A new movement is brewing in the African-American community and it is inciting scores of families across the country to make the transition to home education or consider it as the first educational option for their pre-kindergarten children. Citing cultural, educational, religious as well as social reasons, thousands of African-American parents are fast becoming their children’s primary teacher.
Quite to the surprise of many African-American families across the country, homeschooling is not and really has never been an option exclusively intended for middle class, White families. In fact, home education has and is being embraced by scores of different races as well as by families who represent varying socioeconomic classes. Given that, what are the ways that Black families can learn more about home education and how can they start the process?
Here are five steps to becoming a home school parent.
Read! Read! Read!
Becoming a homeschooling parent demands more than simply having an intense desire to be a part of a growing movement and educational trend. Rather, deciding to homeschool requires educating yourself about the possible challenges and triumphs of such an educational endeavor where you will be solely responsible for your child’s education. It is imperative, therefore, for any parent contemplating home education to read as much as possible about homeschooling before making any final decisions.
The Internet houses the most and the best homeschooling information and proves to be a great starting place for gathering general information. Peruse homeschool websites and message boards and glean some initial ideas about what homeschooling entails. Message boards are especially helpful because you are able to learn about home schooling right from the mouths of both veteran and novice home school families alike. Type in “homeschooling” in any search engine and you will find literally thousands of online resources to browse. For a more in-depth analysis of home education, there are tons of homeschool “how-to” books on the market as well as a variety of home school magazines that concentrate on current issues and trends in the national homeschooling community.
Also, make sure to read and find out about your state’s homeschool laws. Although homeschooling is legal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, homeschool laws do vary, so it is your job to find out what your state’s laws require and be prepared to comply fully with them.
Discuss With Your Spouse and Children
In addition to discussing and coming to an agreed-upon decision to homeschool with your spouse, mate, significant other or by yourself, you should also discuss your plans with your children. If you are a single parent, discuss your decision to homeschool with family or with those who are close to you. Single parent homeschooling requires having a solid network of friends and family to help you in your choice to homeschool. So make sure that everyone has the same goals in mind for the optimal education of your children.
If your children are making the transition to home education from either a public, private or charter school, it is important to discuss your ideas about homeschooling with them, particularly if they are of the age when peer relationships and friendships have already been established and are highly valued. Although the final decision ultimately rests upon you, the parent, it is still necessary to discuss when, why and how the transition to homeschooling will occur. It is also imperative that you assure your child that they will still be able to form special friendships with other homeschooled children and that they can keep the old friendships that they have already forged. It is then your responsibility as a parent to get your child involved with other homeschooled families in order to keep your child’s interest in homeschooling and not back at school where their friends are.
Explore Teaching and Learning Alternatives
As homeschoolers, there are a variety of places in your local area where you may take your children for field trips and educational activities. Search these local places out and plan to take trips to these sites, whether they are museums, historic homesteads, the zoo or cultural centers. As a part of the decision process, therefore, jot down possible field trip ideas and intend upon taking your homeschooled children on frequent educational explorations and field trips. Field trips, as supplementary learning tools, go a long way in teaching your children in-depth about various subjects and lessons.
Get Involved with Other Homeschoolers
As mentioned before, it is crucial that homeschooled children are exposed to other homeschooled students, especially if they are homeschooling for the first year. Therefore, it is important that as a parent, you attend regular homeschool support group meetings where you can connect with other local homeschool families, socialize, network and exchange teaching ideas and advice. If there is not a local support group that meets your needs, find one that does or start your own. Being involved with other families is fundamental to the healthy development of homeschooled children.
Teach – If you Know the Topic, Teach It
Finally, after the decision to homeschool has been established, it is now time to teach. Set your mind on doing the best job that you can to provide the best education possible for your children. Research homeschool teaching philosophies and curricula that not only fit your teaching style, but your child’s learning style as well. Be certain to incorporate multicultural education in your curriculum, if you so choose and strive toward educational excellence.
Following these steps will ensure that you are prepared to become a teacher to your children. Homeschooling requires constant attention to detail, an open mind as well as creativity. African-American families are benefiting across the country from homeschooling and any decision you make toward home education will prove to be beneficial as well if it’s genuinely the route you wish to pursue.