- Who is this workshop for?
- I’m ready to begin homeschooling. Where do I start?
- How do I homeschool my child and work?
- How can I afford to homeschool and not work?
- How do I know what academic level my child is at?
- How do I homeschool if I intend to send my child back to traditional school?
- I want to take my high school child out of school. How do I homeschool him/her?
- Can I homeschool my child if I am not good at maths or other subjects?
- Can my child get into college as a homeschooler?
- What about socialization while homeschooling?
I remember the day I decided to homeschool. It was when my oldest son was 4 years old.
A few day before I made the decision, we were searching for (a.k.a interviewing) suitable pre-schools. I was looking for a school that not only offered decent academics but also offered lots of outdoor play time. When I finally found a school that offered everything I thought I wanted, it still wasn’t enough.
I just couldn’t commit.
Then, a few days later my son and I were shopping in a local bookstore. I showed him all of the books and said ”Look at all of these books. You’re going to learn so much when you go to school!” Shortly afterwards, I felt a sadness because I knew that I wouldn’t be there to experience that learning with him.
It was right then and there, in that bookstore that I decided that I would homeschool him.
I wanted to ensure that I was there with him while he was learning new things. I wanted to be there during those ”Ah hah” moments in his life when he learnt something new.
Ten years and 3 more kids later, and we’re still homeschooling. I do not regret my decision.
Maybe you too are trying to decide if this homeschooling thing is right for you and your family. Maybe you’re on the fence about whether you should do it or not.
If you’re on the fence then that’s actually a good thing. The reason I say it’s a good thing is because homeschooling is a commitment that requires a lot of time and dedication. It can be a full time job in and of itself. And like all jobs, you probably want to be sure it’s the right fit before leaping into it.
You being on the fence shows that you recognize the importance of such a decision.
I would like to help you by answering a few common questions parents have when considering homeschooling.
You can watch the videos below or simply read the article. Each video addresses one specific question and my hope is that it would make this decision making process much easier for you.
All the best!
Who is this workshop for?
What am I referring to ”homeschooling” as? Any non-traditional schooling in which the parent is in charge of the education whether through direct teaching or facilitating.
This would include teaching parents, and non-teaching parents. I’m not being technical. I simply want to cover as much of the basics as possible as it relates to unconventional schooling.
I’m ready to begin homeschooling. Where do I start?
So you’re ready to get started homeschooling. That’s great! ☺
A great place to start is by building a foundation which will keep your journey solid for the long haul.
- The first tip is to ask yourself “Why?”
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 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.
Time – 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.
2. 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.
Because your child is unique, you can use this time to structure a unique learning experience for him/her. Use existing or self-created curricula which helps your child to develop his 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
The Charlotte Mason method
The Waldorf method
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.
How do I homeschool my child and work?
Oftentimes, some parents would say that they are unable to to homeschool because they have to work.
In many cases, you do not have to choose between the two. There are many parents who both homeschool and work. And this may be done because financially it’s not possible to choose only one option, or that parent may simply love their job and want to pursue both options.
It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s certainly possible.
It just requires a bit of creativity. Remember, your homeschool does not have to be constrained between 9-3 p.m Mondays – Fridays.
I know of a homeschool mother who homeschooled her kids in the morning and early afternoon. After that time, she left the house to go to work as a university lecturer. Her husband then took over teaching mathematics to the children.
Some parents work in the day and homeschool in the evening. Others select 3 days a week to cover all the lessons needing to be done. This can be an option for working parents who have 2-3 days off during the week.
If you have a job which is somewhat flexible, maybe you can arrange to do some or all of your work from home.
Also, some parents enroll their kids in online homeschool courses for some of the lessons, and they teach the rest. This reduces the work load and ensures the kids cover everything they need.
And then there are parents who work online and remain at home. The careers and opportunities are countless in this field. This is the approach that I take. I knew I wanted to homeschool my kids, but I also wanted to find a way to work with other students and parents as well. I enjoy my work but I also love homeschooling. This works for my family.
