By Guest Author
For the 2011-2012 school year, around 3% of the school-age population in the U.S. — those ages 5 to 17 — chose homeschooling. Currently, that number is much higher due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many parents prefer the academic flexibility that comes with homeschooling, feeling they can better meet their children’s educational needs. Others say the opportunity promotes family and community involvement. No matter your reason for making the switch, you can learn how to help your kids in the public school to homeschool transition with these tips:
1. Create a Learning Space
It can be challenging to maintain focus when you work in the same space where you play, eat meals, and spend time with family. To help your child achieve success, designate a specific spot in your home for learning. For instance, instead of a home office, create a home classroom. Add a desk, chalkboard or whiteboard, school supplies, and exciting posters.
2. Identify Their Learning Style
If you want your child to shine, identify, and cater to their learning style. Visual learners, for instance, excel when they can see and observe things — they prefer graphs, charts, and images. Auditory learners, on the other hand, reinforce concepts with sound. Your child might also be a kinesthetic learner or absorb information best through reading and writing.
3. Seek Out Reputable Resources
Those new to homeschooling can benefit from online resources. Your state may offer some of these for free. You’ll find lesson plans, videos, quizzes, games, activities, and much more. Always look at the topics covered and make sure they’re on par with your child’s education level. A second-grade math game, for instance, likely shouldn’t include questions on graphing or the quadratic formula.
4. Plan for an Adjustment Period
Adjusting to homeschooling will take time for both you and your young one. Don’t expect the public school to homeschool transition to be instant. Instead, plan for a period where you both learn to manage your expectations. Be flexible, as it may take time to determine what works and what doesn’t. After a while, your kid will build up momentum and be a homeschooling pro.
5. Ask for Their Opinion
During this transition, you and your child will notice the differences and similarities between public school education and homeschooling. Ask your child how they feel about the experience, including what they like and don’t like. If they aren’t connecting with a certain activity, you can try something else. Ensuring your kid is engaged and curious is the best way to foster knowledge.
6. Try Online Tutoring
Online tutoring can be an excellent addition to your child’s homeschool curriculum. Tutors and teachers are on call and available whatever time is convenient for your family, whether it’s 10 a.m. or 9 p.m. With high-tech tools like video conferencing, interactive whiteboards, file sharing and more, it’s easy to collaborate — even when your tutor is on the other side of the country.
The right person will solidify your kid’s understanding of essential concepts and present new challenges, and you can seek support in various different subjects, since you might not feel equipped to take on advanced questions in all of them.
7. Acknowledge Their Progress
Transitioning to homeschool from public school can be challenging. To lead your child down the right path, acknowledge their progress. Beyond a correct answer or excellent test score, recognize their effort and positive attitude. Model what you want to see by displaying these behaviors yourself, too.
8. Nurture Socialization Habits
With homeschooling, your child won’t get to see hundreds of other kids each day. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t socialize. Encourage them to spend time with their friends, whether they catch fireflies in the backyard or play at the park. They can even socialize online with video calls, multiplayer games, virtual clubs, and more.
9. Embrace the Need for Breaks
According to researchers, people need to take a break every 50 minutes to maintain mental stamina. Brief diversions — such as a walk around the block or a game of catch — can significantly improve one’s ability to focus. When you schedule your lessons, be sure to make time for rest, too. Your child will enjoy the playtime, but they’ll also perform better when sitting at a desk.
10. Connect With Other Families
It’s easy for both you and your child to feel isolated when homeschooling. Get some much-needed support by connecting with other homeschool families. While the kids play together and socialize, the adults can discuss challenges and educational choices. With someone to lean on, you can process your feelings better and get through obstacles.
Homeschooling can be an excellent decision for many families. Still, transitioning to homeschool and away from public institutions can be difficult. Give the above trips and try and remember to make changes as needed for the best possible homeschooling experience.
About the Author
Alyssa Abel is an education and learning writer who talks about strategies for parents, students, and educators. In addition to running and writing for her own college and career blog, she has her work regularly featured on education sites like HerCampus, CollegeXpress, Collegiate Parent, Student Minds, and more. Follow her work on her website, Syllabusy.