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Until 2020, a transition from public school to homeschool might not have ever been on your radar. But due to the pandemic, virtual learning, pods, hybrid, and homeschooling are common topics of discussion.
Many parents are finding remote schooling is not a good fit for their children. The recent Gallop poll, conducted July 30 – August 12, 2020, reveals, “While parents’ satisfaction with their child’s education has fallen, there has been a five-point uptick (to 10%) in the percentage of parents who say their child will be home-schooled this year.”
So, if you are considering a transition from public school to homeschool, you are not alone.
If your family chooses to transition from public school to homeschool, here are six steps parents should take to make the smoothest transition.
Step 1: Consult Your States’ Laws
The Federal government makes educational policy, but the states are responsible for the standards, curriculum, and other primary regulations when it comes to education.
By going to your states’ website first, or HSLDA.org, you will find the answers for how to notify your school board of your intent to homeschool, what you’re expected to teach, what reporting or testing is required for your state, and other fundamental questions you may have.
So, start by consulting your state laws and filing the necessary paperwork.
Step 2: Choose Your Curriculum
Once you know your state requirements, you get the option of choosing what and how to teach your student. There are many philosophies and methods to choose from. But, for first-time families, it is wise to choose something simple and straightforward like a boxed curriculum that includes all subjects and is both teacher and student friendly.
Consider publishers such as Abeka, Bob Jones, Timberdoodle, and Sonlight.
By choosing a curriculum that includes all the components you need to know, you will have all of your basics covered. Then you can always add creative lessons and projects on top while having a solid foundation to work from.
Step 3: Start Slowly
It is okay to begin with only one or two subjects for the first few days and slowly build as you find your family’s rhythm and flow.
Where will you teach?
What will be your schedule?
Expect homeschooling to be an adjustment for both you and your children.
Most families adjust more quickly now, especially because they have been home due to COVID. But if your family takes a little longer, that is perfectly fine.
The number one advantage of homeschooling is that you create your own schedule and pace. This is especially important for working parents. You can alter your teaching/learning times to fit around your schedule.
Step 4: Include Your Children
Homeschooling is a family affair. Ask your children if there is a certain topic or subject they would like to study or if they have expectations about homeschooling. Of course, you are the teacher and need to take the lead, but this is a great opportunity for you and your children to explore some different areas that public school didn’t offer.
Allow your student to choose a novel to read or a topic for a project. Your student will be more motivated, which only makes your job easier and the process more enjoyable.
Also, since homeschooling allows for more individualization, consider if your child struggles with a skill, like reading, writing, or math. If so, you can tailor your lessons to go slower and give them lots of extra practice to focus and strengthen those skills.
Step 5: Find Other Homeschooling Families
There are literally millions of homeschooling families currently in the United States and more resources than you can imagine!
Search online for blogs, Facebook groups, and YouTube channels. Find co-ops, hybrid schools, pods, and other families in your area to network with virtually and in person. Even connecting with one or two other families will allow you and your children to build relationships, process the adjustment, ask and answer questions, and make the transition to homeschooling an enjoyable experience.
Step 6: What If We Don’t Like Homeschooling?
Students can typically re-enter the public school system fairly easily if they are below eighth grade. If your student is in high school, because of credits, it can be a bit more complicated.
For a successful re-entry to public school, keep open communication with your school board, teachers, and administrators. This will assure you are meeting their credit requirements.
It can feel daunting to step out from the security of public school, but with these six steps, you can confidently transition from public school to homeschool.
After you have a little experience under your belt and you witness your children learning and growing under your leadership, you may find that homeschooling is a great fit for your family. Even if your desire is to re-enter the public-school system once the health threats are passed, the time homeschooling your family won’t be wasted.