From Public School to Homeschool
Check out this fun resource for your kids! Fun Geology Brick Challenge
I know that many of you are probably trying to figure out just how to go from public school to homeschool now that your kids are at home, with your local schools closed for the rest of the school year. All of my kids are grown, but I understand your confusion and questions. Once upon a time, I was there, too! I do have a few ideas for you that I hope will help to quell the anxiousness that you might be experiencing. These ideas aren’t exhaustive, but I hope I can give you some ideas for how to go forward with less fear and confusion.
What do you need to homeschool?
So let’s talk about this. What do you need? The easiest place to start is probably with what you don’t need. You don’t need to recreate your child’s classroom. You don’t need to pin pictures and number lines around your family room. (Although you might do this!) You don’t have to start at the same time that their school did. And you don’t have to go to school for 6-8 hours Whew. You really only a fraction of that! Think about how much time goes into crowd control in the classroom!
But you will need the basics: paper, pencils, crayons, paints. If you start with just that, you will be fine!
How do I do this?
First, do something that you haven’t been able to do in the public classroom – have Bible studies or readings and prayer! What a great way to set your education apart, by bringing in the Lord! Verse memory, journaling, reading, Bible history, there is so much there! His presence will bless your homeschool.
Next, it is good to understand that there are different philosophies about how to homeschool, just as there are different types of private and public schools. Some like to be more lesson oriented and some do what is called Classical education. Some “unschool,” and some like to teach to their child’s passions. There are as many approaches as there are families! It may take you a while to figure out what works best for you. But if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to pivot and try something else. Your child will still be learning!
Practical ideas for homeschooling
So, now into the meat of the thing. You need to realize that homeschooling is not the same thing as doing school at home. The latter seeks to recreate the school classroom. The former is less intent on process, and more focused on learning your child’s pace and interests. Yes, you do need to learn math and language arts.
But you can do that in the context of studying something else that your child has an affinity for. Say for instance, you son is fascinated by airplanes. Then your math can revolve around that. Your writing can revolve around that. And you can take trips to small airports and talk to professionals about how they learned to fly. Write about that experience. Do some research on wind and air speed, and the Wright brothers. Then more history: How did airplanes impact World War I? (I had an 8th grade teacher who spent almost a whole semester on this!) Do you see how learning begins to open up?
Ideas from the Trenches
We also asked some of our friends for their thoughts and advice for those new to this. Here are some of their great ideas:
- Have a routine: get up, get dressed, etc.
- Give your kid time. Time with you, in nature, with friends and with loved ones.
- Help them to feel comfortable and confident.
- Manage your expectations.
- Don’t stress about getting behind.
- Enjoy your chance to be together.
- Spend your afternoons in fun exploration or activities
- Ask your kid what they would like to learn more about, then do an online search for “unit studies on….”
- Simplify. Give your kids a short list of what they need to do that day. Then let them play when that is done.
- Cooking class.
- Take it one hour, one day, one week at a time. The kids are going through a transition, too.
- Board games.
Yes, relax. That is probably the most important. Moving from public school to homeschool is a new adventure, and it will be so much more enjoyable if you allow yourself to explore a bit. You are going to need time to figure out what works, and what doesn’t work. But that is part of the process. Nobody starts out having everything just right!
As you move through this interesting new world, you will likely find that the learning and teaching is much more natural than you thought it would be. It will be challenging, of course. This is a lifestyle change as well, and that is not to be taken lightly. But there are homeschool communities of parents all around, and they can tell you their war stories, and share great victories, as well as the times they just blew it. Yep, we all have. But that’s ok, because the same thing goes on in all schools! But being in a community of homeschool parents is so wonderful when you need some guidance and encouragement. And in time, you will be the one giving the input!