You may have been considering homeschooling for some time. Maybe you have seen firsthand the benefits of a different course of education through mom groups, friends, or family members. Possibly you have identified some of the aspects of our public education system that are broken and you now have chosen a different course.
The only mountain in your way is the fear of just how to smoothly execute your plan and ensure a smooth transition from public school to homeschool. There is a difference for those who have first had a child in public education and then transitioned, it isn’t difficult but there are a few things to carefully consider.
Online or Parent driven?
Decide if you are going to opt for an online program (often just public school with a computer at home) or if you will be using your own (parent-driven) purchased curriculum either via video series, classic books or grade level packages. Take the online placement tests that most programs offer so you know where to start your student.
Before you make the leap, make a decision
You need to decide if you are simply going to replicate the public school in your home, complete with desk, chalkboard, and cubby, or if you are going to embrace the creativity that homeschool enables you to have. (Think reading outdoors on a sunny day and math problems in chalk on the driveway) This decision is important because it will set the tone for your homeschool, there is no right answer but know that you can do things your own way, with your own student/s in mind.
Decide to take a break
This piece of advice is the most sound you will hear. You need to reset the tone from what your child is used to and give them time to decompress. Don’t worry; your child will not fall behind if you take a week or three off before transitioning into homeschooling. You will be getting more done at home in 2 hours than most children complete in 4 at the public school. You will also likely be less test-driven and more student-focused, this mentality is often challenging for students to let go of.
Related: Tips for Deschooling Your Child
Make an appointment
This is a tricky one because you need to be strong in the face of opposition, especially if your school system has a negative view of homeschooling. Make an appointment with your child’s teacher, an exit conference for example, and ask your student’s teacher to outline for you the materials your child has been using (i.e. what type of math program, science, and social studies curricula, etc.) Ask the teacher what she sees as the strengths and weaknesses of your student and ask for input about the pace the class has been on. Then take all the information with a grain of salt and forge forward.
Avoid certain language
Often you will hear parents exclaim, “I pulled him/her out of school.” There is power in language and often, especially if there was a precipitating problem that caused your decision, this language can carry a lot of weight. A better choice of words would be, “we made the decision to homeschool and withdrew from the public school system.” Using the word, withdrew in place of yanked out, pulled out, quit, is more empowering both to you and your children.
Your transition from traditional public school to homeschool need not be difficult, in fact, it may well be the best decision you have ever made. Enjoy the journey and know that you will likely learn as much, if not more, than your own children do along the way.