Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
If you’re thinking about homeschooling your child, you’re not alone. In the year 2020-2021, around 3.7 million children in the United States were homeschooled, which is around 6-7% of all school-aged children in the country. This number has been reached after years of steadily increasing numbers of homeschooled children.
There are many reasons why you would want to homeschool your children, and more and more resources are becoming available as it becomes a more popular option in the United States.
If you’re thinking about getting started, here are a couple of things that you will need to do before you get started:
- Choose a homeschooling method
- Check the homeschooling laws in your state
- Find a support group
- Create a schedule
- Get started!
1. Choose a homeschooling method
There are many different ways to homeschool, so you’ll need to decide which method is right for your family. There are benefits to both a highly structured and rigorous approach, as well as a more freeform program that is tailored to your child’s changing needs and interests.
Regardless of which option you decide to go with, you are going to need to make sure that you have a plan in place. This plan will look vastly different depending on how you decide to approach homeschooling, but it should at least include a schedule and some learning intentions for each area of learning.
You may decide that you want to make your own homeschool curriculum, or you may want to outsource this. There is a wide range of different curricula that you can purchase that are ready to go and require little additional prep for you.
In addition to this, there are a growing number of online options for homeschooling. These come in a range of different forms from an online platform with activities that your child can work through, to structured lessons that are taken by someone else in real-time.
2. Check the homeschooling laws in your state
Homeschooling laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to check the regulations in your area. The last thing that you want is for your homeschooling program to be audited and found to not meet regulations, and your child will need to unexpectedly transition back to a mainstream school.
Some states require parents to register as private schools, while others have more relaxed rules. In some states, you may need to submit your program ahead of time so that it can be approved, and in others you may need to submit forms and paperwork at the beginning and end of the school year.
You can learn more about your state’s homeschooling laws by contacting your local school district. It is well worth doing this before you make the decision to homeschool, as some of these rules and regulations can be real hurdles that will be difficult to jump over. Checking the requirements in your local area may be a determining factor in how and even whether you decide to do homeschooling.
3. Find a support group
Homeschooling can be isolating, so it’s important to find a supportive community. You’ll hear again and again how homeschooling has a negative effect on your child, but finding a support group can also do wonders for your own health and well-being.
Homeschooling is hard, and having a group of like-minded parents and their children can do wonders. You can chat about the challenges that you’re facing, share tips and ideas, and combine forces to do what’s best for your children.
There are many online and offline homeschooling groups that can provide valuable resources and advice. It is important that you find at least one group that is local to you, as they will be familiar with the local rules and regulations as well as be able to physically meet up if you would like. These can be formal groups and associations, or more informal groups that connect through social media.
4. Create a schedule
Homeschooling can be flexible, but it’s still important to create a schedule. Even if your schedule for the day is to go for a walk to talk about the local environment or to do 30mins of math in the morning and another 30mins in the afternoon, this will give your days and weeks structure to make sure that you’re staying on track.
You also need to make sure that your child is learning something for every area of the curriculum every week, which is a lot easier to organise if you have a set schedule. Again, it doesn’t need to be particularly strict, but you need to make sure that you’re allocating some time every week to cover everything that needs to be done.
5. Get started!
Once you’ve chosen a homeschooling method and curriculum, it’s time to get started! This can seem daunting, but the best time to start is today.
It’s important to keep in mind that your program will never be perfect. No one’s program is ever going to be perfect because not only is every child different, but their needs can change drastically day-to-day and even by the hour.
When you do begin, remember that this isn’t just new for you. Remember to be patient and flexible with your child, as homeschooling takes some time to adjust to. The most important thing to do when you are making this transition is to keep a routine and keep your days predictable, as this will help you create a good environment for learning.
Homeschooling can be a great way to customize your child’s education and provide them with many unique learning experiences. With some planning and preparation, you can successfully homeschool your child.
This will be a learning journey for you as well, so be patient with yourself. If you have a bad day, that doesn’t mean that you’re a bad parent or a bad teacher. Teachers all have rough days, and it can be harder for parents to fill the role of both parent and teacher at the same time.
Make sure that you are always learning and changing to meet the needs of your child, and have fun!
Have you made the transition to homeschooling your child? What was the most surprising thing that you found when you made the shift? Comment down below!