If you’re on the lookout for good homeschooling programs for your child, look no further. Luckily, parents who want to teach their child at home can access a large variety of professionally designed educational programs to help get organized. This article will help you analyze them and find the right one for your kid.
The decision to start homeschooling your kid is a big one. But it’s a great choice. Your child is on his way to becoming a self-aware, intelligent, and intuitive student. Homeschooling will give you control over what she learns, and you will be able to spend so much more family time together. You’ll also be avoiding all those awkward social situations that may occur in a traditional school.
How to Get Started with Homeschooling Programs
You’ve made the conscious choice to homeschool. But what is the next step from here? Do you sit your kit at a desk and start teaching him whatever you think is best? As fun as that may sound, it may not be quite enough. To ensure that your kid actually gets an adequate and complete learning experience, you need a curriculum or program to follow. Homeschooling programs are extremely varied and have been the source of debate for more than a century.
Homeschooling in the U.S. first began being a widespread phenomenon at the end of the nineteenth century. In the beginning of the twentieth century, institutions that offered distance learning programs and curriculums opened up. These academic institutions included the Calvert School and the American School of Correspondence, and both still around today. They both provided impressive curricula for parents and tutors for teaching kids at home. These homeschooling programs were indeed pioneering endeavors in the U.S., and at the time of their birth were very controversial.
Today, both schools still offer homeschooling programs, with the Calvert School also having an actual day-school in Baltimore. Calvert offers programs for students in K-12 education, while the American School only offers homeschooling programs for high school students. We do recommend checking them out before moving on to other institutions.
After a quick browsing session on the internet, you may realize that there are quite a lot of homeschooling programs available, each of which is offering you their own curriculum. So, how does one decide which of these to choose? There are a few simple steps that you need to take in order to make sure that your kid is getting the education they deserve.
Surely, you can’t just keep calling up institutions looking for the best possible options. It’s tiring and time-consuming. And if these schools have their customer service well put together, you may end up enrolling your kid in the first program that you come across. But hold on! There may be hidden dangers involved in doing so. Let’s see what you need to keep in mind:
Choose the Teaching Method You Want
Remember the four basic methods of homeschooling that we talked about earlier? If not, let me remind you. There was the traditional approach, which implied that you would basically be doing everything that is done in a normal school, but in a home setting. The second was the unit studies approach. This one implied using case studies as a general theme for all the learning that your kid does. You then adapt every lesson so it’s related to his or her favorite subject.
The third method was called the unschooling approach, which meant leaving the kid to do whatever he wants. It includes the occasional lesson or two, which had to be timed perfectly to take advantage of situations that presented themselves. The fourth method, or the autonomous learning approach, implied letting the kid take full control of his learning experience. This leaves the choice of subjects to cover and when to cover them up to the child. This one develops self-consciousness as well as self-discipline. For a more thorough description of the four, have a look at our article here.
Before you make the most important phone calls in your kid’s life, it’s best to decide on which program you think best fits you as well as your kids. It’s also an important step to understand which of these you may be better equipped to apply. Remember that this is not just an experience that has to be enjoyable for your kid. It’s also bound to become something alike to a full-time job for you, so be ready.
Remember That It’s a Family Experience
Some of the home-schooling programs out there seem to completely dismiss the original concept behind homeschooling. Instead, they opt for a form of online school. While most homeschooling programs today also offer online schooling, it’s best to choose one that actually involves you or your tutor as a teacher.
These programs should be the ones that also offer correspondence learning. Those that offer both usually have a longer experience in the field of homeschooling and online schooling. Find online homeschool communities – there are a lot – and talk with other parents to see what they recommend. One extremely helpful website that we recommend is homeschool.com. On there, you will find almost too much information.
Try Out the Curriculum
After you’ve decided on a few general options, check the respective programs’ websites. On there, you should be able to find curricula demos that will give you a general idea of what the specific homeschooling program implies. Don’t forget to ask other homeschooling parents what they think of your options, or what they would recommend.
Don’t Stick to One Program
Some programs excel in math, others in English. Some are are better in the liberal arts section. Find the best one that suits you and try to combine them, if you feel it is necessary. There could be some programs that, alternatively, may work well only when they come with all their courses packed.
Also, find out the state requirements for your specific area. It all comes down to the number of school days per year that the state requires of your kid. Depending on these rules, you may need to purchase more school lessons and curriculum than initially planned.
Don’t Forget Time and Money
Some homeschooling programs are more flexible, while others have a stricter schedule. Do you have a part-time job? How much time can you spend with your kid every day so as to correctly tutor him?
You also need to consider your budget before buying specific curriculum from homeschool programs. Some programs are expensive, but they actually offer fewer materials than cheaper programs. Quality should be the one that matters, but there are a lot of homeschooling programs that offer quality for a reasonable price.
These are a few basic tips that may help you when deciding which homeschooling programs to choose for your children. As a bonus piece of advice: It would be preferable if the homeschooling programs you pick are at least remotely close to where your live. Although your kids don’t have to go to school, you may still need to pass by there every now and then.