Jun 3, 2013

Back to School for Homeschoolers

It’s almost time for everyone to go back to school, and homeschooled kids are not exempted! Contrary to what many people may assume, homeschooling families also need to prepare for the new school year, much like kids enrolled in brick-and-mortar schools.

To help prepare for the school year ahead, here are a few pointers:

1. Before anything else, write down your homeschool goals for the year. Include your reasons for homeschooling. Lay out your expectations of yourself as a parent teacher, and of your kids, too.

If your children are old enough, ask them to express their goals and expectations, too. This is something that should help guide you and keep you focused, especially during difficult days. (And believe me, there will be difficult days!)

2. If you haven’t already, decide how you want to approach homeschooling this year. According to the Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands, or HAPI, the majority of Filipino homeschoolers either enroll with a DepEd-accredited homeschool provider or go independent, following pre-selected curricula. Some even pursue interest-led learning or unschooling.

3. Once you’ve determined how you’ll go about homeschooling for the new school year, find out what you will need in terms of books and other materials.

If you’re going independent, you may want to look for good record-keeping resources. (Many of these are available online.) If you’re enrolling with a provider, make sure you know what your kid’s requirements are. To save on expenses, you may also want to source out secondhand books from fellow homeschoolers.

4. Once your books and materials are with you, you may want to spend some time getting familiar with them. This will help you, as a parent teacher, be more confident about what you will be doing throughout the school year.

5. You may also want to make a daily plan for the first month of school. If necessary, you can always make adjustments after you have finished the first week of school. This will help make things easier both for you and your child.

6. When drafting an outline of your schedule for the year, don’t forget to incorporate fun learning activities. Remember, homeschooling should be an enjoyable experience for both parents and children.

7. Seek out a support group for homeschoolers. This applies especially to the independent homeschool families, i.e. those who are not enrolled with homeschool providers.

Having a support group is a great way to get encouragement, tips, advice and prayer support. It’s also a good way to learn about the different homeschool curricula and methods out there.

8. To get your kids excited about “going back to school,” you can ask them to accompany you when you purchase your school materials. You can also ask their help to arrange the “school area” in your home, if you have one. What’s important is you involve them in the “back-to-school” preparations as much as possible.

9. To make going back to school more fun, you may want to have a “back to school celebration” the day before you officially start your homeschool year.

You can have a family outing; spend some time together playing games; or throw a simple party with a cake and balloons — it’s really up to you how you want to go about it! The main point here is celebrating the fact that you’ll be starting another school year together as a family!

10. On the first day of school, go over the goals you’ve set for your homeschool year with your kids. Enlist their support and commitment in helping you achieve them.

Being able to homeschool your kids is a great gift and blessing, and a great responsibility as well. Preparing well for it, therefore, is a good way to make the road to home education a little bit smoother. In the words of Confucius:


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