Saturday, October 6, 2012

4 Tips for Transitioning from a Traditional School to Home Education

I am pleased to present a special post today, from guest author, Katheryn Rivas, an adult who was herself educated at home. Her topic holds good bits of wisdom for both the new and veteran homeschooler, enjoy her view of the world!

Aujourd'hui, je suis ravie de présenter un article d'un auteur invité, Katheryn Rivas, une adulte qui a été elle-même eduquée à la maision. Son sujet offre plein de petits bouts de sagesse, pour le nouveau comme pour le homeschooler experimentés.

4 Tips for Transitioning from a Traditional School to Home Education

Many blogs out there offer lots of advice to parents whose children are making the transition from home school to something a bit more traditional, whether it's high school, college, or something else. Most parents don't talk about the flipside of this. Personally, I attended a traditional school until third grade, after which my family relocated. There weren't any quality schools in the area, so my parents decided to give home education a try.
For most families, it may be quite a difficult decision, but since my father was homeschooled by his parents, we knew from personal experience that home education is not nearly as daunting as it may seem to those not in the know. As for me, I had mixed feelings about staying at home for school. I was excited about what I knew would be a more casual environment and more flexible hours. I was excited also to have my siblings as my classmates. I was, however, a little bit saddened that I wouldn't be in a classroom with a bunch of my peers. Still, I looked forward to the experience because my parents were excited, and their excitement was infectious. Here are a few ways to help your kids make the same, exciting transition from a traditional school to home education:

  1. Encourage your kids to stay friends with their classmates.

In my case, my family had moved away from the town where I grew up, so staying friends with faraway classmates was a bit harder. My younger sister didn't mind, simply because she would be starting kindergarten and didn't have much experience interacting with lots of other kids her age. My older brother and I were quite devastated after the move, since we had very good friends that we hung out with constantly in the town we used to live in. Soon, however, we adjusted, and found ourselves spending more time together playing and having fun. I honestly credit homeschooling with giving me the very close relationship I have with my siblings then and now, a relationship that very few others have.
Still, having friends outside the family circle is important.  If you choose to start homeschooling after relocation, take a leaf out of my mother's book—encourage your kids to write letters to their friends. It's an incredibly fun experience to get letters in the mail, not to mention that it helps improve writing skills. If you do continue residing in the same city after beginning home education, make sure the kids are involved with their friends in some way, like an after school sports program or a church choir.

  1. Find other ways to replace aspects of traditional schooling, like keeping a schedule.

While you probably made the switch from a traditional school to home education for a reason—perhaps you felt you could teach your children in a better and more loving environment then their previous school—there are certain things about the traditional school that are worth preserving. For example, home education is great but, in my experience, we often went off a consistent schedule, taking a day off from school then having to catch up doing extra work throughout the week. Home school days are not as long as traditional days given the personal attention devoted to each student, but try to wake up and start class at the same time each day, and try to end at the same time as well.

  1. Make outdoor activity a priority.

In traditional schools, children may have more opportunity for outdoor activity, simply because they are forced outside during recess.  With home education, at least in my experience, it's easy to slip into a fairly sedentary lifestyle. When we first started home education, we didn't really have "recess" per se. It was just an hour-long break after lunch to do with what we pleased. Often, my brother and I would simply watch TV or play video games. After some time, my mother realized that we needed proper recess time in which we spent time playing outdoors. Once we were forced to go outside, we ended up having a great time, playing catch, hide-and-seek, kicking around a soccer ball, and riding our bikes. As homeschool parents, you can encourage (even mandate) taking outdoor breaks often, have your kids join sports leagues, and even host classes outside when the weather is nice.

  1. Embrace the unique advantages that homeschooling has to offer.

There's so much about homeschooling that far and away beats out traditional schooling, but many don't take full advantage. I think being able to go on vacations on your own schedule is one the best parts about home education. My parents took me and my siblings on educational trips, like camping in a forest a few hours away. There, my mom integrated our science lessons as we identified birds, animal tracks, etc. The other advantages include designing your own curriculum that allows your kids to expand their abilities more quickly than they could have at a traditional school
Transitioning from years of traditional schooling and moving to a home education environment can be tough and it can be tricky. There were definitely times during my homeschool experience in which I envied my neighborhood friends who went to school every day. But, then again, my friends were often jealous of me! As an adult, however, I see now the advantages of homeschooling clearly. I have an incredible relationship with my family, and, when I eventually attended a traditional university, I was academically miles ahead of my peers. In the end, it's all about making the most out of the whole experience. Trust me--you won't regret it! Good luck!

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities
advice. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

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