Homeschooling offers the most flexible and diverse education options out there. It’s no wonder so many families are doing it or thinking about doing it.
With that said, before you begin homeschooling there is something you ought to consider.
Your homeschool will take place in an ever changing environment, your home.
Whatever length of time you commit to homeschooling, consider the many changes that will take place in your home over this period of time. Family additions like a new baby or a grandparent, loss of a loved one and relocation just to name a few.
In our family our home is not only a homeschool, but also my personal workplace, my sons’ construction site, my daughter’s creativity center, and a place of fellowship.
Because of the dynamics of this home operation, you must be prepared for the challenges it will bring. And homeschooling will be challenging and tough for anyone who goes into it lightly.
For this reason, I want to share with you two things I’ve learned which have helped me to maintain the course thus far, and I hope it will offer the same encouragement to you as well.
Ask yourself “Why?”
I know it sounds so simple, but the “why” makes all the difference between your success or failure at homeschooling your child.
Your “why” will keep you at it for the long haul, or short haul if that’s your goal.
Here are some good reasons why many parents living in the Bahamas have chosen to homeschool their children.
- Flexibility – Able to learn at a pace that is best for the child.
- High quality of education for a fraction of the cost of traditional schools -The one-on-one learning which takes place in a homeschool environment ensures that children almost always “gets it” before moving on to new topics. Over time, the teaching style complements well with the learning style of the child. This creates a rich learning experience for the child.
- Religious Beliefs – The homeschool environment offers parents the ability to practice their religious beliefs in freedom without restrictions or prejudices.
- Social Issues – Avoiding negative peer pressure, drugs and violence.
- Customized learning options – I met a parent who was struggling to incorporate a special computer training into her child’s academics. She needed her son to take off a few hours from traditional school once a week in order to attend a non-school based class offered by a third party. Because of how important this was to her son, she decided to homeschool.
- Simply to spend more time together as a family.
What is your reason for wanting to homeschool?
Think deeply about it and find out the true reason behind it. If you know why you’re doing it, it will keep you focused until the end.
Avoid the “Assembly Line Education” Effect.
This is based on the belief that one size education fits all.
Sometimes as parents, we depend solely upon our own schooling experiences to train our kids. Our personal schooling experience was likely in a traditional school which has its own special structure.
Traditional schools are designed to manage and teach a mass population. This is evidenced by homework assignments, assemblies, bell ringing for breaks and lunch, standing in lines, raising your hands, permission to use the restroom, standardized tests, etc.
I read about a well-known homeschooling mother who at first, was very timid about her ability to teach her own children. She nervously began each day with the pledge and national anthem. Although there is nothing wrong with teaching your children the pledge and national anthem, none of this is necessary to educate your child.
Your child is unique. Use this time to structure a unique learning experience for him. Use existing or self-created curricula which helps your child to develop his private uniqueness and self-reliance.
Unlike a school teacher who must keep the lessons moving, you have time to ensure that your child understands the lesson content before moving on to a new topic. You have the time to explore your child’s uniqueness and creativity, a highly valued set of skills in this new world.
If you’re unsure where to start, consider trying out some of the more popular homeschooling styles such as;
- Eclectic or relaxed homeschooling
- Unit Studies
- Classical homeschooling
- Work/Study/Service method
- The Charlotte Mason method
- The Waldorf method
- Montessori or
- Multiple Intelligences
Your one-on-one interaction with your child allows you to establish a personal relationship with him and determine exactly which skills need to be worked on at any point in the homeschooling journey.
Keeping your child’s learning style in mind and choosing appropriate learning materials which he has an interest in will make for a smoother homeschooling experience.
You are not mandated to recreate a traditional school setting in your home. Choose one approach which suits your family. And if you need to adjust your methods for the changing environment, then do so and move on.
And when the “formal” academic lessons are completed for the day, don’t be afraid of the heaps of free time left over that your child has. This time can be used to build community and family relationships.
Have you already begun homeschooling? What has helped you to stay the course?