Summer is going fast. Before we blink, it will be time to again think about the upcoming school year. With the current COVID issues, some schools aren’t slated to open this fall. Others will open with strict cautionary measures.
Time and again, I’ve heard from several parents who are considering (or have made the decision) to homeschool, which raises the question: what things should you consider if you are contemplating homeschooling this year?
#1: Motive. People homeschool for many reasons. Some of these include:
COVID – this wasn’t a reason until this year, but it’s becoming a common reason for deciding to homeschool.
Religious reasons – parents want to be able to raise their children in a school that allows God to be at the forefront.
The freedom to be able to instill their morals.
Their child has experienced a negative situation at their public school, for example, bullying.
To be able to teach their child at a rate above what the public school teaches.
To be able to teach their child at a pace needed for a child with special needs.
The child has other health issues that would be better served by a home education.
More freedom during the school day in all arenas of daily life.
Ability to choose and tailor school curriculum to specific learning styles. (A one-size-doesn’t-fit-all education).
A more efficient school day.
And many, many other reasons.
What is your motive for homeschooling your child? It’s critical to examine those motivations to better equip you for this decision.
#2: Children’s learning styles. It’s helpful to learn your children’s learning styles. There is a thorough explanation of seven different (some primary, some secondary) learning styles on the Homeschooling Mom blog. The styles include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (which most of us are somewhat familiar with), as well as, reading/writing learner, mathematical/logic learner, social learner, and solitary learner.
Most children are mix of one or more styles. If you are in tune to what style(s) your child is, you will be better able to teach them. Neither of my children share my learning styles, but if I was to teach in one of those styles, I likely wouldn’t be effective. As a homeschool parent, you have the ability of being able to teach in whatever learning style(s) your child falls into.
#3: Curriculum. One of the concerns I have heard from people considering homeschooling is that they won’t (i.e., aren’t educated enough/don’t have qualifications) be able to teach their child in certain subjects. Let me reassure you that there are so many curriculum choices, some that are even self-grading, that this challenge will not be as big of an issue as it could at first seem. Co-ops are also helpful for this.
A little reminder: you have been teaching your child since their first days. Who better qualified to continue teaching them?
Seek out those who have already homeschooled or who are currently homeschooling and ask what curriculum they use. Be prepared to change your curriculum if it doesn’t work. I’ve done that many times with my girls. We have the freedom to choose what will work best for our children, and if something doesn’t work, there are many other choices.
Be willing to think outside the box. For instance, maybe your child who doesn’t much care to write can give some oral reports for history class, rather than writing a report of what she has learned. Or if you have a child who loves to write, perhaps doing a novel in a year would be just the thing to add to her English curriculum.
Some of my choices for high school curriculum can be found here.
One final note: curriculum can get pricey. Keep in mind that you can purchase used curriculum at a fraction of the cost.
#4: Your support system. If you are going to homeschool, you will need a support system.
A support system begins with your spouse. If your spouse is not on board, it will be an uphill battle. I’m thankful my husband (our principal, math, woodworking, and science teacher) has been on full board since we began homeschooling many years ago.
You’ll also need the support of other family and friends. Homeschooling can be difficult and lonely at times, and their support will be invaluable.
The support of online Facebook groups is also helpful. We have a local group for which I am an admin, and it has been a great place to bounce ideas off each other, find upcoming events and field trips, and even buy used curriculum. I am also the member of numerous national Facebook homeschool groups, which provide a different and even broader range of opportunities.
Find a mentor mom, someone who has been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale. We have several of these in our local Facebook group. Their experience and advice have been priceless.
Local co-ops are also a great place to find support. I taught a homeschool P.E. class for seven years to upwards of 40 teens and tweens during our busiest years. I also taught Constitutional Literacy and Biology Lab. During those times of teaching, and the times when my daughters attended other classes, I was able to reinforce those bonds with other homeschooling moms and dads.
#5: Be mindful of electives. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that our children have a wide variety of electives. My oldest daughter took a woodworking class with her dad as the teacher. She built me a birdhouse, built herself a dresser, and assisted my husband in redoing the counters and moldings in our kitchen and bathroom.
My youngest daughter takes a quilting and sewing class from a friend. This has enabled her to sew a skirt, two quilts, and a host of other smaller projects.
#6: Don’t worry about socialization. This is a huge concern for people who don’t homeschool. Between church youth groups, volunteer projects, sports, co-ops, and fair/4-H projects, homeschooled kids are more than socialized. The difference between being socialized as a public school student and being socialized as a homeschool student is that the parent chooses how they want their child to be socialized and who they want their child to be socialized with. This eliminates negative influencers and incorporates positive role models and interaction with every age group.
#7. Use this time to build relationships with your children. My absolute favorite thing about being a homeschool mom is the relationships I have built with my daughters. For example, each day, I bring a topic to the table during breakfast, where we discuss it (no topic/question is off limits). We’ve had some great discussions about the things that concern them most.
In addition, being together more often than the few hours they would be home were they public schooled has allowed us to grow closer. I wouldn’t trade that closeness for anything.
No matter if you decide to homeschool, or what homeschooling method you choose , offer your decision to the Lord. Ask that He guide you, direct you, and help you to glorify Him in your choice to homeschool your child.
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