The Upside of Homeschooling
As the parent of a soon-to-be homeschooled child, you've done your research and you know your reasons. You're aware of the benefits of homeschooling and why it's worthy of all of your attention and hard work. But if your child is new to homeschooling, he or she might not have or understand all of that information, and therefore, may be worried about the unknown future. Here's how you can help your child see that homeschooling will be a good experience.
First-Time and Young Homeschoolers
The first situation in which you might need to convince your child of the benefits of homeschooling is if you have a young child who's about to start homeschooling for the first time. This is somebody who has never attended a traditional school. He or she probably doesn't have any expectations or fears for you to address, so you can focus your conversation on the following two things: setting expectations and preparing to be different.
First, inform your child that he or she is going to start school soon. Outline all of the big-picture details of what is to come, including who will be doing the teaching, how much time will be dedicated to schoolwork, what he or she will be learning, and so on. Even without the prospect of attending a traditional school away from home, beginning a formal education for the first time is a big change. Therefore, make sure that you prepare your child and answer any questions that he or she might have.
Preparing Them to Be Different
The second, more homeschool-specific conversation you'll need to have with your young child should be about how his or her school experience will differ from traditional students' experiences, emphasizing that ''different'' is a good, not a bad, thing. You'll want to address this issue early and often as your child is sure to realize eventually that he or she is in a different position from other students. Explain what will be different, and why you made the choice to try a unique educational approach. Again, answer any questions your child might have and be sure to reinforce your reasons for homeschooling.
The second situation in which you might need to convince your child of the benefits of homeschooling is while transitioning him or her from a traditional to a homeschool situation. The conversations concerning this situation will differ from, and be potentially harder than, those you would have had if you'd started homeschooling your child from the start. That's because your child may have an attachment to the local school, a desire to fit in with his or her peers, apprehension or anxiety about change, or even anger. Here's how we recommend handling these cases.
The Apathetic Student
Ideally, your child will be happy and excited about transitioning to homeschooling, but the next best (and more likely) result is that he or she won't seem particularly upset about it. But even if your child seems to be fine with the upcoming change, you'll still want to reinforce the idea that homeschooling will be a good experience so that he or she will approach this change with a positive attitude. So share why you're personally excited about homeschooling. And be sure to give examples of how it has been effective for other students in your family or area.
The Apprehensive Student
Another potential outcome is that your child may be unsure about homeschooling, expressing some concerns. In this situation, make sure that you sit down with your child and address every point of concern. Although you should be honest when you don't have a ready answer, try to prepare for this conversation in advance by researching the common objections to homeschooling and crafting some appropriate responses. For example, if your child is worried about seeing less of his or her friends, emphasize that you'll continue to invite those friends over, or provide rides to friends' homes in the evenings and on weekends.
The Angry Student
The final situation you might have on your hands is a child who is very angry or depressed about starting homeschooling. In this situation, our recommendation is to accept these feelings. Avoid suggesting that your child disregard these feelings, which will make him or her feel unheard, or upset your transitioning student even further.
Instead, validate your child's emotions. Acknowledge that it makes sense to be angry and upset about this huge change. Emphasize that what's important is to have a positive attitude about the future and do one's best not to dwell on negative emotions.
Ask your child about his or her concerns about homeschooling. Take them seriously and respond with care. These emotions, too, will pass.
Ultimately, you want to make sure that you remain open to keeping the conversation going. Adjusting to change is a process that takes time, so talking about your reasons for homeschooling just once isn't going to be enough. This is your chance to start a dialogue that may go on for days, weeks, months, or even years. Be ready.
If you're looking for a convenient online resource for lessons and videos you can use when homeschooling your child, check out Study.com's complete homeschool curriculum.