The decision on whether or not to homeschool your child is a huge one. There are lots of aspects to take into account, both practical and emotional, and it’s not a choice that can be made lightly.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some of the most important points to mull over before starting on your homeschooling journey, and scoured the web for some useful resources.
Is homeschooling for you?
First of all, is homeschooling the right decision for your family? It’s likely that, if you’re seriously considering home schooling your child, you’re enthusiastic enough to be able to put in the effort required. However, there’s more to consider than whether you’re willing to give up your time; are your finances up to it? Are your partner and child also on board with the idea?
Find a support network
In a regular school environment, the teachers have the support of their colleagues, which can prove invaluable both for practical tips and emotional stability – and there’s no reason why you can’t experience the same kind of help. This forum is a great place to start, and this Facebook group is great for gifted children.
Image credit: mpimentel001
However, as useful as online forums can be, there’s nothing like actually meeting up with supportive friends. Getting family on board is fantastic, but if yours are staunchly against your choice, don’t panic. There is more than likely a homeschooling group in your area, or at least a few other homeschooling parents who can offer support. If there isn’t a group set up, why not start your own?
As well as helping you out as an educator, a homeschooling community can be incredibly beneficial for your child. They’ll learn important social lessons, and teaming up with other homeschoolers means that you can pool your skillsets and provide your children with teachers who are proficient in a variety of areas.
While it’s not necessary to have a degree to teach your preschooler, it certainly pays to do your homework in advance. If you’re planning on still homeschooling your child throughout their primary and secondary education, you’ll need to bone up on your skills so that you can teach effectively. If following a curriculum, check what your child will be covering in the future, and practise until you feel comfortable.
Check out resources
The internet contains a wealth of information on every subject you could imagine, making it a homeschooler’s dream. Resources on specific homeschooling websites are of course incredibly useful, but one of the best aspects of the internet, especially for homeschoolers who are following a child-led approach, is that there are no limits, and it’s easy to go on an unplanned learning journey.
Image credit: jimmiehomeschoolmom
Sometimes, though, the internet falls short. Learning about nature is almost always done best in your own garden or local park, and science experiments can inspire hildren much more than any documentary. Look around your home and local area for educational opportunities.
Determine your educational style
How your plan your lessons and structure your child’s education all depends on which approach you take to homeschooling. There are so many ways to approach homeschooling that the subject deserves a blog post in itself, but here is a breakdown of some of the more common styles. Most homeschoolers take aspects of various approaches and create their own style.
- Unschooling. This involves an entirely child-led approach to learning. Parents facilitate learning opportunities based on what the child is interested in, the idea being that if the child is genuinely interested, they’ll learn faster.
- Unit studies. This approach focuses on one topic at a time, looking at it from various angles and going into a fair amount of depth. There are resources available to buy for a variety of topics, which can free up your time somewhat.
- Classical homeschooling. Some of the most highly regarded brains in history went through a classical schooling method, which featured five aspects known as the trivium: reason, record, research, relate and rhetoric. This book is a great place to start.
- Practitioner-led. Educational experts Montessori, Mason and Waldorf created programmes for education that are popular with homeschoolers, focusing on creative expression and learning at the child’s pace.
Look at the legalities
In the UK, homeschooling your child is legal and there’s no need to follow a set curriculum, though the council is entitled to check on your child’s education. In the US, however, each state’s rules and regulations are different, so make sure that you’re aware of the law where you live before you start.
Hi there, I’m Ricky, I work at UKTutors.com as a private tutor and I also help parents and students to find the right tutor for their needs. You can learn more here. Whilst I’m not working I enjoy writing about education and parenting.