Has your household decided to make the switch to homeschooling? Could you use some advice on how to make the transition as successful as possible? Check out our top-notch tips below.
A Major Transition
While there are a number of different reasons to homeschool your child (or children), one thing is certain: making the transition to a homeschool environment can often be a bit of a challenge. If you're feeling slightly overwhelmed at the thought of educating your child at home, you're not the only one. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, roughly 2.3 million students were homeschooled in the U.S. as of 2016. That means there are lots of parents—just like you—helping their kids learn.
Thankfully, we've compiled some handy tips that can help make the transition to homeschooling go smoothly. Let's take a look.
1. Have Credible Online Resources in Place
Let's be real for a second: being a homeschool parent won't always be easy (especially the first year), and there will probably be times when your child is struggling and you can't help. Before homeschooling begins, it's a good idea to have some back-up resources in place, just in case you and your child need extra help in certain subject areas. Today, there are a wide range of online homeschool courses available that can supplement the curriculum being used at home. These courses feature fun, interesting video lessons that make learning tricky topics much easier for everyone!
2. Determine Your Child's Learning Style
Another critical transitional step is determining your child's learning styles. In other words, how does he or she learn best? This information will be instrumental when deciding which types of curricula and teaching styles to use when homeschooling.
For example, some students learn best by reading information, while others may achieve understanding by hearing it. Further, some students prefer worksheets and repetitive written exercises, while others enjoy hands-on activities and learning games. Once you get a good feel for how your child learns best, you may have to do some adjusting as far as the curriculum goes to ensure that he or she is getting the most out of the homeschool environment. Keep in mind that parents with more than one homeschooled child may need to use different methods for each one to see the most benefits.
3. Be Firm, But Have Fun
One of the most difficult parts of transitioning to homeschooling is functioning as both parent and teacher/helper. Although it can take some time to adjust to playing both roles, the best thing you can do is remember to not only be firm but also to have fun with your child. After all, learning should be a positive not a dreadful experience! Try not to take things too seriously, especially in the beginning stages.
4. Plan and Allow For an Adjustment Period
As you transition to homeschooling, you should plan and then allow time for an adjustment period since homeschool life will be much different from what you and your child are used to. During this period, you may want to focus some efforts on ''deschooling'' your child, as it can be crucial in making homeschooling a success.
Deschooling in this sense refers to changing a public- or private-schooled student's perception of school as he or she knows it. Your child's only idea of school may be what he or she experienced in a traditional school environment, leading him or her to think that's the norm. For example, most traditional schools operate on a set daily schedule, which typically offers little flexibility as far as starting times and breaks go. With homeschooling, however, you're free to make up a daily schedule that works best for your child and family.
The changes to your child's school routine can take some getting used to (and perhaps even some trial and error). It can be very helpful to explain to your child that, even though homeschool involves the same hard work and dedication required by his or her previous school, the overall experience may be much different, and that's okay.
5. Connect with Other Homeschool Families
There is strength in numbers, and this couldn't be more spot-on when it comes to homeschooling. To help with the transition, make it a point to connect with other homeschool families through support groups and organizations. Being able to share your experiences and frustrations with other homeschoolers can be very reassuring as your family settles into this new, exciting adventure.
Give Homeschooling a Chance
As we mentioned earlier, the transition to homeschooling will take some time, but with these tips, you and your child should be able to successfully make the switch in a reasonable amount of time. And as a homeschool parent, always remember to take some time for yourself so that you don't get burned out.
Are you looking for some high-quality supplemental learning resources for your child? Look no further than a Study.com membership, which gives you access to over 75,000 video lessons in countless subjects.