Homeschooling: An All-in-One Guide
Are you considering homeschooling your child this school year? There are many benefits this approach has that are not found in a traditional classroom setting. Homeschooling allows you and your child the freedom to set your own pace and to customize the curriculum to fit his or her unique needs and learning style.
Welcome to our series of “All-in-One” guides connecting blog writers around an important topic that is explored in-depth on our blog page. The subject of this guide explores everything parents need to know about homeschooling.
In This Article
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The Differences between Schooling Options
Children in grades kindergarten to high school have five different options for education. Although all offer benefits, one option may be more suitable depending on your situation.
Next, public school involves face-to-face interaction in a structured environment that is guided and instructed by teachers.
Remote learning involves teachers and students staying connected through the use of technology. Please note that teachers still guide and instruct students, and often classes are attended at specific times in such online places as Zoom or Webex.
In this option, both ‘distance’ and ‘remote’ learning are terms often used interchangeably. However, the difference is distance learning allows more flexibility for students with self-paced lessons. And, teachers play less of an active role in classroom learning, but children are able to reach out to teachers for extra help if issues with curriculum arise.
In this schooling option, parents are the teachers of their children (one can even find a homeschooling teacher). Children are guided and instructed through their course curriculum and daily homeschooling schedule with more flexibility for the parents and children.
This is a form of homeschooling where children follow their interests and parents act as guides to help children learn through life experiences like playing and household chores.
The Benefits of Homeschooling
While there are always some drawbacks to every type of schooling option available, homeschooling offers the following 10 key benefits:
- Creates a strong family bond due to increased time spent together,
- Parents and children together decide the school curriculum and schedule,
- An unstructured school environment like at home shows children learning can be fun,
- Parents can apply different teaching methods to fit their child’s needs and learning style,
- The pace of curriculum can be adjusted to help further a child’s understanding of particular subjects,
- Parents can add in subjects like religious studies/beliefs, and life skills like learning to pay bills and balancing a checkbook,
- Lowers a child’s risk of exposure to drugs, alcohol, bullying, and school violence,
- Children receive one-on-one instruction,
- With more flexibility in curriculum and schedules, children have more time to pursue talents like instruments and sports,
- Parents are able to discuss conversational topics with their children in private. As well, topics such as school violence and sex education can be discussed in private and with more clarity.
How Do I Prepare for Homeschooling?
If you’re considering homeschooling this school year, there is no better time! So, try some of the following tips to prepare yourself!
1. Find out your options for homeschooling
Depending on where you live, homeschooling varies by state and local laws. The best way to find out your state and local laws is by asking a local school district or researching the laws online.
2. Create a homeschool schedule
One of the benefits of homeschooling your preschooler is you have the flexibility to create a school schedule. You can schedule a school curriculum around playtimes, social gatherings, mealtimes, and even your child’s temperament for the day.
3. Map out your school curriculum
Your school curriculum will vary depending on your child’s age and abilities. While you may have to follow some curriculum guidelines according to state and local laws, the preschool curriculum is customizable to your child.
4. Schedule your work time
Your work time is just as important as your child’s homeschooling schedule. For example, when you’re juggling homeschooling and work, know that you will have to work in small blocks of time compared to the long hours of a traditional workday.
5. Don’t recreate a traditional classroom at home
A traditional classroom does not need to be recreated for your child to have homeschooling success. Even more, many preschoolers do not do well in an environment where they have to sit still in a designated area. So, create a space that works best for your child with plenty of space to move around while learning new things!
6. Follow your child’s interests
Learning is more fun if you include a curriculum geared toward your child’s interests. If your child loves dogs, include books about dogs. The more schoolwork you have about your child’s interests, the more he or she will love to learn.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Homeschooling is challenging but worth it! Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family to help with the curriculum and homeschooling your child. Also, find another home school mom to share tips, tricks, and curriculum ideas.
8. Give yourself grace and build a community
Not every day of homeschooling will be perfect. Try to give yourself grace and forgive yourself. If you need help with teaching methods, curriculum, and more reach out to homeschooling communities like homeschool groups or a support group with veteran homeschooling parents to help you.
For more tips and advice from homeschooling parents read the articles Things you Need to Know Before You Start Homeschooling and Juggling Work From Home And Homeschool.
Tips to Know before You Start Homeschooling
Juggling Homeschooling and Working from Home
Can I Afford to Homeschool?
This is one question of concern for many parents wanting to homeschool. To help ease your worry, let’s look at some of the costs of public school vs. homeschooling.
