Get-Started Guide to Homeschooling
When distance/remote/virtual learning became the norm during the early days of the pandemic, homeschooling found a wider audience. Rather than enroll kids in public or private institutions, many parents opted to take education in house. If homeschooling is something you are considering, lead by example and do a little how-to homework before getting started.
“A learning friendly environment will set everyone up for success.”
Back to the Future.
While the modern homeschooling movement dates back to the 1970s, recent statistics from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) website show the numbers growing with around 3.7 million students in the United States currently pursuing this type of instruction. According to NHERI, parent-led, home-based education, once deemed an alternative approach, has become more conventional as it appeals to families across the globe.
Homeschooling isn’t ideal for every family, but the potential perks are plenty. Customized curriculum and personalized plans can be developed to fit the learning style of each student, often leading to great academic achievement. It can enhance family dynamics and provide a controlled environment to support focus. With so many resources available, parents do not have to be experts in every subject to help their children succeed—but they will need to wear many hats. Consider identifying regional requirements and getting connected with a support system to navigate the complexities. Check out homeschool.com for a variety of resources.
Let the Games Begin.
In regard to teaching, hands-on projects and a flexible schedule can be part of the educational process. When homeschooling multiple children, parents can have them study the same subject on different levels at their own pace and leave time for other activities. In addition, parents often have access to resources through the public school system or social networks with opportunities for homeschooled kids to participate in play dates, field trips, and sports.
Setting the Scene.
A learning friendly environment will set everyone up for success. A dedicated space, such as a spare bedroom or daylight basement turned classroom, is ideal to help kiddos focus on schoolwork. But keeping a schedule for school days, wherever they are held, can be more paramount than having a defined classroom. Want some variety? A home can be arranged like a traditional school setting with different classrooms around the house. For instance, an outdoor space or a room with a view can be devoted to science lessons whenever possible and a kitchen island can be your go-to location for group and interactive projects.
When quiet time is required, setting up a desk in a child’s bedroom can lead to less distraction. Proper lighting and an ergonomic chair can help them manage the tasks at hand, while storage drawers keep the area neat and tidy. A corkboard can display artwork and other accomplishments, while a chalkboard spells out the next lesson plan. For quiet reading time, let kids pick their favorite inspirational spot like a bunkbed or a window seat where their imagination can run free.
Virtual learning continues to be a viable option in many school districts as they navigate the pandemic and assess classroom safety. Here are some online resources that kids can access from home whether they learn inside or outside the classroom.
Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) aims to provide a free, top-notch education to anyone, anywhere. Often tapped by high school students prepping for standardized tests, it has become a way of learning for many.
TED-Ed (ed.ted) lets you build a lesson around any TED talk, TED-Ed resource, or YouTube video. The site also has existing lessons on topics that can be a valuable resource for homeschool settings.
Duolingo (duolingo.com) offers language lessons for Spanish, French, and more. This free app can be a great tool for parents who want their homeschooled kids to learn a new language.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from sources like Coursera (coursera.org) and edX (edx.org) can introduce high school students and advanced learners to free college-level courses from prestigious universities like Harvard and MIT.
K12 (k12.com) offers independent and teacher-led courses for homeschoolers and supplemental learning programs, such as Embark for preschoolers, in addition to public and private online schooling options.
/ Written by Jeanine Matlow. Photography by photographer/iStock/Getty Images Plus.