Homeschooling has become a popular way of educating children with more and more parents opting to do so. Homeschooling can be an incredibly rewarding experience, the process of deciding where the best place to homeschool is not always easy. Here are 13 key points to consider when choosing the perfect home school environment.
1. The Space
The physical space is an important factor. Ideally, there should be a separate space or room, preferable not in a common living area, in which all of homeschooling activities can take place. Somewhat counter-intuitively, homeschooling can be quite noisy and disruptive so, if possible, it should be done away from other sleeping or work areas.
When choosing the home school space, natural light should be considered a priority. A window is helpful, but if the space is part of a basement or hallway then ample, energy-efficient artificial lights should be installed.
If the space is outdoors, such as for gardening, classical subjects or physical skills, then shelter from the sun and weather is important.
2. The Privacy
Although homeschoolers are afforded certain freedoms not allowed in traditional education, there must still be some sense of structure and routine. Avoiding disruptions from other activities or people is a must, and a good way to do this is to make sure that the home school has some degree of privacy such as a closed door, or a fence if outdoors. It is important to note that the room or space should not be overly confined.
Although some privacy might be necessary, homeschooling should still occur in an open and comfortable environment that encourages exploration and learning.
3. Time and Schedule Flexibility
Time and schedule flexibility is important for homeschooling. Being able to vary the length and structure of the school day to accommodate breaks or activities allows for increased learning and concentration. Schedules can vary from day to day depending on activities or family commitments.
Some days may be dedicated to a certain subject, while other days may adopt a more relaxed approach. In addition, holiday or vacation time can be adjusted to fit the particular family’s needs.
4. Equipment and Resources
Equipment and resources are fundamental to successful homeschooling. For traditional academic courses, paper, pens and other supplies should be available. For online courses, computers, tablets and internet access should be organized.
For more practical disciplines such as music, sports and theatre, instruments, equipment and other resources must be easily accessible. It is also important to note that books and other school materials should be of the best quality to ensure maximum learning.
5.A Work-School Balance
Finding a balance between work and school is important for success. Many homeschoolers have jobs and activities that can constrain their school program, so it is important to factor these into the daily schedule. The balance between work and school must also take into account the emotional development of the child.
It is essential for parents to ensure that the student has a reasonable amount of free-time and support throughout their schooling program.
Support is one of the most important elements of successful homeschooling. Having other parents, experienced homeschoolers and a local community are invaluable.
Fellow homeschoolers can offer advice and assistance, while a local community can provide activities, places to visit, field trips and other educational opportunities. If possible, these local resources should be modulated to be closest to the home school.
7. Tests and Evaluations
Testing and evaluations are important components of a homeschool program. The average homeschooler must fulfill certain requirements and should have a portfolio with records of their accomplishments and assessments. The best way to ensure that the student meets these requirements is to have a consistent and clear assessment and testing system.
Online tests and evaluations are valuable for the home school, as they can provide a more objective evaluation.
Safety is essential for any learning environment, but particularly so for homeschooling. The home school must be away from any sources of danger such as cars, fires or electrical wiring, and the space should be equipped with basic safety strategies. If the home school is outdoors, then the space should be properly enclosed to avoid aggressive animals or people.
In addition, the student should never be left alone in the school environment, and parents should take note of any potentially hazardous materials or activities.
Accountability is another important factor. Parents who homeschool must stay up to date with state and local laws regarding attendance and assessment reports. In addition, they should understand their own state’s homeschool laws and regulations to make sure they are in compliance.
Homeschoolers must also understand their own rights and responsibilities so that they can get the most out of their home school experience. Having a certification from the proper authorities is essential for staying in line with legal requirements, which also helps when it comes to college applications.
10. Allowing the Student to Take Control
Homeschooling is an opportunity for the student to take control of their own learning. This should be done in a way that allows the student to explore their interests, learn valuable skills and become increasingly independent and self-reliant. Parents should also keep in mind that the process of homeschooling is not solely focused on academic achievement.
It should also provide the student with a set of skills, values and beliefs which can be used in the future, such as problem-solving, critical-thinking and interpersonal relationships.
11. Moral and Religious Education
Moral and religious education is an important aspect of homeschooling. Depending on the family’s beliefs, faith-based or spiritual topics can be addressed directly in the school curriculum. Although it may be difficult to integrate these concepts into the traditional school system, homeschooling is an ideal way to ensure that these values are adequately developed in the student.
12. Social Interaction
Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling does not necessarily mean that a student will not have any social interaction. Though the degree of interaction with peers may be limited, parents should still seek out ways for their child to interact with others, preferably those who have similar interests or beliefs. This can help to maintain the student’s emotional development and will open up more opportunities for the child.
For example, there are often events organized for homeschoolers or special classes held in local education centers or universities.
13. The Transfer to College or University
When homeschooling, parents should always keep in mind the importance of a successful transfer to college or university. The process should be as smooth as possible and the student should make sure that their portfolio and records are up to par.
Many colleges and universities will look at homeschoolers more favorably if they can demonstrate that their application is as substantial and complete as possible. Homeschoolers should also seek out advice from counselors and other education professionals to ensure that their transcripts, standardized test scores and other documents are up to date.
Homeschooling is a great way to provide a personalized education in a safe, supportive environment. Parents should research and consider a number of factors such as the space available, the equipment and resources, the laws, and transfer to college or university, when choosing the perfect home school environment.
As long as these important points are taken into consideration, homeschooling can be an incredibly rewarding and special experience.