The Journey to Homeschooling by Barbara Wolf Shousha
This is a guest blog post from the University of Nebraska High School
We partner with many successful homeschooling families. Parents who wish to educate in the home during high school may ask an external provider such as the University of Nebraska High School to deliver certain topics online. The decision to educate at home is a decision to invest time, money and personal effort into your children’s educational development. These thoughts are intended to help you invest wisely.
Understand your goals for time and material
Your state may have guidelines and requirements for providing education in the home. These vary from state to state. Understanding these from the start will ensure you are creating a plan to use textbooks or external curriculum. Regarding time, there is a difference in time expressed for curriculum and time delivering instruction. For example, at the University of Nebraska High School our curriculum is delivered in a self-paced format suitable for independent study.
Now in reality, all students learn differently. One student may commit several hours a day and work through the material rapidly, to finish in fewer weeks. Another student in the same course may need a longer period of time and may revisit the material multiple times. This is why we offer students the opportunity to complete a course in as few as five weeks or as many as 52 weeks. Regardless of the time the student takes to complete the scope and sequence of our course, they have worked through approximately 90 hours of instruction and academic work for a five credit hours (semester length course) or 180 hours for a 10 credit hours (full year course).
Tip for Parents: If you are reviewing curriculum and are unsure of the scope of the material, contact the provider. Ask them to express the curriculum content to you in terms of time and material.
Understand your instruction as it will appear on a homeschool transcript.
UNHS provides an official transcript for credit earned with our school. We also offer guidance to parents for preparing a homeschool transcript. In many cases, the homeschool transcript is a blend of topics taught by the parents or a homeschool cooperative and topics the student has studied with the University of Nebraska High School.
Tip for Parents: Course information on a homeschool transcript should have academic years labeled such as Grade 9 (2016-17) and should list each:
- Course name
- Grade earned
- Course length (semester or full year)
- Textbook and publishing company information (a textbook must be listed with each CORE subject area)
- Provider of course if working with an external provider.
Understand your students and their interaction with the material.
An enormous benefit of homeschooling is the ability to educate your child as a unique individual. One student may soar with the freedom to work independently while another may require stronger schedule adherence. It may depend on the material. A student who can work quickly through math and science curriculum may need a planned schedule to complete English assignments. Keep this in mind when considering materials or external providers.
Tip for Parents: Talk openly with your children about this. Let them know that you will happily manage the process and maintain a focus on the outcomes, but that you expect them to manage their behavior and find the best way to work toward completion.
We hope that these tips are helpful for homeschooling families. Planning for these things at the start will allow you to enjoy the experience of educating at home and all the benefits of supporting your children as they grow and develop.
The road to finding a homeschool program that’s right for your student is a long one with many options. We offer support to homeschool families. We know the effort that goes into this. We have teachers and advisers that have well-rounded experience with many different family situations. Our overall goal is to help students succeed in school and whatever else their education may take them.