Need to know
- A look at the pros and cons of homeschooling. What you need to know and what to consider
There are some children who will be unable to enter or stay in mainstream schools because of trauma, anxiety, sensory processing issues, neurodevelopmental conditions, etc. Unfortunately, our education system is not designed and schools are typically not equipped to support kids who require additional accommodations.
Homeschooling is usually a last resort for parents who have not been able to get the right assistance for their kids, even after years of advocating.
Why it’s important
Taking your child out of school is a big decision and it’s important to evaluate all reasons why it’s not working and explore all the options available. Before you make the decision to start homeschooling as yourself these questions:
- Have I exhausted all opportunities at the current school to ensure my child is adequately supported? This includes working with learning and support, your child’s teacher, the principal and school counsellor.
- Have I researched nearby schools and talked to each principal to discuss my child’s needs and understand whether they can cater to them?
- Is my family financially stable without one parent in the workforce?
- Am I mentally/physically/emotionally able to cope with what is required?
- Why is homeschooling right for our family?
If you decide to take on the role of your child’s teacher, weigh up the pros and cons:
- Being in control of your child’s learning and experiences
- Providing the right supports and accommodations to their needs
- Flexibility in your daily routines
- Spending time and connect with your child on a daily basis
- Sacrifice your personal job/career/education
- Loss of income
- Reduced social opportunities for your child
- Less time for yourself
- Work through your choices – Ask yourself the questions listed in the “why it’s important” section of this article.
- Find a support crew – contact your local homeschooling group, or sign up to an online group, to help you connect with other parents going through the same thing. Ask questions and share stories to help you gain confidence.
- Identify where your child is at – talk to their teacher to understand which parts of the curriculum you need to cover.
- Formally register – look into the legal requirements for homeschooling in your local area and submit the registration form. Depending on where you live, the process and expectations might be different.
- Get to know your child – don’t be afraid of trying different things to observe how your child learns best. This is something that you can adapt over time.
- Incorporate their interests – kids are most focused when they are doing something they love, be creative and weave the lessons into their topics of interest.
- Lean into your rhythm – one of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility to create a schedule that works for your family.
- Set goals to structure your day – decide the goals together with your child. Although goals are the end result, don’t forget that you choose how you get there.
- Keep a record – it’s important to keep a record of your homeschooling activities. You can use a filing system or checklist system, select a method that works for you.
- Include mental and physical breaks – give your child time to rest and to play. Use this time to focus on self-care activities to avoid burnout.
- Go easy on yourself – homeschooling is a big change so give yourself a lot of grace as you develop a style and pace that suits your family.
- Get external help – look into homeschooling coaches to get you started, don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own.