Homeschooling can be a wonderful way to educate your children, and provide them with an amazing school experience. However, before you take on the very significant burden of homeschooling there are some things that you will need to get done. The good news is you can read all about the most important ones in the post below.
Assess your child’s learning styles and levels
First of all, before you do anything else you will need to assess the level of learning and development your child is currently at. Indeed, if you do not do this beforehand you could end up creating an entire curriculum that is too easy or hard for them, or one that doesn’t suit the way that they take in information, which can be a real disaster for all concerned as you will end up frustrated and your child won’t be able to engage fully with the learning you are offering.
In particular, assessing your child’s progress in the basic foundations of education such as math, and reading can be a great place to start, for both older and younger students. Of course, kids will learn different skills at different rates, but you can get an idea of younger children’s levels by checking out posts like this one on what age do kids learn to read, which breaks down typical progress by age. Something that will then allow you to match the reading materials you supply them with for homeschool appropriately.
When it comes to learning style there are also quizzes that you can get your kids to take to see whether they favor visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinetic learning. Although, there is also value to building all these styles into your curriculum, as it will keep your child engaged and also help them to access information in alternative ways and develop skills that may not be inherent.
Choose your curriculum
Once you have assessed your child’s learning style and level, it’s time to come up with a curriculum. A curriculum is a plan of what you will teach them over the year and should at the most basic level include what subjects you will be covering so you can supply these to your school district superintendent when dealing with the legal aspect of homeschooling, as discussed in more detail below.
However, it is also worth noting that a curriculum can be far more detailed than just a list of subjects too, and many homeschool parents find it helpful to plan things in more detail, including topics within each subject they will cover, as well as the aim of the learning, the activities they will complete, and the necessary resources. Indeed, by going into such detail you will help yourself stay organized and make the task of planning for each homeschool day a great deal easier.
Alternatively, it is also worth noting that you can buy curriculums for homeschooling fully made. This is a great option for busy parents and those that are new to the homeschooling game or that need some additional structure and resources to build their child’s learning around.
Deal with the legal stuff of homeschooling
The law differs from state to state when it comes to homeschooling, but no matter where you live it is important that you follow the guidelines laid down by your local government. Usually, this means two things.
The first is that you will have to let your child’s old school know that you will be educating them at home. This is best done with a formal or certified letter. Secondly, you will need to let your child’s school district superintendent know of your intention to homeschool, something that should also include a list of subjects to be covered in your curriculum.
Consider all the options
Many people labor under the belief that homeschooling is an endeavor that isolates both parent and child. However, in this connected age, this does not have to be the case. Indeed, there are plenty of homeschooling organizations that can offer support to parents, as well as some great groups online and in real life that can facilitate connections between students, allowing them to form valuable friendships outside of the household as well work on their social skills and complete group work.
There are even online schooling services that can offer all or part of the curriculum you wish to cover each year with access to an expert tutor. Therefore it’s well worth exploring all the options that are available to your and your kids before you begin homeschooling.
Create a schedule that works for your family
Finally, before you begin homeschooling you need to create a schedule that will work for you and your family. Indeed, there are many benefits of a schedule including better time management, better transitions between home and school life and each lesson, as well as a sense of agency for your child as they will know what they are expected to do, when.
However, unlike traditional schooling, homeschooling does offer the advantage of being more flexible in your scheduling. Of course, the way you approach this flexibility is entirely up to you. For example, some families may prefer to have a set schedule each day but start and end it far earlier than a traditional school would. Thereby better fitting it in with when their kids are awake and focused, and leaving extra time for family activities in the afternoon.
Alternatively, some families may build in some flexibility into their schedule allowing kids to read books of their choosing or research topics they are interested in. Then making use of these resources to teach specific skills such as Science, Math, English, History, or the like.
Indeed, perhaps the only proviso that we would suggest when it comes to scheduling is to not be too strict with it down to the minute. After all, one of the most significant benefits of homeschooling is that it can be much more easily shaped to meet the needs and preferences of your children. Something that makes it particularly effective when it comes to their education.