The recent rise of homeschooling, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has more parents wondering if they should homeschool their children. However, making the switch to homeschooling is a big decision that involves numerous variables. Let’s learn more about why homeschooling is becoming more popular, the benefits of homeschooling, and what you’ll need to consider should you decide to homeschool your children.
Why more parents are homeschooling
Although homeschooling has been steadily on the rise since the start of the 21st century, the COVID-19 pandemic brought an unprecedented jump in the number of parents homeschooling their children and forming homeschooling pods. Between the spring and fall of 2020, the number of American households practicing homeschooling doubled from 5.5% to 11.1%, according to the United States Census Bureau. By making school at home unavoidable, the pandemic showed parents that homeschooling, while not without challenges, offers a range of benefits.
What are the benefits of homeschooling?
There are many benefits of homeschooling. They include:
- Academic flexibility: Homeschooling allows you to adapt instruction to your child's learning style, interests, and talents. You get to customize your child's schedule, learning approach, curriculum, grade level and even their graduation requirements.
- Meeting health needs: Teaching your child at home allows you to flexibly prioritize the physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health of your child throughout the school day.
- Family environment: Homeschooling can be a way of folding learning into the context of a family environment and familial relationships, which can enhance social and ethical development.
- Community environment: The flexibility of homeschooling can grant families extra time to plan community engagement activities that bring academic learning to life through real world examples.
- Meaningful learning: Homeschooling allows parents to avoid teaching to the test, arbitrary standards, and assigning busy work. Instead, engaging activities such as real experiments and other project based learning interventions, the arts, field trips, and learning in nature can provide regular and meaningful engagement with learning.
- Flexible compulsory attendance: Homeschooling enables kids to meet compulsory attendance laws while accommodating for unique situations like those with a parent in the military, an illness in the family, challenging work schedules, or frequent traveling.
What are the challenges of homeschooling?
While there are many benefits of homeschooling, there are also challenges. They include:
- Time investment to learn basic teacher skills: Teachers are professionals and they invest years in learning not only their subject areas but skills like giving clear directions, facilitation, crafting effective questions, supporting learner autonomy, effective pacing and transitions. You’ll want to spend some time “skilling up” before jumping into homeschooling.
- Time investment in choosing curriculum: There are many and varied homeschool curricula on the market. Sorting through them all and deciding what you want takes time!
- Cost investment in curriculum: The many and varied homeschool curricula have a wide range of price points. You’ll need to consider what you want to spend as you make your curriculum choices.
- Frequent questions: While homeschooling is growing in popularity there are still lots of questions about it. Expect lots of questions from other parents about why you chose to homeschool.
- Struggles with your child: While many children complain about their teachers at school, when you homeschool you are the teacher! You will need to be prepared for times when your child resists homeschooling activities, is unmotivated to learn, or is challenged by a new concept or skill.
What to consider when homeschooling
So, is homeschooling worth it? The answer is different for every child and every family. Before making a decision about homeschooling you will want to consider not only the pros and cons of homeschooling, but also what homeschooling would look like for your family. Use the six questions below to help you determine if homeschooling is right for your child and your family.
1. Will you homeschool alone or with other parents?
When it comes to homeschooling, you can go it alone or you can join a local homeschooling pod that shares the responsibility of teaching with other parents. Teaching alongside other parents can help you balance the work, depending on each parent's level of experience with a given subject area. Even if you decide to homeschool alone, meeting up with other homeschool families in the area to exchange curriculum ideas, teaching techniques, and academic resources can be beneficial.
2. How will you divide the work?
Homeschooling is a lot of work, making it essential to determine how parents share the workload. Some families find it useful to designate a lead teacher. Designating one parent as the head of homeschooling can create structure. Once you have decided how you will divide the responsibilities, you can start making a more concrete outline of your homeschooling schedule based on each parent's other responsibilities.
3. What educational goals do you have for your child?
Talk with your child about whether they have any specific goals for their education. Consider whether you would like to help them specialize in something, streamline their academics, engage in certain extracurriculars, or achieve another goal. Write out the short and long term goals for your child's homeschooling experience so that you can plan your curriculum accordingly.
4. How will you incorporate socialization?
If you choose to homeschool, your child will need to socialize with other children their age. This can happen during extracurricular activities such as after school clubs, local sports leagues, or community based activities and classes. You can even partner with your local public school or library to involve your child in some of the reading clubs, arts clubs, or sports teams available at these community institutions.
5. What are your state's requirements?
Before launching into your first year of homeschooling, make sure you read up on your state's requirements. Homeschooling rules and regulations vary greatly from state to state, so you'll want to be sure you're complying with your state's guidelines. For example, New York requires parents to file a declaration of intent each year with the local superintendent, along with an individualized home instruction plan, attendance record, quarterly reports and standardized testing. You can find your state's homeschooling laws here.
6. Where Will You Get Your Curriculum and Content?
Of course, choosing your curriculum and content is a major consideration for homeschooling. Using a trustworthy eLearning platform like Lessonbee will provide you with comprehensive educational content suitable for whichever grade level your child is learning at. Gathering content from Lessonbee allows you to build a custom plan for your child that includes research-based, culturally responsive, and engaging materials.
Once you have found a reliable source for your educational content, you can begin mapping out your curriculum plan in greater detail. Lessonbee makes developing your teaching methods easier by offering content for parents.
Find Homeschooling Resources at Lessonbee
If you are ready to start planning your homeschooling approach, check out the educational content and homeschooling solutions from Lessonbee. When you subscribe to Lessonbee, you'll get access to data-based, interactive and culturally responsive teaching materials created by actual teachers. Our content will help you create more engaging lessons, so your child learns as much as possible.
Make sure you have the resources you need to homeschool well by signing up for a Lessonbee subscription today.