Homeschooling is not a new concept. In fact, approximately 2 million students in the US are being homeschooled today.
Owing to the changing school system and shift to online learning, homeschooling is in fact getting an immense increase in popularity. Parents are increasingly adopting homeschooling for their children over traditional teaching methods as it offers multiple advantages. Personalized learning, absence of cliques or bullying, and supporting learning disabled children are just a few benefits to mention.
The trend is catching everyone’s attention and is also flooding the parent community with a lot of concerns and myths. Before you decide to homeschool your child (or not!), read the following 7 pointers for better clarity and optimal decision making:
1. First, let’s bust the myths!
This is super important!! Before you decide to jump onto the homeschooling bandwagon or to dismiss it completely, let’s bust a few myths. It is likely that you have heard the following from your peers and friends, but remember that these are simply popular myths associated with homeschooling:
- Only highly educated parents should consider homeschooling (Not at all! To be able to teach basics you don’t need to have extensive knowledge in the subject)
- Homeschooling is not effective for children beyond primary classes (Not at all true, homeschooling benefits all students)
- Homeschooling means disrupting a working parent’s own career (With the right tutors’ help and a fixed homeschooling curriculum and routine, your career won’t go for a toss!)
- A parent must be able to teach every subject while homeschooling their child (Again, you don’t need to know and teach it all! There are plenty of tutors available for personalized attention and help for your child.)
- Homeschooling means saving all the extra fees and spending on school (wrong! Read point no. 3 for more ‘balanced’ information.)
- Homeschooling makes your child a recluse (read point no. 2)
- Homeschooled children don’t score well on standardized tests (Big no! In fact, it is found that homeschoolers score substantially higher on standardized tests than public school students, on average.)
2. Weigh the pros and cons, specifically for your own situation
Every parent’s situation is different and you must be objective while evaluating your situation. For example, a single parent might want to homeschool their child differently as compared to others. Assess your personal and professional situation thoroughly before taking up homeschooling. You might have to plan a lot of smaller things, for instance:
- Daily meals (which would be taken care of by the school otherwise)
- Noise levels of your residential area (is it silent enough to let your child concentrate for a large part of the day)
- Availability of a separate room for your child or a dedicated study area and a play area, etc.
- Presence of other children around your home for your child to interact and play with (this prevents them from becoming overly introvert)
- Access to parks and other outdoors for recreational activities to avoid making your child entirely homebound.
3. Plan the basic infrastructure and routine
Remember, homeschooling is not akin to teaching your child at home during summer vacations! It requires planning and a lot of discipline to make it effective.
You should be willing to invest in setting up an infrastructure and a timetable for studying at home to facilitate effective long-term learning. Here are a few things to begin with:
- A dedicated, comfortable desk and chair (don’t count on that dining table!)
- A well-ventilated room with lots of scope for sunlight and fresh air to flow in
- Play area/ creativity corner – to keep boredom at bay (should be separate from study area ideally)
- Books and reading material
- Access to small equipment and DIY projects to simulate experiments and make learning more practical without missing the school labs
Suggested Reading: 6 Ideas to Transform Your Home into the Perfect Homeschool Learning Space
4. Be aware of the important role tutors can play
Needless to say, one cannot be an expert in everything. As a parent, you might find it difficult to teach some subjects to your child.
So you should check whether you can easily search for a tutor for the subject you find difficult to teach.
Before you decide to homeschool your child, ask yourself these 3 questions, and answer them objectively:
- Will your busy lifestyle permit for a daily time span entirely devoted to homeschooling your child? (Yes/No)
- Are you confident in teaching all subjects and art to your child with equal ease? (Yes/No)
- Do you feel you are ready to be 100% accountable for your child’s academic (and extracurricular) performance alone? (Yes/No)
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, then you must consider hiring a tutor for your child. Talentnook is here to make your job of hiring a tutor who would be most effective for your child’s learning needs. Explore thousands of tutor profiles to help your child with Math, Science, English, Painting, Spanish, and even piano lessons alike!
5. Discuss everything thoroughly with your child (if they’re old enough)
You must discuss the pros and cons of homeschooling your child thoroughly. Encouraging them to look at the positives is one thing, but if your child seems totally reluctant to let go of the school setup – do not force them.
You can assure them that you will take them to meet their friends, have play dates at parks, make them participate in contests, etc. If they still insist on going back to school, try homeschooling for a few weeks and ask them how they feel about it.
Suggested Reading: 5 Things Parents Must Do to Build Social Skills in Homeschoolers
6. Know the importance of community support
Homeschooling can be daunting at times and hence, community support is of incredible help. Find like-minded parents and discuss with them homeschooling scope, challenges, innovative teaching ideas, etc. Your child can also become friends with other homeschooled children and won’t feel isolated.
Being a part of homeschool support groups can help a lot. In such a group, you can meet other parents who are homeschooling their children and discuss the best ways of teaching. And your child can mix up with other homeschooling kids.
Here are some ways to find homeschool support groups:
- Ask your neighbors, friends, relatives, and colleagues about such groups
- Use the help of social media to find out support groups
- Search online
You can also consider starting your own homeschool support group to meet other parents and children.
7. Know the laws before you decide to homeschool
And lastly, educate yourself on the homeschooling laws if you aren’t aware of them already. Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states of the US. However, particular homeschooling laws can differ from one state to another. Some states, including New York, Vermont, and Rhode Island are known to have the most restrictive homeschool laws.
While, Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, and Indiana have the least restrictive homeschooling law. Therefore, you must check the laws in your state before you decide to homeschool your child.
If you want to check homeschool laws in your home country, here is an easy-to-use tool to do.
We hope this article has helped you think deeper about homeschooling. Should you have more questions, feel free to reach out to us. Our homeschooling experts will be happy to help you take an informed call!