Since our beginnings in homeschool commenced after our oldest was enrolled in public school, I thought I'd devote a post to that topic. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. You've had your kids in a conventional school setting for some amount of time and are now considering pulling them out or perhaps you already have and you are still getting your bearings. Either way, bringing kids home to begin homeschooling does have its own set of challenges. How can we make it a smooth transition?
I think it's important to take into account why you've chosen to bring your child home. It's this reason that will give you a clue as to what your vision will be and what to do to make the transition go well. In our case, we pulled our son out of public school because he needed more of a challenge and he needed inspiring experiences. So, my strategy was just to settle back and allow him to get excited about learning again. We had a very student driven school at that time.
They say it takes one month to adjust for every year your child was in school. So, in my case it only took about month or so to "deschool" our son. Some of you may be bringing children home who have been in school for several years or more. It might take longer for your children to adapt to the homeschool setting.
Some kids may be having academic struggles and anxiety which contributed to you bringing them home. These kids are probably relieved to have left the classroom and I know my son was extremely excited to spend his time differently. However, some kids may be resistant to being homeschooled and that takes a special influence and some time to adjust.
No matter what your reasons are, the advice I have is to relax! You don't have to establish a whole new solid routine the first week your kids are home. Spend time with them. Play games of all kinds. Read to them. Have them read to you. Practice some math- perhaps through games. Generally, just get to know your students. All of this activity will help you to assess where your student really is and what they need most from you as they start out at home. Try not to get caught in the trap of making your homeschool look like a replica of their classroom. A relaxed atmosphere where you can begin to break the molds and habits they are accustomed to from the classroom is all you need.
Remember that we all come to the homeschooling table with some prior experience- typically we know the classroom situation well. You may be having some second thoughts and wondering if this was a good thing to do. My biggest advice here is to create a unique adventure for your children without feeling guilty about bringing them home. Try not to doubt yourself or your ability to teach your children. And most especially, create an atmosphere that represents what your vision is for your school. Don't feel like everything has to be the same for them to like being home.
One of the best things I did at that time was to let my son's interests guide us along the way and we made sure to work on basic skills at the same time. Try not to fall into the "I have to make up time because we or he or she is behind." There is enough time to slow down!
Most importantly, move forward with confidence that you are equipped to handle homeschooling! Your children will enjoy it. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have about bringing an older child home for school. Just leave a comment!
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