Should You Homeschool Your Child? Here Are 3 Ways to Get Started
Kids all across the country are either embarking on a new school year or getting ready to, but with so many public schools failing to properly educate kids of color, many parents are considering other options.
Two years ago I decided to give homeschooling a shot. I already worked at home and, at the time, my son was aging out of his secular private school. After spending over $22,000 on Pre-k through first grade, I knew I didn’t want to put him in another high-priced school, but I also didn’t want to throw him into a large, crowded public school either. Homeschooling offered us flexibility, the ability to control what and how he learned, and it gave me the opportunity to make sure he actually retained the material.
Even though I taught middle school for nearly six years, transitioning to homeschooling was a bit intimidating. The thought of compiling my own curriculum seemed overwhelming, so I did some research and found that when it comes to teaching your child at home, parents have a myriad of options.
Before we dive into how to begin homeschooling, let’s deal with some of the myths first.
Myth #1: Homeschooled kids miss out on building social skills
Unless you’re living in the back woods, are confined to your house, or afraid of the outside world, your child should have no problem interacting with other people. My son played sports, met up with other homeschooled kids, and he interacted with everyone from kids his age to elderly museum docents when we ventured out.
Myth #2: You have to be a genius to homeschool your kids
Calculus? Physics? 20-page research papers? You don’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to school your child at home, but you do have to be willing to learn a few new tricks like how to enroll your child in classes at the local community college, or how to find math videos on YouTube. The resources are out there, you just have to find them and give them to your child.
Myth #3: Homeschooled kids have a harder time getting into college
Colleges love homeschooled kids. Typically they’re more independent, autonomous, and better able to adjust to the freedom college allows. According to US News & World Reports: “Students coming from a home school graduated college at a higher rate than their peers—66.7 percent compared to 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade point averages along the way.”
Convinced homeschooling may be right for your child? Here are ways to get started
#1 Sign up for online public school
If you’re curious about homeschooling, but overwhelmed by the thought of buying books, science equipment, and a new computer for your child, let someone else do it. Online public schools are just that—schools online. Children across the country can find an online program for kindergarten through 12th grade at K12.com that will let them attend public school from the comfort of their home. These programs usually ship everything you need—workbooks, textbooks, science materials, and a computer—to your home to help you get started.
#2 Homeschool through a charter organization
If you want a little more control over your child’s homeschool experience, but still need a little guidance about what to teach and when, consider partnering with a charter school organization. Many home-based charter schools allows parents to check out materials, provide check-ins with a teacher, and offer other support to help your student succeed.
#3 Make your own curriculum… or not
The beauty of homeschooling is its flexibility. If you want to hammer home math and reading, you can do it. On the other hand, if you want your kid to learn about Ancient Egypt, the kingdoms of Nubia, or fall in love with Shakespeare, you can do that too. Making your own curriculum allows you to control what your child learns and when, and adjust it based on their individual needs. And if you’re feeling very adventurous, you can choose to “unschool” and let your child dictate what they want to learn. The world is your oyster!
Have you considered homeschooling your child? Would you?