Homeschooling: basics, benefits, and organization

Alicia Ortego
Alicia Ortego

The format of family education allows the child to gain knowledge at his own pace, taking into account personal interests and character traits. But still, not every student and not every family can keep up with this lifestyle. The choice of school or educational approach is especially relevant now, before the start of a new school year. Let's see who should think about homeschooling and share life hacks with those who have already chosen free education.

Homeschooling: who's it for and how to build a routine

Family education provides for the development of a general education program outside of school. The child studies the chosen subjects at home. Exams can also be passed at home. But parents must be sure to check the regulations in the state law to know for sure. This lifestyle is called homeschooling.

In a certain sense, such education is one continuous vacation. Not because you can do nothing, but because both the child and the parents develop their own routine and rhythm. Lessons, changes, and calls become a kind of atavism. Who is the best fit for this type of training?

  1. Children having trouble to keep up with the studying program. In fact, these are the children to whom teachers (and parents!) have not found the right approach. Homeschooling, which involves an individual approach, with due diligence, will help to find this very approach and - as a bonus - increase academic performance.
  2. Gifted children. It happens that a child is mortally bored at school: he has long mastered fractions in mathematics instead of the prescribed addition in a column, and instead of studying simple topics about the world around him, he has long been ready to experiment in chemistry and experiments in physics. Family education does not drive into such a framework, allowing you to study at a comfortable pace, overtake the program, or fall behind it a little.
  3. Children with health issues. Homeschoolers, by definition, have less workload: they save time on the road to school, they don’t have to carry a heavy backpack (and it’s really very heavy!), They don’t have to get up at 6:45 after they studied their homework late the day before. And if the choice is between maintaining the health of the child and school socialization, then it is obvious.
  4. Children without motivation. The transition to family education does not guarantee the emergence of motivation. But parents, at least, will have much more opportunities to arouse the child's interest by showing how knowledge about the world adds up to a huge holistic picture and how the acquired skills can be useful in life, and not just on tests and in preparation for the exam.
  5. Travelers. Today, more and more people are working remotely. If you are one of them, then why not let your child be independent and free? After all, a school is of far less value than the experience a child can get by traveling with their parents.
  6. For those who know exactly what they want. Some children realize very early what they want to be or what they want to do. Family education for such children is a real find: in this case, you can direct maximum efforts to what you like, and not wander through the program for years along with peers. This also applies to children who are seriously involved in music or sports. When training, rehearsals, performances and competitions take up most of your life, it is much easier to master the school curriculum on an individual schedule, and not be torn apart.

Is there anyone for whom family education is contraindicated?

There is. But not the children, the parents. I can say for sure that in no case should homeschooling be implemented by indifferent parents who are used to outsourcing the education of their children. From now on, you will not have the opportunity to blame the school for something. Agreed, it’s very convenient to say: “My son can’t connect two words in English, what do they teach them at school?” Or: "With such a teacher, it is not surprising that my daughter cannot remember the multiplication table." I know because I myself work at a school and the pilgrimage of disgruntled parents did not stop.

In general, if you doubt that you are ready to take full responsibility for the education and upbringing of a child, homeschooling is probably not for you at this stage of life.

Family education suits internally active and inquisitive parents. Having freed your child from school, you will again plunge into the world of knowledge, into equations, experiments, and spelling of case endings. You will also discover many new and interesting things. If you feel like you can do it, then it's worth a try.

How to manage the freedom?

Family education provides a child with a lot of free time, and it will take some skill to use it for good: to gain knowledge and develop skills and talents, and not just for games and gadgets. The sooner the child begins to competently organize his time, the calmer and more efficiently his school years will pass.

Remember to devote this time to the emotional development of your kids Use this time to teach your kids simple life lessons that will help them in the future. You could start with teaching kids respect activities.

Here are some tips for children at time management. Choose the ones that suit you best and try to apply them in your daily life.

1. Teach your child to plan their week.

It is important that he is guided on what day he has the training or a music school, and when he can safely walk with friends and spend time in front of the gadget without a twinge of conscience. In my son's room, for example, there is a large corkboard with stickers pasted with all the days of the week and mandatory tasks for each day. A child, approaching the blackboard or running past, sees that, for example, on Monday he has classes at a music school, chess and mathematical problems. In this case, forgetting about things is much more difficult.

2. Make a plan for the day.

Here the principle is the same, only the plan for the day includes a list of smaller things (read 10 pages of a book, take out the trash, call your grandmother, etc.). It is better to draw up such a plan in the evening so that the child re-reads it in the morning and imagines what things await him during the day. First, write plans together, and when the child gets used to it, then your task will only be to remind, and do it in a friendly tone: “Let's see what awaits you tomorrow!”

Just please resist the temptation to reproach him for forgetfulness: “Have you forgotten again? What's your plan for?" So you beat off all the desire to plan. And we don't need it, you know.

3. Motivate your child.

Show your child, as if by the way, your diary: he will see that for you, making a to-do list is an important task. Offer to put a tick for each completed task - visibility is very motivating. Agree to order a pizza or go to an entertainment center when you hit a certain number of checkboxes.

If we talk about our family experience, then both my son and I have a plan. Of course, this list does not include the items “dine”, “wash”, “play”, etc. But the main events and affairs of the day are always there.

4. Teach your child to prioritize.

Explain that there are tasks that require more attention and/or time, and there are those that are easier to complete and take very little time. Therefore, in the to-do list, it is best to mark in a different color the most important things that need to be done first.

5. Break up difficult tasks.

The more difficult the task, the more overwhelming it seems. And this applies not only to children, but also to adults (remember how difficult it is to start a new big work project!). Help your child break down a large, difficult task into smaller, easier tasks. However, they must be clear and specific. For example, I do not ask my child to "read a lot" - such a task is abstract and does not have precise boundaries that would satisfy both me and him.

Instead, we agreed that we would read at least four books each month. And this is one book a week, or 20-30 pages (depending on the volume of the book) daily. What do we get as a result? 52 books in a year - not every adult can boast of this.

6. No imposition.

Many school-age children love adult hacks. Therefore, the idea of introducing time management is usually received with a bang. However, do not impose new habits on the child and in no case scold if something goes wrong. It is much more useful to negotiate and, perhaps, even complete tasks on a dare. And then time management will become the tool that not only helps to effectively use your time and achieve any goals but also unites the family, making it one team.

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I’m the voice, author, and creator behind Alicia Ortego❤️ A mother of two, an authentic New Yorker who loves to write, teach, and draw. I am also a school teacher who has the ability to reach thousands of people with the help of books and blog.

New York, NY

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