Homeschooling High School – The Importance of Junior Year

Junior year is one critical moment in time when you are homeschooling high school. In freshman and sophomore year you can kind of “fly by the seat of your pants”, but in junior year there are certain tasks that you need to do. On the first day of senior year you really want your child to start to apply for colleges. This sounds easy enough and only applies to senior year except for one minor detail. If you don’t know where you’re going to apply on the first day of senior year, it’s kind of hard to actually do the applying.

That is why much of junior year is spent figuring out what colleges your student is going to apply to. You do that by making sure that your child takes the PSAT, and the SAT or ACT. These tests will tell them the approximate test score that they have so that they will know which college they will fit with. You can also go to a college fair so you can get an overview of colleges you may want to attend.

Another important task of junior year is to identify a school that you want to visit and then actually visit the college. Otherwise, you may discover it is not anything like the name that they have on the side of their buildings or what you see in their marketing brochures. You have to make sure that the college is a good fit for your child.

When you are homeschooling high school, pay attention to the college search during junior year and then you can be really successful.

Home Schooling Three to Five Year Olds and Legal Requirements

Parents who decide to home school their pre-school children have researched the value of teaching your own children at home. Beginning home school at the pre-school age is an excellent way to get the parent and the child used to the idea of learning at home. This is also a great way to ease into learning how to teach and organize the home school schedule. The child is not used to attending a school; therefore there is no adjustment period. Also, pre-school children are incredibly easy to teach because it is mostly in playing that they learn.

When creating a tailored preschool curriculum, parents provide a safe environment with interactive toys. Believe it or not, the parent is the child’s first teacher. Children at this age imitate everything their parents do by observation, playing, helping, talking, and listening. Reading to children at this age is one of the best ways to develop avid readers. At this age, a standardized curriculum isn’t necessary. Children learn from coloring, cutting, pasting, counting, singing, rhymes, games, playing with clay, playing in the playground, and learning to get along with others. It is important to include some of these activities daily in an unstressed, relaxed manner. Children at this age need your love and attention more than they need academics and structure.

The key to learning at this age is to provide a lot of hands on projects, particularly with arts and crafts. Many children in this age group have play dates where they meet with other children and go to parks, farms, even shopping trips. Pre-schoolers love to be included in everything you do, whether it be emptying the dishwasher, or sorting mail, and especially baking. Even though it may seem that their short attention span doesn’t allow for intense learning, they are learning real life experiences.

Legal Requirements:

Parents who home school do not have to have an advanced degree. There are a few qualifications of successful home school parents: love for their children, understanding of their children, desire to keep learning and growing, desire to spend time with their children. Although it may seem awkward at first, especially if your child has been in a public or private school, teaching will eventually become second hand. Parents need to learn flexibility and also organization at the same time. Open communication and a strong bond between parent and child is key to successful home schooling.

Home schooling is legal in every state in the United States. Each state has its own guidelines for home schooling. There are also plenty of support groups for parents who home school. Some private schools offer home school support and/or curriculum. After school group activities, such as sports, or science are also offered by several different programs. Friends and family can also help with home education. Sometimes there are co-op home school groups, where one person teaches math and another parent teaches history.

There are also support groups for parents of home schoolers who feel burned out or frustrated. There is guidance on teaching and teaching classes parents can take. Continued education helps a parent feel confident in their teaching skills. But keep in mind that every parent in a teacher at some point, it is unavoidable when you are a parent.

Parents document the progress of their home schooled children with testing, some are annual, and some are alternative assessments. Keeping records of your child’s daily activities and learning is essential to monitoring the child’s progress. When parents find it difficult to teach a certain subject, they turn to private tutors, online classes, CD tutorials or community college classes to supplement their studies.

Home Schooling Nine to Twelve Year Olds and Socialization

When home schooling a child between nine and twelve years old, there is a lot of pressure for peer pressure. Keep in mind that not all children undergo this pressure to be with and like their peers, while distancing themselves from their parents. These preteens still need plenty of attention, eye contact, positive reinforcement and praise, personal communication, and good interaction with their parents. Believe it or not, children at this age do still enjoy being read to. Keep having positive attitudes toward learning; focus on making learning interesting and engaging. Make sure you use positive constructive criticism with the least amount of academic pressure possible. Focus on providing a safe, secure learning environment that encourages love, acceptance and reassurance. This will, in time, raise their feelings of self worth and help them understand where their values lie.

