You’ve started researching homeschooling options because something just doesn’t feel right about your child’s school situation, but there is so much information to take in. You feel as if you’ll never be able to make sense of the laws for homeschooling in your state, let alone figure out which curriculum is best. You’re left wondering ‘Am I making the right choice in considering homeschooling? Will my child do better at home?’
Making the decision to homeschool can be a huge hurdle to overcome. As a society, for quite some time, the “norm” has been to send our kids to school. However, many parents are now opting to take on the responsibility of teaching their children at home. For some parents, opting to homeschool was a straightforward decision in which homeschooling was a clear choice. While others may find homeschooling intriguing, parents are often unsure if homeschooling is a good fit for their child. In this article, we will review four signs that homeschooling may be a good fit for you and your child(ren). And some of these may not be what you expect.
How does homeschooling work?
Before we jump into the signs that homeschooling may be right for you and your child, let’s talk about what homeschooling is. Homeschooling, as the name likely suggests, is a form of education where your child learns at home rather than in a traditional classroom environment. Before the turn of the 20th century, most children were homeschooled, as traditional schools, as we know them today, were not as prevalent. Homeschooling students account for 6-7% of students in the US, and this number has been steadily increasing each year by between 7-15%. However, not all homeschoolers have a parent-teacher and learning is not always in the home specifically. To be a homeschooling family, you must declare your child(ren) with the school district as a homeschooler, and then they must not receive any more than 25 hours a week of education from any school (public or private). So, whether your child learns at home or in some other non-traditional learning environment, they are officially homeschooled. Now, what does homeschooling look like?
What does homeschooling look like?
As long as you are abiding by the laws for homeschooling in your state, homeschooling can look like whatever you want or need it to. For some, homeschooling includes a structured schedule, five days a week that involves worksheets and projects, while for others, homeschooling is more of an unschooling approach. Some homeschooling parents opt to teach their own children, while others prefer to use the help of online programs or tutors for this. And, other families, still, opt for schooling outside of the home, but also outside of a traditional classroom. Some examples of this would be homeschooling co-op programs or tutoring centers.
So, what are some of the signs that homeschooling is right for you and your child?
As highlighted earlier, choosing to homeschool is a decision often filled with uncertainty and, of course, lots of emotion. It does require a time commitment as well as dedication to ensure that your child is successful in their learning journey. So, if you’ve considered all the responsibilities of homeschooling, and you feel ready to do it, but you’re not sure that your child is, let’s look at four signs that homeschooling is right for your child.
Your child has mixed scholastic abilities
Everyone, young and old, has their strengths and weaknesses. Kids, even in younger grades, will recognize this fact, which is why many students will show a preference for one subject over another. However, there are also cases where a child is “twice-exceptional.” The term “twice-exceptional” applies to a student who is gifted in one area, but lagging behind other students in other areas. This student could simultaneously qualify as a gifted student and for special education. While school systems attempt to provide appropriate resources for students who need them, “twice-exceptional” students often go unidentified, making it difficult to determine how many students fall into this category
With homeschooling, one advantage is its flexibility. You can design it to be what you need, and you can meet your “twice-exceptional” students where they are academically. With homeschooling, there is typically no need to stress about standardized tests that will place your student as an outlier, or stress about meeting certain benchmarks in a curriculum. This student will likely thrive with the support provided by homeschooling as learning can be more child-driven.
Your child is a kinesthetic or gifted learner
You may be familiar with the idea that everyone has a different learning style. The four learning styles include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and read/write style. Most young children (kindergarten to second grade) are inherently kinesthetic learners. Students start to shift to different learning styles as they enter third grade, however, some students remain kinesthetic learners (mostly males), which makes a traditional classroom (where learning becomes primarily visual and auditory) a less-than-ideal learning environment. What’s more, if your child is a gifted learner, they may not be challenged enough at school (probably not due to a lack of trying on the school’s part).
Homeschooling would be a great fit for both of these learners. Again, an advantage of homeschooling is its flexibility, you can advance your learners’ curriculum until they are at a level that is truly challenging, or you can develop creative ways to challenge their learning through camps and online courses. For a kinesthetic learner, incorporating multisensory learning opportunities is usually a great way of meeting your child’s learning needs. There are great resources online for a curriculum that includes multisensory learning or you can create lessons on your own.
Your family moves often
While this point refers to the whole family, it really boils down to how your child handles the moves. Some children are able to quickly adapt to living in new places and integrating into new schools. However, others are not able to handle the transition quite as well, making homeschooling an excellent option for families that have to move every couple or few years. Homeschooling provides consistency for the child that transcends the location in which the learning occurs, and helps to make the move easier for you and your child.
You feel your child will thrive better at home
Sometimes, a parent’s intuition trumps everything else. If you feel drawn to homeschooling, and sense that your child would do better in that kind of learning environment, then that’s all the information you need. The bond you have with your child is special and provides you the opportunity to pick up on things your child is dealing with often before anyone else. Again, because homeschooling is so versatile, you can develop a program that you feel is best for your kid.
In closing, people turn to homeschooling for many reasons. For some, the choice to homeschool is an easy decision, while, for others, homeschooling seems appealing, but parents are hesitant as they’re not sure if it is right for their kids. Some of the signs that homeschooling is right for your child include your child has mixed scholastic abilities, your child is a kinesthetic or gifted learner, you move as a family often, and you feel that your child would do better learning at home. Whether you identify with the signs listed above, or other signs, homeschooling is a great way to connect with your children while guiding them through their learning journey. And, what’s great is that homeschooling is not forever, but it is an option when you need it. What do you think? Is homeschooling a good fit for you?