Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling is not an easy and less exacting alternative to public or private schooling. Making such a decision would essentially make you both – a parent as well as a teacher; but there’s no need to worry because we are here to help you out!
Taking charge of your child’s education at home is not an easy task but you might already know that. It is important to make a list of reasons that have led you to make this decision. Answer the following questions on that list:
· What makes this education better for my children?
· What environments do the schools nearby create?
· For how long do I want to continue schooling at home?
· What do I want my children to accomplish through this module?
· How will I learn to grow and teach them?
Think of this list as the detailing of your mission and when the going gets tough, this list will be your motivation.
2. Set Educational Goals (reasonable ones)
With preschool homeschooling, comes the responsibility of setting your little one’s curriculum. Before deciding to pick up books, it is necessary to know what you want your child to know. Organisation plays a very important role in the same and the list-making continues.
You can plan month-wise or year-wise goals but ensure that these goals are reasonable i.e.
“This week, I want Rohan to learn the addition and subtraction of three-digit numbers”
You can also use the internet to learn about what children who fall in the same age-group need to know to set these reasonable goals.
There are many modules offered by online homeschool programs that you can sign up for that not only assist you with arming yourself with the knowledge you need as a parent and teacher but also helps you stay up-to-date with the curriculum and teacher-assisted programmes!
3. Organisation and Planning
Schooling at home can be very tedious but organising and planning can help you take on any challenge. The best part is we can teach you how to make organisation fun! Use colourful planners and cartoon characters on a big timetable to make learning more enjoyable for both, you and your child and do not forget to make this timetable with your child to add to the fun! Involving your child in the planning will definitely motivate them to stick to the schedules!
Yet another tedious facet about schooling at home is that a lot of people will tell you about the friends and interaction your child is missing out on but planned home-schooling does not deprive your child of social skills.
Enquire about after-school sports camps or art camps that you can enrol your child into as these serve as the perfect medium for interaction.
If you are looking at the age group of 10+, make sure you child does not lose out on extra-curriculars – there is an abundance of individual debate, art, dance and music competitions out there!
Lastly, remember to plan out summer vacations and back-to-school schedules that coincide with school summer vacations. This gives your child plenty of time to have fun with children who live nearby and just because you decide to home-school, it does not mean that you cannot join in the back-to-school fun.
5. Financial Planning
Home education is not financially less exacting. On the other hand, you need to consider the cost of both, online programs as well as basic study materials (which most modules online will also recommend).
You have to consider the time that education at home will take – grounding one parent who serves as the primary educator. While it is completely possible to juggle a salaried job and your responsibilities as teacher, it does mean putting in the extra effort to educate your little one.
Finances, especially in preschool homeschooling, will have to be taken into account, toys that help in cognitive development, crayons, paint, pencils, books, clay and so on. This might sound daunting but, with proper organisation, you will be able to make a list of items that need to be stored and accounted for every single penny.
6. Understanding ‘Your Role’
Do not forget that at the end of the day, homeschooling for kids can and often is based on private or public schooling. There is never one teacher who handles all the subjects for the child and no one expects you to be superhuman.
If you find yourself weak in certain subjects, reach out to home education websites or a network of home-schoolers where you can find teachers who are familiar to schooling modules specific to teaching at home. You can also consider switching roles i.e. if you know a parent struggling with a subject that you are comfortable in, offer to take that subject while he or she takes a subject that they are more comfortable in for your child. This guarantees the best education for your child and gives you a little more time to work through planning! Consider it hitting two birds with one stone!
7. Looking at the Future
Read Tip#1 again and this is where the length of your home education comes into play. The primary concern of most parents is the standardized central exams (i.e. ICSE, CBSE, NIOS, etc)
Many of these curriculums are introduced in primary school and falling behind could create quite the problem. Once again, this may sound intimidating but there are various schooling resources that you can find online.
Remember that it will be long time before you have to worry about such a decision but while making that decision, also remember that each board of education has a different approach to academics and research is key to being prepared. Do not hesitate involving an education counsellor in this process.
8. Preserve the fun!
Not being a part of traditional schooling does not mean that you have to miss out on the fun of traditional schooling. Events such as a kindergarten graduation, an educational field trip and a picnic can always be planned from the comfort and safety of your home.
This is where networking with other home-schoolers plays an important role. A collective group of maybe 2-3 children would be the perfect number to take on a picnic or a field trip to a historical site. To add to the fun, you could also bring relatives along.
An added advantage is that your field trips will specifically cater to the interests of your child!
This not only significantly reduces the stress that most parents experience when their child is exploring the world without them but also adds to fun family time. This way, A small group receives enough attention and that allows them to learn more while you are receiving happiness in these small packages!
Time and again, you will be exposed to statements that carry no truth whatsoever and it is part of your job to pay no heed to such discouraging news.
One common myth remains that schooling at home takes up too much time because of the planning and organisation involved and this will prove extremely exhausting for both, parent and child. Remember, that like all things, such a change takes time to prove fruitful but with organisation and schedules, home education is seen to result in more free time for both and child and parent. This allows you to spend extra time in co-curricular development or artistic growth in music or even sports!
An important tool for myth-busting is the network of home-schoolers. Communication is key in overcoming such obstacles.
Last but not the least, you need to focus on yourself. Schooling and parenting can be very taxing but fret not, because you have already taken the first step of the journey which is the most difficult one.
Reaching out for help with tutors or organisation experts is not a white flag. Everyone needs a little assistance from time to time and you should not beat yourself up for the same.
Remember to pamper yourself occasionally and give yourself a pat on the back for juggling so many responsibilities!
We have compiled these tips with the objective of helping you steer through this crazy and yet fun-filled rollercoaster ride. We hope that they help you out and we cannot wait to hear stories of your happy home-schooling journey!