It is perfectly normal for parents to be concerned about a child’s growth and learning. If you are a new parent, the cycle of wondering and doubting can be even harsher. It is crucial to a child’s development and growth that parents pay particular attention to their learning styles and interest areas. As is said, parents are the first teachers that a child has. When to start homeschooling? Read more to know!
It is no surprise that when it comes to educating their child, parents tend to gravitate more towards the traditional methods of teaching- public schools or private schools. Deciding to homeschool one’s child is a big decision as it sets the course for the rest of the child’s life.
There is no “right” age to start homeschooling your child. A child’s brain development starts at an early age and thus, they must begin their learning journey early in life. Parents might wonder if it is fine to homeschool their children, or if it will affect their learning style later in life. An even bigger question arises while homeschooling: what is the significance of grades while homeschooling?
1. When to Start Homeschooling?
A child’s mind is a mystery. As a parent, it becomes a full-time job just trying to answer every “Why?” that they throw your way. You may try to dodge those, but they always catch up with you. Every day, a new question pops up and you’re trying to tell them why the sky looks blue in the morning and orange in the evening. Needless to say, no answer seems to satisfy them and every somehow launches a new series of questions. Whether you know it or not, in these situations, they are being “homeschooled.”
Taught them to try their shoelaces today? You are teaching them an everyday skill. Read a storybook for them at night? Their imagination is being shaped. Ultimately, one may say that homeschooling becomes more of a lifestyle than a day-to-day chore.
All children have different learning styles, and parents must recognize them early on in their lives so they can implement the relevant teaching styles that will benefit their children. Young children learn through daily activities like eating, reading, taking a walk, watching television, watching their parents cook or clean, and many more.
It is no surprise that when it comes to educating their child, parents tend to gravitate more towards the traditional methods of teaching- public schools or private schools. Deciding to homeschool one’s child is a big decision, and it also becomes a crucial factor in the child’s growth.
1.1. Preschool Homeschooling
As discussed above, these early years are both the most difficult and the easiest to homeschool. The children learn through activities mostly and even the smallest things, like play dough, can provide a growth factor. The parents can decide to homeschool their kids during this time as this is part of their life where they form basic values that form the foundation of their life as they grow up.
Many families may worry about the technicalities of the homeschool curriculum at this age while this is the age where the children learn with a more hands-on experience. Parents should encourage their growth and not stress too much about the details of the program. This is the easiest age to begin homeschooling your child. They’ll learn while playing and you can make learning fun for them.
1.2. Elementary Homeschooling
An elementary school child is more developed than a preschool child. Therefore, they can be harder to teach and may provide more challenges than their younger counterparts. But they also can think more independently and articulately. As they grow up, the teacher/parent may also start to question their abilities as both a teacher and a parent.
Several things can help you while homeschooling your kid. Their learning space should be separated from their bedroom or the play area; this will help them differentiate their school hours from their fun hours. It is also important that both parents and children follow a proper daily schedule which will provide consistency and help them make studying a habit.
Parents can also join some homeschooler groups and they can learn new methods, ideas tips, and tricks to figure out what works for them. Remember, it can be a hit-and-trial method so make sure to try different ways of teaching and learning till you find out what works best for you and your child!
1.3. Middle Homeschooling
This might be a very scary phase as your child grows up to be a tween and eventually a teenager. There are a lot of changes happening in and around a child at this age. You should take their growth and development in mind while preparing to bring them along on this journey.
It is perfectly normal at this point to have some doubts and questions of your own; you may even feel some apprehension about homeschooling them, even if you have been doing it for a long time. Parents should always keep in mind that the child is growing alongside them, and they are both learning together. You are not alone in this journey, and it is perfectly normal to have questions of your own.
At this age, homeschooling can even act as a bonding time with your hormonal tween or teen. You can teach them and learn with them. Since this is the time that the majority of children are going through puberty and an awkward phase, children who are homeschooled generally can skip the awkwardness altogether. While it is true that the homeschooling, experience is not the easiest, both you and your child must enjoy the teaching/learning experience.
1.4. High School Homeschooling
This experience can, without a doubt, be the most difficult phase of the homeschooling journey. Everyone who remembers their high school phase remembers how challenging this phase can be, both for the teens and the parents. Homeschooling your child at this point can be a bit overwhelming but with some preparation and dedication, you’ll be able to instill good values in your teen as well as educate them.
At this point, the students are more willing to learn and if they have grown up in a homeschooled environment, they would prefer to be further homeschooled. High school can be worlds apart from what the students are used to, and they would most probably find it difficult to adjust to such an environment.
This is the time when students are figuring out their passions and interests; the flexibility of homeschooling will allow them the means and the tools to do so at their own pace. As parents, it can be challenging for you to make sure that they follow proper schedules and routines. However, the journey will inevitably prove equally rewarding for both the parents and the students.
2. The Homeschooling Curriculum
Once you have decided to homeschool your child, the next step entails building a proper curriculum that they should follow. A curriculum is important because it will give you a foundation on which you can build your syllabus and teaching pattern. There are several options out there that you can follow while building a curriculum, the important question is- how to build the best one.
