Deciding the best schooling options for your kids can be a difficult task. There are quite a few different options. I want to discuss homeschooling and figuring out if homeschooling is the right choice for you and your kids.
The appeal of homeschooling in today’s environment is extremely strong. However, is homeschooling the right decision for your family?
There are loads of factors that need to be considered when you are deciding if homeschooling is the right choice. Things like special needs, your child’s ability to focus, and the education you want them to get are all strong factors that need to be considered.
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Benefits of Homeschooling
When you think about homeschooling you often picture super religious families and kids that are ridiculously great at spelling. As a former homeschool kid myself I can promise you this is not always an accurate description.
Homeschooled kids typically do extremely well educationally. Socially though, homeschooled kids need to be involved in extra activities with kids their own age that are not siblings. It’s because of this factor alone that homeschooling can be a lot more time consuming than traditional schooling.
Overall, homeschooling is extremely beneficial to children and their parents. However, some kids are going to do better in a traditional environment. I want to help you figure out if homeschooling is the best option for your child.
Most states have rules and laws regarding homeschooling. If you are coming up with your own curriculum it most likely will need to follow the same guidelines that public schools have.
It’s important to check with the laws in your state to determine what is acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to homeschooling. A lot of states offer resources for parents who wish to homeschool making it easier to follow the rules.
Here in Pennsylvania there is an online public school option available that makes homeschooling super easy. This is the option we will be going with for our son when he’s ready to start kindergarten.
Homeschooling or Online Schooling
Both of these options are done at home and are considered homeschooling. However, there are some pretty big differences between the two. In a traditional homeschool environment the parent comes up or buys the curriculum and teaches the child themselves following the curriculum.
With online schooling you enroll your child into the school, the curriculum is already planned, and there are real teachers that will teach your child. Online schooling takes care of the hard work. While you will still need to check and makes sure the school work is being completed having real teachers on hand can make all the difference.
Is Homeschooling Free
Not usually, though there are loads of resources out there to help minimize the costs. Most online schools will cost about the same a private school. Books, curriculum, and computer programs will all cost money.
However, take a look at your state to see if they have anything available. Here in Pennsylvania they do have a free online public school option. This is the option we are leaning towards with L. Going through the a state option means if later he would do better in a traditional school setting his education will be on par with the rest of his peers.
5 Questions to Determine If Homeschooling Is Right For Your Kids
We are going to go over a few questions that will determine if you and your child are capable of going through homeschooling.
Is Your Child A Self Starter?
Does your child start projects or activities completely on their own? If they are toddlers, do they try to make their own food and pour their own drinks? Do they sit down and read without you telling them?
A child who is a self starter can benefit from homeschooling because they will find their own motivation and drive to complete their work. Additionally, self starters oftentimes find satisfaction in the work that they complete completely on their own.
Homeschooling nurtures the self starter and helps to build up their own internal motivation to succeed.
Is Your Child Easily Distracted?
Does your child leave projects incomplete? Do they have a hard time focusing on homework? Do they switch channels, games, or activities quickly and easily?
In traditional schooling environments children can be easily distracted and then become lost in a lesson plan. Between other kids passing notes or whispering and your kids own brain running at a million miles per minute distraction can be killer in a traditional school setting.
Homeschooling allows your child to sit quietly and work without distraction. Not only does this help them to retain information but they accomplish their work faster. Additionally, if your child is easily distracted this means that they can work at their own pace at home. They will not fall behind because they can simply go back to before they were distracted and start from there.
Is Your Child Bored?
Does your child get bored with covering a topic often? Do they stop paying attention and start daydreaming? Does your child test well but get average or below average grades?
There are many cases where a child who knows how to do the work will not apply themselves to repeating the work. For many children once they know a subject they become bored with the subject and want to move on. A child who is bored will most likely have zero motivation to put any effort in until the work is interesting again.
