You will find all kinds of information on how to prepare for homeschooling, but what about how to prepare your kids for homeschooling? Isn’t this important?
To prepare kids for homeschooling, start early, and gradually introduce homeschooling as beneficial, fun, and a great way to make new friends in their educational journey. Also include them in the planning, preparation, and organizing of the schoolroom and subjects.
We will show you how to focus on your children and prepare them so that you have a higher chance of a successful transition.
Communicate About Homeschooling Early to Kids
To prepare your child for homeschooling, no matter what age they are, you need to talk about the process with them first. Maybe you have already decided before they were born to homeschool, or you felt they needed more hands-on teaching. You should communicate with them early on so they are mentally prepared for the changes to come. Both you and your spouse should find ways to talk about this with your child. If they are in school now you can bring it up as an alternative to traditional schools. If they are young you can describe it as something big kids do.
It also is recommended to find resources like we found at the library and show what homeschool looks like? Read about it with your child and you may watch some helpful Youtube videos to get an even closer glimpse from the inside. Pay attention to what they say and their reaction to this new stage of their future. Bring it up at opportune moments when they are in a good mood. Don’t force it but make it real and positive. Talking about the schedule and possible subjects will make it even more interesting and they might even begin to make a connection to it in anticipation.
Introduce the Idea About Homeschool Gradually
You have to introduce homeschool gradually, try it slowly, like anything else. Watch how they take this news about it and observe if there are any negative associations concerning homeschooling. You probably should start a few months before you consider starting. We decided when our youngest son was just a toddler and before we began kindergarten. Children are also very honest when they are young so pay attention to what they say about this new idea. If your child is older then you can try a different approach, but also slowly!
If your child is in elementary, middle, or high school, you should still talk about homeschooling early. Explain why they can consider homeschooling for their situation. Perhaps they are having difficulty with a particular subject or teacher. Maybe you are going to do homeschool because of your values and this can be acknowledged as well. Your kid might be very eager to know about homeschool and that’s great. You also have to be ready if they have some reluctance to this new idea. That’s fine, and just pull back and let the subject come up naturally after some time.
Monitor Conversations About Homeschooling or School
Make sure you start early with conversations about homeschooling. Talk about how to do it, who will teach, where they will do it, field trips, fun, exercise, playtime, and free time. You do need to get them motivated and interested in it. This is a new lifestyle that is great for the family and you will all have fun! If you get excited about homeschooling, so will they. Now monitor how they respond and if they feel scared or totally against it. Find out what’s the main concern and loo into how you may be able to relive their fears.
Are they already in school, and if so then monitor how things are going in class and with friends and teachers? Look for a chance to have a conversation about how homeschooling may be a good solution to these issues. And listen to their feedback and make sure you are calm and confident about homeschooling. They need this reassurance that this new way of education at home is something positive and helpful. This is no different than easing their fears or anxiety about the first day of school or kindergarten. Be on the lookout for opportunities to learn about homeschooling together.
Plan a Playdate with Other Homeschooling Kids
If you have researched homeschooling thoroughly already, you may also have found some other families nearby that homeschool. Plan a playdate with them and other homeschooled kids to have some fun! You can have a picnic on the weekend with them and see how they get along. You can also bring it up and see how they homeschool and learn from each other. Kids like to hear from others their age and this can also be a comforting way to ease into the topic. You can create opportunities for kids to learn with other homeschool families.
If things seem to go well, you might even check if you can see how they homeschool and what their home classroom is like. Of course, you need to be the judge of this, but wouldn’t that be a great way to see firsthand how other families succeed at homeschool? You can also consider inviting others to your home and you can get some great suggestions. Plan a playdate in your future homeschool and you can also have an insight into how it might be like for yourself as well with other students! Remember that homeschool doesn’t always take place just in your home!
Prepare a Plan for the Homeschool Space
Once you have been slowly exposing your child to the idea of homeschooling, you may also have some good feedback to work on. For example, if your child has shown an interest to move ahead, you could talk about how to plan your homeschool room or space. We have a helpful article we wrote on how to start homeschooling here. Draw up some plans and look around the house for the right place. It should be quiet and without any distractions. The reason to get your kids involved is to have them feel this is for them and you will work with them to build their future.
