in the first of this 2-part series, Discovering Homeschooling – Part 1, we covered the top 3 questions from parents who are considering homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In our other series, Fearless Educating – Part 1 and 2, we considered the most common fears that parents have when considering homeschooling.
Many parents have heard all the conflicting statistics about the virus and just aren’t willing to take a gamble on their child’s health by sending them back to public school. Don’t worry – S’moresUp is here to answer your top questions about how to actually jump in and get started homeschooling.
You’ll be an expert in homeschooling logistics in your state after reading over these 2 articles!
First of all, parents want to know these 3 things…
What are the requirements?
If you live in the United States, homeschooling is legal! Each state has different laws and varying levels of regulation – like whether a local teacher oversees your homeschool, whether you are required to take outside tests from the state, or whether taking attendance is mandatory. Check out this map to find your state and read up on exactly what rules you need to follow.
If you live outside the United States, homeschooling is legal in some countries but illegal in others. Take a look at this map to find the rules for where you live.
Here is a list of specifically location-oriented homeschool organizations to join that would be happy to help you out with any questions you might have about making sure you follow the laws “to a T.”
How do I homeschool my kids when I have a job?
Another question I hear a lot is, “How in the world do I homeschool when I have a job?” In reality, public schooling parents have to solve the problem of childcare when school is out, too. Assuming that they won’t be able to manage the time is a big reason for a retreat among parents who would love to homeschool their kids. Don’t let that misconception bully you into submission!
Look at your calendar creatively and think about what times each day caregivers are working. Do you need to trade shifts to take care of your child? Can one caregiver work from home? Are there extracurriculars, clubs, homeschool co-ops, music lessons, or times working with a tutor that a child can do at certain times in the week to allow for the parent’s work schedule?
Remember that homeschooling doesn’t have to be 7 hours a day! 2-3 hours a day is often sufficient to cover the amount of learning that public schools take in a full 7 hours due to variables that are not present in homeschooling (like getting in line, transitioning to other classes, waiting for teachers to deal with discipline issues, reviewing a concept your student may’ve already grasped, going to the cafeteria, etc.).
Some say that on average, only 2 of the 7 hours of a public school day are spent specifically in educational instruction. One-on-one teaching is so much more efficient than trying to teach an entire class of kids at the same time.
Laura Vanderkam, the author of time management and productivity books, points out, “You can work 40 hours and homeschool for 20 hours, sleep eight hours a night (56 per week), and still have 52 hours for other things. The key is moving the pieces around.”
Check out books here and here about dealing with working a full-time job and homeschooling. Also, listen to stories from real homeschooling parents who work and homeschool and make it work – and do it happily and with added joy in their lives!
How do I get my child involved in extracurriculars and find friends?
In Fearless Educating – Part 1, we discussed the socialization myth and talked about the fact that homeschoolers are usually even more skilled at having conversations with people of different age groups and with making new friends with their public schooled counterparts, who are ostracized with other kids born within 12 months span of themselves.
Parents may be concerned that their child will miss out on band, choir, sports, theatre, and other extracurriculars when they make the decision to homeschool. Now more than ever before, that is totally a non-issue.
Check-in with a local homeschool group to find all sorts of activities for your kids! Another awesome part is that you can pick-and-choose to have the extracurriculars fit your exact schedule requirements and not be dictated to by the overall public school schedule.
Some groups meet just for playdates, some for fun field trips, some for park dates – there are even homeschool groups just for niche things like scrapbooking or playing chess!
Going to a homeschool convention is also a wonderful way to find community and explore the vastness and the colorful nature of the growing homeschool movement. Conventions also give you the opportunity to see curriculum options first-hand and figure out what would best work for your family.
Taking it to the next level…
The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that there has been a more than 50% increase of homeschooled children from 2003 to 2012. Now in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, did you know that across political party lines, 40% of families are considering homeschooling, even as lockdowns end? You are not alone as you consider whether or not homeschooling is right for your family!
S’moresUp can be customized to make sure you cover all the subjects per day or week that you want to. Did you can that you can add time to the S’moresUp chores and have each be a different school subject? For instance, S’moresUp can let your kids know to finish their assigned math, language arts, and science on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and their assigned history, art, and handwriting practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. One quick glance at your app reassures you and immediately shows you where your family might need to catch up.
Whatever you decide to do, know that you as the parent have the power to decide what step to take and choose what would make the happiest memories and create the healthiest environment for your child!