Previous articles have talked about children moving between schools, or onto Uni and ways to make it a little easier. This article looks at the change from school to home education.
It is often a little way into the new school year that parents suddenly realise that school is not working for their child and they need to consider an alternative approach. It’s fine to make the change to homeschooling at any time and doesn’t necessarily impair the child’s education. But it does take a bit of adjustment as it’s a complete change in family life, especially if you’re used to a school life – both for parents and child.
Following are some ideas to help the transition:
Give yourself time to adjust. Home educating is very different to schooling and doesn’t have to be approached like it is in a classroom. But it takes time to explore options and adapt to that, both in mind and practice. Research all you can about the ways in which other families approach their days, (there are many home educators’ blogs), look at ways which might work for you. After being in school your child might also need some recovery time, doing activities they’re interested in perhaps, especially if they suffered unpleasant experiences and depending on their age. There’s no need to rush education; one of the beauties of homeschooling is that there need be no time limits on learning.
Rethink those time frames. What takes a whole period to accomplish in school can be done much quicker at home, which gives the child more time for their own pursuits or play – educational in themselves. Children can also learn at their own pace, fast or slow, and their age doesn’t matter – it only matters in a class setting. Homeschool children still go on to achieve the same outcomes (like exams for example) as school children, even though it might be at different times. So be prepared to be flexible about age and timetables.
A school style approach may be helpful to start with as it is familiar. Some families find it useful to use work books (major book stores stock them), online worksheets or activities (like those on the bbc) and stick to the National Curriculum. But you can discard or adapt anything you find doesn’t work in your circumstances. Some families don’t use any of these structured methods; their children learn autonomously and incidentally through their personal interests. Most families find a balance somewhere between these styles and use elements from each that work for them at a particular time or for a particular subject. Don’t be afraid to experiment and diversify.
Connect with other home educators. There is plenty of support both virtual and physical for you to tap into. (Forums, Facebook groups, physical meet-ups) Going to homeschool meetings offers a great opportunity to talk to others about their experiences, learn from them and find resources. It also gives your children the company of a whole community who are learning like them. You’ll be able to join in a range of activities with them, social, educational or physical.
Remain flexible and relaxed. Home educating offers an enormous range of styles, approaches, activities, and opportunities to tailor education to the needs of your individual child. But it takes some maturing into. And it won’t happen overnight. A flexible and relaxed approach to your learning days affords you the best chance of making an ongoing success of it like the thousands of families who have already done so.