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Switching to Homeschool Mid-Year

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February 2, 2011

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It's the middle of the school year, and you're beside yourself with worry over your child's education. You see your once gleeful child, full of hope and promise and eagerness to learn, failing to do well in school and losing that sparkle in the eyes that so charmed everyone during the early years. You know her aversion to school or her poor or falling grades don't accurately reflect her potential, and it makes you fearful for her future. You cast about, searching for reasons and solutions.

Some possible reasons:

Perhaps you discover she's being bullied in school (not necessarily physically – taunting and teasing is an insidious form of bullying, too). Or she's seen many reports in the news of unimaginable violence in the schools, making her terrified it could happen in her school. Having to face another day in fear and dread of these real possibilities makes learning in any meaningful way almost hopeless.

Some children become bored, sitting in class day after day while the teacher goes over and over the same material, when they understood it first time around. They want intellectual challenge, they need their talents to be encouraged and supported. When challenge and support aren't forthcoming, they can lose their desire to learn, simply sliding along with barely passing grades.

Has your family experienced life-altering challenges, such as a serious illness, a death, an unplanned relocation that forced you to move far away from friends and loved ones? Imagine the fear this inspires in a child who hasn't yet acquired the tools of an adult's ability to process and deal with extreme adversity.

Or, maybe your child has trouble understanding schoolwork because it's being presented in a way he simply can't "get," so he's been mislabeled as a slow learner and his self esteem is undergoing a painful diminishment.

Your personal dilemma could be much less dramatic (but no less important) than any of these situations. It could be your child is an aspiring elite athlete, dancer, musician, or actor, and she's having a horrible time balancing school work with the demands of practice and training to fully develop her innate talents. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to do justice to both.

These are but a few reasons parents switch to homeschooling in the middle of a school year. Though very different on the face of it, all scenarios have two glaring consequences in common: 1. they diminish self-esteem, preventing children from feeling good about themselves and their abilities, and 2. they drastically reduce not only children's desire, but also their actual ability to learn.

When we are full of fear or plagued by self-doubt, we cannot learn.

Possible solutions:

  • Do nothing for the moment. Tell yourself you'll wait until the end of the school year, and things may improve. If they don't, you can start homeschooling next fall. Not really a solution, this choice merely delays a decision and keeps your child hostage to a bad situation.

  • Withdraw your child from public school and begin homeschooling right now – yes – right now, before further damage takes an even greater toll on your child.

Being truly concerned, you'll admit to yourself that you can't sit by and do nothing. On the other hand, if you're going to begin homeschooling, you need guidance and information – and quickly.

Here are answers to some of the questions you may have:

How can I teach my child? I don't have teaching credentials.

Successful homeschooling gives children the tools they need to achieve the highest learning levels their talents allow and prepares them for meaningful adulthood. If you love being with your child, enjoy learning, and are willing to commit to facilitating your child's natural desire to learn, you can be an excellent homeschooler. It isn't necessary to be a curriculum expert yourself if you enroll your child in an excellent online school, such as Laurel Springs School. To create an optimum environment for your child's education, you'll need to have:

  • Acceptance of your child – just as he or she is: a miraculous individual.

  • Commitment – to share what you know, to learn what you don't, and to devote time and energy to your child's education.

  • Self-discipline – to keep to a schedule.

  • Trust and belief – in your child's ability to learn and your own intuition. You know your child better than anyone. If it feels right, it probably is.

  • Support from your online school – in choosing the right curriculum, in having a teacher who is devoted to helping you and your child successfully navigate and complete all courses, in having direct access to anyone at the school who will help you with specific questions, and in guiding you through the college preparation process (if appropriate to your child's current grade level).

  • Outside support – Interacting with other homeschoolers is vital in maintaining perspective and confidence.

How do I choose a school?

Everyone at Laurel Springs School respects your courage and commitment to giving your child the best education possible. No other homeschool institution offers the full complement of courses, services, support, and school community activities you'll find with Laurel Springs. In the list below, you'll see the elements Laurel Springs believes are vital in ensuring that your child receives a rich home education, consistent with his or her unique style of learning and worthy of his or her talents, passions, and dreams.

School Philosophy – You need to feel that your school's mission and goals for your child are in concert with your beliefs about a quality education.

Accreditation – to assure quality, verified transcripts and diplomas, and integrity

Enrollment Advice to give you ongoing personalized guidance through the enrollment and course selection process for elementary, middle school, and high school

Learning Styles Profile – to identify how your child learns best. Knowing your child's learning style (and your own) is crucial in selecting the right program

Assessments – to appropriately place your child in the right subject levels and make adjustments for your child's individual needs

A Variety of Curricular Choices – to tailor courses to your child's unique needs and abilities

One-to-One Teacher Services – to actively support you and your child, and evaluate all school work

Honors, AP, and College Prep Courses – if appropriate for your child's grade level and educational goals

A Thriving School Community Laurel Springs understands that socialization and collaboration among students is important. As a result, they've developed numerous opportunities for your children to grow socially as well as academically. No longer is socialization a reason to not homeschool your child!

Parent Support – Laurel Springs provides direct contact with enrollment advisors and teachers by phone and email. In addition to direct communication, a parent handbook, newsletters, and virtual interactive symposia are offered as a means to learn more and optimize your experience.

Joining the many parents who've chosen to move their children into homeschooling in the middle of the school year can be one of the most important (and scary) decisions you'll ever make for them. When you see the sparkle return to your child's eyes, the smile restored, and enthusiasm for life and learning replace lifelessness, you'll know you've made the right decision!


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