The term ‘homeschooling’ basically refers to the process in which one or more children are instructed by parents or legal guardians, with or without the help of tutors. The laws that define homeschooling vary from state to state. The legal requirements for establishing a homeschool also vary with the state. Check out this site to see the homeschooling laws in your state.
For most children, the actual process of learning begins much before school. Many children already know the alphabet, the
names of animals, colors and other more complicated stuff before they reach school. This is mostly due to the hard work of a parent or family member who has taken the time to teach the child the basics. So…congratulations! You’ve already started homeschooling! Homeschooling is really just a natural progression from here. Rather than attending public school, parents are able to make their own curriculum and teach their children in ways that best suit the child. This includes uses the best learning methods for your child (auditory, tactile, visual, etc), incorporating your own religious views, and planning fun field trips.
Before beginning homeschooling, there are some important matters for to take into consideration. First off, meet with parents of other homeschoolers and ask them how they like it – honestly! Find as many pros and cons of homeschooling as you can – make lists if that helps you! Then, ask yourself why you are considering this method: your child is struggling/excelling at school and not getting the attention they need, unsafe schools, religious reasons, etc… This is a very important part of the decision – how clear and sincere is your reason for doing this?a
Next, it is time to consider the expenses of homeschooling. It may cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand every year. More importantly, you may be shutting out a job opportunity for one of the parents. One parent will have to stay at home most of the time in order to homeschool, and I know you already know this, but be prepared for any loss of income this may cause. A home-based business, like running a website (wink, wink), is a great solution to bring in some extra money.
One of the main worries from parents is that they aren’t qualified to homeschool their child. Remember, teaching is a continuation of your own learning process. The internet, books, and all kinds of other resources are available for those interested in homeschooling and there are all kinds of teaching methods to explore. One style of teaching may better suit your family than another. Also, don’t forget about online options, tutors, local college professors and students, and other homeschool parents who may excel at teaching a particular subject. You’re definitely not in this by yourself!
It helps if you know what kind of learning style your child has. This quiz may help. Also, find out how your child feels about homeschooling before you start. Are they excited? Sad? Be sure to take their feelings seriously. This affects them in a huge way.
Every state has its own laws regarding homeschooling. For instance, in Arkansas (where I live), you must first file a ‘Notice of
Intent’ to start a home school by August 15th. The basic curriculum is outlined, number of weeks per year, and number of hours per day. Up until this school year, every student third grade and up was required to take a standardized test, but that requirement has recently been lifted. Be sure to check your state’s requirements before you make a decision to homeschool. Some states are stricter than others!
Homeschooling may seem like a lot of fun and freedom from the outside, and most days it is. BUT homeschooling is a lot of added responsibility and hard work. Total strangers will openly challenge your educational choice and it can be upsetting, I won’t lie! For me, all of the work, tears, and preparation are rewarded by my kids’ sweet smiles, lazy breakfasts together, and learning everything again through their eyes.