Is Homeschooling Becoming The New Normal?
Homeschooling, virtual learning, home education are now common phrases that have infiltrated our conversations regarding our children's education in recent times.
Many have had to make the difficult choice of deciding whether to allow their children to attend in-person classes or receive similar schooling from home.
These are unprecedented times. No one has a right or wrong answer as to which is the better option, homeschooling or in-person schooling. We all have to make decisions on what is best for our families after considering individual circumstances.
For this post, since homeschooling is a new experience for many, we will focus and this and do same for in-person schooling at a future date.
Choosing Your Homeschooling Programme
When choosing to homeschool your child, the first step should be to explore the various options available in your region and what help you can get from your local school board.
Homeschooling is a huge responsibility, and you will not want your child to be way behind his or her counterpart that goes to regular school. And at the same time, it will not be wise to stress too much about it, instead, it may be better to direct your energy at creating a workable solution for you and your child.
- A structured programme of learning under the supervision of your local school board, in many cases the programme is also partially funded. You receive help in setting up and, you have a go-to place if you require any help.
- The other route is a programme of homeschooling where the parents design their structure of learning. They are not supervised or funded by the authorities. In this route, you have more freedom, and you get to eliminate any curriculum that goes against your family's core beliefs. However, you need to be on board with this programme, and ensure your child is getting what is expected of them for their age and each level.
- The third option is a blend of the first two programmes mentioned above. Varies from place to place. Again check with your local school board what is covered so, you know what you need to care for.
Getting Started With Homeschooling
Now, you have made your choice, is time to get started by planning your strategy for success. Let's start.
- Set Your Goals.Have a discussion with your child on what your expectations are and ask them what they want. Even very young children are likely to cooperate when they know the plan. They only need gentle reminders.
- Establish a workable routine. In a post titled "Raising Fit Kids" clinical psychologist Jeanette Sawyer Cohen, pointed out, "we all thrive on predictability and routine", "knowing what to expect helps us feel safe and secure". When they follow the same or similar pattern each day, learning becomes much easier.
- Dress up for classes. Similar to the last point, encourage them to dress up for school, to keep them in the right frame of mind.
- Set up a class space. Create a school space that looks like a classroom, comfortable for reading, writing and doing craft.
- Play. Remember to allow them to play outside as they would at school. Great for their mental health.
- Create a physical education programme. My daughter loves dancing, so, we use videos on Youtube with music she loves and, it is quite a workout for me as well. A win-win.
- Be creative with what you can incorporate into their learning that is similar to other tasks they will do at school. Baking, sewing, crocheting and many more activities count towards their learning. So, don't hesitate to ask them to help with these tasks.
- Reward hard work. Children love it when they get a present. Let them know if they complete certain tasks they win a gift. And they put in everything to get the reward. You need to be careful with this one as you do not want to send the wrong message that they should expect a gift for everything they do which is not the right attitude as they grow older.
- Never be ashamed to ask for help. The good news is, there has never been a time like now when resources are available online and many are free or subscriptions for certain services are affordable. So, take advantage of resources and discussions with other parents who may know of things that may benefit you.
- Change your strategy with time. As you child gets older and expected to do subjects that you may not have the ability to support them, please seek the help of your local school board in placing under online tutors who can provide the help needed.
- Review your progress regularly to access where you are and if you should send your child back to an in-person class. If you think you are struggling and they need to go to regular school, it is not a sign of failure if you send them in-person class it is a sign of strength that you are making a decision that will benefit your child.
Well done to all you hardworking parents, you are the greatest heroes your child will ever have.
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