A while back I shared some tips to help you as parent transition from sending your child to public school to homeschooling. But what about your kids who have been in public school? How are they feeling about becoming a homeschool family? How do we help them make the transition?
Depending on your reason to homeschool, it may or may not be a concern you have. If you’re choosing to homeschool because your child is having a hard time in public school it might not be a difficult transition for them. However, if you’re making the switch to homeschool because of personal convictions your child might have a more difficult time with the switch.
Remember You’re the Parent
One thing to keep in the front of your mind while helping your child ease into homeschooling is that you are the parent. You may ask for your child’s input, but essentially you are responsible for making the choice of your child’s education. Your kids might resist your decision to make the change, so the following are some tips to help make the transition a smooth one for your child.
Communicate With Them
It’s important to know your “why” when it comes to your decision to homeschool. Knowing your why will not only help you with your decision, but will also help keep you motivated on your homeschool journey. When you know your why, share it with your kids. Let them know how you came to your decision to start homeschooling and why it’s important to you and your family.
If you are making your decision for religious reasons, share with them the importance of obeying God.
Show them the freedom that comes with homeschooling. Explain how they will have a lot more time to explore their interests. Point out how a school day for a homeschooler is much shorter than a day at public school. Plus, there isn’t any homework!
As For Their Input
Get your kids involved with planning out what your homeschool will look like. Is there a certain time period in history they would like to study? How about a particular topic in science? Maybe they want to take music lessons.
Having your studies focus on your child’s interests will help them be excited about learning, which will help them become excited about homeschooling. By asking for their input on what you might be studying, you will open their eyes to all the possibilities that are available to them by homeschooling. They might also start to see some of the limitations that come with public school.
Choose Electives Based on Their Interests
Homeschooling can come with a wide variety of elective type opportunities. When my parents pulled me from public school to homeschool (going into 9th grade) they let me explore my interests in horses. I began taking riding lessons, eventually bought a horse that was completely my responsibility. I got a job to pay for the expenses, training, food, tack. It was an amazing learning experience filled with life lessons I would have never experienced in public school.
Getting a horse might not be a practical idea for everyone. It’s just one of many examples of opportunities that are out there for our kids. The beauty of homeschooling is that you are not limited to the electives offered through public school. Dream with your kids in areas they would like to study beyond the basics of math, reading, science, and history.
Plan Field Trips Together
I also suggest dreaming up places to visit for field trips. Again, the world is your oyster when it comes to field trips as homeschoolers. If you want to road trip with educational stops on the way to a destination do it! Maybe you want to travel to another country to experience their customs, culture, and heritage. Nature walks can also provide a great learning opportunity. Your field trips can be big or small, but again homeschooling offers you the chance to do what interests you.
Find a Homeschool Group
Often times when a child might not want to leave public school to homeschool it’s not school they’re worried about. They’re worried about not being with their friends. Remind them that they can still see their friends after school or on the weekends. Then, bring them to a homeschool group event. They will be pleasantly surprised to see that they are not the only ones being homeschooled. Chances are they will quickly make new friends and realize that being homeschooled is not the end of their social life.
Join Extra Curricular Activities
I suggest extra curricular activities as a way of keep them involved in things outside your house. Again, if they are reluctant to being homeschooled chances are they’re worried about their social life. As homeschool moms we know that homeschoolers are socialized, and it really isn’t a concern for us. However, our kids might see it as a concern.
Finding extra curricular activities, especially ones their friends are in can help them transition from public to homeschool. You might look for community education classes, summer rec, clubs, 4-H, Awana programs, youth group, Tae Kwon Do, dance, gymnastics, etc.
Take a Break
If you’re making the transition to homeschooling mid year, take a break. Spend a couple weeks away from curriculum and take advantage of some natural learning opportunities. Take a trip to the zoo or a museum. Nature walks, read aloud time, baking cookies, building with legos, creating art are all great ways to learn naturally. This is especially important if your child was burning out in school.
Remember homeschooling isn’t about recreating school at home. Taking a break will allow both you and your children time to transition from a traditional school room education mind set to thinking about what you would like to see in your homeschool.