10 Days of Homeschooling

This article sponsored by Time4Learning.

If you’re one of the thousands of American families that have now unexpectedly begun to discuss the educational options that are available to you and your children, this story is for you. More than just a funny homeschool meme, this comic attempts to communicate the lessons homeschoolers have learned through trial and error over the past decade.

Just prior to the health crisis of March 2020, 3% – 4% of the US K-12 population were being homeschooled. Many of these families started their child’s education in a traditional school setting and then switched to homeschooling, often due to some sort of crisis that occurred. We hear from long-term homeschoolers every day, and they have a lot of experience to share with today’s families making the transition to homeschooling. Here is some of their great advice:

  1. Many families realize that having your kids in school does not prepare a family for what homeschooling will be like. The mindset is different because schools are all about structure so that a large number of students can be managed without chaos. But this structure is not necessary for most families to homeschool. What is the right structure for any family? It’s important to find what works for you.
  2. It’s also important that families start their homeschool schedule slowly. For many, that includes deschooling first — What is deschooling? It’s helpful for families to shed their expectations that homeschooling will look like a school at home.
  3. As part of the deschooling process have some fun with it! It’s a great idea to share interests in some new ways. Let everyone suggest what new parts of the program would look like. Take your time here… it may take a number of days or even weeks to deschool.
  4. A good suggestion is to start some “formal” learning: One or two subjects is great for a first step. Follow some curriculum. Get to know your kids as learners, which will be new to you. You might be pleasantly surprised here.
  5. Another invaluable suggestion is to include some “informal” learning: Reading as a family, exploring the structure or history of video games, do a probability lesson with a deck of cards or dice… there are so many possibilities here that will delight and engage your student.
  6. Many encourage new homeschoolers to work towards having a “program” at the end of the month where:
    • Time4Learning is used for 1-2 hours, for a structured curriculum.
    • Interest-based and project-based learning fills out the second half of the homeschooling program.
  7. It’s important to encourage both parents to find ways to get fully involved, but neither one of them becomes a “teacher”. Explore and discover learning together.

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