Are you considering homeschooling? Are you unsure where to start? Is this a temporary idea because of covid? Do you think maybe this might actually be a better option? Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular and not just because of Covid 19. A lot of parents are getting fed up with the way schools are NOT meeting the needs of their special needs children. The ever increasing focus on testing vs actually educating our kids have parents searching for a better way.
The most important thing I can tell you as you begin this journey is NO you are not screwing up your kid, and YES you can do this.
As you begin this journey, you will realize there are so many options and so many different ways you can accomplish your goal of educating your child. I hope these tips will help clarify things for you as you proceed, and to help you make the best decisions for your family.
1. Learning Doesn't Have To Happen From Just Textbooks
There is a world of possibilities in which to learn from when you homeschool. Newspapers, magazines, comic books and literature books are just a few ways to learn that doesn't involve textbooks. Discussing and analyzing things they've read gives them skills in analytical thinking that will help them all of their lives.
Using books instead of textbooks opens them up to all different genres for learning. Reading a biography or even historical fiction can help kids get a better grasp on what really happened and how it affected the people who lived it. Don't forget a good field trip for opportunities for history to come to life.
Do you remember when Kindergarten still let kids play? Play based learning has seemed to fall by the wayside as schools have switched to a regimented testing facility. Multiple studies have proven that kids learn faster through play than busywork. Play needs to be incorporated at all ages of learning to help build synapses faster when learning a new concept. Playing a board game about using and counting money will teach money concepts 40 times faster than doing worksheets about money. Think about how much more time that gives us to learn other new things.
2. Life Is An Opportunity For Learning To Happen
While textbooks are important and have their place homeschooling is more than learning math and grammar from books. Let kids cook in the kitchen and marvel as they convert numbers to cook a recipe. Learn recent American history from a grandparent or great grandparent and let them compare and contrast how life was different.
Homeschooling is not something you do it's a lifestyle. The choice to homeschool is going to affect most every aspect of your life because your kids are almost always going to be with you. This gives you a unique opportunity to find ways to learn everywhere. Now I'm not saying you have to make everything a lesson you'd quickly burn them out. However if say you're at the beach you can talk about how the moon affects the tides or how the sand on that beach is different from others in different parts of the world Go for it. Hands on learning is engaging and helps to make the lesson stick.
Even family vacations can become fun and engaging homeschool lessons. Plan a day to go to a zoo, a historical site, museum or science center. Set aside just one day to do one or even a few learning activities and spend the rest of the time just having fun. Being in a new place offers the opportunities to learn about other parts of your state, the country or the world.
3. Throw Out The Idea Of Grade Levels.
Whether your child is gifted, special needs or somewhere in between they have unique strengths and weaknesses. The beauty of homeschool is you get to build on that in a way no public school can. I mean who are these people who decide what kids get to learn at these specific ages, and why do we listen to them when they've never met our kids.
Ask any child who has been homeschooled most of their life what grade they're in and your most likely going to be answered with a confused stare. This is because as a homeschool student grade levels mean nothing. If your child is passionate about a specific subject or topic you are free to pursue that as fast or as in depth as you want. There are ten year olds learning Algebra or twelve year olds taking college level science classes. In homeschool their age doesn't stop them from learning what they want to learn. It is child driven and you can move as fast or as slow as you want. There is no limit to what your kids can do or the topics that can be discussed.
4. Opportunities Are Limitless For Your Child To Meet Others
Socialization the running joke of the homeschool community. Often the first and most often question veteran homeschoolers get from those thinking of testing out the waters. There is often a misunderstanding that homeschoolers can't meet kids because they aren't in a classroom with other kids.
This to me is the biggest misconception that there is about homeschooling. There are homeschool classes, playtimes at local bounce houses, co-ops, play dates and activities around the community designed for homeschool families. These places are often less crowded and more enjoyable than in after school hours and with the popularity of homeschool on the rise your children will have kids of all ages to play with. The community activities open up socializing opportunities to not just peers but people of all ages.
Homeschool the chance for real socialization the way it works in the real world. You know people of all ages and backgrounds coming and working together side by side. Just like you having friendship circles of varying ages because of similar interest your kids friendship circles can and should be just as vast. Homeschooling offers socialization opportunities in a way public school never will.
Homeschooling is an amazing gift for your family. The freedom to choose what to learn and when, the freedom to socialize with no parameters and the opportunity for a lifestyle of constant learning and growth. Trust your gut you were put on this path for a reason. Your kids will learn. Just like jobs when you love what you do it doesn't feel like work when you love what you learn you are more willing to really soak it all in.
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