Recently I have spoken with a number of parents who find themselves starting to homeschool now. In most cases this was not the plan but circumstances have made it necessary to make a change in their child’s education. Often parents feel overwhelmed and frantic as they try and put together a plan. Here are a few quick tips if you find yourself in this position or if you are coming alongside a friend who needs help and encouragement.
Often parents who find themselves home educating suddenly, are doing so because of a crisis. This could be a bullying situation that could not be resolved, health issues of a child, or a myriad of other reasons. Regardless, making a change mid-year can be stressful. The first thing to remember is that this does not need to be sorted out in a day. You can take some time to figure out what you will do for teaching resources and an educational plan. If you have brought a child home as a result of a crisis the most important thing is to give them some down-time. Lots of reading together and some relaxing can go a long way to making your future homeschooling successful.
Since you are beginning to school mid-year it can be hard to know where to place a child. Should you move forward to the next grade or should you purchase the current grade level? Often parents may not even be sure at what grade level their child is really functioning. Compound this with the fact that many homeschooling programs are more advanced than those of public school and parents have a real conundrum. Placement tests can be a real help in this situation. While not available for every program they are certainly available for many math programs. It is important to place a student correctly so that work is neither too easy or too hard. We have many of these posted on The Learning House website. If a placement test is not available, looking at the Table of Contents for various programs can help you place a student based on the information you know they have mastered.
As we have said before, math and language arts are the core. Work to figure those subject areas out first. Then you can look after science, history and any other subjects you would like to add to your program. As you choose your materials you will most likely be purchasing a program that is for a full year of school. Keep in mind that it may not be possible to complete this by the end of June. That is just fine. It can simply carry over into the next year. Many tell me that they will just push through and do it over the summer. Personally, I feel that working through the summer is highly over-rated. Some summer work is fine, but creating pressure to try and double up and do 10 month’s work in 4-5 will just create stress and rob everyone of their joy.
Remember that homeschooling can be a wonderful adventure. However, adventures don’t happen all at once. They take place over time. Homeschooling is a process. It may take some time to adjust and get your rhythm. That’s okay. Take the time you need to meet your children’s emotional needs as well as their academic needs. Given time, serious thought, and lots of prayer you will come up with a plan that fits your unique family.
Feel free to share your thoughts, experience, and comments below!
"Unless the Lord Builds the house they labour in vain to build it"