One of the biggest myths is that parents have to become experts in all subjects in every grade in order to be a good homeschool teacher for their kids. Parents do not have to go back to school for their teaching degree nor do they have to spend hours pouring over textbooks to become knowledgeable in math, science, and English. Any curriculum or online program that is selected should include a teacher’s handbook with every course and, for the online platform, support personnel should be available to help answer questions. The Internet is also a good resource with blogs and articles from experienced homeschool parents, learning tools for students, and websites for subject areas.
Find Homeschool Programs
Parents can find homeschool programs that allow them to be the sole instructor with a custom curriculum of their selection. In this way, they impact the content and course of the child’s education and interact with them in every subject. This can be the most stressful form of homeschooling because not only is the parent responsible for teaching everything, but they also must keep documentation and ensure they meet state and county requirements if there are any. Yet, there are many families that adopt this approach because this is the reason that they chose homeschooling to begin with and they utilize resources and tools to help them develop daily routines, lesson plans, and an organized schedule.
For other families, the ‘sole’ teacher method is too overwhelming especially when it comes to teaching the more challenging subjects such as English, upper math, and complex science. Homeschool co-ops are very popular and serve a variety of purposes from a simple support system for socialization to sharing teaching responsibilities across the different families. Parents discuss and decide who is most qualified to teach each subject in the various grades and they agree on the curriculum, schedule, and meeting place so students receive the best possible instruction from the individual with the most knowledge. Documentation is still necessary but may be more organized and delegated to one or two parents to accomplish for all students within the co-op.
The first two approaches are designed around parents putting together their own curriculum, grading, managing documents, and teaching which gives them a unique relationship with their kids on a full-time basis. Another method parents can choose is to find homeschool programs that offer print and online curriculum that is already established and coordinated through a formal school platform. Print textbooks are used for K-2nd grade where parents are still expected to be the primary teacher but there are certified teachers at their disposal to ask for guidance and help. Every course includes a lesson planner and tips on how to teach the concepts to ensure the student understands and can move forward to the next chapter. As the students get older, they can transition to an online portal which gives them direct access to assignments, resources, tools, and teachers. Starting in 3rd grade, parents can elect to remain the full-time teacher or share the responsibility with the professional instructors associated with the online school. This makes the process easier and gives parents (as well as kids) choices to decide who is the most qualified to handle the material. Parents can also transition their students to full-time online learning so that they are only under the tutelage of the school’s teachers and parents can act as support and encouragement while still having close interaction with the process.
Even with the online program, it is still a good idea to get involved with other homeschool families to develop a support system so students have peers they can talk with, do homework with and share struggles with just as parents need the same outlet. Homeschool programs are designed to meet the education needs but there are still emotional and social interactions that need to be taken care of through field trips, group events, and getting involved in sports, music, art, and other extracurricular activities. Experienced homeschoolers know which online tools are the best to use for math, lab experiments, and researching projects in addition to what the online school may provide as part of their services.
Homeschooling is a rewarding education option that more and more families are choosing to adopt for various personal reasons. It is important to review the options and determine which is the right approach as not all parents want to teach because of time and job responsibilities. When you find homeschool programs that provide a way to balance the time commitment and give students a solid education with an accredited curriculum through an online portal, the process doesn’t seem as overwhelming. Take time to look for top-rated online homeschools with NCAA-approved courses, a path to graduation, close access to professional teachers, and the chance to be directly involved in the early years with the kids.