Class fees for classes and activities vary from $20 to several hundred dollars
Some public schools charge fees for technology use
Some parents do pay for certain textbooks
Afterschool activities cost parents hundreds of dollars in some areas of the country
School supplies are bought by parents
Families purchase pre-packaged curriculum
Books are included in curriculum packages
Material costs are all paid by the parents
Parents pay for sports, clubs, music lessons, and more
Field trips are paid for by the parents who have the flexibility to go anywhere at any time.
Read more about the costs of public school vs. homeschooling here:
The Money Side of Homeschool vs. Traditional School
What is in a Preschool Curriculum?
The initial planning of homeschooling your child is overwhelming. However, homeschool curriculum for a preschooler should include the following five subject areas to enhance development.
- Social and emotional development The development of preschoolers’ social skills, emotional responses, and more.
- Physical development Fine and gross motor skills development that includes two or more hours of active play per day.
- Cognitive development The development of a child’s memory, problem-solving, and analytic skills.
- Language development includes speech, vocabulary, nonverbal cue recognition, and engagement in conversations.
- Literacy development The development of the written language through writing letters, shapes, and more.
For a more in-depth look at what should be in a preschooler’s curriculum, read the article Homeschooling Your Preschooler: A Curriculum Walkthrough.
Homeschooling Your Preschooler: A Curriculum Walkthrough
What Can I Teach My Preschooler?
While the five development areas above should be covered in a preschool curriculum, you can create fun activities to keep your child engaged for hours. A typical homeschooling day of activities can be as short or long as you like. The only area of development you need to stick to is including a minimum of two hours of physical activity. But these activities need to be as entertaining as possible to make homeschool learning fun!
Here are some fun activities to teach your preschooler:
- A dance party, yoga, or a backyard obstacle course (gross-motor and physical development),
- Rhyming, silly songs, or storytime with Reading Blubs (language, social, and emotional development),
- An arts and crafts activity to help your preschooler recognize and draw/paint colors, shapes, letter, numbers, etc. (literacy, cognitive, fine-motor development),
- A science activity like sensory bins filled with a variety of items like rice, moon sand, alphabet letters, plastic animals, and more (social-emotional, cognitive, fine-motor, and language development).
When you plan out your child’s homeschooling schedule, make sure to schedule break times or free play, snack and mealtimes, and plenty of outdoor physical activity!
For more fun ideas to add to your preschooler’s schedule, read A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Preschooler.
A Day in the Life of a Homeschooling Preschooler
What Supplies Do I Need for Homeschooling?
Homeschooling success depends on more than just the preschool curriculum. When setting up your home for homeschooling, go beyond a traditional classroom setting. Your preschooler needs to explore and learn through everyday play. The best way to do this is to set up supplies for different learning activities in different areas of your home.
Once you have established a daily routine, creating different spaces for learning activities becomes easier. While snacks and mealtimes should be designated for the dining room table, it may not be a suitable place for schoolwork. Schoolwork can be done on a sofa or a coffee table.
To make your homeschooling environment comfortable and fun, here are some supply ideas to help create designated activity spaces throughout your home!
Reading area – A bean bag chair, small sofa, books, stuffed animals, magazines, and more.
Indoor physical activity area – Jump rope, yoga mat, workout DVDs, music, hula hoops, etc.
Sensory activity area – Bins, cups, spoons, water beads, rice, dried beans, small plastic animals, kinetic sand, etc.
Arts and crafts area – Markers, crayons, coloring pages, craft paper, glitter, glue, etc.
For more ideas for your homeschooling environment, check out Back to School Learning Tips at Home.
Back to School Learning Tips at Home
In the beginning, homeschooling is not an easy transition. There’s a large learning curve to setting up curriculum, schedules, activities, and supplies. But the best things you can give to your preschooler is patience, encouragement, and love.
Tips and Tricks for Homeschooling
To help homeschooling moms ease the transition for your child, try these four helpful tips and tricks for home education!
- Tackle one subject a day to avoid feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling. Designate one day to teach math skills like number recognition and counting.
- Pick one day a week for extra special learning experiences. Take your child to the library to read out loud together, to the zoo, or teach your preschooler life skills like cutting up food or tying his/her shoes.
- Schedule blocks of time instead of strict time frames. If you want to teach English starting at 9 A.M., then continue with English until your child completes the activity. There’s no need to rush through the preschool curriculum. It only adds unnecessary pressure for you and your child.
- Follow your child’s learning style. If your child prefers to read or do sensory activities outside, take your classroom outdoors.