Education has always been deemed as a valuable asset that can equip children with knowledge and skills for the real world. As such, considering education options for your children is a major decision that requires careful consideration and thought. While it is clear that you can choose between public and private institutions, it is true that there is also the option for homeschooling. Contrary to traditional school settings, however, less are familiar with how homeschooling works.
Over time, homeschooling has gained a reputation as more parents have noticeably started to educate their children through this method. Parents and children may opt for homeschooling for a variety of reasons. It could be to have more flexibility, a less structured approach to learning, access to more educational options, or create a more personalized learning environment for students.
Whatever the reason may be, one thing is certain. Transitioning from school to homeschool will be a significant change, which brings rise to concerns like how does homeschooling work. While this education method and style has been around for decades now, it is still foreign and unfamiliar to many.
Get to know more about how homeschooling works, along with essentials like your curriculum options, learning styles, and differences with traditional school. Whether you are a parent looking to homeschool your child or a student considering this education style, the information below may help you with your upcoming plans.
How does Homeschooling work?
The big question that many ask is this: how does homeschooling work? The premise may sound bizarre to many, especially those familiar with the structured learning approach that happens within a classroom. Homeschooling may work differently depending on the type of program you choose or your curriculum approach.
In a traditional homeschooling program, parents act as the teachers and provide their children, the students, with the curriculum, textbooks, and learning materials. If you think about it, it is the closest to the regular school setting, except it happens at home. The most significant benefit is the flexibility that it offers, as you can easily move around your schedule as you see fit.
With the rise of technology, online homeschooling programs have become popular as of late. Students get access to pre-recorded lecture videos that you can watch at your desired pace and frequency with this set-up. They will also have graded assessments immediately, so you can easily gauge their performance and see if the set-up is working.
Homeschooling Curriculum Options
There are tons of homeschool curriculums for you to choose from, and thanks to the Internet, access to them has never been easier. However, the challenge is narrowing down your options until you find the best one for you and your child. To start, you can list down the subjects you are interested in teaching. A quick search online and you will find a ton of curriculum providers that offer different subjects for each grade level.
Nowadays, online courses are on the rise, especially with the convenience and accessibility that they offer. Homeschooling has capitalized on this fact with a growing list of online homeschool courses that you can encourage your child to take in their education journey. With online courses, students can easily learn a variety of lessons and topics from their home’s comforts.
Realistically speaking, online courses are not for everyone, but it does not hurt to try them out. Much like formal homeschool curricula, online courses also come in a wide variety, so it can be overwhelming to figure out which courses will work for your child. With proper considerations of your family’s circumstances, your child’s learning preferences, and your budget, you will be able to narrow down your options.
Homeschooling Resources for Parents
Parents now have access to plenty of resources to help their children with homeschooling. You will find many catalogs with diverse curricula that each take on unique approaches, allowing you to match it with your teaching style and your child’s learning style.
Most states have homeschooling networks to allow them to engage with the community and seek advice from fellow parents and students. These networks organize social events and extracurricular activities to help your children do more than reading textbooks and answer worksheets.
Homeschooling Versus Public School
With the way homeschooling works, you and your child have control over the curriculum, so you can choose to focus on specific subjects and manage the amount of time spent on them. There is a fixed curriculum to be followed in public schools, making it hard to incorporate personal things like family values or culture.
Homeschooling also tends to come with less paperwork or assessments, typically the basis for public schools’ grades. This makes it easier to eliminate the stress that students often get when trying to juggle multiple requirements.
That said, one of the common arguments against homeschooling is that it is more expensive compared to public schools. As a homeschooling parent, you will undoubtedly need to spend more time and effort to teach your child and guide them with their education. In some cases, it may also be more expensive, depending on the resources that you use. On the other hand, in public schools, you do not have to do these as the school will be in charge of them.
Homeschooling Versus Private School
Homeschool allows you to meet your child’s individual needs, whereas, in private schools, the instructor will accommodate multiple students in a classroom. As a parent, you can offer more personal attention to your child and adjust the teaching speed as you see fit. This is contrary to the private school setting, where students have to keep up with the teachers’ pace not to be left behind.
That said, private schools allow students to interact with one another, which is slightly more difficult to achieve in homeschooling. Since your child will be studying at home, there is less room for socialization, but it is still possible.
