These are tricky times, with even trickier decisions about school for many parents. Some families may choose to homeschool their children this year or for part of the year. Homeschooling means that they will withdraw their child from school and a parent or caregiver will teach at home. Grownups will have a million questions.
Thankfully, there are some good resources readily accessible. The Illinois State Board of Education has a homeschool page with helpful logistical information. The Home School Legal Defense Association wrote an article with 7 Simple Steps to Start Homeschooling and also created a page dedicated to the different curricula available . Additionally, the Common Core State Standards are all available online to help families get a sense of the appropriate curriculum for each child’s grade.
I have been GEPL’s Homeschool Librarian for a long time now, and whenever I meet a new or potential homeschool family, they say very similar things. “This is so overwhelming,” “I have no idea where to begin,” or “I’m not sure I can do this.” But each family figures it out in their own unique way. That is the great thing about homeschooling – it’s tailored to your family’s individual needs. Early risers? Great, get math out of the way early in the day. Sleep-in kids? Take it easy in the morning and start later in the day. Both the schedule and method are for grownups to decide. I have seen several families enjoy an open, self-guided work period in the morning. Many start with breakfast, followed by chores, and then reading and math work. Often, their afternoons are more flexible, which typically include meet-ups with other families, but this year, everything is different. You may be able to find a Facebook group for local homeschool families or another online community to connect with. The best strategy would be to ask around in your own Facebook or Nextdoor online community.
In Illinois, you won’t be required to submit any assignments or tests to the state, so you can start the year by taking time to find a curriculum, schedule, and method that will work for your family. Remember that many families may also be starting and struggling with homeschooling, so you are definitely not alone. Reach out to us at the library with questions about educational resources – we just added two new ones to our online collection, Brainfuse’s HelpNow and TumbleMath. Good luck, and hang in there!