New Tips on How to HomeschoolJuly 13, 2023
Post sponsored by Bridgeway Academy
So, you have decided to homeschool. Unless you have been around the homeschooling block a few times or are surrounded by homeschooling friends, you may be wondering, now what? There are so many things to consider and choices to make, from curriculum to classes to co-ops.
If you are new to homeschooling, you are most likely a bit overwhelmed and maybe even tempted to throw in the towel before you even start. But homeschooling will be the best decision you make for your children’s education and future, and you can do it!
Now, to address the elephant in the room…you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I homeschool?” This is a complex question with a variety of answers. A good place to start is by knowing yourself and what kind of homeschool teacher you want to be. By answering the questions below, you’ll begin to reach some clarity regarding the type of homeschool teacher you wish to be and how you can homeschool your kids. From there, this can help you identify the curriculum and homeschool activities that suit you and your child best.
- Do you want to be highly involved in each lesson? Or more hands-off? If you want to be highly involved, consider the traditional homeschool approach and curriculum. With this approach, you manage all the details of your child’s day and projects. However, if you prefer to be more of a hands-off teacher, you will want to look for an online program, live classes, or self-paced publishers that allow your child to work more independently. There is no right or wrong way to go–it simply comes down to what is most comfortable and natural for you and your student.
- Do you thrive on a tight, organized schedule or a more relaxed day? If you are a type A personality who benefits from a tighter schedule, consider a homeschool curriculum that is paced for you. Just be sure that you take some time to write out your lessons and schedules in advance. It’s also a good idea to invest in a great homeschool schedule or calendar. If you want a more relaxed schedule, start by making a list of what you want to accomplish and the courses you want to teach. From there, search for curriculum and class options that will provide you with the freedom and flexibility you want.
- Do you want to homeschool individually, as a group, or both? Most homeschooling curriculum allows you to teach concurrently, with more than one student at a time, or separately. Maybe you want to spend time exploring science together but work with each student separately on language arts. Perhaps journaling and reading can be a group activity, where you read, write, and share what you’re learning together. It is important to decide how much togetherness and how much separation you want in your homeschool day.
- Do you want traditional books and curriculum, online classes, or a blend of both? If you have a book lover in your home, you will definitely want to consider traditional textbook language arts and other curriculums. But online learning is also an excellent supplement to textbook learning, as the visual integration mixed with audio and instant feedback are great for all learning styles. If your child has grown more accustomed to asynchronous online learning, a virtual classroom environment, or both, perhaps blended homeschooling, exclusively online learning, or a day full of live online classes works best for your child.
- Do you want to go it alone or teach in a community? If you have highly social children or are new to homeschooling altogether, planning a few outside classes and activities, such as PE, art, or a co-op science class can give you the break you need and provide your students with the engagement and socialization they crave. Co-ops have become more and more popular in homeschooling circles for all of the reasons above…and then some. Similarly, microschools and pods, many of which began during COVID, continue to grow. These aren’t for everyone, however. Some children are easily distracted in group settings, which isn’t exactly conducive to learning. It’s ultimately up to you whether you want to go it alone or join other homeschooling families.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to consider the method of homeschooling that’s right for your family. Here are some of the more popular options today:
This is the most common kind of homeschooling, the one that often comes to mind when people envision what homeschooling looks like. It’s a broad definition that encompasses different types of teaching and learning, but traditional homeschooling typically involves:
- Lecture-based classes given by a parent, caregiver, or other instructor
- A consistent daily schedule
- Some alignment with the local school district’s curriculum
- Textbooks or a combination of textbooks and online lessons
- A somewhat-traditional classroom setup: desk, storage, wall decorations, a whiteboard, and other items you might find in a school classroom
What traditional/school-at-home homeschooling involves:
- Curriculum: Many families purchase a full-year curriculum, which includes everything you need to teach an entire school year. Other families opt to piece together curricula from a variety of publishers.
