If you have thought about homeschooling you have probably seen all the pros and cons. You are probably wondering can I just try homeschooling my child before we go to public school?
It is legal in all 50 States to homeschool your child by yourself. So even if your child is of school age or not, it is acceptable. Trying out Homeschooling before public school is a good way to verify if this method works for you and your family.
Trying homeschooling at an early age is a great way to be with your child and test this effective education method. Especially if your child is below the age to enter first grade. Let us explain why.
Nowadays the reasons for homeschool are numerous and if you start early you will be at an advantage. This is a serious challenge for any family and it should not be a rushed decision. So to try homeschooling out first before your child enters the first grade could be a critical decision you make. This is something you can try right away if your child is from 5-6 years old. We wanted to try in the beginning to see what it was like. Can we really make our own curriculum? How would our boy respond to us teaching him?
These are all questions that were answered rather quickly as we began. We could also see what kind of learner he was and what we might want to consider as a curriculum for him. We also got to take our time to work it into our schedule. At the time, we were both working full time jobs. But my wife was teaching music and had a more flexible schedule. It was easy to set up an area in our home to home school. And we also got some learning materials from our local library. The online resources we tried out at first were all free. I did pay for some printables to save time. But those only cost $8 for 60 pages of helpful worksheets.
How to start and try homeschooling?
Firstly, you simply check your local school regulations. Make sure you are following your state laws about what age your child must start kindergarten or first grade. Some states have recommendations for kindergarten but you are not required to attend. For example, Florida recommends that your child is admissible at age 5 and by age 6 must attend. You can check some of the requirements for reference here.
Now if your child is already in public school and you want to try homeschooling, this is a little different. Depending on the age of your child you may want to try a few classes per week at home or on the weekends. Start with 1-2 hours only at a time. This would be done while your child is still officially attending school. We did this with our son. He was already in kindergarten, however we did 1 hour per day a few days a week to soft start him at home.
What if my child is in school already, how to try homeschooling?
In this case, your child is already in kindergarten, elementary or a higher grade. It would be like a normal process to withdraw your child, then try homeschooling. For example, if your child is already in public school you will need to withdraw your child. This normally begins by contacting your school and following the procedures to take your child out of school.
Then can send a letter of intent to inform the school district you will homeschool your child. This is a very easy process. Just click here to see an example in the State of Florida. They even have a way to stay in school and attend a homeschooling track. Check it out here. Once you have verified the regulations and you comply, then you can begin.
Can you find time to try homeschooling?
You can start out with only 30 minutes per day! Now with our son, we started homeschooling or I should say we tried it when he was only 5 years old. He was already in pre-kindergarten and continued to a kindergarten. At the same time we also set up a place in our home for doing home school with him. We wanted to do a soft start of the process because we had never done it before. And we gradually introduced working with him first at 30 minutes per session, then longer. This was done after dinner and he already was at home after school. Sometimes we would have him do some work by himself like tracing or other simple activities he could do by himself as we prepared dinner.
We stated the basics like phonics, reading, and simple math activities. And we also had him work on letters, numbers and word recognition. Then we introduced days of the week, months and counting by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and other activities. These were all easy to do and he had fun with the activities. We also started with Bob Books, and this series is an amazing set where your child can literally start reading by themselves with very simple 3 to 4 letter word stories. We were so amazed that it is possible to teach your child to read. And it felt so satisfying that we were doing it ourselves!
What about the curriculum and for older kids?
Everyone’s situation is unique but that doesn’t mean it will be any harder. Nowadays there are so many options available. The most convenient way to try homeschooling is to check out the variety of online courses available. They are easy to access and you can review the programs online to see what fits your needs. You do not need to be a professional teacher. The courses are well developed and you are free to choose the ones you feel are the best fit. You can also try to work on some courses that you have developed yourself. There are many styles to choose from and a popular way is by using the Charlotte Mason method. Just Google it and you can find so many resources for that method.
The key takeaway here is that you should just try a method that seems like a good fit for you and your child. And set some time aside to work on it daily. You will need to find the time and make a regular schedule to follow. Consistency is a must for homeschooling as you are the role model and leader in this process. You will need to develop the trust and build up your confidence between you and your child so that homeschooling will work.
How did my child respond to trying out homeschooling?
Our son is a very active and confident boy with lots of opinions! I guess this is a double edged sword. We gave him many choices before we tried to homeschool him to develop his individual character and to be independent. Some days he would refuse to do any work on his homeschooling. And other days he would just sit down and get to work. I believe over time he realized it was fun and he was learning something. As parents we were very surprised to see his progress. At the same time we also realized that kindergarten alone was not enough for him to fully learn everything! I guess nowadays parents assume that the job of educating children is best left to the schools. But as a homeschooling parent we need to obviously change that!
You will have a different experience with trying out homeschooling then we had. And this is for certain you will also learn more about how your child learns and what he hasn’t learned yet! But this is all a part of the process and it is very useful to see your child’s progress and reception of homeschooling. Remember that some of the most famous and successful people in the world were homeschooled. Did you know that Albert Einstein was homeschooled? Well, we didn’t either. There are so many famous homeschooled people and you can see a list of them here. But just know this and that is as a parent you are not only left with the choice of sending your child to public or private school. You are able to educate them as well. Ty and homeschool them for a gratifying experience now!