2020 has been a rough ride for everyone. Many parents are struggling to decide whether to send their kids to school or try and homeschool. Either way it's a tough decision.
If you're considering homeschooling your child this year but don't know where to start, don't fret.
By the time you finish this, you will feel confident to begin your homeschooling journey today.
Know your state regulations
Every state is different when it comes to homeschooling. Some states require you to keep a record of progress and attendance and some states are more relaxed. It is your duty to determine your state laws and be aware of the school district policies.
A great resource is The Homeschool Legal Defense Association, which is an advocacy organization that provides legal protection and educational support through membership for homeschooling families.
This website has all of the state laws around homeschooling.
Know your child’s learning style
Instead of asking “How do I teach my child?” ask yourself “How does my child learn?”
Often times we feel the need to interact with our children from an authority stance. When it is much simpler to observe and guide.
Your child has his or her own learning style, as do you. Look at the picture below and ask yourself, What ways have you noticed your child is the most focus when learning something new?
If you don’t have an answer, that’s ok. Take this time to observe your child while he or she is playing, learning or engaged and write down what you see.
Keep a little journal or use the notes in your phone to make note of your child’s response when you are showing them a new skill or reviewing an old one.
Do they accomplish the skill when you show them how to do it? Maybe they complete it successfully when their favorite song is on... or maybe they do it faster when it’s a group effort.
Understanding your child’s learning style, will help you tailor your teaching style to their needs. This will help you both better connect and create a positive learning environment.
When and where to homeschool
Homeschooling can be fun for parents. If you’re one of those parents who enjoy decorating your child’s room and making cute schedules, this may be your favorite part.
If you have the space to create a homeschooling room, great! Decorate away! You might enjoy our upcoming series of Designing your homeschool room. So make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated!
You don’t need a big area to homeschool. Not even a full room! A corner or part of the dining room table would suffice. A cart or caddy with today’s supplies (books, pencils, art supplies etc) will be super helpful. This way you have more time connecting and teaching than looking for supplies for the next activity.
Your schedule for homeschooling should be during a time that works for both you and your child. Some things to consider before creating the time schedule is:
Age: Teenagers need no more than 6 hours per day for learning and the time decreases if your child is younger. Review the photo to see how much time your child needs.
Mood: Are you a morning person or a night owl? What about your child? Are they super hyper early in the morning and as the day continues they just lose steam? It may be easier to set your homeschooling time when your child is in their best mood. Think about it, we all learn better when we feel better.
Work: If you have to work whether remotely or in office, you still can homeschool. Here are some examples:
Plan your homeschooling time in the evening when you’re done with work (5p-7p)
Homeschool during your work breaks and give independent activities when you’re back on the clock (remote working).
Homeschool on the weekends or your days off
Understanding your child’s goals
How do I know what to teach my child? What do they need to learn? These can be tricky questions.
If you don’t know where to begin, start by looking at your states core standards which can be found by going to www.corestandards.org and finding your state. From there you can find what your state wants your child to learn by grade.
It’s important your child meets their developmental and educational standards but there is more to life than what we learn in the classroom. Homeschooling gives you the flexibility to teach your children what YOU believe they need to know. It also allows your children to explore their own self interests. So reflect on your own life and observe what your child is interested in and expand from there.
As far as testing knowledge, look at the goals (standards) and record your child’s competency periodically. This can be weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. This can be done by documenting your observations or creating tests for your child to complete.
By now you understand what your child needs to know, how they learn, where they will learn and during what time and how to stay within your states regulations.
"How do I find ways to teach them?"
Some parents enjoy curriculum, which can be purchased or created. Others find learning opportunities in daily living. There is no wrong way to learn lessons. Whatever works, works.
If you want to find curriculum you can ask a teacher from your local school or search teacherspayteachers.com where you can purchase curriculum and activities from a teacher to support your child’s educational goals.
You can create your own goals and make them as artsy as you want with crafts and projects or as pragmatic with household chores and responsibilities. As long as your child shows competence in the goal by the end of the specific time is all that matters.
I find it easy to look at The different homeschooling styles and choose one or a few that will work for my family. Whether its Thematic (Seasons, Aquatic animals, holidays etc), Montessori, Classical or free schooling.
If you want more information on homeschooling, subscribe to our newsletter and join our facebook group: The Tribe Learning Co-Op.