- Time and Structure: Traditional homeschooling often demands an abundance of time and organization from the parent/instructor to ensure everything is structured, on schedule, and taught effectively. If this is a path that interests you, but you’re a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of all that work, a partner or academy like Bridgeway Academy can help you with choosing a curriculum, handling paperwork, and even doing some of the actual teaching.
- Record-keeping: While not every state requires you to submit progress reports or paperwork to your local school district, it’s always a wise idea to keep an organized portfolio of assessments, projects, grades, communication between your family and the school district, and any other relevant forms.
Roadschooling is growing in popularity because it offers kids hands-on learning experiences they can’t get in a traditional classroom. The general idea behind roadschooling is to take education on the road. Not necessarily by bringing books or computers along in the car (though that is a great way to spend time between destinations). But through literal road trips to see and feel and smell whatever it is parents are teaching. For example:
- Instead of reading or lecturing about the American Revolution, parents could set up a road trip to Boston, Philadelphia, and Williamsburg to visit the historic spots where the real events actually occurred.
- Rather than read a book or watch a video about national parks, they could visit a dozen of them across the country, in person, and ask the park rangers any questions they have.
- Why lecture about the Civil War when a family could plot out a trip to as many battle sites as they can fit in?
The possibilities are literally as limitless as your budget. Not only do kids get to learn in a new way, but they also get to see the world up close rather than through the print on a textbook page or on a screen.
Note: if you do plan to roadschool, you should establish a home state and follow its laws for homeschooling. There generally needs to be a degree of regulation around homeschooling, which is why it’s required that roadschooling families declare official residence in a particular state.
A somewhat-unconventional method of homeschooling, unschooling essentially puts a child’s education into his or her own hands. Unschooling is driven by a child’s interests and desire to learn more. Unschooling parents let go of the reins and allow their children to learn organically by discovering. Although it sounds like unschooling lacks any type of structure, it actually utilizes some of the same core characteristics as other types of homeschooling–the child’s learning style, personality, and interests. But this method certainly involves discipline from both the student and the parents.
What does an unschooler learn? Anything he or she wants. That’s why some families love the freedom that unschooling provides. It lets the child explore his or her interests and learn as much as they can about those topics from the world around them. Some unschoolers forsake curriculum entirely, while others use it for some subjects and allow their children to learn the others on their own.
While unschooling is technically legal as a form of homeschooling, it’s best to check your state’s homeschooling laws for regulations that may be required (record-keeping, assessments, attendance, etc.).
Worldschooling is like roadschooling to the extreme. It’s a type of education that encourages children to literally see as much of the world as possible. There are several benefits of this type of education–after all, who doesn’t want to travel across the world to learn?
There are a couple of different approaches to worldschooling. Some families elect to move to a particular country for a period of time and have their child enroll in a local school to immerse themselves in a new culture and learn new history in a way that they never could in a traditional American classroom. Other families opt to stay. Others might move to another country and do the same thing all over again so their children learn as much about as many cultures as possible.
Yet others may decide to trot the globe, going from country to country for shorter periods of time so their child can learn about even more cultures and histories. This type of worldschooling more than likely would not involve enrolling kids in local schools, opting rather to teach from home…wherever home winds up being.
The one negative to worldschooling? It’s expensive! But, if it’s in your budget, go for it! Legality is another major consideration–be sure to check local laws in whichever state or country you’re looking to stay in.
As you can see, homeschooling takes on many different shapes and styles. The most important consideration, however, is what fits best for you and your family. When done right, homeschooling can be a life-changing experience and open a world of possibilities for your child. If you’re looking for an accredited, experienced partner with whom to take your homeschooling journey, Bridgeway Academy offers a variety of programs and curricula to fit every family and every situation. No matter the type of homeschooling you decide upon, Bridgeway will work with you to create the perfect, customized program for your child. Contact us today at (888) 303-7512 to learn more.
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