The homeschooling movement is growing rapidly around the United States and the world. In this education system, parents tutor their children at home rather than send them to school.
How to Start Homeschooling Your Children With 10 Steps
The growing popularity of homeschooling is not for nothing. The following are the reasons why you should consider homeschooling.
1. Homeschooling Is More Fun Than Regular School
When parents tutor their children at home, they are actively involved in both academic and extracurricular activities. You read the books together, help out with art projects, and take the outdoor trips together.
Homeschooling, therefore, creates an opportunity for a deeper level of involvement and engagement. This hastens the learning pace.
2. Brings the Family Closer
The home classroom fosters an environment of creativity, curiosity, trust, and encouragement. Children are less likely to become rebellious and angry under such conditions.
Anger and rebellion in the school system are often caused by the repression of creative thinking. This makes children feel powerless and frustrated.
Homeschooled teenagers are encouraged to be independent and responsible. They often enjoy loving and empathetic relationships with their family members.
3. Parents Learn as Much as Their Children
Parents learn new things through teaching their kids. When you explore a topic together with your children, you bridge the knowledge gaps you have.
In the home school class, both the child and tutor explore a subject together and engage in a discussion. Sometimes the practical applications of a subject arise.
This mode of education is much better than memorizing and replicating formulas and data.
4. Children Enjoy the Experience
Homeschooling comes with a lot of freedom, like:
- Flexible schedule
- They can focus on subjects that interest them
- Children can learn in their preferred style
- No restrictions on creativity
Needless to say, kids enjoy this level of freedom. Most of them would not trade it for the conventional school experience.
5. Homeschooling Fosters Responsibility
Kids constantly interact with adults in home school in different capacities. They are therefore able to see and emulate responsible behavior.
This interaction is in stark contrast to public schools where adults are seen solely as authority figures. This latter relationship can breed shyness or rebellion.
Homeschoolers frequently have to socialize with members of the community. They develop a balanced perspective of adulthood early in their life.
6. Homeschooling Fosters a Child’s Unique Interests and Passions
The absence of a core curriculum in homeschooling fosters the vibrant personalities and unique interests of children.
If your child has a very specific area of interest, homeschooling should nurture it. For example:
- Video game design
In a public school system, teachers have a rigid curriculum to adhere to. Such unique pursuits would, therefore, be stifled in favor of the standardized syllabus.
On the other hand, homeschooling will encourage these unique strengths and talents. Children, therefore, grow up as well-rounded individuals.
7. Children Interact With Various Professionals
Homeschoolers often interact with members of the community during field trips. This educates them on the various careers they can excel in.
Seeing successful adults excel in various fields is inspirational. Such interactions inspire young minds about their career paths and how to get to their dream job.
8. Flexible Schedule
You have the freedom to design the learning schedule that corresponds with your own itinerary.
The learning schedule works around planned family events such as holidays.
Furthermore, there is no rush to catch the school bus, so the kids catch the mandatory 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
9. Exposes New Skills
Homeschooling makes personal development inevitable for parents.
When you have to teach your kids a subject, you will familiarize yourself with it. With time, you will be proficient enough to teach something you never thought you could.
Your students will notice your dedication to learn and emulate it. What better lesson is there other than learning by example?
10. Reinforcing Family Values
One of the best arguments for homeschooling is that children receive an education that is in line with your values and principles.
Teaching at home gives you the carte blanche to choose what you believe should be reinforced.
The History of Homeschooling
It may come as a surprise that the homeschooling movement began half a century ago. In the 1970s, pioneers of educational reform fronted it as an alternative system of education.
Hundreds of years later, government statistics show that over 2 million children homeschool in the United States alone.
The number of students learning at home continues to rise rapidly across the world.
Many countries recognize homeschooling as a legitimate system of education. The United States has legalized homeschooling in all 50 states.
6 Steps on How to Start Homeschooling
Planning how to start homeschooling for the first time is a daunting task, and we get that.
The best way to go about it is to look at your overall goal first before making curriculum decisions. From that point, you can then trickle down to other smaller details.
The following six steps will guide you through the process of establishing a home school for your children.
Read About Your State’s Legal Requirements on Homeschooling
In the United States, homeschooling regulations fall under the jurisdiction of the State government.
It is crucial that you read through your state’s regulations to find out the threshold for legal homeschooling.
- Homeschools are regulated as private schools in some states
- There are specific laws governing homeschooling in some states
- There are no regulations at all in other states
Your state code, which is generally found online at the state’s main website contains updated and accurate legal information.
There are both state and local homeschool groups that can help newcomers understand the legislation. Don’t feel stuck with legalities, reach out for guidance.
