Teaching children at home has become increasingly popular. Years ago, teaching your children at home was taboo at best and illegal at worst.
Times have changed, though, and many parents are turning to homeschooling for one reason or another.
Parents decide to homeschool for many reasons: religious preference; bullying and lack of discipline in the schools; head lice and other diseases that children spread; disabled children; or simply to give a child a better education.
Your reason for choosing to homeschool is your own. You don’t owe anybody an explanation. As long as you can dedicate a few hours a day to work with your child, you can run a successful school at home.
How to Homeschool
You may be so excited to homeschool your child. Then, even though you’ve read books and prepared lessons, you feel lost on the first day.
Are you qualified? Can you do this? Will your child learn anything? Was this a big mistake?
Begin your homeschool journey with a plan – not just a schedule.
The first step in your plan should be to check the local law concerning homeschooling. Are you allowed? Does your child need to be tested? Do you need to submit anything to your local school district?
As long as you follow the law, you shouldn’t have any problems with your homeschool. Your local school district can advise you of the law and what you are required to teach.
Your school’s schedule is entirely up to you.
Is your child a morning person? Then you can begin as early as your child is ready.
Does your child sleep late? Then you can do some household chores until he wakes up.
If you are good in some subjects and your husband is good in others, you can split the day in half. Teach your child for an hour or two in the morning, and then let the child’s father take over in the evening.
Some public libraries offer special events for children. Some arts and crafts stores offer to do crafts with children on weekends. You can count these as part of your school day.
If your child enjoys sports, sign him or her up for a sport. You can also include this time into your homeschooling.
This is important.
Some school districts require that a child attend school for a certain number of hours per year. Some will require you to record those hours.
Before you begin to homeschool, know how many hours your child needs to be in school each day.
Divide the number of hours which the school district requires by the number of school days. This will tell you how many hours you need to teach per day.
If you don’t have enough hours, you may need to continue to teach your child into the summer.
This is another advantage to homeschooling. You can teach your child anywhere.
You can make a classroom with a desk and chalkboard in your basement. You can teach outside. You can collaborate with other homeschoolers. You can take field trips to parks or farms or businesses.
The biggest advantage of homeschooling is that a child can pursue his interests.
Nobody is good at everything. By fifth or sixth grade, most children have developed interests and preferences.
Your child may be bored with English, math, and science. He may immerse himself in art and social studies.
Let him pursue his interests. Your child needs to fulfill the school district’s requirements for all subjects, whether he likes them or not, but he can devote more time to the subjects he enjoys.
Your child who struggles through flash cards may be able to name every country on the globe. This is great! Encourage him to continue the flash cards but give him extra time to study geography.
Every good thing has a bad side. Homeschooling does, too.
The main drawback of homeschooling is lack of companionship and awkwardness around other children.
To solve this problem, sign your child up for group activities, such as sports or church functions. You may be able to find other homeschoolers in your area. Once a week or so, you can meet and let your child play.
Public libraries are wonderful for homeschoolers. They can offer a reading list based on each grade. This will tell you if your child is able to read on his level.
Some public libraries will allow homeschoolers to check out as many books as they need. If you are teaching a particular topic, some will even pull the books for you.
Some states don’t impose any restrictions on homeschoolers. Some states allow parents to homeschool but require that a child be tested by a certified teacher every year.
In other states, homeschooling is illegal.
Find out what the local law about homeschooling is. If you homeschool your child in opposition to the law, you could be headed for serious trouble.
If you don’t obey the law, you could go to jail. If your child wants to register for college, a college may not accept his education.
Some businesses may frown on homeschooling if the child can’t show a certificate.
If you have a religious objection to something which the local school district wants you to teach, raise your objection. The school district may allow you to forgo that topic.
A note about jury duty
What happens when your homeschool is humming along smoothly and then you receive a summons for jury duty?
Wham! Right in the middle of the school year!
Your summons should ask if you have a reason why you can’t serve on a jury. Simply state that you are homeschooling and provide proof. You can call your local school district to ask for proof.
Homeschooling can be as rewarding as it is challenging! If you would like more guidance, try Maria’s Super Simple Guide to Homeschooling. It’s easy to read and easy to follow!
Good luck with your endeavor! You can run a successful homeschool!
Author – Maria Miller, www.pennypinchingmama.org