What is homeschooling? How does it differ from e-learning and virtual schools?
Why do parents choose to homeschool? There are a plethora of different reasons. Some families homeschool because it enables them to travel or otherwise maintain a schedule that does not mesh well with traditional school. Others disagree with the subjects being taught in public schools. Meanwhile, other families find their children thrive better with the individual care and attention at home.
Homeschooling was previously only for a small percentage of families nationally. However, if you were a parent or caregiver in 2020, there is a decent chance that homeschooling has crossed your mind at one point or another because of the pandemic. Even though it is new and a little uncertain for some, more and more families find great success through schooling at home.
This concept may be somewhat unsettling because the structure is unknown and different. Will it bring the right results? Armed with some advice, knowledge, and a little taste for adventure, however, this can be an amazing journey. You only have to open the door to discover it. The benefits of homeschooling are fantastic for many families.
Homeschooling: It looks different for every family
What is homeschooling? There is a simple answer and a complex answer. The simple answer is that homeschooling is parents providing their children’s educations at home.
On a deeper level, however, homeschooling can be a lot of different things. What homeschooling looks like for one family may look drastically different for another family. Parents can purchase expensive, complete curriculums from a top-rated publisher, or they can piece together a variety of things to develop their own unique curriculum that matches their individual needs, beliefs, and lifestyles. It can be very structured like a classroom, or it can be based on play and exploration. Sometimes it is a combination of both. Other times, it may be something entirely different and out of the box.
The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be adapted to suit each child’s needs and adjusted to fit into different lifestyles. It is never a one-size-fits-all method. It may look like wearing pajamas while running around in the backyard looking for different types of plants and insects. It may look like a family playing a board game, which can reinforce so many different concepts. It may even look like kids at desks studying, much like at a traditional school.
Even within the same family, homeschooling can look different depending on the day, the children’s moods, and parents’ moods. For instance, if a child is having a rough day, the parent can choose to step away from books and worksheets for the day and go on a field trip instead. Learning does not stop; it is redirected to a more acceptable format for all involved time and mood. Homeschooling often provides more hands-on opportunities for children to learn, and parents can pick and choose what exactly their child needs in each moment.
Homeschooling allows the parent or caregiver to determine the learning, pace, and curriculum.
The parents’ (and students’) ability to make choices sets homeschooling apart from other forms of non-traditional schooling such as virtual school or distance learning.
Though they are often done at home, virtual online and local school distance learning is not the same as homeschooling because they are not controlled. The school chooses the curriculum in an online school, and the students are required to complete work and adhere to a schedule decided by the school. Virtual schools benefit from having licensed and trained professionals to teach, but they will never know their students and the parents. In a homeschool, the families can choose for themselves and adapt their lessons and learning materials to fit each individual’s needs even as they change day-by-day and over time.
Understand homeschooling laws in each state with Anything Academic
Contrary to a once-popular belief, homeschooling does not mean children growing up in isolation and lacking social skills. The truth is just the opposite. Homeschooled students have many opportunities to socialize through homeschool co-ops, community projects, events, activities, and sports. Because of the more flexible schedule, the opportunities are endless.
While homeschooling does provide a great amount of freedom to be a part of the community, homeschooling families are still required to follow all homeschool laws. These laws vary drastically from state to state, so it is important to do some research and make sure that you understand your state’s laws. You can view the homeschooling laws for each state right here on Anything Academic and from your student’s profile.
Finding your way
Homeschool is what you make of it. Once you have a good understanding of the applicable homeschool laws, all that is left is to find what works for you personally. It is okay to experiment. Part of homeschooling is the parent and students learning through trial and error. Teach and then adapt and then teach and adapt again.
In a way, parents homeschool themselves when they homeschool their children. The parents’ role in homeschooling is to determine the best way to instruct their children. This can be done by a parent or by a hired teacher or facilitator. Your child can take a variety of online classes to mix with your teaching or co-op classes. You can even have your child professionally evaluated by a psychologist specialized in academic evaluations and learning styles to determine the best course of action for your child.
Then, a decision must be made about what resources to use. Anything Academic can help you find the right person to help, curriculum to use, learning resources, and more to help you on your journey. Our results are tailored specifically to your needs based on what you tell us about your student and their wants and needs. The better we know you, the more we can show you that could perfectly fit your homeschool routine.
Baby steps are okay! Why not explore with a class, a supplement from a learning resource as you decide whether to transition and homeschool? You have time. You can try different options. But whatever you need, we will help you find it.
If homeschool is not for you, that’s ok. There are still thousands of opportunities to enhance your child’s education, and many of them are right here on Anything Academic waiting for you! We hope you will explore the possibilities. It could change your life!