Across the United States, classroom sizes are exploding while school district budgets continue to decrease. Homeschooling has become an extremely popular option due primarily to the lack of resources found in most public school systems. The concept can seem overwhelming when you’re just starting out. If your child has special needs, making a decision to homeschool them can be even more of a challenge.
The good news is that over two million families are currently homeschooling in the United States, and their children are thriving! Children who are homeschooled consistently outperform their peers in traditional school settings. Colleges have come to know and love students who have been homeschooled for their maturity, independence and ability to synthesize information.
Here Are 4 Tips That Can Help During Your First Year Of Homeschooling;
1. You Are Not On An Island;
Choosing to homeschool does not mean that you have to provide everything your child needs throughout their education. Look into homeschool co-ops in your area as a way to share the teaching of various subjects. If your child has special needs, seek outside guidance as you need it. Some school districts will provide services such as speech, occupational and other forms of therapy for children with special needs being taught in the home. Some school districts even allow children who learn at home to participate in extracurricular activities such as band, sports, and art. Find out what the policies are in your city. Finally, don’t overlook the availability of online classes, special education tutoring, parent support and additional special education resources.
2. It’s Not School At Home;
While it can be nice to have a designated room in your house for school work, it’s not essential – the kitchen table works fine. Remember that a homeschool day will never take as long as a day in a traditional classroom. You aren’t going to be lining your kids up to go to lunch. You will not be teaching and managing 20+ children. Fire drills are optional. Be open to trying different approaches when you start. It can take a while to find the rhythm that works for your child.
3. Keep It Personal;
One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is the flexibility it provides. Unlike a traditional school, you are not tied to a specific curriculum or content for any subject. If your child with special needs struggles with math, there are a multitude of programs available to suit every learning style and need. If you pick one and find it’s not working, drop it and try another. If you have a child who reads well beyond their grade level, you are free to choose books that will challenge and entertain them, not put them to sleep.
4. Homeschooling Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive;
You can spend a lot of money on homeschooling if you choose. However, this outlay of cash is not neccessary. As an example, there are several websites that offer a place to buy, trade and sell used curriculum. Many experienced homeschoolers offer free lesson plans, downloads and information on their own blogs and websites. An internet connection and a library card will cover most of your basic needs. Take advantage of library book sales to build up your personal library. With a bit of creativity and taking advantage of available homeschool resources, you can provide your child with a well-rounded, thorough education without going broke.
Deciding to homeschool is a huge decision that affects your entire family. Do your research but don’t panic. Start with a one-year plan and see how it goes. There is no benefit to worrying about homeschooling high school when your child is eight. Homeschooling is a viable, rewarding option for many families seeking to help their children live up to their true potential. The most important take away? You’re not alone!