Or, you can speak with more homeschooling families and get advice on how it can be done. One of my favorite homeschooling network is “The Working Homeschool Mom Club by Jen Mackinnon” It is a Facebook group with some of the most supportive mothers I’ve ever met.
How can I afford to homeschool and not work?
When one of two parents makes a commitment to not work and solely stay at home and teach their child, this can result in one paycheck or income stream for the family. At first thought it can seem impossible to live off of one paycheck, but in many cases it’s actually quite doable.
I’ve heard from a homeschooling mother who said that because they’ve decided to homeschool, their expenses have actually decreased. How is this possible?
There are many costs associated with working a typical job out of the house. These expenses include;
Extra vehicle (for spouse)
Fuel for vehicle
Insurance for vehicle
Lunch purchased out of the home
School fee (if a private school)
School supplies (backbag, lunch pack, special books and equipment)
School events and mandatory field trips
School based extra curricula activities
School uniforms and shoes
Some of these options may vary based on your family’s circumstances, but this gives you a general idea of what it includes.
The cost of these extra expenses can easily equal to an average salary.
When you homeschool you have so many options for reducing your living costs. Such as only having one vehicle, eating lunch prepared at home, selecting only necessary school supplies, renting textbooks and reading material from the library.
When I was in school, it was mandatory that we have a the textbooks, the school branded notebooks and there were no substitutes allowed. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to keep up with the teachers’ lessons.
Homeschooling offers so much more flexibility as it relates to curricula. For example, in our house we started an online Spanish program which was great, however it was subscription based and incurred a monthly cost that we didn’t want to carry. We found that it was better to choose from the many free language learning options online. The same applies to other subjects.
You can pick up second hand books which schools have removed off their booklist. For example, a social studies curriculum may have 2 different books written by 2 different authors. Although the content is basically the same, a school may decide to change from one author to the next. This leaves lots of second hand books on the market that you can pick up. Or, don’t buy any book at all and simply rent it from the library.
There are no uniforms and fancy gear needed, and you can choose only the field trips and extra activities that suit your family’s budget.
So these are examples of different ways that you can actually save money while homeschooling. Do the math specific for your family and when you take these into consideration, you may find that it is possible to homeschool on one paycheck.
How do I know what academic level my child is at?
One of the interesting things about homeschooling is the way children learn. In school, everyone is taught the exact same thing at the exact same time. If the students don’t study additional materials outside of school hours, then we can easily determine which grade level a child is at.
But what about your children? Do they enjoy reading? Are you open to allowing them to learn new things outside of “school hours?” If you answered yes, then you’ll find an interesting thing happening.
Your child will be at a different grade level for different subjects.
I’ve heard the stories from many parents whose kids would get asked, “What grade are you in?” And then the child, either stares at the person blankly because they have no real clue or they riddle off the slew of grade levels they’re at in different subject areas.
And guess what? It OK. It really is.
It means that your child is learning on their own, and growing.
I mean think about it, how natural is it to know the exact level of content for all subject areas throughout your life? As an adult, don’t you know more about one subject area than others? And that makes life remarkably interesting!
So, if you’re just getting started homeschooling your child take that into consideration. You may need to assess your child’s grade level on a subject by subject basis.
For each of the curricula you decide to use, see if there’s a syllabus available with a list of topics each grade level must cover. You can take a look at that and compare it to what your kids already know. Usually, there are placement tests for certain subject curricula.
Our primary school math curriculum has been Saxon maths. Each grade level has a placement test and I can use that to determine if my kids are ready for the next level in their program.
The same should apply for many other programs out there. If you’re still not sure, then see if you can get a copy of one of the final tests available in the teaching material. Administer the test and see how well your child does. If he struggles a lot, then start at that level.
If none of that works, get a hold of the curriculum outline for that subject or the table of contents. You can take a look at that and compare it to what your kids know. Then choose a level. Don’t stress out about it. If your child is working at it really quickly, then move ahead quickly or jump to the next level.
Before committing to buying a book you can’t use, maybe you can borrow a copy of the book from another parent in order to browse through it.
How do I homeschool if I intend to send my child back to traditional school?
In this instance you would look to the future and plan for it.
