Q + A | Homeschooling for Beginners

Get the answers to your ground level questions to pursuing home education.

I'm sharing the scoop from a former teacher's point of view and adding my thoughts as a newbie home schooler.


Our friends and family were surprised to hear that I would be homeschooling my son, even before the pandemic, and even more inquisitive as to why I went actually went through with it.

Little did I know, the world's circumstances would make that decision even more permanent in my mind and our reality!


I'm sharing the most common questions I have gotten, and a few that I have been asked recently by some of you. Let's chat about homeschool and teaching!






How do I know my child is retaining the information I'm teaching them or helping them with?


First things first: You know your little one best.


Showing signs of “forgetting” or confusion when building on to topics is a big indicator, but remember that it may take a few times for your little to grasp and master concepts.


Review and repeat practice activities, incorporate ways to link topics to others so there are multiple ways of learning the material and practicing it.


Finding the way in which your learner strives seems tricky, but this printable is sure to help!

Figure out the best avenue for your child's mind and processing to take in order to reach his or her full potential.





What amount of time is enough for my child to do school at home?


This varies by readiness, programs/curricula, and circumstances.

Finding what works for your child can be tricky, but being open to flexibility and varying options of lessons and assessments will be worth the peace of mind that follows.


This chart lists time goals per grade level and age!




We dedicate anywhere from 1-2 hours per day, but that is not all direct, lecture style instruction.


Here is an outline of what we do during our language arts and math chunks of time.









What style of homeschool program or curriculum is best? How do you pick?

I have similar advice for this one, firstly, find what works for your learner and your family.


I recommend next creating a wishlist and starting your search based on those most important items on your list. Programs have varying time requirements and styles of delivery.



Should I give my child "homework" to continue working on outside of our time together?


It’s important to associate intention behind any work given, including practice activities.


If the extra practice, or "homework," is something that is more on the side of busy work, it won’t be any more beneficial than a workbook that comes with no guidance or support.


If the practice is meant to further support your learner in the way of strengthening skills (such as reading practice or flash cards), then yes!

I recommend setting a given time (and adjusting it as needed) in order for your learner not to feel burnt out.




Is there an ideal time of the day to teach and should the time we choose always stay the same?

Luckily, this falls under the golden homeschool umbrella:

It is completely up to your learner's needs and the discretion of you family.


We like to keep a routine that can take place anywhere within our schedule.


Whether we choose to learn at 8:30 in the morning or after dinner, our routine for "doing school" stays the same!



Here is an example of how your schedule can be arranged, or which tasks to plug in to your own schedule.


Grab your blank scheduling and planning templates here.





 

Homeschooling and Special Needs


The last portion of questions has been answered by a dear friend of mine who is an amazing education professional. Not only do I trust her personal opinion, but she is a genius when it comes to cracking learning codes.


She is now a Special Education Coordinator and has been so great to respond to a few wonderings you may have when stepping into at-home learning.


How can I best support my child who is now homeschooled but had accommodations in place while in a traditional school setting?


If you do not have a copy of your child’s Individualized Education Plan(IEP) and Full Individual Evaluation(FIE), you have the option to call their last school and request copies in both electronic and paper form.

You can also request to have annual reviews of your child’s documentation and re-evaluations in the school district you live in. In these meetings, you can ask that accommodations be explained to you and your child, if appropriate.


Remember, accommodations are not literal in all cases. Every student has strengths, it is appropriate to modify or interpret listed accommodations to your child’s current settings.


There are several websites dedicated to explaining accommodations and providing alternatives.


Your Local Education Agency (LEA)/School, has a responsibility to you and your child until they graduate from high school.




If I have serious concerns about my child retaining information, who can I speak with in my community other than my pediatrician?


Comprehension and retention typically go hand in hand.


There are local programs like Sylvan and Kumon that tailor programs to your child’s specific needs and they do aid in supporting retention.

I suggest recording your child reviewing their notes or classwork. Reading the questions aloud and answering, then listening to it again later in the day or the next day.


Consistency is also important, it can also be time consuming, give a new accommodation time to become routine, this can be up to 4-5 weeks, if after several days it shows to be more of a challenge than expected it is okay to explore a different approach/accommodation.


If your child continues to struggle, local academic counselors are also available to help with organization and work similar to Special Education teachers and other support staff combined.

Other parents in your homeschool cohort or local community are also great resources!



What would be the biggest piece of advice you have for parents tackling at-home learning with their child with special needs?


Consistency and patience. It’s valuable to practice both with your child and your approach to instruction.


Some of us receive information with an appropriate processing speed and on occasion still struggle with understanding it all. The processing of information is different for everyone. It is okay to go back and review, or teach in a simpler form, or combined with other topics to help connect information.


Developmental milestones are not the same as those implied academic milestones.



Are there any specific apps or websites you would recommend for elementary aged students to improve their skills?



If you have elementary-aged kiddos, I HIGHLY recommend an Amazon Fire HD.


Being able to set learning goals and time limits is a game changer!


There are also various educational apps, including options to strengthen letter and number sense.




If you have any questions, I would love to chat about them in the next Q & A!

Leave a comment and I'll cover it next time.


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If you love realistic parent chat and learning hacks for your kids, this is your kind of place.

I taught in the classroom for five years before joining the educator support crew.

Now I'm homeschooling my son while growing alongside other parents and teachers.

Take a peek at the printables and teaching tidbits I have here + follow me everywhere else!

I would love to hear about you! I'm happy you're here.

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I'm Lauren