At this tender age of hormones, mixed emotions, changing feelings, group planning in curriculum is suggested. Preteens prefer learning skills that have a reason or purpose in real life. For instance, instead of offering busy work in language arts, ask your child to write a letter to a manufacturing company in regards to a defective household product for you. Not only would this make the child feel important but the learning task would be a skill much needed in real life. When learning math, use real life examples with money and budgeting, perhaps even balancing a checkbook. Use graphs and charts to set goals with earned money and savings. Reading about science from a textbook is one way to learn the subject, but performing experiments or identifying specimens in nature is much more engaging. Daily and weekly chores are necessary to learn responsibility and accountability as an integral part of the family.

Remember to always model what you want to teach. Learn new topics together. Dissect a grasshopper for science, work on the family budget together, etc. Homeschooling allows parents to design a curriculum that benefits their children. Find out where your preteen has strengths and weaknesses and plan your curriculum around that.

Homeschooling and Socialization:

When parents talk about home schooling their children, the most common concern is regarding socialization. Parents are concerned that their children will not learn how to adapt to social situations. Unless the homeschooling parent decides to isolate their children completely from the outside world, this is impossible. In fact, children who are home schooled have more interaction with people of all ages, not just their age group. The average home schooled child attends more educational field trips during the year than the non home schooled child. In addition, home schooled children have more opportunities for after school activities, such as music lessons, sports, and hobbies.

Children who home school feel equally comfortable with younger children, peers, and adults of all ages. Children who home school have daily social interactions with the family, neighborhood and the community. Because of this, studies have shown that children who home school have higher self esteem. Children who attend school do not experience real world situations, while home schoolers are definitely more prepared for the real world.

The type of socialization that is experienced in schools is often negative. Large school settings harbor conformity, teasing, bullying, defiant behavior, popularity contests, and competition. No wonder home schooled children have higher self esteem; children at home are learning kindness, patience, sharing, respect, and understanding. These home schooled children are not exposed to peer influences which foster peer dependency. Peer dependent children show diminished positive socialization, such as self-worth, confidence, reverence for their parents, and trust in peers. Although home school children may play with other children in the neighborhood and experience this peer dependence, strong morals and values are being taught at home that override these negative experiences.

Home schooled children learn to listen to their own instincts and let that guide them to make their own decisions. Conforming to a peer social group that does not value individuality does not foster independent thinking, which is necessary for a successful life.

Tips for Homeschoolers – Start the Year Out Right

As a homeschooler starting a new school year, one of the best things you can do is make sure you start your year out right. This doesn’t mean you have to make a big production or a party. Just remember that it’s a new year and sometimes that’s a great time to make any necessary changes.

Whether your changes are big like a whole new math curriculum or small like changing your schedule, the beginning of a new school year is the best time to start. If you have decided to make some changes, determine which changes you are going to make and then decide what needs to be done to make the changes happen. Get started right away.

If you have been homeschooling for a while, you know what is working and what isn’t. But remember, just because a specific curriculum, game, or schedule worked for another child, it does not mean that it will work for all children. Be sure to make changes that appropriate for your particular child’s learning style as well as to the schedule that best suits your entire family.

Many families use the new year or the new semester as a time to try something new. Maybe you want to set new goals this year or try out a new homeschool group. Just because you make a change to something new doesn’t mean it will be the best fit and you’ll want to stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try something new, you can always change it up again if it isn’t working.

If you just find that you are in a rut and need a change – any change, try out a different teaching style. For instance, if you are a unit study family, try out a box curriculum or if you are a strict schedule person, try out a little unschooling. You might be surprised to see how your family thrives when you mix it up a little.

Maybe you need a new approach, a new attitude, or a new subject to mix things up? Consider adding an internet class or online game to change things up. Start your morning with some exercise or a nature walk. Look into a homeschool group or extra curriculum activities.

Whatever you feel your need are, and no matter when you begin your school year, remember… it’s a new year. Now is the time to make the changes you need to make your homeschool run more smoothly and effectively.

What changes will you be making this year?