Homeschooling is the home education of a child by their parents. In North America, children must either attend a public or private school, however, some have chosen to educate their children themselves. They become responsible for their children’s education. Each state or province have their own set of regulations and requirements for homeschoolers. It can be as easy as a simple letter to notify the school board or it can involve curricula management and yearly testing.
There are several reasons a family may choose to homeschool:
religious or political reasons
learning issues or concerns not being addressed by the school
unwanted exposure to pop culture
gifted student not being challenged
need for family togetherness
Whatever the reason is, homeschooling can address many concerns with respect to the student. Parents can be the best teacher for a child because they have their best interests at heart and are willing to accommodate their needs. However, the parent is not a trained teacher, thank goodness there are loads of homeschool curricula on the market to aid the parent in each subject. There is also the option of outsourcing certain subjects by hiring a tutor or using online schools or co-ops. There are so many options now that the difficulty lies in choosing what material is best for the student.
If you’ve finally decided to homeschool there are several things to consider first before you begin.
Each state or province has their own set of regulations or requirements that must be met, you must ensure that those rules are followed in order to continue homeschooling. For example, in Ontario, we are not required to keep records of our students nor do we have to complete any testing. This is different in Alberta, where there are check ins from regulatory bodies, but there is also money available for curriculum.
Decide what philosophy of homeschooling you’d like to follow or use as a guide in your homeschool. You don’t have to adhere to any one method but it’s nice to know what is out there and you never know which method will line up with your goals and desires for your homeschool.
Determine what type of learner your child is and also what kind of teaching style you have as well. You’ll find that if you do not exhibit the same traits, then you’ll have a bit more of a difficult time adjusting but it can happen.
Decide which curriculum you will be using and set aside time to spend researching different homeschool curricula from various publishers. Purchasing books for each subject with multiple children in addition to extra-curricular activities can really add up. You’ll need to find the best places to shop and best online or local resources to buy them used or at a discount.
Homeschool Lesson Planning
You’ll need to develop a schedule and lesson plans for your family, this can seem daunting at first but if you take things one step at a time and leave yourself ample time to do so, you should be all set for the year. Things will always come up, changes will have to be made, but all you can do is adapt to the new changes. I won’t focus on lesson planning in this series but you’re welcome to read my 31 Days to a Better Planned Homeschool series to get a load of printables to help you.
Tell Your Family and Friends
Keep your family and friends at bay after they decide you’re crazy for homeschooling (actually you are on your own for that one). I hate fielding questions about why we’re homeschooling so I do try not to bring it up in regular conversation unless they ask. Luckily, I’ve built up an awesome network of homeschool friends who can share in your pain and triumphs.
I suggest speaking with local homeschoolers to see what resources are available in your area and they’ll be able to answer any questions or squash any fears you may have.
This post is a part of my 31 day series – Ultimate List of Homeschooling Questions.