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Accidentally Homeschooling?

Updated: Jul 6

Prior to the COVID crisis in 2020, the educational world seemed steadfastly divided between traditional school and homeschooling. With the widespread school closures in the spring 2020, coupled with uncertainty about what school would look like in the fall, many parents started considering homeschooling options. Since that time, the many stories of bullying at school, mental health issues related to traditional schooling, and the news stories of school shootings have sent even more families into the homeschooling realm. In 2019, there were 2.9 million homeschoolers and by 2024, the number had grown to 3.7 million. This number doesn't even take into account all of the various hybrid options available to students today. Homeschooling is here to stay and I believe will only keep growing as it is an educational model that meets children where they are and provides one-on-one learning. However, if you feel that you're an accidental homeschooler - you were thrown into this world by COVID or bullying or any other reason, read on for tips to adjust and succeed. Regardless of why you are homeschooling, your goal is to provide a quality education for your child that includes a broad knowledge base and the hands-on experiences that make learning memorable.

Homeschooling Challenges

If you or someone you know was homeschooled as a child, you may have noticed that homeschooling looks quite different today than it did in the past. Digital resources abound, and online platforms provide you ample opportunities to prepare, plan, network and access resources.

The downside to an online focus can be too many hours spent in front of screens and too little time spent engaging in hands-on, interactive activities. Social interaction can be more difficult as well, with both family and friends. The good news is that with planning, it is possible to overcome these challenges.

Homeschooling Starters

As you consider the effects of home-based learning on your child, consider these tips for creating a solid educational experience.

  1. Utilize local resources. Research local businesses, museums, tourist attractions and historical sites. Consider how these places and their activities relate to your curricular goals, then connect with people at each location. A virtual tour of a facility or a well-planned video interview with a practitioner can enhance your child’s understanding of otherwise abstract concepts.

  2. Make your child an active part of planning. Use your child’s interests to create meaningful units of study. Assign your child the required elements (such as an essay, a lab experiment and report, a poster, or a presentation), then let your child shape their own project. This allows for both creativity and increased personal responsibility. Project-based learning is an excellent way to actively engage your child in the learning process.

  3. Expose your child to a variety of voices. Your child’s education is enriched by learning from people of differing viewpoints and experiences. Look for articles, interviews, memoirs and essays from people of different cultures, careers, ages and backgrounds. Be sure to tackle topics from more than one angle. Teach your child to evaluate what they see, hear and read and then to draw their own conclusions.

  4. Create opportunities for social interaction. Get creative with your use of technology to facilitate discussion groups, debates and collaborative projects. Look for other homeschooling families and groups to do activities with, such as physical education, music, art and field trips.

  5. Maximize the opportunity for hands-on experiences. A perfect subject for hands-on learning is science – projects and experiments make academic information memorable. Don’t forget to look for ways to bring math, social studies and English language arts alive using manipulatives and projects.

The transition to homeschooling can indeed pose numerous challenges, but the results can be rewarding. As you gather resources, create a plan that works for you, and connect with other homeschooling parents, you will find that you can create an environment where your child can grow in confidence, creativity and knowledge. Check out our blog for invaluable resources to walk through the steps of planning, gathering, and initiating. Statheros Academy also has Curriculum Planning sessions, Homeschool Coaches and many other services for homeschoolers. Check out our podcast on How to Start Homeschooling Part 1 and Part 2 for great tips and ideas. Many years from now you will look back and say that you started accidentally but you continued and finished intentionally.

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