Public to Homeschool
How to Survive – and Thrive –the Transition
Homeschooling is not the same thing as doing schoolwork at home. When you and your student transition from a public school to homeschool environment, you may both find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster. So we’ve gathered seven pillars of strength and practical advice to help you create a productive, thriving environment for this grand undertaking.
1. Gather Your Endurance for the Long Haul
If you are struggling with homeschooling, be encouraged — the first year is always the toughest, say Carolyn Morrison and Jennifer Leonhard of Guilt-Free Homeschooling. “Remind yourself that you have chosen to homeschool your children for very important reasons. There is a definite adjustment period involved in switching from public school to homeschooling, and that period can last at least a year.”
Even when parents and children are eager to homeschool, the change in attitude may not happen immediately, says Lee Binz of The Home Scholar. To illustrate, Binz offers the experience one homeschool mom, Kelly, who describes the gradual process that allowed her son to go from “the deadness of school” to sounding independent and happy. “After a year and a half of homeschool, the lights are starting to come on. He is realizing what an opportunity he has and the desires are starting to show. He is ‘getting it.’ He’s thinking creatively about high school courses. He is sounding independent.”
2. Understand the Emotional Changes
If your student had difficulties at public school or did not enjoy that experience, he or she may be relieved to be away from that setting, say Morrison and Leonhard. “At the same time, he may miss some of his acquaintances or the reliable routine of scheduled activities. Enjoying school, not enjoying school; missing the other students, not missing the other students; excitement, depression; up, down — most children do not have the maturity to effectively cope with the emotions they will experience.” The experts at Guilt Free Home Schooling recommend “help and hugs from their understanding parents.”
Shelly Frost, a freelance writer specializing in parenting and education, advices, “Talk to your child about the transition from the public school to homeschooling. Address her concerns or questions about the new schooling method without disregarding her feelings.”
3. Key on Your Student’s Interests
Morrison and Leonhard also encourage you to “spend some one-on-one time with your child, endeavoring to learn what things he is interested in and how he would prefer to study them, and then tailor a few lessons specifically towards those areas. “Find his areas of personal interest and focus on those. It can make a tremendous difference in his level of motivation and create a valuable bond between the two of you at the same time. (Mom is letting me study this?) Remember, education was taking place long before the first textbook was ever written.”
Topics that are rife with educational opportunities that will truly motivate your child include filmmaking, photography, acting, cars, dolls, boats, building toy models, to name a few.
4. Create Space
Creating your child’s learning environment will be one of the most important elements of your homeschooling success. You will also want to gather supplies/infrastructure that are fun, useful and tidy.
In “8 Steps to Homeschool Success,” Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine asks these questions: Will you be conducting classes at the kitchen table? Do you need a blackboard or a desk? How about empty wall space to post schedules, calendars, and completed work? Is there a computer nearby that’s connected to the Internet? Get organized by purchasing storage cabinets and bookshelves for holding textbooks and workbooks. Baskets are also useful for keeping loose supplies under control.
5. Create Time
You will want to create a homeschooling schedule with both structure and flexibility.
Linda Dobson, author of The Homeschooling Book of Answers: The 101 Most Important Questions Answered by Homeschooling’s Most Respected Voices, says, “While a schedule makes some people feel hemmed in, it helps, especially in the beginning, to be organized and have a mission. Purchase a plan book and consider how you want to break up your child’s academic schedule and each subject you want to work on. Consider how you want to break up your learning week by week, too. Make time for field trips and visits to the library. And remember, flexibility is one of the key appeals of homeschooling. You can always adapt your schedule to your child’s changing needs.
Morrison and Leonhard also encourage a casual discussion of expectations between teaching-parent and student may clear up many misunderstandings and motivate the child with the promise of free-time activities once the schoolwork has been completed.
6. Find a Good Curriculum
As a homeschool parent, you’ll be making up a lot of things as you go. But you don’t have to invent everything on your own. YesPhonics™ Express offers a comprehensive phonetic language arts curriculum, for example, that comes with a Program Manual, complete lesson plans, a Spelling Notebook, Chart of Spelling Rules, worksheets, the Creative Coloring Book, the Sound-A-Long DVD and CD, and more.
All the tools in the YesPhonics™ Express programs are built on proven educational principles. Each is designed to stimulate different senses (sight, sound, touch) to help fast and effective learning. No other phonics program provides the comprehensive program that YesPhonics™ does. Read more about the comprehensive YesPhonics™ Express Program for teaching reading, writing and spelling.
7. High School Diplomas
If you homeschool older students, they will eventually need a curriculum that offers a high school diploma, and prepares them for higher education as well as greater success in life. YesPhonics™ recommends American School. This is one of the oldest and largest distance education institutions in the world, which has helped more than three million students earn their high school diplomas. American School provides a top-quality curriculum in both print and online format, providing all the books, lesson plans, and educational materials, as well as teachers that grade each assignment. Attending the American School allows your student/s to earn their diploma faster than ever thought possible – up to twice as fast as classroom high schools – offering an accredited diploma that is recognized by major universities.
Something to Remember
Your child will be experiencing a completely different learning environment, as you move him or her from public school to homeschooling. It some cases, it will feel as though you’re all starting over from the beginning. Applying these guidelines will help you through this transition while not losing educational ground.
• “Transition from Public School to Homeschool Takes Time,” Lee Binz, the Home Scholar
• “Deschooling Gently: A Step by Step Guide to Fearless Homeschooling,” Lee Binz, the Home Scholar
• “Surviving the First Year of Homeschooling after Leaving Public School,” Carolyn Morrison and Jennifer Leonhard, Guilt-Free Homeschooling
• “8 Steps to Homeschool Success,” Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine
• “How to Pull a Child from Public School & Start Homeschooling,” Shelly Frost for Livestrong • American School – Distance learning for high school diplomas