Besides this, homeschooling requires more effort and time from parents since they will essentially be the child’s teachers. You can easily continue with your work in private schools while still providing your child with a quality education. With homeschooling, you will need to dedicate time to help your child with his or her learning.
Can You Skip Grades?
The unique thing about how homeschooling works is that grades are not as relevant as traditional school settings. Usually, grades are used as a basis for a student’s acceleration, but it works differently with homeschooling.
You will find that in the homeschooling system, grade levels are not that apparent. It focuses more on the individual students’ abilities and learning pace and uses that as a basis to determine what subjects or topics can be taught. Rather than focusing on what lessons should be taught based on grade levels, you focus more on improving your child’s strengths and working on their struggles.
Some states may require showing proof that your child is progressing in grade-level to continue homeschooling. However, the idea is that you do not have to strictly follow the curriculum designated for the grade level that your child should be in based on the education system. You can work more on incremental advancements to help them learn more effectively.
Homeschooling and Sports
One of the primary concerns that parents and possibly students have about homeschooling is that it limits interaction and interpersonal activities like sports. You might be thinking that with the way homeschooling works, it can be challenging to pursue sports. However, the truth is that you can certainly participate in your desired sports activities even if you homeschool.
One way to incorporate homeschooling and sports is to play for a public or private school. Some schools allow you to play for their team to compete against other schools due to a lack of members. Alternatively, you may also find homeschool teams growing in number as more and more sports enthusiasts are starting to get homeschooled.
If the above options are not available for you, you can always turn to other methods. For example, you can sign up for regular sports classes, allow your child to run track and field, or join marathon races.
Thinking About Homeschooling?
Are you thinking about homeschooling your child? Making decisions about your children’s education is no easy feat, but if you are considering homeschooling as an option, here are some things for you to think about. As with any other education style, homeschooling comes with advantages and disadvantages, and it can work very differently from one person to another based on context and situation.
One advantage you have is control over your child’s learning environment when it comes to how homeschooling works. You can personalize it to suit your child’s learning style, pace, and preferences, allowing both of you to work together to create a conducive schedule. If your child is inclined to a particular subject or topic, you can put more focus there. Similarly, if your child is struggling with a particular subject, you can slow down and take more time.
Another great thing about homeschooling is that you can explore more learning areas apart from the usual fixed subjects in school curriculums. For example, you can hone your child’s interests or hobbies, whether in sports, music, arts or elsewhere. This benefit allows for less rigidity as most schools tend to focus on classroom discussions.
How Many Hours Should You Do School Each Day?
The recommendation for homeschool learning hours per day is as follows: one to two hours for elementary, two to three hours for middle school, and three to four hours for high school. You might be wondering: Why is it significantly less time compared to a traditional school?
Even though students spend six to eight hours in school each day, they do not spend all this time studying. In between, they have lunch breaks and other grace periods wherein they do other things. During class time, many disruptions can also cause teaching time to get used up.
Homeschooling requires a proper balance between study and leisure time. Though you do not have to leave your home to study, you still need to give yourself time to rest or do whatever you enjoy.
Can You Do It Without Workbooks?
In reality, homeschooling has no fixed structure, which means you need not adhere to a particular set of rules when enforcing it. Homeschooling parents, along with their children, can plan the learning outcomes at their discretion. Thus, you can do it even without workbooks or worksheets.
With a strong homeschool curriculum and the right resources, you should be able to teach your child the needed topics without having to use workbooks. This is not to say that you should not use them, but that your child can still learn without them.
Is It Hard to Make Friends When You’re Homeschooled?
One of the top concerns related to homeschooling has to do with a child’s social dynamics. Many parents are apprehensive about letting their children homeschool because of the fear that it will be harder to make friends. However, this is not necessarily true.
With the flexibility offered by homeschooling, children have more free time on their hands. This time can be used to engage in social and hands-on activities with their communities. Homeschool curricula are also not limited to textbook approaches, so you will find that many allow students to participate in more interactive and extracurricular activities. These opportunities ultimately make it possible to build relationships and friendships.
Will My Child Be Successful Later on in Life?
Another common concern with how homeschooling works is how it will affect a child’s future. Some are wary that the learning environment may not be adequate to equip a child with the right skills and knowledge for the real world. However, this is far from reality.
Homeschooled children have just as many opportunities as children studying in public or private schools. No matter what career path your child may have in mind, you can be assured that homeschooling can help them prepare for that future.