YOU HAVE OPTIONS

by Susan Feher

Until recently, it was a fairly straight forward choice when deciding how and where you wanted your children educated. Sadly, life is a lot more complicated these days, but with change comes opportunity. Today, distance learning and co-op schooling have been added to the mix. No matter which way you look at it, the biggest change is that you are expected to be more involved in your child’s education on a daily level. It’s a bit too early to work out how to navigate distance learning and co-op schooling; however homeschooling has been around since the pioneer days, so we asked an experienced homeschooling mom to give us some tips.

Education is a lifelong journey and our goal is to nurture a love for learning.

For the busy parents, here are the highlights anyone considering homeschool should know:

  1. Socialization is the least of your worries. The homeschooling online network is extensive and your child will have a diverse group of friends; local and globally.
  2. Technology, and in particular Google, will provide you with unlimited tools and information helping you to give your child a great education without spending a fortune or having a degree.
  3. Nevada law allows you the freedom to choose what and how your child learns, without any testing requirements.
  4. You can do this! No one cares more about your child’s future than you and homeschooling is one of the options that gives you the opportunity to be involved on a daily basis.
  5. Las Vegas is a homeschooling oasis! Your biggest “problem” will be choosing what not to do with your child.
  6. If teaching your child is a struggle at first, take a break. This is new for you and your child. Up until now, your relationship was pretty much maternal, now you have added a new mode combining teacher, guide, coach, adventure partner and worldly traveler. Relating to each other in this situation will take time, and believe me, it is worth every hurdle.
  7. Your child is no longer in a classroom with protocols that govern asking questions and interacting with their teacher and fellow classmates, so it may take them a while to start asking questions, but they will, just be patient.
  8. If you are concerned about college admissions, don’t be. Many homeschoolers begin earning college credits while still in high school, and so far, I haven’t heard of any student being rejected.
  9. In my opinion, RISE Resource Center is one of the best local resources for homeschoolers. riseresourcecenter.org

For those with a bit more time, let me share my homeschooling journey with you. I am the mother of a 10-year-old girl and six years ago, my husband and I both worked full-time. I managed a country club in California and we only spent one full day a week together as a family. The money was good, but we weren’t happy. As soon as we could make it work financially, I retired and we moved to Henderson. We fell into homeschooling because our daughter would be held back a year due to an overseas trip during kindergarten. Five years later, we are still enjoying the freedoms that homeschooling provides us.

This school year has been a major upheaval for most. Thankfully, the impact within our home was merely a disappointment. Until March, we were rarely at home (“homeschool” is a misnomer), and the loss of access to libraries, museums, recreational centers and rules against gathering in groups took some of the joy out of our educational experience. Our first priority as homeschooling parents is to get the kids back together responsibly, outside, as soon as possible.

If you choose online distance learning, find a way to spend time outside, engage in physical activity, or have your kids invent their own games. I also recommend allowing your child to *gasp* be bored. Lookup “the science of boredom.” Boredom is a good thing you can frame positively, by creating an inspiration jar of suggestions for things to do offline. Your child will learn how to entertain themselves without a screen; their developing brains need this.

We have not recreated school at home and my daughter can complete her schoolwork anywhere, anytime, any day. It may look like a hot mess to some, but my daughter is always learning, our life is flexible and we are abundantly happy. There has never been a better time to tryout homeschooling, but if it is not a viable option, look into micro-schooling or take on the challenge of distance learning with both hands. We don’t know how the future is going to play out, but we do know that education will always take center field.

Susan Feher is a world schooler and has an MS in Health Psychology.

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