Homeschooling has long been a popular way of ensuring a strong education for your children, and these days it is only growing more and more in popularity. The majority of my mom friends homeschool their children and I have been considering doing it myself for the last couple of years.
It is definitely a difficult decision to make as you want to ensure the best for your children, and one I have not taken lightly. If you have started to consider this particular route of education for your own children, you are not alone, and you will find that there is a hugely supportive network of like-minded parents and guardians out there to help you along.
It will certainly help to have some kind of a clear idea of how to go about setting it up and what to expect so you don’t feel overwhelmed as you get started. Consider the following points, and you should find that you are in a much stronger and more certain position from which you can begin to homeschool your children.
Developing A Schedule
You will first need to make sure that you are clear on what kind of schedule you are going to follow, as this is something which will affect everything else that you need to think about to some degree or another too.
You might automatically assume that you will be following the traditional education schedule of your local schools, and it might well be that that is sufficient. But remember: it’s up to you, and there are no real restrictions on what kind of an annual schedule you might want to have. Each state has different guidelines as to how many hours you’ll need to spend each week/month/year, so be sure to double check the rules, but overall the schedule is entirely up to you.
You should make sure that you choose and set up a schedule which works as well for your household as possible so that things runs smoothly. If you experience a few bumps along the way as you get started, don’t worry, the growing pangs are normal and you will soon feel like your household is a well-oiled machine.
Depending on the age of your children, you may find it is unwise to go through all this without even discussing it with your children. The last thing you want to do is to leave them in the lurch, least of all because it will only lead to a much less enjoyable home experience for all.
Take the time to speak with them now, and go through any concerns they might have, and you will find that it is much better, in the long run, to have everyone on the same page. You might also decide that this is a good time to see if they want to know anything specific about homeschooling which might not already be clear to them.
What Will You Teach
One of the benefits of being away from the school system is that you have much more freedom when it comes to choosing what to actually teach – and what to leave out until later years, or forever. But you might find that it is quite a hard decision trying to figure out what to include in your own curriculum and what to put to one side.
The decision on what to teach can include your children’s interests. While there are certain core subjects that you don’t want to leave out, if your child is highly interested in a certain topic, such as astronomy, for example, it would be a great way to get your child excited about science and math.
Learning To Teach
Because you are going to take the role of teacher, you need to make sure that you are going to be as ready as possible for that experience. While you definitely do not need to know anything about teaching since homeschooling gives both you and your child the freedom to provide a learning environment on your own terms, you might decide you’d like to consider taking an online course in education or teaching through a proper institution like Exeter’s Online University.
Ultimately, however, you will find that most of your learning how to be a teacher comes from the experience of actually doing it, so you should allow yourself some patience and try to remember that it might take some time to learn the various necessary skills involved in teaching your children at home.
In order to make sure that you are really doing your teaching job as well as possible, you will need to think about finding some good way to monitor the progress of your children’s education. Of course, traditionally this means exams, tests and essays and so forth, but you can do it in whatever way you wish.
If you are going to set exams and essays, you might want to think about having a third party look over them and mark them, just to ensure that you are keeping a good degree of fairness and being level-headed. This should, of course, be someone you trust, who knows the material well, and that is one advantage of being a part of a local homeschooling network. Finding such a network should constitute one of the next major decisions that you might like to take as you progress along the homeschooling journey.
But in most cases, you should be able to determine your child’s progress as they are working through the material without any formal testing needed. Again, this is an excellent benefit of homeschooling as you take away the stress and pressure of constant testing requirements.
Want more information? See my 10 must-read books on homeschooling!