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Should I Homeschool my Kids this Year?

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That is the pressing question for many parents. Daily, I am fielding calls and emails from parents. Parents who in the past would have never before considered homeschooling, yet, here we are. 2020 is one wild ride.

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My first response to this question is to ask, “Why do you want to homeschool your kids?” If you are looking to homeschool your kids to ensure they get a solid year of uninterrupted education and avoid the mess of COVID in a school setting, then yes. Sure. You can homeschool your kids and do it well. Anyone can homeschool.

If you are choosing to homeschool your kids to create a sense of normal for them, and because it seems easier than remote schooling, I have to tell you a hard truth. Homeschooling is a very doable path, but it has its own set of challenges. It is neither easy, nor normal right now.

Advantages of homeschooling are that you, the parent, are in control of your child’s curriculum and schedule. Not to mention, the benefit of getting rid of hours of remote classes. However, that means you now have to be the primary educator of your child or outsource the task. You can do it, but it is not easy.

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Homeschooling during a pandemic is also not normal. We are missing the field trips, the museum memberships, the co ops and support systems that are typically operating. Those things may be on hold or at the very least, look different than they did last year. Unfortunately, everything looks different during a pandemic, including traditional homeschooling.

Therefore, do not choose to homeschool your kids for the ease or the normality. The year ahead will look different for all of us, but it can still be a great year.

So, how do you get started? If you have evaluated the pros and cons and made the decision to move forward with homeschooling, you now need to determine how to start. I have three options I can recommend for you.

1. Choose an online curriculum. Did remote schooling work for you and your child last spring? If so, this may be a great option for you. Your child will sign in on the computer daily, complete her assignments, and that is all. Pros: This requires hardly any teaching or prep as the educator. Cons: Your child is in front of a screen for several hours each day. Examples of online curriculum: allinonehomeschool.com, k12.com, or time4learning.com.

2. Choose a boxed curriculum. This is a curriculum that comes in a box. You order a curriculum box for your child and do exactly what it says. Pros: It is all laid out for you. No lesson planning. No straining your brain. Simple. Cons: They can be expensive. If you have more than two kids, it becomes difficult to have all your children on separate tracks. I then recommend a boxed curriculum for Language Arts, Reading, and Math, but group other subjects together like Science and History. Examples of boxed curriculum: Bookshark, Abekah, or Good and the Beautiful.

3. Choose to recreate school at home. Find out what your child is doing at school and continue that at home. All schools use curriculum. You should be able to identify what your child’s school uses for each subject and continue that at home. Pros: Your child can easily transition back into traditional school. Cons: You lose the freedom to choose curriculum that may better fit your child’s learning style or interests. A huge benefit of homeschooling is creating an individualized learning track that is tailored to your child.

No matter what school choice you select for next year, I want to reassure you. Your children are going to be just fine.

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They will learn. They will grow. They will be loved.

Kids are resilient and will rise to the challenge. Whatever you choose, stay positive. Lead your children with confidence, grace, and above all love. This year is bound to be different, but our differences can serve to strengthen us.

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