Many more people every year are taking the plunge into the world of homeschooling. The transition from school to homeschool can sometimes be seamless, but oftentimes there can be some bumps along the way. Here are a few tips to help ease that transition.
Homeschooling is Not School at Home
Making the transition from school to homeschooling can be difficult because the idea of “school” has been so consistent for those who have had kids in traditional schooling. You may ask, How will I fill all the time we’ll have? or How will I teach x,y,z subject? There are many ways to school at home, but in my experience as a homeschool coach for over a decade is that the least productive way, and the way to suck the joy out of learning, is to try to replicate traditional school at home.
Remembering that, here are some things you can do today:
- Try to be relaxed about your schedule. I often recommend that my clients think of their daily routine as more of a rhythm than a schedule.
- Know that it can take some time to find your perfect rhythm: one that works best for both you and your kids. No two homeschooling family’s day looks the same.
- Tailor your classes and your outings to fit your child’s interests. I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. This is how you make homeschooling a joy for your whole family.
Take Some Time to Relax
Chances are, you are pulling your child out of a traditional school setting because there was some negative experience attached to traditional schooling. This is quite common among the clients that I work with. Perhaps your child has special needs that were not being met, or maybe your child was among the alarmingly growing number of kids who are bullied in school. No matter the reason, it is always good to be mindful of your child’s individual transitional needs.
Many people use the term “deschooling.” I am not a big fan of this, although I know the meaning behind it. Sometimes traditional schooling causes such a negative imprint on our children that it is hard to shake. Jumping from a poor situation right into trying to “do school” at home just won’t work. Allow yourself and your children some breathing space.
Here are some ideas for what to do while you’re allowing your child that space:
- Read aloud to your children – it doesn’t matter what age they are!
- Watch documentaries on your child’s favorite subject
- Make crafts, paint, dance, make music
- Go to the theater, symphony, museum – or take virtual tours online
- Get outdoors!
Involve Your Children
As an educator for over two decades, I know that involving children in their own schooling helps them to take ownership, which in turn positively affects learning outcomes and children’s attitudes toward learning. Schooling should not be something that is “done” to our kids, but rather, something that our kids choose.
- Here are some ways to involve your kids in the transition from school to homeschool:
- Ask your children what they’d like to study – a novel idea for some kids!
- Sit down with them and make lesson plans together. Decide on ways in which you can really dive into that interest beyond sitting at a table and looking at a book or filling out a worksheet.
- Have your child work on a long-term project. Long-term projects are great for teaching children not only about the subject matter involved, but also are great ways to teach time management and planning. Choose one long-term project to work on that semester, half-year or year. Then let your child plan it, implement the strategy and see it to fruition.
Discover Your Homeschool Style
Research homeschool methods and discover your unique homeschool style. Research curriculum. Join homeschool groups online and in person. Ask your friends who homeschool to share with you what they do, but remember: there are many paths to a successful homeschool.
I invite you to join my Your Homeschool Coach Facebook group. I have worked with hundreds of homeschool families from around the country and have helped many successfully and peacefully transition from school to homeschooling (and vice versa.) I’d love to work with you!
I offer group coaching for your homeschool life as well as one-on-one coaching and much more. If you are in Florida, I run a private umbrella school, Life Learning Academy. I create courses for homeschooling parents and homeschooled kids here.
No matter the reason for making the transition at this time, I’d like you to above all else, relax and enjoy this extra time with your children!