While homeschooling has been around for several decades, it has only been growing in popularity recently as more families have wanted to take control of their child’s education instead of leaving it to the government. The development of the COVID-19 situation which has impacted every state has propelled homeschooling to the top as a preferred education alternative to keep kids safe and moving forward in their education. The transition from a group environment to home learning can be a big adjustment for students so it is important that parents are deliberate and careful about which program they enroll in and how the process is implemented.
The top online homeschool programs can be found with a simple Internet search as parents include the keywords that they want such as ‘Christian’ if they want this part of the curriculum learning or finding out which programs are highly recommended and why from the mainstream. Local homeschool groups can help new families avoid common pitfalls by providing their experience and ‘lessons learned’ in getting started. At a minimum, the online homeschool program should be accredited, offer both print and online learning, and offer resources such as library sites, tutoring and connection to professional teachers on a part or full-time basis. Check with the state’s homeschool requirements to ensure the selected program is in alignment to avoid complications and wasted work. This includes checking in with your child’s local school if they started there and confirm they will accept work completed through the online program if they ever come back.
One of the most important things to consider is the student’s perspective in making the transition from the classroom to home learning. Some kids get excited about staying at home, learning at their own pace and not having to deal with peer pressure anymore; however, others may struggle without the social interaction, predetermined structure and familiar routine. Parents and kids should communicate often to determine what the process needs to look like on a daily and weekly schedule and realize that adjustment and flexibility are part of the benefits of homeschooling. The top online homeschool options provide lesson plans, visible progress indicators in the online portal and a traditional time frame so kids can stay on a schedule with holidays and common breaks. Within this framework, students are able to decide in which order they want to complete their lessons, what their daily schedule looks like and moves at a pace they are comfortable with which can be slower or faster than someone else.
Safety is a top priority for parents but may not be for kids so they get frustrated that they can’t be with friends and think they might be missing out on things. Look for homeschool groups to get involved with and check with other families to see if others have made the decision to move to homeschool. Online learning has many benefits especially when supported by an accredited program but the ultimate goal is to give students the education and tools that they need to be successful on the path of their choice which may be college or going directly into the workforce after graduation. Kids who learn at home are at a decreased risk of getting COVID-19 because they are not as exposed as those attending a traditional school environment but there are ways with Zoom, FaceTime and other apps to help kids stay connected so they are motivated to learn.
When the family chooses to enroll in a top online homeschool accredited program, it makes it easier to transition back to a classroom once parents are comfortable with taking this step or taking students all the way to the finish line. Do the research upfront with the assumption that kids will learn at home for the long-term so there doesn’t have to be a switch, later on, to keep them on the right track. Admission counselors are the best resource for questions and getting started in the process so documentation is in order and parents can have full confidence in their curriculum, classes and instruction offered to their students.
Be prepared to make adjustments in the home to accommodate students learning and having access to the tools they need. This may be in the form of a dedicated room for the school day, purchasing additional electronic devices and increasing Wi-Fi strength and coordinating with the school for compatibility across all grades. Communication is critical to making this transition successful because kids are only motivated if they have input and feel that they are being heard and listened to when homeschooling is new to everyone in the family. Whether you were looking at homeschooling before COVID-19 or the pandemic motivated you to look at alternatives, their top online homeschool programs are a good solution to a difficult situation that provides peace of mind and the path to graduation.