Since the beginning of the pandemic, homeschooling has grown in popularity at an astronomical rate. According to the 2021 U.S. Census¹, more than one out of 12 students were reported as being homeschooled, which accounts for 11.1% of the population of K-12 students in the United States. This large, unprecedented increase from 2019 to the present has left many families asking, “Should I homeschool my student, too? ”If you are trying to determine if this is right for you and your learner, here are some important things to consider.
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschooling is defined as an educational approach that allows families to choose to educate their children at home rather than sending them to a traditional school. During the homeschooling process, caregivers deliver academic instruction to prepare students for future endeavors.
How to Start Homeschooling
The process of transitioning to homeschooling can vary widely depending on the state you reside in. To begin the process, take the following steps:
- Review the requirements of your state: Though legal across the United States, homeschooling laws can be quite different depending on the state. This may include specific regulations regarding:
- Formally withdrawing from a public school
- Registering as a homeschool
- Submitting and maintaining student records
- Participation in standardized testing
- The courses that one must offer to their student(s)
- Decide on a homeschool curriculum: The curriculum your student(s) use can be as unique as you would like it to be. To customize your curriculum, consult your state’s requirements and select resources, texts, and solutions that align with the curriculum of your choosing.
- Design your homeschooling space: The home environment can be unintentionally filled with learning distractions. To mitigate this, select a location that reduces foot traffic, prevents noise from conversations or TVs, and eliminates access to distractions such as toys or games.
- Set learning objectives: Achieving great results comes from mapping out the journey, but you need to know where you are going. Clearly define short- and long-term goals to guide learning and evaluate accordingly. For example, would you like your student to feel comfortable reading a specific level of book by a specified date? Or, would you like them to feel more comfortable socializing with other students more? These are both goals that homeschooling can address once objectives have been clearly defined and paired with a course of action.
- Set a homeschooling schedule: Staying organized, especially in the beginning, makes a huge difference on your journey to academic success. Consider what is best for yourself and your student(s)' schedule to make time for learning, potential field trips, visits to the library, etc. It is important to be flexible, as students' needs may change over time, which can impact your schedule.
- Look beyond academics: Some homeschoolers may feel a little isolated in the beginning. To address this and enrich social skills, it is important to enlist the help of extracurricular activities such as sports or social groups with other students or peers. This enrichment is as essential to childhood development as academic content.
To identify and satisfy these requirements, it is best to consult a list of requirements by state³.
Does Homeschooling Work?
The concept of success in academics depends on both circumstances and preferences. For some, success can be defined as the achievement of academic goals such as performance on standardized tests or the improvement in the ability to read. For others, success may look like the amplification of student engagement in learning, the flexibility in the schedules of both the caregiver and the student, or the ability to demonstrate certain life skills.
From an academic perspective, homeschooling can be more suitable for some students. Per the National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers typically score 15-25% higher on standardized tests in comparison to their publicly educated peers. This improvement alone can be seen as success for those looking to pursue this type of educational route, but it truly depends on one’s definition of success. After you determine what your educational goals are and conduct research on homeschooling, you can make the best decision for you and your student(s).
Supplies for Homeschool
Whether you are a prospective homeschooler or you’ve been homeschooling for years, it is important to have the right resources. Once you pick a curriculum or create one, it is time to find resources and digital solutions to help your learner(s) achieve greater academic success.
If you are looking for a solution to supplement your homeschool curriculum, we recommend Raz-Kids. Our most popular product among homeschooling families, Raz-Kids delivers an interactive, engaging experience for students while making instruction easy. Raz-Kids enhances the homeschool experience by:
- Saving caregivers time by allowing them to easily assign texts, assignments, and assessments without constant intervention
- Providing access to reporting to track student progress toward learning objectives
- Offering a wealth of resources, including 800+ texts and quizzes to address 29 different levels of text complexity and diverse interests
- Keeping students engaged and motivated to learn with a game-based student portal filled with rewards, incentives, and opportunities to accelerate reading development
Engaging in a Homeschool Curriculum
Transitioning to homeschooling can take some preparation, but with the right tools and resources, you can definitely achieve success. Should you choose to engage in homeschooling, consider the solutions that Learning A-Z has to offer, such as Raz-Kids, to make teaching easier and learning more fun.
Enhance Homeschooling Efforts
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- Eggleston, Casey, and Jason Fields. “Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey Shows Significant Increase in Homeschooling Rates in Fall 2020.” Census.Gov, 8 Oct. 2021, www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/homeschooling-on-the-rise-during-covid-19-pandemic.html.
- Ray, Ph.D., Brian D. “Research Facts on Homeschooling.” National Home Education Research Institute, 27 July 2023, www.nheri.org/research-facts-on-homeschooling/.
- “Homeschool Laws by State.” Time4Learning, www.time4learning.com/homeschooling/by-state.html. Accessed 9 Aug. 2023.