Welcome to the back-to-school season in the time of COVID-19, where debates abound over everything from mask-wearing to social distancing to whether kids should be in a physical or online classroom. Amid all the uncertainty and upheaval, the financial burden many parents face, and the likelihood of another wave of COVID-19, some parents consider transitioning their children from traditional to homeschooling for one semester or even making it permanent if the family has the plan to go abroad. Homeschooling provides the opportunity for children to experience a tailored education that flexibly fits their unique needs, schedule, and learning abilities. While this may be the perfect educational approach for your child, transitioning from public school requires preparation and commitment.
How can you make the transition happen? This article offers some tips for parents to make the change go a bit more smoothly.
How to Start Homeschooling
Step one: Do your research
Although homeschooling is now legal in many developed countries such as the U.S., UK, Canada,… the concept is still new in Vietnam. Opting out for homeschooling is not illegal in Vietnam, but the government has not recognized homeschooling as alternative education for children. There are no specific guidelines, policies or regulations for homeschooling education in Vietnam.
With that said, once parents decide to homeschool your children, it could be hard for the child to be reintegrated into the local school system. Some international schools might accept that, but parents should check it very carefully with the school to make sure your child has an officially recognized profile to present.
Homeschooling is ideal for families who plan to send their children abroad – especially to the U.S. and UK. Students can do homeschooling and transit to an accredited program to go to college.
>> Explore some popular high school programs in the U.S. and UK that allow students to transfer to colleges at ease here.
Step two: Explore homeschooling options
There are many different teaching methods and curricula available for homeschooling. Reflect on your reasons for switching along with your child’s learning preferences, and develop your approach according to their unique needs.
>> Learn 5 Key Styles of Homeschooling Parents Should Know Before Starting.
Choosing your curriculum will largely depend on how your child best learns and how you best teach. Parents have to decide whether to adhere to a more traditional, textbook-based curriculum or to take the alternative route by designing and compiling a less structured curriculum. Some parents choose to participate in established online homeschools. The main benefit of these programs is that much of the content preparation is done for you. Popular curriculums among homeschoolers include Time4Learning, Oak Meadow, Abeka, and Alpha Omega.
Taking the time to research other parents’ experiences with various homeschooling materials and online schools is the best way to ensure that you’re purchasing high-quality content that works. Reviews will also usually specify the driving teaching philosophy of the curriculum.
Step 3: Notify your local school officials and teachers
While not all schools require parents to inform your plan to withdraw, it’s a good idea to exit your public school with courtesy. Have an open conversation explaining why you want to switch, and ask for any advice administrators, or teachers might be willing to share. Especially if your child plans to continue participating in extracurricular activities, you’ll want to maintain a good relationship with the school community.
Parents will also need to secure your child’s records. If your child has been in public school for several years, the school will have a file containing their medical and academic records. You’ll want to access these records to make sure they’re not lost when you withdraw your child, and so you are fully aware of your child’s educational experience up to this point.
Step 4: Discuss the plan with your child
Be honest and clear about your plan to withdraw your child from public school, talk about their needs, and be sure to listen to what they have to say. Try asking your child questions about what they like and don’t like about school now, and what they would want to learn if they could pick their own lessons. This will jumpstart a conversation that allows you both to talk about your expectations for homeschooling.
As this decision will most impact students, let’s give your child plenty of time to reflect on your conversation and their new reality. Introduce the topic well ahead of the date you plan to withdraw.
Step 5: Start with an end in mind
Transitioning to homeschooling is a big adjustment for children (and their parents) who are already used to a traditional school calendar. Communicate how you will mark milestones of the days, the semester, and the year from the start. Having a never-ending day (or year) isn’t good for your child or yourself! Your final schedule may change, but knowing when break times are coming up helps to motivate you to complete tasks. If you plan to homeschool your child year-round, keep her aware of when there will be breaks.
Parents should also establish a daily schedule. Pick hours that work for your family, and stick to that plan. Even though flexibility and spontaneity are hallmarks of successful homeschool models, especially at the beginning of the transition, you’ll want to ensure that your child recognizes that their home is now also their school.
- To set up this schedule, reflect on which hours of the day your child has the hardest and easiest time learning. Schedule difficult subjects during their high-attention hours and easier ones when they might need less brainpower. Be sure not to block more than 45 minutes to an hour of anyone subject.
- You don’t need to adhere to typical 8:00-3:00 public school hours, but your child may crave continuity as they move away from the public-school model and begin learning in a new environment.
>> To ensure that you and your family are remaining socially connected, continue or expand your child’s involvement in extracurricular activities. Explore 5 ways to help students build social skills while homeschooling.
Again, homeschooling is a big change for everyone. There will come a time when you doubt the choice you made. It is normal. There are many times in the year, most homeschool moms watch that yellow bus pass by and daydream of sending the children off on it. You’re not alone, and you haven’t made a mistake. Keep in mind that you have willing friends and trusted confidants to assist you during the journey. At Everest Education, we have years of experience supporting many families on their homeschooled journey. We help students build their own unique education pathways. Our programs can supplement and support homeschool students depending on their individual needs and goals. If you’re interested in exploring more homeschooling options, go check out our Homeschooling support program.
- Parents.com, “How to Transition into Homeschooling After Your Kids Attended Traditional School”
- Wikihow, “How to Transition from Public School to Homeschool”