When my homeschooling friends talk about their days it all sounds so wonderful: interest based learning, flexible schedules, creative projects and adventurous field trips. I confess, it seems liked the perfect situation. These moms don’t have to deal with new schools after a military move. Their kids don’t have to catch up on curriculum they should have learned in a previous semester, adjust to new school start times, or tackle the adventure of riding the bus. Just one problem, I have trouble getting my son to make his bed or feed the dog much less motivate him to tackle a complicated math equation…on my own.
For many of my friends homeschooling is their family’s choice for a variety of reasons. They would be the first to share, it is indeed a family decision and not one that should be entered into without some careful thought, research and planning. This past year we decided attending an online high school was best for our youngest son and our family. It’s been a learning process and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.
First off, I didn’t realize homeschooling was so popular. Maybe you are like me and thinking perhaps homeschooling is fad that will fizzle out? Not so says the research by the National Home Education Research Institute, “homeschooling – home education or home-based education – has grown from nearly extinct in the United States in the 1970s to now about 2 million school-age students.”
Here are some tips to consider when determining if Homeschooling is right for your family:
- Do your research: Ask other spouses in your command, extended family, friends, anyone who homeschools what their experience has been like and to share how their children are doing with their studies. Chances are one or more local homeschooling groups exist in your area, check them out and ask questions.
- Check the laws on homeschooling in your state: Each state has unique laws for homeschooling. Check with your individual state for all the details.
- Research homeschooling methods / schools: With the popularity of homeschooling, many methods are out there for you to choose from: Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Classical, etc. Online schools like K12 and others provide online based, “individualized, one-on-one learning solutions to students from kindergarten through high school across the country.” In the state of Texas for example, The University of Texas at Austin provides an online high school option that is a “state-approved educational alternative to students who want to earn a high school diploma and need, or prefer, the flexibility of distance education to complete their course work.”
- Talk to your spouse: Deciding on your own while your spouse is deployed that you have begun to homeschool your children might not be the best approach. Even though your spouse is away, still keep them involved in this important decision that in my opinion should be made as a family. Set up a Skype session, talk about the pros and cons. Have your kids share their opinion. Having the discussion is important.
Making the homeschooling/online school switch has been a big transition for our family and the jury is still out as to if he will return to “regular school” next year. For now he is enjoying this new way of learning and we are taking it one step at a time.
Are you homeschooling your kids? Why does homeschooling work for your family? I’d love to hear from experienced homeschooling moms, please share your thoughts in the comments section.
For more information and tips on homeschooling, be sure to visit the below list of resources:
Parents.com – The Best Homeschooling Resources Online
The Wall Street Journal: My Education in Homeschooling