It is safe to say that 2020 has been an extraordinary year.
Parents worldwide were abruptly tossed into a situation where they were doing at least a portion of their child’s education at home. Many were partnering with a teacher who facilitated online learning, while others were completely delivering the curriculum themselves. Many of these mothers, fathers, grandparents, and caregivers were formally teaching children for the very first time.
Something interesting happened in this shift; parents who had never considered the notion of homeschooling before are now seeing it as a viable alternative to a traditional classroom setting.
Some children who had struggled with the rigor and standardization of practice seemed to adapt better to learning at home. Others had always found it difficult to focus in the classroom, and were finding it easier to absorb and retain the material in their home. Some parents found this new dynamic exceptionally difficult, and not a long-term solution, but the health and safety concerns of their family are now rendering in- person school a difficult option.
Does this sound familiar?
Do these sound like some of the factors leading you to consider learning at home for your child?
Making the decision to homeschool is not an easy decision. It will play out differently for everyone, and each unique family has their own set of unique influencing factors.
This list of 5 Questions to Consider will hopefully help you to discern what that decision could look like for you.
1. What is the guiding principle in why I want to homeschool my child?
Was the pace of the classroom delivery too slow for your child? Too fast? Does your child simply learn better without the noise and distractions of the classroom?
Are you viewing the school as an unsafe place to send your child?
Is the core focus of education that you desire (I.e. faith-based or arts-based schooling) simply not available in your area?
Figure out the reason why you are leaning towards homeschooling and let this be what your build your homeschool plan around.
2. What are the legal requirements in your area?
Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the US, and all provinces are territories in Canada. You will want to check with the local school board and see what requirements there are for registration (if any) with the board. This could also be your way to access funding. This will vary from state to state, or province to province, but funding is typically available to homeschooled students for the academic year.
3. What Curriculum will you use?
There are so many options for homeschool curriculum! Here is just a sampling of resources to explore:
How to Homeschool regularly publishes the Top 10 Curriculums available in the US.
Life Beyond the Lesson Plan has some wonderful recommendations, and also some unique literature-based modules and activites.
Seton Home Study is widely lauded and popular choice for Catholic curriculum.
Crosswalk has a very comprehensive guide available for Christian non-denominational curriculums.
Atelier offers award-winning art-based curriculum for ages 4-16.
Check out this article on HOW to DECLUTTER YOUR CHILD's SCHOOLWORK.
4. What will the physical space look like in your home?
Dare to think beyond the kitchen table.
The reason that classrooms are designed the way that they are is because years of research on how children learn, collaborate, and grow has fed into the configurations, colors, and structure.
Not a Fancy Mama has a comprehensive and informative tour of what their homeschool space looks like. They even have a class pet!
The key factors here are to think about what your kids need to learn. How do they retain information? When do they get excited about what they are learning? How does that change throughout the day? What will different types of subject matter require?
The best news here is that you, as their parent, know them best and can start to think about this early on in the decision-making process.
5. What will your Journey look like?
What will each day look like? Each month? The school year as a whole?
It seems like what you need is a roadmap. Luckily, I'm a Teaching Mom has created just that – a how to guide to mapping out your homeschool journey, with a free workbook for visual people like me! Homeschool By Design is one of the best resources currently available, and will help you to visualize what this road will look like for you and your family.
Whatever the decision ends up looking like, the fact that you are considering these 5 Important Homeschooling Factors mean that you are already working in the best interest of your child. Keep rocking and rolling!
If you have other resources that you have already found useful, please drop a comment below so that others can check them out!