In today’s fast-paced, understaffed and sometimes dangerous public school environments, it is a heavy burden for parents to decide where to send their child to be educated. Socialization has such a large impact on children, and the wrong environment can set them up for a life of problems: Not to mention worrying about whether your child will be given the attention and direction they crave. It is for this reason so many parents are deciding Homeschooling is the best option.
Every family does a certain amount of homeschooling already, teaching many lessons along the way. Choosing to homeschool your children full time is a wonderful experience for any parent, as well as an opportunity for your child to be steps ahead of others their age. This is because a lot more can be accomplished in less time with individual attention. In a public school, a child has to compete with a lot more children.
Parents who homeschool their kids are also responsible to teach them the social aspects of dealing with people that are similar in age. Sports, having friends over and vice-versa, telephone conversations and social outings should all be regular parts of their weekly curriculum.
Some parents prefer to homeschool their children up to a certain age, feeling it better prepares them for mingling with other children and contributes to the development of a stronger identity earlier in life. For example, you may opt for homeschooling until your child is ten years old, then upon discussion with them, enroll them in school. By now, you have counseled them about things like choosing friends, respecting their elders, not being a bully, getting the most out of life. Of course, every child is different and many parents like to gauge from the child when they are ready to attend. Most children will reach a point where they start to ask why they don’t go to school like other children. For this reason it is also a great idea to socialize with other parents who homeschool so your children don’t feel like they are the only ones.
Ignoring all external factors, you need to seriously consider if you are the right type of parent to homeschool your child. You have to look inside yourself because everyone can’t do it. Ultimately your main reason has to be that you will thoroughly enjoy interacting, teaching and learning from and with your child, growing closer and getting to know each other better. Other questions to ask include:
I. Are you a patient person?
II. Do you possess excellent communication skills?
III. Do you multi-task with ease?
IV. Are you naturally organized?
V. Can you be objective with your child and criticize and correct as necessary?
VI. Are you naturally creative?
VII. Can the family survive on one income?
If your answer is yes to all but one or two, and they are areas you’re aware you need to work on, you may still like to give home schooling a try on a trial basis, if you answer yes to all of them, homeschooling is definitely suitable for you.
The next thing to look at is how does your child feel about being home-schooled? Some children are fully aware that in a short while they will be old enough to attend school, and they simply can not wait! Others are more sensitive, less sociable and less aware that is what children their age are doing. As best you can, have several discussions with your child to determine how they feel, and if they seem pleased to learn at home with mommy or daddy then you can begin.
Each state has its own level of control over children undergoing homeschooling. There can be either no regulations, low, moderate or high regulations: As the name suggests, every state has different rules and regulations regarding exam and test scores, hours spent studying, and some states make it more difficult to homeschool. States with no regulations don’t even require you to notify education departments or government authorities that your children won’t be attending regular school, and low usually requires notification only with no monitoring of competencies for students.
In preparing for homeschooling your child, you will need to gather materials such as books, lesson guides and plans, movies and other activities. The best thing you can do is work out whether your child learns more easily through looking, listening or hands on processes and design your lessons around that. The best resources are the library and websites designed specifically for homeschooling parents, and second hand shopping at flea markets or charity stores will often lead you to some excellent text books at very low costs. There are also pre-packaged home schooling courses available for extra guidance. It is a wonderful idea to try and incorporate the local environment whenever you can: for example, when learning about water, spend a day visiting different types of water in the local area. Educational outings are a great way to ingrain knowledge through all the senses, so research ahead of time where you can possibly take your child for some real life examples that relate to what they are learning.
There are some common mistakes made by parents homeschooling their children, and being aware of them is all it takes to avoid them. Be sure to make your child reach beyond their current knowledge, as far too many parents don’t express any expectations and fail to motivate the child to do better. Be sensitive to the way they learn instead of teaching the way you find it easiest to learn, and don’t give the child control over the schedule. Make sure the class plan is clearly established, stating upfront how long you will spend on each subject and enforce rules in the “classroom” relating to being tidy, raising their hands with a question, break times and consequences for their actions, good or not so good.
When you are sure this is the avenue you want to take, you should subscribe to some good homeschooling websites or newsletters such as Homeschool Success News. There are programs to aid parents in teaching at home, chat rooms and other networking mediums for parents to compare and learn from each others ideas and experiences. Homeschooling is an opportunity for parent and child to bond deeply in a safe and controlled environment, and they are years you will treasure in your memory for ever.