Should I Do Anything Special for My Child Coming
Out of Public School Into Homeschooling?
By Chris Cardiff
This is an extremely difficult assignment for most parents. After seeing their children struggle inside the traditional institutional school, they are frantic to “do something” to correct the situation. Recognize that “doing nothing” may be the best “something” you can do for them at first.
Utilize Homeschooling Flexibility and Freedom
Allow your children the freedom to explore areas that interest them without placing them on any artificial schedules. They need time and space to decompress from the public school experience. The methodology of public schools (and many private schools) discourages their inborn curiosity and desire to learn. It may take some months away from that environment before a child’s natural curiosity reawakens. Look for ways to encourage the reawakening rather than stifling it.
The most common mistake new homeschooling parents make is attempting to recreate the public school environment at home (aka the “school-at-home” syndrome). While “school-at-home” is a natural mistake (for many of us, it’s the only model we’re familiar with), it’s an unfortunate one because it puts unnecessary pressure on both parent and child. For the parent/teacher, there is the frantic scramble to duplicate the schedules and curriculum of an institution-based style of teaching. For the child/student, it’s a return to an environment and style of learning the probably was the source of problems before – except now there’s no way to escape by going home.
One of the strengths of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it provides in contrast to the rigid structure required foro mass schooling. It takes time for both parent and child to adjust to homeschooling’s freedom and flexibility and decide how they want to take advantage of it. Neither of you should make any hasty decisions or rush to spend money on some fancy (and expensive) prepackaged curriculum.
The Importance of Homeschooling Support
To help you explore and understand your homeschooling options, get involved with a local homeschooling support group. Support groups are available in most areas. If you can’t find a group (or the existing group doesn’t suit you), you can always start your own or get involved with one of the online groups. These homeschooling groups can be a major source of group activities for your child as well as an important source of information for you as a homeschooling parent.
Every family develops its own philosophy and style of homeschooling. Spending time evaluating and discovering your child’s learning style and matching it with an appropriate homeschooling philosophy is time well spent. Be patient with yourself and your child as you explore the world of homeschooling together. Give yourselves time to relax and enjoy learning again.