Keep in mind that you must build a curriculum according to your child’s needs and learning habits. The first and foremost step would be to figure out what kind of learner is your child, if they are a visual learner and you only teach them through lectures, then it would be a hard task for them to focus on the learning aspects and would put them behind in their grade. There are four kinds of learners- visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic.
2.1. Visual Learners
Learners predominantly learn through seeing and/or visualizing the concepts that they are studying. Mind maps are one of the most useful ways through which they can learn.
2.2. Auditory Learners
Learners who predominantly learn through what they hear. These kinds of learners are best taught by lectures. Audiobooks are also one of the effective ways that they can retain information.
2.3. Read/Write Learners
Learners predominantly retain information when they read it or put it down on paper themselves. Some of the techniques they can learn are- the Cornell note-taking method, writing down the summary, using sticky notes, etc.
2.4. Kinesthetic Learners
Learners who predominantly learn by a hands-on approach, prefer doing things and their brain retains most of the information through this method. They can learn mostly through experience, practicals, simulations, etc.
Depending upon your area, you can look for a homeschooling group where you can find like-minded individuals who will help you get in the spirit of homeschooling. These groups mostly comprise other parents who are homeschooling their children so by joining them, you would be able to look at how other people are educating their children.
It will be a great help to you as you will be able to interact with other parents in the group and learn through their techniques and mistakes, you will also be able to share your own experience and help other parents learn through your mistakes and techniques. It is important to note that every child learns differently so what is working out phenomenally for one person may not work out so well for you. But one shouldn’t be discouraged by this.
As stated before, homeschooling is a hit-and-trial process, you have to keep trying new things to figure out what is working for you and what is not. This is where homeschooling groups come in; through these groups, you will get a Head Start with the help of people who have been homeschooling for years.
3. How to Choose an Appropriate Homeschooling Curriculum?
As it has been emphasized till now, parents must look for a homeschooling curriculum that best fits their and their child’s needs. This way they can build an effective curriculum that works for them. Choosing a good curriculum is important when you are a new parent. The curriculum should fit both your and your child’s needs.
There are a lot of online websites that offer a diverse range of homeschooling curricula, you can compare and weigh out your options through the sea of them to find out the one that works the best for you. Granted, it will be a lengthy and time-consuming process but once you find a homeschooling curriculum that works the best for you, you’ll be able to further your process with ease.
The major things you should look for in a curriculum are- the content, the learning style it is fit for, and how is it delivered. These are some of the important aspects that will be the deciding factors on whether a particular curriculum is working for you or not.
Another thing that should be focused on is the plans of the homeschooler. This is mostly relevant for those who are in high school and are planning on joining college. In this case, the field of study that they are about to follow must be more emphasized than the others.
If you are someone who works and you have chosen a curriculum that requires a more hands-on role, then it would slowly exhaust you as it would be very difficult to manage with work. Therefore, you should keep your schedule and availability in mind before you go out to choose a curriculum. Ask yourself what curriculum the best for your needs is as well as your child’s and choose accordingly.
Content is the first and foremost priority for choosing the homeschooling curriculum whether it is for your preschooler or your high school teen.
The syllabus that the curriculum follows should be diverse and easy to follow. It would be impossible for the child to learn multiplication without learning basic numerals first. Similarly, the curriculum should start with an introductory base and then follow through with the more difficult programs.
3.2. Learning Style
The learning style, as stated above, is important because, through the right learning style, teaching can be made fun, and the homeschooler can make learning an enjoyable activity that they do throughout the day rather than a tiresome task that they have to sit through by any means. By following their learning style and teaching them accordingly, one can assume that the child will enjoy the process and would like it.
If you are following the best curriculum but you don’t know how to present it to your child then, possibilities are, your child won’t be able to effectively retain the information. Presentation matters the most during the junior years when the children want to see things with pictures and learn through imagination. You can try out different ways of presenting and see to which your child responds the best.
4. The Homeschooling Laws
Homeschooling is a legal practice in the majority of the countries. The major countries where homeschooling is very prominent are- the United States of America, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada. Some countries encourage the process of homeschooling and even some have made it an essential part of the education system.
In a few countries, like Germany, homeschooling is not legal and should not be practiced. While there are some countries where, although it is not illegal, homeschooling is a practice that is rarely carried out and is considered to be socially unacceptable, and naturally, the citizens avoid it if they can.
Even where homeschooling is legal, there are certain laws that one should adhere to while one is homeschooling their child. Not following the regulations can be a punishable offense in some cases. Additionally, what holds for one place may not be the case for another and what is legal in one place may be a state offence in another.
Therefore, one should follow the laws and regulations that have been laid out in the place where one lives. It is important that before starting to homeschool their child, parents research and learn about what is allowed and what is not allowed by the state they live in.
5. Final Words
Although homeschooling requires a significant effort, it may also be quite rewarding. When starting a homeschool, it’s crucial to take into account your state’s laws and regulations as well as the kind of curriculum you want to employ. Making learning enjoyable for children is also important if you want them to continue to study.
But in the end, homeschooling can be a wonderful experience for both parent and child if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort! Don’t be hesitant to start homeschooling regardless of where you are or what grade level you are starting with because doing so could change your life!
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