After you have kids you start to reevaluate everything you thought you would do or say as a parent. I’ve completely changed from the person I was prior to having kids. One parenting venture I never thought I’d consider is homeschooling.
There is a stigma attached to homeschooling. At least there was when I was a kid, and I believe it still exists today. As society evolves, so has the way our kids learn. Yet, there are obstacles in the way they are taught.
The disconnect can be linked to overcrowding in schools, lack of individualized time, standardized testing and expectations imposed too early (i.e. the age our children are expected to read by.).
The more I researched the more I realized homeschooling would be the best option for our family. With new schools opening up in the area, we may reevaluate options in the future. Until then, here are five things to consider when you are looking into homeschooling.
What is your reason for looking into homeschooling? Think of this as your mission statement, or your why. Our ‘why’ for choosing things in life should always be something we can come back to and find reassurance in.
Maybe you want the flexibility to travel and set your own schedule. Or you prefer to teach your children through a non-traditional approach.
What do you hope to accomplish through homeschooling? This question will help you narrow down the reasons to support your ‘why’.
Are there certain aspects of public school that you are trying to avoid? If so, you may be able to find a more customized approach through a charter, private, or specialized school.
Whatever your reason is for looking into homeschooling, make sure it is your own. You know your family best. If you change your mind down the road, that is ok too.
Do you have a schedule that allows you to homeschool your children? Depending on the age of your children, you can likely accomplish an average school day’s work in as little as two hours a day.
Maybe you’ve discovered that your children are night owls, and slow to get moving in the mornings. Then embrace teaching in the evenings.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to follow traditional timelines. It gives you the ability to choose what works best for your child(ren).
Homeschooling is also a commitment to your children. It’s a commitment to dedicating your own self-growth, patience, and flexibility to your children.
Be open to trial and error as you find a rhythm that works for both you and your students. You too will learn along the way.
When I first considered homeschooling I was completely overwhelmed. To be honest, some days I still feel this way. I reached out to everyone I knew that was homeschooling or had done so in the past. The insight they were able to provide to me came as a huge relief.
It was comforting to know that my worries and hesitations were shared by others. Yet, they continued to pursue homeschooling. When you look into homeschooling there are various philosophies you’ll come across; Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, and more.
It is likely you’ll resonate with one, or maybe more. Because homeschooling is what you make of it, you can incorporate more than one style. Again, trial and error is key as you learn what your child gravitates towards.
If choosing a set curriculum isn’t for you, then there are unit studies. This is where you choose a topic and schedule activities to coordinate with the topic.
This is a fun way to learn specific details. For example, a unit study on frogs is more specific than only teaching about amphibians.
In considering homeschooling you’ll structure it in a way that allows your child to learn openly. You get to decide which style of teaching fundamentals works for you and your child.
Luckily, there are many programs to choose from. Here are a couple of reading programs that were recommended to me.
Some recommended reading for those considering homeschooling:
As I mentioned above there are numerous homeschooling resources available nowadays. It’s important to recognize that you aren’t going into this seemingly feat alone. Instagram has been a great tool for finding and reaching out to fellow homeschooling families.
Consider the convenience of homeschooling. Not only for the flexibility but for the notion of support.
Homeschooling is gaining momentum, at least it seems to be the more I look for it. This means that there is support, local, and virtual that is available when you aren’t quite sure what to cover.
Reach out to local groups. You’ll find that there are families seeking the same support you are. Set up homeschooling play dates where you can discuss lesson plans.
You’ve probably heard the concern over lack of socialization and homeschooling. Oh, the irony!
If you look to community centers you’ll find activities for all ages. Many libraries have reading groups. Museums have STEM, art, and specialized classes. The options are endless in terms of field trips and guided tours.
Here’s a list of local music classes. I wish I had these options growing up! Want to open up your child’s artistic abilities? We’ve got you covered!
The other option is team sports. Interaction with peers is invaluable for problem-solving skills. Most of the public schools allow homeschooled students to participate if they take at least one class through the school district.
Another alternative is a co-op. A cooperative usually meets once a week and follows a set schedule of classes throughout the day.
The parents are usually required to assist in the classroom. This gives a bit more structure and options to both the parents and the children while incorporating flexibility.
Here is a list of some of the local co-ops that I have looked into:
For those with preschool children, there is a family co-op preschool. Their information can be found here.
To Homeschool…or Not
As you see there are important factors to consider when looking into homeschooling. As a parent to three young girls, the most common conversation between myself and other moms is the amount of pressure we place on ourselves. Be kind to yourself.
My friends that are veteran school teachers remind me that younger aged children do the best learning through play. Older children are likely to learn hands-on – through participation and experience. Whatever method of schooling you decide, do it alongside your child.
Give yourself grace as you learn your children’s style of learning. This will be invaluable throughout homeschooling or assisting with traditional homework.
Lacy Catao is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, former paralegal and Army veteran. Motherhood inspires Lacy to share her knowledge of nutrition and optimal wellness, while also providing lifestyle insight as a mother striving to parent with grace and patience. This California native planted her roots in northern Nevada with her husband in 2016. She contributes her love for country living to Idaho, which is where she spent most of her school-age years. Lacy is the mother of three girls and two stubborn Bulldogs.