With COVID-19 still raging through the nation, many Americans are faced with some tough decisions. From remote work, to travel, and even fun lifestyle activities, we’ve all had to make some drastic compromises, sacrifices, and adjustments to our daily routines.
Now that the 2020-2021 school year is upon us, few segments of our population have had to make harder decisions than parents of young children. Some primary concerns include contributing to the spread of disease, the effectiveness of precautionary methods, and above all the health and well-being of our families and communities.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, and subsequent societal shift, it’s no surprise that some parents have opted to eschew convention and homeschool their children for the remainder of the year. Others may find themselves a bit more skeptical or intimidated by the task.
Should you find yourself confronted with this dilemma, we’ve gathered a list of some useful tips for parents considering homeschool for their kids this fall.
RESEARCH YOUR DISTRICT’S HOMESCHOOLING REQUIREMENTS
Though homeschooling your children can be a daunting task on its own, there are a few other issues to take into account. If you decide to take your child’s education into your own hands, you’ll need to first research the rules, regulations, and requirements for your respective state and district.
In many cases, homeschoolers will need to register as independent educators and abide by the mandates of their area. This is a crucial step for ongoing education and can result in unforeseen ramifications, if not properly addressed. The levels of regulation are as follows:
- No notice required
- Low regulation
- Moderate regulation
- High regulation
For more specific information regarding best practices for homeschooling by state, HSLDA.org can be an invaluable resource.
Additionally, parents can either reach out to their local government or connect with teachers and other homeschoolers online for all the little details, tips, and not-so-obvious information. This can include guidelines on teaching a curriculum, learning tools, and additional activities to help you keep your child’s education on the right track.
BRAINSTORM GOALS FOR EDUCATION
Prior to beginning your lesson plan, it’s important to establish the educational goals that you may have for your child. In addition to some mandatory learning (varies by state), what do you want your child to get out of this time? What’s the best way to teach your child? Most importantly, how do you implement an effective curriculum that will prepare them for the future?
Even if you find yourself with a demanding schedule, it may help to sit with your child, discuss their interests, needs, and deduce the most impactful way to go about your lesson plan. Remember, this isn’t a vacation. It’s an opportunity to provide your child with the tools they’ll need, in a customized way, that you decide.
Would your child benefit from a more generalized education that closely reflects the local curriculum? Does your child have outlier interests that can be incorporated in their education? Perhaps you want to spice things up with a more personalized approach that leverages new learning strategies?
Your decisions here will determine the success of your homeschooling efforts.
LEARN ABOUT CURRICULUM & LEARNING DEVICES
There are literally hundreds of curriculums and assisted learning resources available to parents of homeschooled children. Though, it can be difficult to decide which program or application works best for your unique situation, the task is not impossible. The first thing to consider is the age of your child and their learning capacity.
For instance, if you have a preschool or kindergarten age child, you may want to focus on simple educational games, applications, and books to help build their confidence and establish some learning basics. This can include story time, fun questionnaires, songs, and a plethora of other engaging materials and activities. Audio stories and podcasts for young children have also proven effective tools for sparking imaginations.
If your child is a little older, elementary school, or middle school age, then you have the opportunity to delve deeper and approach your curriculum in a more complex way. Taking your district’s academic standards into account, you can utilize workbooks, educational games, and the litany of online resources available. Should you find yourself a bit lost, there are also many amazing video-courses, taught by live teachers. Do a little research and find which mix of methods work best for you.
For high-schoolers, things can be a bit more challenging. If you find that the online courses offered by local schools are lacking or simply not doing the trick, you can always take a more hands-on approach.
Fortunately, at this age, many children are capable of articulating their particular areas of interest and hopes for the future. If this is the case, you can take advantage of this time by having them engage in courses from accredited schools and universities that will help them on their path to tomorrow. This is a great time for them to build useful skills and earn certifications to solidify their dream direction for life.
For more information, see this article for tips and guidelines to crafting a strong academic semester right at home.
CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Remember, you’re not alone. Homeschooling during a pandemic can get very lonely for parents and students, making it hard to stay academically engaged. Though it may be difficult to indulge in traditional homeschool activities (field trips, local events, academic lectures, etc.) there are ways to counteract some of the potentially negative effects.
Reach out to other homeschoolers and plan a socially distanced event. Encourage your child, and yourself, to join online communities with other homeschoolers that you both can relate to. Even something as simple as social media can be an invaluable tool to avoid feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Learning should never feel like a punishment.
For parents of homeschoolers, websites such as Parents.com can provide a reliable community of like-minded individuals as well as some great advice from peers and experts.
While it can be easy to let the pandemic stress you out, it’s essential to keep your eye on the prize and all the little things that matter. Teaching your child never has to feel like a burden. In fact, it’s something bright and positive that can help bring you closer together in these uncertain times. You may just learn something, too.
Stay calm. Stay present. Stay engaged. As Always...
We’ve Got You Covered,