So you’re a parent who’s decided to go the conventional route and send your kids to public school. You’ve assessed the situation for what it is and know that homeschool simply isn’t a fit for your family.
That’s totally fine.
But maybe you’re like some parents out there who find themselves wondering about homeschool. Are there certain bonuses to homeschool that your kids might not experience in a public school setting? Can parents of conventionally schooled kids benefit from homeschooling ideas?
One of the greatest advantages to homeschool is the one-on-one time you get with your kids. Several of my friends and family members are devoted public school teachers. They’re great at what they do and their students love them. The thing that eats at them the most, though, is that they simply don’t get the desired time to devote to each student on an individual level. The student to teacher ratio is just too great. Many of these teachers have multiple classes, so time and schedules constantly work against them.
On top of this struggle is the fact that, generally, public school teachers are limited in the freedom to develop lesson plans tailored to their students – and certainly not for each student. Of course this varies from school to school and subject to subject. For the most part, teachers are required to meet certain standards established by their school and state.
Public schools must accommodate large numbers of students and a certain order is necessary to keep things functioning smoothly. That is the nature of the system, like it or not.
You as the parent are not bound by the same limitations.
In fact, you’re in the best position to step up and fill the gap.
Are there certain areas in school where your child struggles? What about subjects that they excel in? Maybe your child is passionate about a certain sport or extra curricular activity that your school doesn’t cover? Could you set aside personal time to help your child or facilitate them in these areas?
In essence, every parent practices homeschool already. You are the ultimate instructor for your child. From the day they were born, you cared for them and taught them about the world around. Every moment your child spends in your presence is a moment to learn by your example. You know your child better than anyone else. You see the strengths and weaknesses that others might overlook. What makes your child tick?
Now maybe at this moment doubts are slinking into the back of your mind. “I’m no teacher. My son struggles with math. I was never any good at math. How will I help him?” Or “My daughter is so artistic. I can’t even draw stick people!”
By far, this is one of the weakest arguments against homeschooling in any form. If you and your son both struggle in math, guess what?
You can learn together!
If your daughter is artistic, pursue the aspects of art that she’s passionate about together. Let her teach you.
Invest yourself in your children.
This is what parents who homeschool do every day. Sure, we have to focus on record keeping, finding the right curriculum and maintaining healthy social and extra curricular activities all in one. But the personal investment is always the biggest pay off. If you are not invested in your children and their education, it doesn’t matter whether your child is homeschooled or conventionally schooled, their education will suffer.
So your first mission, should you choose to accept it, is to assess where your child is at and consider where you can step in to help.
In next month’s post I’ll begin discussing the different options out there – curriculum and otherwise – to facilitate you as you seek to supplement your child’s education. If you have any questions concerning specific subjects or curriculum, please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to make this an ongoing series to benefit both homeschooling and conventionally schooled families.