Locate Other Homeschoolers and Activities Within Your Location
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling does not have to be isolating. Finding a community of other homeschoolers is essential for its success.
The local homeschooling community is of two types:
- Virtual community — an online community that offers support and encouragement to members online.
- In-person community — the community meets and participates in co-ops, outings, classes, etc.
Eliminating isolation is the key to successful homeschooling. The local communities help each other understand regulations and alleviate anxiety for new members.
What are the Available Homeschooling Methods?
When you are homeschooling your children, you do not have to recreate a traditional school environment.
This is the opportunity to let children learn in ways that are not possible in the school setting.
There are a number of homeschooling methods that you should take your time to carefully explore.
If your child was previously in a public school, both of you should go through an adjustment period.
This period runs from the time your child left school to when they begin homeschooling. Encourage your child to transition and let go of the school system as the norm.
This process is known as deschooling. Explore new learning methods and styles during this time.
Find Learning Resources
Hold out on buying a homeschooling curriculum too early before you have landed on an appropriate learning style for your child.
Only after you have sufficiently identified what your homeschooling will look like, should you buy the curriculum.
- Sometimes parents find that they are more comfortable with lifestyle learning rather than a core syllabus.
- Other times, parents give the child the freedom to explore their interests and let that guide the learning.
No matter what you end up with, please know that it is not a must to have a set curriculum.
However, it is a good idea to read curriculum reviews from those who have gone before you.
Visit Homeschool Events and Conferences
Visiting homeschooling conventions and events is a rich source of resources and community.
Do your due diligence to find out if the organizer’s philosophy matches your homeschooling ideas.
Speakers and resources will represent the organizers’ perspective. This way you know which event to filter out and which ones to attend.
If it is your first time, there are useful tips on how to get the most out of your homeschooling convention!
There will be an overload of information and resources, even for experienced homeschoolers. It is best to prepare on how to handle such a situation.
Build a Support Network
Chances are you already have a support system at home. Involve them in your new education plans so that they can help you out.
Homeschooling has a better chance of succeeding when there is collective effort from the people closest to you.
What better way for a family to bond than when they are teaching the young ones together?
How Homeschooling is Different from Public Education
Homeschooling is not simply transferring the public school set up to your home. It is a different approach and a radically different way of thinking about education.
Teaching at home is highly individualized to each child. It is for this reason that home learning does not have to look like a public school.
The following are some ways that homeschooling is different from public education:
Standard Learning Times
In schools, a lesson may go on for 45 to 90 minutes for all students. Lessons are organized this way to manage the large numbers.
In homeschooling, this schedule is made flexible based on a learner’s needs (for example, special needs students who cannot sit still for long periods of time). Reading lessons are done in small increments of time with breaks of hands-on lessons in between.
If the student is a science whiz, then science may take just 15 minutes to grasp while social studies may take 45 minutes, and so on.
In the learning area, the children substitute desks for a variety of seating options.
They can lie on the floor, sit on a picnic blanket on the lawn, learn facts while jumping about, or simply learn from their bed on a lap desk.
This arrangement is certainly beneficial for restless students since they now have the freedom to move.
Learners who can sit still and thrive in a relaxing environment can choose any setting that works for them.
In homeschooling, education is a long-term endeavor. Educators understand that their students will progress at different paces in various subjects. For this reason, learner milestones in homeschooling deviate from the standard public-school guidelines.
There is more focus on holistic learning over a long period of time rather than periodic achievements.
Collaborative learning is perhaps the best feature of homeschooling. It is a radical deviation from the school system’s didactic learning.
The tutor doesn’t teach a subject as an “expert.” Instead, there is a consistent collaboration between them and the children to study new ideas and information.
The learning process typically involves interacting, analyzing, questioning, and debate. This is unlike the domination of listening and taking notes in public and private schools.
Learners are encouraged to think critically rather than just memorize and recall facts.
Non-academic life skills in homeschooling are taught with the same emphasis as the academic ones.
The wide variety of life skills taught include but are not limited to:
- Money management
- Household repair
In addition, the academic skills that children learn are applied practically through household activities. This reinforces the application of skills learned.
Flexible Scope and Sequence
When a particular topic sparks the learner’s interest, the students are allowed to study the area more in-depth.
This subject is transformed into a unit of study complete with further research into the topic.
This method is unlike the rigid sequence and scope in public school that keeps the lesson moving to cover the entire syllabus.
A Variety of Learning Environments
The common class setting with one teacher can be substituted for differently structured classes.
Some learning environments created include the following:
- Distance learning via computer
- Cooperative learning between homeschooling families in a co-op
- Library education
- Neighborhood community college courses
- Tech lessons on iPads and computers
- Mentorship programs
Homeschooling employs the use of multiple curricula to cater to the individual needs of each student.