You are planning their homeschool space together and they can feel the involvement and connection with you. This is a good start because you want to inspire their love for learning. Let your child think about where the desk can go, where do the shelves fit better? Is there a good place for the whiteboard? And make a list together of what to buy and what supplies you will need. Certainly, you can use this as an opportunity to bond and develop the mindset for homeschooling. Preparing your space and kids for homeschooling is a family activity.
Go Shopping for Homeschool Supplies Together
Once you have had a chance to discuss where your homeschool space will be, you are on your way to preparing your child for success. Now you can go and look for the perfect desk or adjustable chairs. Perhaps you’re handy and you’d like to repurpose some furniture? We will discuss that in the next section. But you will surely need some things that you might not have had before you considered homeschool. Choose a place that is nearby a park and you can have a fun day together after shopping.
Enjoy your time together because this also will be how the future of homeschool will be.
Take this opportunity to learn something. Because when you homeschool, you look for creative ways to prepare them for living in the real world. Take for instance the desk for studying. Do you know what the egonomics should be for the chair for young kids for studying? It should be around 12”-14”. And you can use this opportunity to learn about ergonomics together. Let them sit in a chair in your home. Take measurements and let them participate as well. Do some online research together to see what the ideal heights of a desk for studying should be. Then go shop for it! Every trip you make in the real world is a learning opportunity. This is the spirit of homeschooling in our family.
Organize the Homeschool Room Together
If you are handy or you have a handyman in the family, organizing the schoolroom is a good way to prepare your kid for homeschool. Maybe you might even consider building something together and use some wood and nails! How about finding a piece of furniture to repurpose? This is what we did rather than going out to buy a bookshelf. Depending on your budget and skills, you can use this opportunity as well to make a space work for your child’s homeschool space.
I like to build things and save money, so I took my son’s old safety stool from his bathroom. And we repurposed it into a bookshelf. We are trying to be a green living family, by the way, which isn’t easy. I wrote another fun article about his and for you to check if you are living green. Now you can also choose that special part of your house to locate your schoolroom. We suggest a separate room, but you can also select any quiet and distraction-free area of the house. No windows and no TV’s should be around! Let your kids have fun with this and maybe you can even personalize it to inspire them more about homeschooling.
Teach Them About the Benefits of Homeschooling
The benefits of homeschooling are numerous like more sleep, free time, learning at your child’s pace. These are just a few key ones, but building up your child’s view of homeschool is important. It is something that can be done together and they can be proud of doing it by themselves! You are eventually going to develop your child into an independent and wonderful human being! Let them know that they will be able to try something they want to know more about. You will not be able to do this in a traditional school.
In a traditional school, you study what all the other kids are doing. And you follow your teacher! Let them know in homeschool the benefits of choosing what field trips to plan, like going camping and homeschooling! I wrote a special article about this here, check it out and go camping and learn! Also since you will be learning more efficiently, you have more time to sleep and play and learn! This is the upside of homeschooling. And if they like sports, you may want to join a community or club team. You might even be able to join the local school team if your school district allows homeschoolers to participate.
Create a Field Trip Schedule for Fun Places
Since you have been preparing your child for months or weeks for homeschooling, you can also highlight the fact that field trips can be another fun way to learn. Your family may love the outdoors and do trips and learn while biking, hiking, swimming, picnics, museums, science museums, zoos, airports, and planetariums. Remember that each opportunity is a way that you can study about the place you are going to. Research the location, why was this national park established? Who built this old house, why can it last for 100 years?
Going on field trips can be a super way to prepare a unit study course on anything like history, science, or any subject. And when you are on the field trip, take notes, collect fossils, take photos and video and bring them back to have fun with. And when they return you can quiz them on what they learned. Keep good records and this will be a valuable way to break up your week and have fun while you are preparing your homeschooled child for the future. Talking about field trips and fun places to go can help prepare your child for adjusting to homeschool.
Show the Differences of Homeschool and Public School
The differences between homeschool and public school should be shared with your kids to help prepare them. One big difference is the schedule and the fact that they will be able to finish out the day more quickly. They certainly will be more focused and receive personal attention on the subject. This means they can spend more time on the tasks they need to work harder on and breeze through easier subjects. You might even decide to skip chapters based on their progress. This is different from traditional school where you follow the teacher’s pace.
If your kids are older you might also share some insight into the challenges of middle and high school. When I was in a public school I was bullied for a semester when people found out my mother was from Taiwan. She was a citizen and lived in the US for many years. But after a semester of it, I finally made a breakthrough and fought my way out of it! But you can share that in homeschool, you will be in a safe environment. They only bully may just be your siblings, but as the parent, you can handle that! These are just a few examples, but you will know what’s more appropriate to share with your family.
