Designing the Right Homeschool for Your Student

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In 2008 there were 2 million homeschooled students in the United States, with numbers growing by approximately 8 percent each year. Thousands of parents, tired of school environments, concerned with student morale, or just annoyed at the quality of their districts academics, choose to homeschool their kids every year.

If you are thinking about homeschooling or are ready to craft a homeschooling program, first learn what homeschooling entails. Not only can you augment homeschool lessons as needed for a one-on-one education approach, but issues with homeschooling can be mitigated by joining local clubs, support groups, and sports teams.

Homeschooling Advantages

Customization is a common reason for homeschooling. As a parent, you can set up your own lessons at a speed and style that works best for your children. You can advance kids quickly in areas where they show talent or slow down in problem spots to review material, devoting as much time as necessary. This personalized approach often results in high quality education. Customization also allows you to incorporate a religious, philosophical, and spiritual perspectives into what you teach.

Many parents also laud the socialization aspects of homeschooling. This may seem contradictory, but the theory goes that your kids will socialize with a variety of age groups and levels of maturity when homeschooling. This allows for broader experience than traditional schools, which restrict children to their own age group. Of course, you also have more family time and greater flexibility for trips, breaks, and outdoor activities.

Homeschool Struggles for You and Your Child

The primary arguments against homeschooling boil down to academics and development. On the academic front, some parents argue that homeschooling is no replacement for the acclaimed textbooks and trained teachers that traditional schools use. Others worry that development can be stunted if a student does not spend enough time interacting with peers in group settings outside of the family. After all, many jobs require these skills.

Homeschooling can also be tough on you as a parent. Consider lesson plans, research, problem-solving, lectures, records, and grading – homeschooling quickly becomes more than a full-time job. While teaching may only take a few hours a day, homeschooling goes far beyond lesson time. It also requires significant investment when it comes to modern software, teaching materials, and various supplies. Homeschooling is not an ideal option for parents short on time or money.

On another practical note, your kids may want to join sports teams, clubs, and after-school groups they do not have access to as homeschoolers. You can arrange for them to join these groups in most school districts, but this is an extra commitment and cost on your part.

Tailormade: Seeking the Best Education

Homeschooling tends to work best when parents have strong mastery of the material and understand their children well. The early years (4 to 10 years) are most ideal for homeschooling. As children grow older, transferring credits can become more complicated. With enough stress, parents may be forced to move towards traditional schooling.

The general rule is that the older a child is, the less beneficial homeschooling becomes. If you are like most parents, at least one subject will be beyond your teaching abilities – be it chemistry, calculus, or a foreign language. As children move into their teens, social activities becomes all the more important. Keep in mind that high school programs may help prepare students for college more efficiently than homeschooling, especially when it comes to academics…as long as the placement process works correctly.

For these reasons, some parents decide to move their kids into public schools in junior high or high school. Other parents have pulled kids from high school so they could homeschool them in particular subjects before GEDs and college. However, the real decision-maker is ultimately your son or daughter. Maintaining a dialogue on their opinion of homeschooling will determine the right direction.

Tips and Tricks for Homeschool Excellence

Join a support group: Homeschool support groups exist in most communities. These groups allow you to compare styles, techniques, and plans. They also let you organize field trips, sports, and workshops, an indispensable resource for social connections. State groups may also be available.

Find a strong curriculum: Thanks to the Internet, there are a multitude of sources you can use to find an ideal curriculum. Feel free to create and customize your own lesson plans, but online textbooks, programs, and reviews can pinpoint what core study materials will work best for you.

Experiment: For young children, you can also consider creating your own curriculums, especially if you have a teaching background. Even if you do not, creating basic learning objectives and building lessons from there can help you customize textbooks and materials for your child. This may be a must in areas where a child is struggling.

Follow the law: Research homeschooling laws in your state. Some states are very lax about homeschooling, while others require detailed records and specific subjects. Standardized testing is a must in every state.

Explore modern options: Virtual schools can take the place of homeschooling in many cases, especially when it comes to certain lessons. Explore the costs and reasons to consider virtual schooling when creating your program.

Practical Homeschooling
Homeschooling requires significant investment and years of patient effort. If you have not yet made a decision, consult with your kids and other family members to receive input on all sides. Successful homeschooling programs begin with a joint effort toward better, more productive education. Remember, the key to homeschooling is proper customization. Find what works for your children and do not be afraid to experiment with hybrid lessons, group activities, and more!

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