Covid-19 has caused the majority of us to change many parts of our lives. It might seem difficult to even remember when the old ‘normal’ existed. Social distancing, face masks and lack of entertainment/outings have replaced sporting events, beaches, and even the occasional movie theatre outing. We have all been forced to really change how we live, play, and even exist. Fears and concerns about the future are sure to be plentiful and for those of us with school-aged children, the uncertain state of the upcoming school year is absolutely a huge area of concern.
If schools take an even longer summer break by not resuming classes this fall, where does that leave your kids? Even if the school doors reopen in August, will you want to send your child back? If homeschooling is sounding like a better (and safer) option, there are some questions to ponder before taking the plunge. While considering the homeschool journey might seem overwhelming, it’s not so bad when taken one step at a time.
Step One: Do Your Homework
The first step is to research your state guidelines. Print out the requirements and keep as a checklist for future use. Consider what is required in regards to record-keeping and yearly achievement tests and make sure you can meet the requirements.
Additionally, make sure you have a dedicated quiet workspace for daily schoolwork. It can be the kitchen table instead of a desk for the younger ones. Any place that works for you and your kids is fine. During my years of homeschooling my daughter, I added a desk to the side of my work desk. This allowed us to spend time together while we both completed our daily workloads.
Does your schedule allow for the required hours of study? If not, do you have a family member/trusted individual to be a ‘ substitute teacher’ in your place? I was a single mom, who worked from home so choosing to homeschool wasn’t a game-changer. Everyone is different though and even if you are a stay-at-home mom, adding ‘teacher’ to your list of responsibilities might not be for you.
Perhaps being ‘principal’ would be a better position; if so, there is no shame in hiring a tutor or bringing in Nana or Papa to help. Only you know if it is right for you and your child. Which brings up to the second step.
Determining the legality of starting homeschooling in your state couldn’t be easier! HomeschoolFacts.com has a complete list of homeschool requirements organized by state here: https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/state-laws.html
Step Two: Get Your Child’s Opinion
Of course, the ultimate decision is up to the adults, but a change of this level will affect your child. So, just talk to them and see if they are open to the idea. My child was in the 1st grade when I switched her to homeschool so she wasn’t against it. But, like many other kids, she began needing more peer interaction. Your kids may also need more of the traditional school set up for a healthy social life. If that is the case, check out the next tip.
Step Three: It Takes a Village
If your child might need more interaction with peers, check out your local area for reinforcements. Facebook is a great place to start the search. Many town’s co-ops have a Facebook private group page. A search by city name or county is likely all it will take to find a group or two. Churches and the local parks & rec office are two more places to check for co-op groups.
Of course, other school classmates are likely in the same boat. So, if you do choose homeschool, reach out to other parents and schedule your own get-togethers or even work to put together your weekly gathering.
HomeschoolFacts.com has a complete list of support groups to help support you in your homeschooling endeavors and connect with homeschoolers near you. You can search the list of support groups here: https://www.homeschoolfacts.com/homeschool-support-groups.html
There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when considering the adventure that is homeschooling. While it isn’t a choice to take likely, in the end, you know what will work for you and your family. I know my years of homeschooling were a blessing just because of the closeness it brought between my daughter and myself. Teaching her and watching her grow daily was a true blessing and worth all the difficult days.
If you’re looking for all the benefits of homeschooling with the addition of real, certified teachers, check out International Virtual Learning Academy. IVLA is an Accredited International Online Private School. Learn more at: https://internationalvla.com/
By: Debra Pamplin