Everything You Need to Know About Homeschooling
You’ve finally concluded that you want to homeschool your children, but you don’t know where to start. Don’t fret! This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to choose the best homeschool curriculum.
Most parents opt for homeschooling because they’re concerned about the safety of their kids. Also, some parents noticed that homeschooled students performed much better than students from public schools on SATs (standardized academic achievement tests).
In the 2011-12 school year, roughly 3% of school-aged children were homeschooled in America. Since 2012 the number has been growing steadily in some states, but in some, the number has been decreasing.
Now more than ever parents prefer homeschooling their children than taking them to public-school, especially with the increase in bullying cases in schools.
What is Homeschooling?
We can define homeschooling as the practice of teaching your kids at home rather than taking them to schools, whether private or public. The parents have control over the direction in which their kids learn, where and when.
Homeschooling offers the parents the opportunity to personalize the learning environment to meet the needs of their children.
The laws governing homeschooling vary from one state to another. Thus, you might have to notify your public-school system of your desire to home school your kids. In some states, you might also need to register as a homeschooler with the state.
Unlike the traditional education system where the curriculum is fixed and pre-determined, homeschooling allows for the adaptation of a curriculum to an individual level.
However, some public high-schools offer tuition-free virtual classes options, allowing students to do their studies, partially or entirely from home. This is known as true homeschooling since the kids are officially part of the public school system.
The school also provides the student with a fixed curriculum, meaning parents can’t introduce their own curriculum.
Homeschooling helps taxpayers save over $25 million each academic year because public schools are often compensated by the federal government based on the number of registered learners.
Homeschooling is different because parents remove their children from the public-school system and have greater control over what their children learn.
How to select a homeschooling curriculum?
Figuring the right homeschooling curriculum can feel overwhelming at first since you don’t know where to start.
But you need to understand that selecting a personalized curriculum is one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling. Through a curriculum, you can determine what your children should learn and what not to learn.
In this section, we’ll have a look at the different types of homeschool curriculum and where you can purchase the best curriculum today. But before that, let’s dive into the criteria you need to use to choose the best program for your kids.
Full program packages and online programs that need tuition are usually costly. Utilizing unit lessons and coupling them with your own resources from the library and many resources available online helps you to save some money.
Religious Affiliation or World Views
It’s no secret! There are many homeschool curriculum programs rooted in Christianity and other religions. So it’s up to you to select a program that closely matches your family values.
You need to select a curriculum that meets your children’s learning style. Every child has a unique learning style; some may learn better via interactive computer lessons, while others do much better reading textbooks.
Education and Parent Availability
Unlike teachers who’re paid to teach students for five days a week and sometimes during the weekends, parents have other responsibilities and jobs. So it might prove hard to homeschool a kid and provide for the family at the same time.
However, if a parent plans his/ her time, well, homeschooling can be quite easy. You need to look for programs that are not so much hands-on.
Find programs that offer professional instruction for the different subjects so you don’t struggle so much, particularly at the high school level. Also, set time to guide your kids through their studies.
You can create a program for your children or find someone else to prepare it. If you opt to complete homeschool packages where everything is organized for you. You’ll spend very little time homeschooling your children. You’ll only have to present them with the lesson plans and maybe grade the paper with the help of an answer key.
Focus on developing the talent and skills of your children by including their interest in the curriculum. This way you can make them more interested in learning.
Types of Homeschool Curriculum
Now that we’ve highlighted the criteria for selecting the right program. Let’s look at the different types of homeschool curriculum available.
Computer-Based Curriculum uses intuitive algorithms and animated characters to determine if a child moves forward or repeats a lesson. They can be purchased in CD form, but today most are entirely internet-based.
Some public-schools offer this online program to students in exchange for tuition. Through the program, students have access to legitimate teachers.
It’s the best option for parents who travel a lot since their children can complete their course work from any computer as long as there’s an internet connection.
Example of this program include:
- Switched on Schoolhouse
- Accelerate Online Academy
- Oak Meadow
Unit Study Curriculum
Unit Sturdy Curriculum programs come with materials arranged into units of study, often packaged based on the subject. This allows parents to mix and match units from various programs. It also makes it easier to couple the program with other units.
These programs can come in different formats- each tailored for a specific unit or study-based on the company producing them.
Examples of the program include:
- Learning Adventures
- Five in a Row
- Creative Thinking
Complete Curriculum Packages
Complete Curriculum package programs will provide you with everything you require to teach your child for an entire semester or academic year.
Although you might have to buy some basic material to facilitate the completion of some lessons. But most of the things for the lessons come included in the package.
It’s great for parents or caregivers who want to employ a program designed by experts without having to rely on an online routine.
Examples of the program include:
- Easy Peasy All-In-One Homeschool
- Sycamore Academy
- Moving Beyond the Page
Sometimes the various homeschool curriculum overlap. Most companies today offer unit studies alongside the option to buy a complete curriculum. Also, some companies offer both text-based and online programs, allowing parents to mix and match the resources.