Do I Need a Homeschool Consultant?


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Demand for Homeschool Coaches Sign of the Times

by Krista Thomas

When homeschool mom Lindsay Whitlock wanted sound advice for how to better plan for her 16-year-old sophomore son’s educational future, she turned to a homeschool coach. That kind of navigation will ultimately “fill in the gaps,” the Gettysburg mother said.
“Homeschool coaching proved beneficial because I was throwing a bunch of ideas out to specifically plan for college success, but I needed to balance out that information realistically with someone who has been through it as well.”
Like so many homeschool parents across the country, Whitlock appreciates the support of one-on-one, back-and-forth communication from a seasoned homeschool parent. Based on her specific needs, that is, to better understand the dual credit opportunities available, Whitlock walked away with a new set of goals and a more secure feeling of the future for her children.
And that’s just what homeschool coaches aim to do. On the other end of that communication is a new phenomenon breaking out in homeschool communities. Seasoned homeschool parents are branching out into new territory: coaching today’s homeschool parent. Today’s alternatives may not mesh with the current institutional educational model, which is why parents are seeking time-tested advice to fit their educational ideals and family values.
Though homeschooling has existed for centuries, today’s advantages are a far cry from the isolated homeschooling educational model of 15, 20, or 30 years ago. Greater opportunities exist for and within socialization, educational technologies, social media platforms, and on-demand curricula. All have heavily influenced the rapid growth of homeschooling and the overall homeschooling lifestyle just in the last decade.
“They mostly ask the question: ‘Am I doing enough?’ They are always concerned that there isn’t enough work,” said Mary Ellen Barrett, seasoned homeschool coach, mom blogger of Tales from the Bonny Blue House, and editor of Seton Home Study School’s Seton Magazine.
The mother of seven finds time to counsel homeschool parents who simply need a fresh look from a veteran homeschool parent to to give them perspective and help them through stumbling blocks.
“Organization is key. No one seems to be able to spend an hour every week planning, but just think about how many hours a week are spent on social media,” said Barrett.
“Homeschool success depends largely on staying home most days because oftentimes there is too much socialization”, Barrett said. Running a household and homeschooling may take a bit of organizing but the positive effects outweigh the hour or so spent “planning a menu plan, involving children in tidying up the home, and having a week’s worth of lessons written out before the week starts.”
Seeking the guidance from an experienced home educator-turned coach could be the difference for parents thinking of giving up, or fearing to start. Parents are overwhelmed with concerns over a variety of issues including state requirements, high school transcripts, college admissions criteria, and educational goals, yet they find encouragement with those coaches who have long-term homeschool experience.
“Often, parents are doing way more than they need to do,” veteran home educator, homeschool business owner, and coach Paola Ciskanik said.
With 25 years of homeschooling experience, Ciskanik maintains that today’s parents are serious about getting to the ‘why’ of homeschooling and tailoring a curriculum to each child.
“New homeschool parents feel a great sense of responsibility of raising and educating their children in their best interests. Mentoring with older homeschool parents can offer real perspective.”
With many new homeschool families coming from a brick-and-mortar school mindset, Ciskanik finds that a tailored, personalized approach of trust and love quells parents’ fears about jumping into the homeschool lifestyle. Her successful business can be attributed, in part, to her unique perspective because of her many years as owner of Emmanuel Books where she has seen, up close, the variety of educational approaches and the diversity of family situations.
Ultimately, many parents turn to homeschooling as they lack confidence in the current school model, reports Pacific Standard. They then turn to coaches for advice and encouragement.

Like tutors for students, homeschool coaches are a sign of times that parents need support too.

Krista Thomas

Krista Thomas is a veteran homeschool mother and director of IHM Conferences. Her passion for sharing what works and doesn’t work for successful homeschooling and parenting approaches flow through her articles and talks given at various conferences around the country. In addition, she consults for small businesses in their marketing communications strategies for print, video, web, and social media. To contact Krista, email her at [email protected].




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