This is beneficial to each learner who does not have to conform to one standard fit curriculum. For instance, a family with two children homeschooling can have them going through two different syllabuses. This is to ensure that each child’s unique needs are met.
Ultimately, these are just a handful of differences between homeschooling and public school. However, they are enough to show parents that they do not have to model the home school after public school.
To do so would be to miss out on the many wonderful benefits of homeschooling.
Public schools will always stay for those who want them. Let homeschool provide education as you envision it to be.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
The well-documented benefits of homeschooling mean that more children than ever are in the system. Parents find the system more beneficial to them and their kids as compared to public education.
The benefits of homeschooling for the learner include the following:
- Homeschooling prioritizes the learner's physical, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs. These needs are addressed as soon as they show.
- Warm and friendly learning environment. The family provides the first and most important foundation to begin social development. It is also the best place to learn values and develop your faith.
- Homeschooling works with all personalities of kids. Whether your child is a genius, quiet, active, creative, quick-learner, slow-paced, or challenging, you will find a teaching style that suits them.
- The parent knows their child better, and they have the freedom to choose the learning style and pace. Parents design the schedule, syllabus, learning method, and even the graduation requirements.
- The homeschooling system fosters efficient learning. There is a low student to teacher ratio. Because of this, no time is wasted and teachers do not have a crushing workload.
- Holistic education is the focus. Tutors are not obliged to design their lessons to pass a test and pressure on a learner is eliminated because there is no testing mania or set minimum standards.
- When you homeschool, the learners have time for the activities that are cut out in public school. Activities such as arts, outdoor projects, and even science experiments are all widely available.
- Home scholars volunteer a lot of their time for community activities, programs, services, and even entrepreneurship.
- The home school system is flexible and accommodates various learner scenarios. Families that travel frequently, dealing with chronic illness, military service, or challenging work schedules can comfortably home school.
- By the time a homeschooler gets into college, they have a great transcript with less stress and burnout than most other students.
- Homeschooling is legally recognized as an alternative education system in all the United States, and many other countries around the world.
On the other hand, the parents themselves also reap several benefits from homeschooling. They include the following:
- Parents have the opportunity to continue their learning process. When you are learning with your child, you fill the knowledge gaps. You acquire new skills such as programming, new languages, (relearning) math, brushing up on your geography, and enjoying field trips.
- You have the opportunity to share your interests and hobbies with your children. You get more time to introduce your children to your passions than if they were at school full time. For example: you get to teach them how to invest, learn music, construction, constellations, etc.
- As a homeschooling parent, there will be multiple new ways to save money. You’ll spend less on school outfits, school fees, and private tuition fees. In addition, you’ll now be able to clinch those off-season vacation deals. Homeschooling on a budget is an attainable goal.
- You will have freedom from rigid schedules. As a parent, you are not beholden to the school schedule nor the school bus. Plan your children’s education in a way that works for you. Whether you prefer to tutor at night, weekly, or prefer some kind of yearly plan, it is all up to you.
- Personal development inevitably happens with the immersive experience of teaching and taking control of all the learning aspects of your child. Parents transform spiritually, philosophically, and emotionally.
- Some parents find that homeschooling is a good source of empowerment. It is a shared journey with different families where you have the same values, goals, labor, and challenges.
How to Create a Homeschooling Schedule
Homeschooling is an overwhelming endeavor but creating a schedule for it will help you.
Planning learning is a great way to eliminate stress and anxiety. Even if the daily homeschooling is not strict, it will help you arrange your day.
To begin creating a homeschool schedule, you need to have set your teaching goals, the subjects, and the methods of teaching.
Keep in mind that your family situation is unique, so create a plan for that situation. You will know that your schedule is right when it works for you, not against you.
The following are factors to consider when creating this schedule:
- Examine your family. Can your family honestly structure their time and stick to it? Some families cannot do this!
- If it is stressing you, restructure it again! Unlike school timetables, homeschooling schedules can be modified as many times as you need (within reason, of course).
- Keep the schedule dynamic. Doing the same thing every week will eventually get boring. Throw in something different alongside the regular schedule once in a while.
- Be flexible about the schedule you have created. If after considering all factors, the schedule isn’t still working, change it. Homeschooling is an inexact science.
Honestly speaking, homeschooling is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, those who have tried it the world over have reaped immense benefits.
It is possible to prepare but still homeschool your children poorly. This is due to the misconceptions concerning what good homeschooling should look like.
However, the biggest advantage of homeschooling is that you can quit it if it is not working for you and your children.