahead on your lesson plans.
Getting Philosophical: Figure out your teaching philosophy
There are many approaches to homeschooling, and homeschoolers often classify themselves by the methods their homeschools follow. So it’s important to spend some time learning the unique characteristics of each method.
Ultimately, the method you choose will depend on your child’s learning capabilities, and your own values! Some popular methods include unit study, unschooling, Moore formula, Waldorf method, textbook based homeschooling, or blended learning.
This guide to each of these methods (and more) can help you understand what fits your children’s needs best
Social Studies: Find your local homeschool community
Homeschoolers across the country know all about the “S-word”: Socialization.
Many beginning homeschoolers fear that homeschooling their children might lead to a dip in their kids’ social life. While it is true that kids who are homeschooled spend a considerable portion of their day at home, most of them have wonderful social lives as well.
How, you ask?
The homeschool community.
Homeschoolers are a wide variety of people from all walks of life. There are urban parents who want to personalize their children’s education, parents who want to ensure their kids learn religious values along with textbook studies etc. Finding a local community of like-minded homeschoolers can be a boon. You’ll be able to set your kids up for playdates, local sports leagues, volunteer opportunities and much more through an engaged homeschool community! Meanwhile, online communities and resources like Educents can be great places to learn from homeschoolers near and far.
Deschooling: Transitioning your kids into homeschooling
If you have recently made the decision to begin homeschooling children – who have spent years in traditional public or private schools – remember that your kids might need some time to “deschool” or “unschool.”
It’s important for your children to gradually let go of their school culture if they are to fully reap the benefits of homeschooling. It might take some time for you and your kids to get into the rhythm of homeschool as they learn to adapt to lessons and teaching methods that might be very different from what they are used to. As you start to spend even more time with them on a daily basis, you will begin to adapt to their needs and they will begin to adjust to yours.
Deschooling can also give kids time to explore interests they might not have been able to explore as part of traditional schooling – this mom’s 7-year-old first began to play Minecraft during a period of deschooling and it helped her learn to love reading.
Deschooling is all about giving each other time to adapt and grow!
Do YOU: The importance of being yourself
Don’t lose sight of why you chose to homeschool in the first place – friends, teachers, family, and even other homeschoolers will all have opinions on your decision to homeschool and your choice of homeschooling method. Remember that your child’s well-being and learning come first!
You know your children better than anyone, and you are equipped to design the best curriculum for them. All children learn differently, and at their own pace – so dare to be different! Your homeschool can be anything and everything you want it to be: turn grocery runs into lessons about math, spending, and saving, turn trips to restaurants into learning experiences, organize field trips to the local zoo or botanical garden, stargaze with your tots on camping trips. The sky is the limit.
Homeschooling can be a wonderful and rewarding experience – you get to tailor your kids’ education to their personal needs and wants and in return you get to see them bloom into successful adults!
You are the most important ingredient in the homeschool recipe, just mix in steady commitment, and lots of hard work.
Find out more about homeschooling here:
- Ways to Bring Music Into Your Homeschool
- The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling
- 10 Tips to Motivate a Homeschooled High Schooler
- 5 Tips for Work-at-Home Homeschooling Parents
- Incorporating Minecraft into Your Homeschool Curriculum
Need even more? G