A child who gets bored easily will find homeschooling highly beneficial. They can whip out the work on one particular topic and then move on to the next topic in order to continue challenging their mind. Boredom in learning is a sign that the child is not finding the subject challenging enough.
This also means, if your child does find a topic challenging they can take their time learning and understanding the topic without fear of falling behind from the rest of their class. The boredom and challenge struggles in learning are more easily addressed in homeschooling than traditional schooling options.
Does Your Child Learn Differently?
Children that have ADHD, Autism, Aspergers, and other differences in learning may do well with homeschooling. Children with learning differences may need to be able to learn in their own way.
Even in special needs classes your child may not be getting the exact education they could be getting in a homeschooled environment. They may need a specialized plan in order to learn at the rate in which their peers learn.
I do want to caution readers. A child that falls on the autism spectrum does not always do better with homeschooling. There are loads of children who do better in a traditional schooling environment. Work with your state, therapists, and doctors to figure out which is the best option for your child.
In my personal experience having ADHD I did far better with homeschooling than I did with traditional school settings. This could simply mean I am the exception and not the rule. You will want to look at your child’s individual needs.
Are You Capable Of Teaching Your Child?
Can you afford to switch your work schedule, become a stay at home parent, or afford a full time tutor/nanny? If your child will benefit from homeschooling, will you be able to afford to do it?
When it comes to homeschooling, children still need someone around to keep them on a schedule. Even if you are working with an online school you need to be able to make sure your child completes their work.
Given the opportunity your child will choose playing video games over school work, especially if there isn’t adult supervision available. Make sure that you are capable of taking the time to be at home so your kid can learn.
Things To Consider
Homeschooling is not easy, it is not always fun, it’s a lot of hard work, and it means stepping into the teacher roll. Additionally, homeschooling means you are with your kids all the time. While other moms are grocery shopping while their kids are in school you will be teaching your kid.
When we discussed schooling options for our son it became apparent that he would greatly benefit from homeschooling. I was actually bummed. I was looking forward to sending him off to school and having 6-8 hours a day to myself.
Of course as children grow they can change. Right now at the age of 3 I believe he will be homeschooled. That could change as we start going through preschool education this season here at home.
It’s always best to continue to watch your child and how they learn to make sure they are getting the most out of their education. Right now your child may benefit from homeschooling but in a year or two they could do extremely well in a charter, private, or public school.
If you believe your child could benefit from homeschooling test it out through the summer. Let your kid know that you want to try a mock homeschool situation at home and have them pick a couple subjects to study. Ask them to complete work surrounding the subject and create tests they can take. If your child seems to do well go ahead and try it for a school year.
How To Socialize Your Homeschooled Kid
Getting your kid around their peers when you homeschool can be difficult, it’s not impossible though. Think of extra curricular activities your kid may enjoy.
Get them to join dance classes, kids gyms, music classes, sports teams, or science classes at your local museum. These types of classes are great for learning and for helping them to develop social skills with other kids their age.
If you have a teenager in high school, try signing them up for classes at the local community college. A lot of community colleges offer classes for high school aged students. This will help your child with socializing as well as preparing them for college level work.
Check your local homeschooling Facebook groups. There are plenty of options for secular and religiously affiliated homeschooling groups all over your city. These groups will often do meet ups where parents can meet and children can play.
Social skills are extremely important for your child so don’t skip the social aspect of their life just because they are homeschooled. You need to make sure that they learn how to deal with the world around them so they can be well adjusted adults.
Homeschooling isn’t right for every family or every child. If you notice your child struggles in traditional schooling environments there can be a few reasons why. Consider homeschooling for a year to see if their grades improve.
There are loads of different options for schooling. Make sure you check them all out before you make a decision on which one is correct for your specific situation. A child may benefit greatly by switching from public schooling to a private school. If money is a factor charter schools are more affordable too.
What are your views on homeschooling, is it right for your child? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your kids and homeschooling boards.
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