It’s Not as Hard as You Think: Advice for New Homeschooling Parents
One of the most unsure times in your life might come when you and your spouse make the decision to pull your child out of public or private traditional school and begin a homeschooling program. Becoming your child’s sole teacher is difficult, but the results can be a happier family and more educated child. The goal of homeschooling is to give your child the best opportunities possible, and so by following in the footsteps of other homeschoolers, you can do this more easily.
Seek out other parents for advice on homeschooling. Practically all homeschooled children and their parents belong to networks of others doing the same thing, so by joining one of these organizations, you can successfully learn from others’ techniques. Joining a homeschooling group also allows you to participate in field trips and other events in which your child needs to learn, as well as covers some of the socialization needs that are lost no longer fulfilled when your child does not attend traditional school.
Before you jump into learning, recognize that being removed from a traditional school setting is a big change for your child. Although he or she may be happier, it will take time before homeschooling becomes routine. This downtime in the beginning of the process is often called “deschooling” and is a necessary step for helping your child adjust. Use this time to observe your child. You are now his or her primary educator, so learn your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as likes and dislikes. Also take time to study yourself in this process. You will be inherently drawn to certain topics and be able to teach these interests better. You may wish to work harder, however, at teaching what you consider to be your personal weaknesses or you may even wish to bring in an outside tutor for these subjects. Let your child’s behavior be your guide-your own weaknesses should not become theirs.
Finally, set up a schedule. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that you and your child can enjoy a relaxed schedule, but this can be a downfall if you become too relaxed. Learning should take place every day, and you need to set aside time for all subjects regardless of how you and your child feel about them. Also remember to schedule social activities, something that is overlooked by many beginners. By involving your child in community organizations, like a church youth group, or a sports group, like little league, you can ensure that he or she makes friends and learns to operate in a social setting. Homeschooling is difficult, but with a little work, you can begin this process with ease.
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