Get Their Feedback on Subjects to Teach
If you have been preparing your child for homeschooling with positive results, then it may be a good time to review the subjects to teach with them. Your child may have something they want to learn more about and now they can if you prepare it for them. We realize that not every parent may feel like they can teach, so there will be subjects that you will find outside help. For example, you may choose to let your child take the school math class. Some districts allow you to take classes and select which ones to opt-out of. Just check with your school district.
My son recently wanted to learn about lighting and asked where does it come from? So we went to find a nice book about it at the library and checked out a cool book. There are so many moments like this that you can use to inspire and motivate your children. How about building a sailboat or a chair? A model sailboat of course, but you can learn so much about how to use tools and materials and how to draw and design things. Some college courses take an entire semester or year to do a similar project. Once again, include your child in the preparation and they will appreciate homeschooling even more.
Practice the Homeschooling Schedule & Routines
Now that you have spent the time to prepare your child for homeschooling, you may want to prepare a mock schedule and try it out. We did this with our son who was in the early stage of homeschooling. While he was still in kindergarten, we began and made a schedule of 1 hour per day. It started very loosely which meant that if there were other activities or we didn’t have time for it, we skipped it. Or we only did 1 subject that day. For a child, his age of 1-2 hours per day is recommended. That meant we spent 10-15 minutes at most per subject.
In the beginning, we focused on math, reading, and writing. We felt these subjects were the root of all other subjects and therefore we wanted to get an early start. Reading is required for any subject. And we started with phonics since he was already up to speed with his ABC’s by 4-5 years old. We got some workbooks and in the evening before dinner time, we spent some time doing his homeschool work. This worked out especially well since he needed something to do while we prepared dinner. It was better than just watching TV or playing.
After a while, he got used to doing his “learning” as we called it. We didn’t refer to it as homework, or school work but just learning. Even when he spent the summer with his grandparents we assigned him some learning. He did his writing and tracing exercises and his grandma enjoyed doing it with him. We chose this path of preparation and so far it has been a good way to gradually introduce our son to homeschooling.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Anxiety or Sadness
During the process of preparing your child for homeschooling look for signs of anxiety or sadness. If you notice they are feeling sad or abnormally stressed out, it could be a sign. Talk with them and find out more details. If they are in a traditional school or kindergarten already maybe there are having a hard time in school? Are they having a difficult time with a friend, classmate, or school work? Maybe they are having second thoughts about homeschooling? It’s better to find out now, rather than when you have already withdrawn your child from school.
Go back over all of the steps and suggestions to prepare your child for homeschooling. Did you miss something? Or maybe they are worried about something you didn’t cover? Maybe they are concerned about how will they make friends. Or perhaps they feel sad that they won’t see their old friends. You can make arrangements for this like assuring them if possible, that they will still be able to meet their friends if you want to make it happen. And the socialization during homeschooling is also a part of your plan. That’s the next thing we will go over!
Show Your Kids How to Make Freinds in Homeschooling
If your child is not sure how they will ever make friends again if they homeschool, don’t worry, they will make friends. There is much research about this and the data shows most homeschooled families do more social activities than kids in traditional schools. In homeschool, you can highlight to your child that you will arrange outside classes and activities, and you can also arrange extracurricular sports as well. Joining a homeschooling group in your community and finding other families that homeschool like you can also be a good way to meet friends. Remind them that they can stay in touch with their current or old friends if they choose to do so.
So you have to be supportive of this fact. And if your child is a teenager this is even more important! We know of a homeschooling family that sent their kids to a public high school after homeschooling them in the primary years. They felt that their daughter needed the socialization as a teenager. And this is up to you and your family. You can let your kids know that going back to a traditional school is a possibility. This is one of the advantages of homeschooling. You have this choice and you can do so. Just make sure to prepare for it and that you have kept good records.
As we are homeschooling, we constantly have new ideas and come across helpful information along the way. We are sure to discover more ways to help others prepare their children for homeschooling. We hope that you have found some useful insights and can enjoy the process and this journey into your child’s future. A love of learning is the ultimate goal for homeschool and to prepare your child for life as an independent and happy member of society. This can be an enriching and fruitful experience not just for your child but also for you and your family!