As concerns over public education increase, more and more parents are pulling their children out of the public school system to homeschool. The number of families who are choosing to home educate is rising every year.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of children being homeschooled in the U.S. has increased by 75 percent since 1999.
The transition from public school to homeschool can be difficult. Children are leaving behind friends and the only way of learning that they know. Finding a local homeschool group or co-op will be a great source of support during the transition period. Here are a few more tips to make the transition easier.
Get to know your child
Now that your child is coming home, you will be spending much more time with them. Take advantage of the first year for deschooling, relationship building and discussion. Get to know your child on a deeper level, be observant and discover their interests, learning style, their strengths and weaknesses. In public school, the relationship between teacher and student is very different from that of mother and child. Unlike the classroom, your child will have time for lengthy discussions and endless questions. Nurture the relationship you already have with your child and make sure they know you are a team. You are there to encourage, assist, teach and support. You will be your child’s biggest cheerleader!
Deschooling is a term used to describe the process of letting go of public school expectations and routines — and opening up to new ways of learning and thinking. The most important aspect of deschooling will be to change the mindset, attitude and expectations of “schooling” and “learning”.
A lifestyle and love of learning is not usually a concept a child grasps in the public school setting. However, in this first year of homeschooling this will be the goal. There is no longer the need for a rigid hour-by-hour school day — no need to raise a hand to ask a question or to go to the bathroom, no peer pressure, no humiliation of failing grades or the inability to grasp lessons being taught.
Deschooling might not come naturally or easily. In most cases, parents will need just as much deschooling as the child. Most homeschool veterans suggest taking a month for every year of public school to deschool. Time is on your side, you will have the flexibility to spend time on subjects and lessons that interest your child. You will not have to fight against a curriculum that doesn’t suit your child’s learning style. Your child will never be held back or left behind.
Your reasons for homeschooling will help guide your decision when choosing a curriculum. Remember the reasons your family decided to homeschool by writing a mission statement — your reasons for homeschooling and what you wish to accomplish. Consider the influencing factors such as religion, academics or finances. Once you have pinpointed what is most important and learned a little more about your child’s learning style, you will be better equipped to choose a curriculum that suits your child’s needs.
Enjoy the ride
Our children are with us for a short time, so enjoy them! Have fun with your child, be flexible and take advantage of the fact that you are home educating. Take your lessons outdoors, picnic at the park for lunch or spend the day learning at a museum.
Keeping these tips in mind should help prepare you for the transition from public school to homeschool. However, there may be times during the transitioning process when you will want to throw in the towel. If you are second-guessing your reasons for pulling your child out of public school, remember that the first year will more than likely be the hardest. There will be ups and downs, but in the long run there will be many more ups! Enjoy the journey and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Image credit: Tiany Davis