Which school do you intend to send your child back to? What curriculum and books are they using? Can you get a copy of the booklist for the different grade levels? If so, do that and follow along so that when it’s time to go back, the child can easily get back into the system.
If you intend to send your child back to school, your teaching options are now limited because you must continue on with the curriculum at a steady pace similar to the school.
You do however have better options for style of teaching. You’re able to adapt to the learning style of your child. You also have flexibility when it comes to how many hours you teach and the timeframe for when you do school.
This option can work well for your child who need a break from the school system, yet still need to keep up.
I want to take my high school child out of school. How do I homeschool him/her?
Normally when a parent takes a high school child out of the school system in order to homeschool, it’s because of something that is missing, or some issue that the child or parent is having.
If you’re in this situation, the first step is to address how you’re going to fix that issue. For example, if your child was too peer dependent, how will you fix that? If your child got failing grades, why did that happen and how do you intend to fix that?
Decide what your goals are for your child. At the high school age, you and your child can both talk about what you want from this homeschooling experience and getting him/her involved makes it easier to ensure cooperation.
Give them some independence to select certain subjects that interest them so they are inspired to work.
Whatever the reason you took your child out of school, do the opposite. Try to get her to spend time reading quality books because she will learn a lot that way.
Take time to gradually set up a new learning experience for your child. If your time permits, be open to moving slower at first in order to address the reason why you’re homeschooling.
Can I homeschool my child if I am not good at maths or other subjects?
Absolutely. Who know’s your child better than you do? Who loves your child better than you do? Who wants the best for your child and are willing to support him/her without getting paid to do so? That’s you!
Teachers in school are trained to teach mass amounts of students in a classroom setting. That is not what you’re doing.
As long as you’ve started with setting the goals for your homeschool, you can use that as a guide to teach what you can and get help filling in the areas you can’t teach. There are tonnes of programs available online and some in person which work along with homeschool children.
Infact, many parents usually find teaching higher level topics difficult and want to outsource that anyway.
You’re acting as a facilitator for your child’s education. You don’t have to limit what your child learns based on what you know.
As long as you recognize your weak areas, you can find solutions to fill in the gaps. If you need support for online courses you can check out our community courses.
Can my child get into college as a homeschooler?
You’ll find that many colleges out there love homeschoolers.
The reason is because homeschool students tend to be self-driven and they’re able to work well on their own. They’re also usually not burnt out from too much information that may otherwise be crammed into their heads like in some traditional school settings. Homeschool students are also usueally very mature and responsible.
Because of these reasons, many colleges love homeschoolers.
You’ll simply need to keep really good records. Keep records of the lesson books that your child has used, any pictures and video recordings of projects that the kids have done. Basically, you want to be as detailed as you can as it relates to student records.
Another tip you may want to consider is to take a look at several college applications. When you do this you’ll see that there is an option for homeschoolers to enroll. Go ahead and check to see what they’re asking for.
In many instances they’re asking for a portfolio and a transcript. If you don’t feel comfortable creating one yourself, there are services out there online that help homeschoolers prepare portfolios and transcripts.
So there’s really a lot of support out there for homeschooling.
What about socialization while homeschooling?
This is one of the biggest concerns of parents. They are afraid that if they homeschool their kids, that the kids won’t be able to play with other children or even know how to play with other children. Parents are also concerned that their kids won’t be able to speak to adults that they’ll be very shy.
This is furthest from the truth.
What we must recognize is that socialization is not being able to play with other kids, but socialization is the ability for children to properly integrate with society.
Another way to look at homeschooling is ‘life schooling‘.
Sometimes, your homeschooling journey will take you out of the house and because your children are surrounded by adults and people of various different ages, they will learn and understand how to socialize.
Your child will not only socialize with children their own age, but also adults and children of different ages. They will learn to have respect for younger children, and also respect for elders. You won’t have to worry about whether or not your children are able to properly socialize because the nature of homeschooling is a life schooling experience.
What are your thoughts? Do you think homeschooling is a right fit for your family? If there’s a question I didn’t answer feel free to get in touch with me here. I’ll be happy to help.
Until next time, happy learning!