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To decide whether or not homeschooling is right for your family, research the subject online to get information about state-specific regulations and local homeschooling cooperatives. Look into possible curriculum programs and consider your family’s circumstances – where you stand financially, the number of children you have, and any possible health concerns or special needs. Consider whether or not your child’s individual learning style and social habits seem conducive to home education. Speak to your child about the issue and make sure that they are comfortable with the idea of homeschooling before making your decision.
Method 1 of 3:
Evaluating Your Family’s Circumstances
Takes finances into account. There are a lot of financial considerations to think about with regard to homeschooling, which can cost a family anywhere from $300 to $1000 per year. In order for a parent to homeschool their child or children, they must be home for most of the day, which precludes most regular, full-time employment. If you are living in a two-parent household, determine whether you family can subsist on one salary alone; if you are a single parent, determine if you can support your family by working on a part-time basis, or reconsider homeschooling as an option.
Alternatively, you should also factor in the money you will save by homeschooling children – e.g. not paying private school fees (if applicable), or travel costs to transport your child to school and back every day.
Factor in the size of your family. Consider the size of your family before deciding whether or not homeschooling is right for your children. Home education can be difficult for large families and requires a prioritization of subjects learned and age groups focused on. Some subjects will likely have to be combined, while children with large age gaps will have to be separated at different junctures.
Try plotting out a hypothetical school day to see if it would be feasible to cover lesson plans for all of your children, while ensuring that they are all monitored, entertained, and properly cared for (e.g. completing lessons on fractions and spelling with a seven-year-old child, as well as lessons on geometry and the solar system with a twelve-year-old child.)
Think about homeschooling goals. When deciding whether or not to homeschool your child, consider what your goals would be with this undertaking. Make a list of things that you would like to achieve with your child during the first year of homeschooling. Some of these aims might include:
meeting or exceeding state requirements for grades
adapting to your child’s learning style
getting closer as a family
keeping control of school days
Consider special needs or health concerns. If your child suffers from health problems or has special needs, homeschooling may be an ideal option. Learning at home may provide a safe, peaceful, and healing environment for your child to thrive in. Additionally, there will be significantly less exposure to colds and viruses often spread between students in classrooms; this is important for sick children who are especially vulnerable, but worth considering for any child’s health.
Recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. Taking on the responsibility of educating your child means assessing your own strengths and weaknesses and deciding what areas of study you might require help with teaching. Make a list of subjects that you don’t have a strong background in, or that you struggled with as a student. Consider seeking help from your partner, family, friends, a homeschooling co-op, or tutors.
Consider online classes, where you can access expert teaching in the subjects on your list to supplement your homeschooling curriculum.
Considering Your Child’s Individual Wants and Needs
Evaluate your child’s learning style. If you are thinking about homeschooling, ask yourself how your child learns best – most importantly, do they have difficulty learning in a traditional school environment? Homeschooling allows parents to customize lessons based on the learning style (or styles) that their child responds best to. Based on feedback from your child’s teachers or your own observations, determine which of these three primary learning styles fits best:
Auditory: learning through hearing
Visual: learning by visually organizing information
Kinesthetic: hands-on learning
Think about your child’s social habits. Take your child’s social habits into account before deciding on homeschooling. If they are highly social and feel the need to be around other children their age, homeschooling may not be the right option for them; if they shy away from social situations or experience bullying and teasing at school, homeschooling might be a positive change for them. Assess your child’s social habits by asking them questions about their friends; if your child is currently in a traditional school, ask teachers for some insight into how they interact with other students.
Note that homeschooled children can experience a level of socialization comparable to what they would have in a traditional school if the effort is made to focus on their social skills (e.g. enrollment in group sports, play dates).
Be prepared for questions your child might ask. Questions are an important part of learning as they encourage critical thinking. For the most part it is your child’s questions, and not thought-stopping answers, that promote learning. Be prepared to follow your child’s unique train of thought and learning process by researching topics beforehand or by finding reliable, easily accessible online references to ensure that you’re leading them in the right direction.
Bookmark reliable websites to consult to answer your child’s questions about particular subjects, or to guide their thought process along (e.g. bookmark the NASA website for answers to your child’s questions about the solar system.)
Discuss the issue with your child. Before making any decisions with regard to homeschooling, it is important to speak with your child and understand their feelings about it. Let your child know what home education would entail, and what they might like and dislike about it; be sure to let them know that their feelings are very important. Forcing a child to be homeschooled against their wishes may result in poor learning performance, and cause a strain on your parent/child relationship.
To get honest answers, be direct and ask your child questions like, “Instead of going to school during the week, would you like learning your lessons with me at home?”
Read up on the rules. Before making a decision about homeschooling, look up the rules pertaining to your state. Homeschooling is legal in all states, but some states may require you to outline the curriculum you’ve chosen to teach, or provide proof of your own educational qualifications. Visit the Home School Legal Defense Association’s website at https://www.hslda.org/laws for the homeschooling regulations of your state.
Consider possible curriculum plans. One of the biggest draws of homeschooling is the ability to develop a unique curriculum for your child, but that endeavor may be overwhelming to some. There are also pre-made curriculums available, which are ideal for those who are new to homeschooling as they are simple to follow, establish a schedule for learning, and allow for simple record-keeping. Start with a free pre-packaged program, many of which are available online.
For instance, visit lessonpathways.com – a free web service offering online resources for homeschooling.
Talk to your child about what they enjoy studying, and what they’d like to learn more about. That can help you plan a curriculum that will keep them more engaged.
Look up local homeschooling co-operatives. Homeschooling cooperatives are groups of families who join together to educate their children. Families can split up teaching and activity-planning between themselves, with responsibilities being divided based on preferences, experience, availability, and resources. Search online for homeschooling cooperatives near you; with home education rising in popularity, the number of support groups and resources is constantly growing.
Look into extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities can provide homeschooled kids with social opportunities and friendships, physical activity, team participation, and leadership skills; they can also give your child an advantage when applying to college. Inquire about available lessons, courses, or hobby groups at community centres, churches, or local volunteer organizations. Allow your child to choose an activity that reflects their interests, which could include:
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