- Why does homeschooling feel like a good idea?
Consider your motivations for considering homeschooling. What needs are not being met in your current school environment, and how might homeschooling help meet those needs?
There are many reasons that lead families to consider homeschooling. Often it comes up when a child’s school is not a good match for their needs. Sometimes it’s driven by a parent’s desire to guide their child’s learning in the context of their own values.
Sometimes children need a more flexible schedule in order to pursue athletic or artistic training, and sometimes parents simply can’t imagine missing out on the excitement of educational discovery. Keeping these motivations in mind will help you determine whether or not homeschooling is in fact the right path for your family.
- What can we expect? What struggles do I predict, and how can I anticipate and prevent them?
This is a big adjustment for you and your child. Give yourselves and the rest of the family plenty of time to adjust. Expect to fine-tune your plan throughout the year as you get to know your child’s learning style and your homeschooling style and how they fit together. Involve your child in decisions when possible, so that they feel invested in the outcome.
- What are my child’s passions and interests? How will they fit into our plan for homeschooling?
Children are not just empty vessels waiting to be filled—they are intelligent, sensitive, creative beings eager to express all that they are inside. Homeschooling offers the flexibility for your child’s passions and interests to guide their learning.
Interest-led learning means allowing your child’s interests to guide the direction of the studies. The beauty of interest-led learning is that you can introduce core academic skills (such as grammar or fractions) in relation to topics that your child is naturally drawn to. Of course, this means more work for the parent but it’s not as hard as it sounds.
As adults, we already understand how much something like math or good writing skills come in handy in daily life, so incorporating these elements into a project of your child’s making—say, a dinosaur stop-action film or a storyboard for a new video game—can be pretty seamless.
- What are my biggest worries about homeschooling? What are some strategies I could use to work through those things if they happen?
The decision to homeschool is a big one, and it is normal to have feelings of uncertainty before taking such a big leap. Trust yourself. Remember that you are the most qualified expert on your child.
You will not be able to figure everything out before you start, and that is fine. In fact, it’s normal.
Keep your expectations flexible. Be willing to shift gears if the first things you try are not quite right. You will make it through this transition.
You are in good company, and one day you may be able to reassure another family who is beginning the process of transitioning from school to homeschool!
- How will I meet my own need for self-care so that I am able to give all that my child needs?
You and your child will likely spend more time together than before. If you have gotten used to having time to yourself while your child is at school, you may find that homeschooling feels very different. Consider your own needs as well as your child’s, and plan for support that will enable you to get some time to yourself when you need it.
If you work from home or outside the home, your work situation may need to be adapted if school previously filled the role of daytime caregiver. Consider all the ways in which your child is capable of being independent along with the things for which they need support.
- What will I say to family, friends, neighbors, or strangers who are skeptical about our decision to homeschool?
Remember that people with concerns about homeschooling usually speak from a place of caring. Respond gently and compassionately. If they persist in challenging you about homeschooling, consider turning it around and asking them to tell you more about their children’s education or their own experiences in school. They may just want to make sure you hear their side of things.
With time, patience, and practice, you’ll become adept at responding to questions from people who comment critically about your homeschooling. Acknowledge their perspectives, thank them for sharing, and move the conversation along. In time, they may surprise you with their support and approval.
- Do I have friends, neighbors, or relatives who homeschool? If not, do I know where to find local and/ or distant homeschoolers to share experiences and ideas with?
You will need support and community. You may find that friends and family don’t understand your experience as a homeschooling parent – or your child’s experience as a homeschooler.
Connect with others who can relate to your experience. Homeschooling Facebook groups and our other social media channels are a good place to start. There may be a homeschooling group already going strong in your area, but if not, don’t be afraid to reach out and start one so that you can get to know some like-minded families.
- Where do I start?
Homeschooling is a big adventure, and most of us have no previous experience with anything like it. If you’re not sure where to start or how to proceed, there are many resources and curriculum packages available to take the guesswork out of it. Oak Meadow curriculum is designed to make it easy for parents and students to make sure they are not missing anything along the way.