Many parents have grappled with the question of whether they should homeschool or not at some point. The recent rise of homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic has more parents than ever wondering if and why they should homeschool their children. Making the switch to homeschooling is a big decision that involves numerous variables.
Below, you'll learn why homeschooling is becoming more popular, the benefits of homeschooling and what you need to consider before making the change. We're here to help you think through everything from how to meet your state's education requirements to which curriculum you should use for homeschooling your kids.
Why More Parents Are Homeschooling
The number of American households that were homeschooling doubled from 5.4% to 11.1% between the spring and fall of 2020, according to the United States Census Bureau. Although homeschooling had 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 partnering with other local families to form homeschooling pods.
By making school at home unavoidable for a few months, the pandemic showed parents that homeschooling is not as difficult as it seems and offers a range of benefits. Now, many parents have chosen to switch fully to homeschooling due to the greater control it grants them over their child's environment and academic experience.
Is Homeschooling Good for Kids?
If you're unsure whether homeschooling is the right decision for your kids, consider these benefits of homeschooling:
- Academic flexibility: Homeschooling allows you to adapt your child's academic track depending on whether they are ahead, behind, creative, quiet, gifted, challenging, strong-willed or active. You get to customize your child's schedule, learning approach, curriculum, grade level and sometimes even their graduation requirements.
- Meeting health needs: Teaching your child at home allows you to prioritize their physical, mental, emotional and behavioral health. This method lets their immediate needs determine how much time you should spend homeschooling.
- Family environment: Naturally, homeschooling provides a warm family environment, which is key for social and ethical development. The flexibility of homeschooling also grants families extra time to plan community engagement activities like volunteering.
- Meaningful learning: Homeschooling allows you to avoid teaching to the test, worrying about arbitrary minimal standards or assigning busywork. Instead, you can include educational activities that many schools cut, such as real experiments, the arts, field trips and extra time outdoors. These activities look great on transcripts and college applications, too.
- Legal acceptance: Homeschooling enables kids to meet compulsory attendance laws while accommodating for special situations like those with a parent in the military, an illness in the family, challenging work schedules or frequent traveling.
Keep in mind that choosing to homeschool your kids may come with these drawbacks:
- Sifting through numerous curriculum programs and spending money on learning materials.
- Having to frequently explain to others why you chose to homeschool.
- Maintaining your patience when your child misbehaves, struggles to learn a concept or isn't motivated.
- Constantly adapting to be an effective teacher and teach your child at a pace that's right for them.
What to Consider When Homeschooling
So, is homeschooling worth it? The answer may be different for every child depending on their goals and personality. Before making a decision on whether to homeschool your child or not, take time to think through the details of what homeschooling would look like for your family. Use the six questions below to contemplate the logistics of homeschooling:
1. Will You Homeschool Alone or With Other Parents?
When it comes to homeschooling, you have options. You can join a local homeschooling group — also known as homeschooling pods — to share the responsibility of homeschooling with other parents in your community. Teaching alongside other parents can help you balance the work more easily and divide who covers which topic depending on your levels of experience with the subject matter.
Make sure you research the homeschooling options available to you to determine which choice would be the best for your child and family. Even if you decide to homeschool alone, consider meeting up with other homeschool families in the area to exchange curriculum ideas, teaching techniques, academic resources and more.
2. How Will You Incorporate Socialization?
Working socialization into homeschooling isn't as hard as you may think. If you choose to homeschool, your child will not lack social skills because socialization occurs in a wide variety of settings, not just at school. For example, socialization can take place at after-school clubs, local sports leagues, community classes and more.
Signing your child up for extracurricular activities can ensure they receive plenty of socialization. You can even partner with your local public school to get your child involved in some of the school's clubs, sports teams or other organizations.
3. Where Will You Get Your Curriculum and Content?
Choosing your curriculum and content is a major consideration for homeschooling. Using a trustworthy eLearning platform like Lessonbee will provide 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.
4. 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.
5. What Goals Do You Have With 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 short-term and long-term goals for your child's homeschooling experience so you can plan your curriculum accordingly.
6. Which Parent Will Be in Charge of Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a hands-on endeavor, making it essential to determine which parent will be in charge from the start. Designating one parent as the head of homeschooling can give the process more structure and help the entire experience go smoothly. Once you have decided which parent will take the lead on homeschooling, you can make a more concrete outline of your homeschooling schedule based on that parent's other responsibilities.
Find Homeschooling Resources at Lessonbee
If you're 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 helps 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.