Getting Started Homeschooling
Once a fairly new concept, homeschooling is now how 2.5 million American children in grades K-12 receive their education.
The trend is predicted to grow, particularly if concerns about COVID-19 continue. Parents may also choose to homeschool their children to provide a safer environment for them and to take a different approach than the public school system for their education.
If you’ve decided you’d like to homeschool your own children you may feel excited about the idea but also confused. Where should you begin? Here’s a guide on getting started in homeschooling.
Study carrels are necessary for any learning space, such as school libraries or university student lounges.
#1. Do Your Research
If you don’t know the first thing about homeschooling, it’s a good idea to start doing research into what you can expect, what a typical school day may look like for you and your child, and the various learning techniques you can explore. Take out library books on the subject, read articles, and join homeschooling groups and online forums.
Homeschooling is not for everyone, and you may discover after learning more that it’ll require too much work for you to juggle with your other responsibilities. Educating yourself on the subject and speaking with other parents who have done it can help you decide for certain that it’s something you truly want to do.
#2. Be Prepared to Spend Money
Something that may come as a shock to many parents who decide to homeschool is the cost of materials. One homeschooling kit for one grade can cost hundreds of dollars. This is certainly a factor to keep in mind if you plan on homeschooling your child through high school.
However, there are also many online homeschooling courses and programs that cost very little to use. As mentioned, you’ll need to research as many as possible to determine what will work best for your child.
#3. Check With Your State’s Requirements
Homeschooling rules are mandated by the state you reside in, so confirm what yours are before you begin mapping out a curriculum. Some states require parents to submit a personalized home instruction plan. You may also have a deadline date when you must notify the local superintendent of your intent to homeschool your child.
#4. Decide on the Curriculum/Program
This is perhaps the trickiest part of homeschooling. There’s a lot to consider such as your child’s learning style, your teaching style (if you’ve discovered what it is), your child’s interests, and more. Read through the reviews of each curriculum or program you’re considering to hear about the pros and cons of each from other parents.
Keep in mind that you and your child’s priorities are sure to change from time to time. They may need extra help with math, or you may decide to teach them a foreign language. Whatever you choose, it should be a program that your child enjoys.
#5. Designate an Area of Your Home for Teaching
Plan a designated space in your home specifically for homeschooling. It’ll help reinforce the mindset that spending time in that space is for learning and not eating or playing. Make sure the furniture you buy for the area is comfortable for you and your child.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with decor and accessories. You can put up a whiteboard, hang motivational affirmations, and decorate the homeschooling area to make it feel welcoming and cheery.
Give the room plenty of storage space to keep materials and supplies tidy when not in use. You can choose to get as creative as you like in this area of the home.
#6. Decide What Supplies You’ll Need
You’ll need to stock up on homeschooling supplies to assist with your teaching and to help your child do their work. This is more than the various teaching materials available for homeschooling. You’ll need paper, pens, pencils, and markers, not to mention any crafting and art supplies such as paint, glue, and scissors.
Consider as well if your child should have a computer to assist them with learning. Do your research so you can get your child the best laptop for homeschooling.
Other homeschooling items that are good to have on hand include binders, a laminator, a printer, and a desktop carousel.
#7. Create a Homeschooling Schedule
You will need to create a schedule or calendar where you break up each day into the various subjects your child will learn. You’ll want to set a definite start time and decide when learning is done for the day. You’ll also need to work in the days when public schools are closed such as holidays and vacations so your child can enjoy the break, too.
Include a break for lunch and another for a snack, and recess time as well so your child can play outdoors for a while.
#8. Don’t Forget About Extracurricular Activities
One of the biggest downsides to homeschooling your child is the lack of daily socialization. You can remedy that by planning extracurricular activities of interest to them. They may want to join an acting troupe for kids or their local Boy Scouts.
You may also want to schedule physical activity sessions into your child’s school week, or plan dates for field trips to museums and other educational venues.
#9. Talk to Other Parents That Homeschool
As you make progress on your child’s homeschooling journey you’re sure to run into pitfalls or become unsure that you’re doing it all correctly. Talking to other parents that homeschool can ease the stress, and they can also provide you with advice based on their own experiences. Join online or in-person groups to meet other parents.
Getting Started in Homeschooling
Getting started in homeschooling does take time and preparation. It’s not something to jump into yet until you’ve done the proper research and are confident you have an effective program that will engage your child.
Check out our technology section for news about the latest computers and mobile devices that can assist you with homeschooling.
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Review 9 Must-Know Tips for Getting Started Homeschooling.