How to Come Back to Homeschooling After Quitting
Suppose you were once a homeschooler who gave homeschooling a try and for whatever reason decided it wasn’t for you. Maybe your schedule was too hectic; maybe your children needed a more collective educational environment; maybe you just got burned out & needed a break. Suppose you took your children and put them in a Catholic school, or an online charter school, or a public school. But now suppose you’ve changed your mind. Suppose you are ready to give homeschooling another go.
How do you move forward? How do you get back into the groove? Ultimately, this will depend on the reasons you put aside homeschooling in the first place and why you are coming back to it. So, “getting back in the groove” is a very individual thing. Even so, I think we can offer some general advice and tips to make the transition easier for everyone!
1. Get Your Transcripts!
Before you do anything else, make sure you get a copy of your student’s transcripts from whatever institution they have been attending. You will need these to keep a record of what your child accomplished while he was away from homeschooling. If you don’t obtain them right away it may get neglected and then you’ll find yourself scrambling to get them three years later with a college admissions deadline hanging over your head.
2. Bury Your Pride
The first stumbling block to coming back to homeschooling may be your own pride. When you chose to pull your child from homeschooling and try something else, you did it because at the time it looked to be the best option for your family. Changing course now may bring a sense of failure; you may wonder “If I keep changing course like this, can I really be trusted to make decisions about my child’s education?” You may feel embarrassed that your previous plans did not work out. If so, bury your pride and let it go! Just because you’re changing your mind doesn’t mean you messed up. Circumstances change, people grow, and what made sense in past may not make sense now. Or, even if you did mess up, so what? An error is a learning experience. Now you know better what not to do; your path is surer. So if you are coming back to homeschooling, come back to it boldly!
3. Refresh Your Scope and Sequence
If you’re returning to homeschooling you’re going to need to refresh yourself on laying out a scope and sequence for your children. A scope is the depth and breadth of content to be taught. A sequence is the order in which the content is to be taught. In other words, a scope and sequence is a plan of what and when to teach specific subjects and courses. When your child was being educated elsewhere, you didn’t have to worry about this; they were most likely plugged into a preexisting plan of study used by the institution. But now you will want to take this planning upon yourself. If you need a refresher on scope and sequence, here are samples plus a comprehensive form to easily guide you through the process: Catholic Homeschool Scope & Sequence How To.
4. Write Out Why You Quit Homeschooling
This is a step to help you clear your head and get your priorities straight. Writing out the reasons why you previousely left homeschooling will help you understand how to avoid similar problems in the future. Dig down and get to the root of things. For example, if the reason was burnout, what specifically caused the burnout? Was it a chaotic schedule? The demands of a young child? Once you’ve identified these issues, think about how they can be avoided this time around and put a plan in place. How do you need to change your routine to set yourself up better this time around? Discuss this with your family to get everyone on board with your new routine.
5. Next Write Out Why the Site-Based or Cyber School Didn’t’ Work
Now remind yourself of why you are pulling your child from his or her current institution to return them to homeschooling. This, too, will help you to crystallize your vision for your homeschool. For example, if your child complained that their site-based school covered math much too quickly, you will know that you need to take slower, deeper approach to the subject. If your students struggled with an early schedule, you can allow them to sleep later in the morning when you revert back to homeschooling. Like everything, take a trial & error approach. Make note of what didn’t work and adjust your course accordingly.
6. Reconnect with the Local Homeschooling Community
Local support is an important part of homeschool success. You may have to go back to Step 2 and swallow a little pride but my guess is that your homeschooling friends will be happy to see you back in the group. Find out what local activities are available to you and your children. Don’t hesitate to open up your home or organize a park day to connect with your local community. (If you need help finding local Catholic homeschool families, you can search here: Catholic Homeschool Community.)
7. Tie Up Loose Ends
Finally, make sure you tie up any loose ends leaving the other institution. Some schools require parents to submit a statement in writing; many public schools ask not only for a written statement, but also an explanation of what your alternate schooling plan is for the child. This procedure can vary from state to state. If you are leaving a public school, we recommend consulting the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s resources for information on the proper guidelines for your state. Pulling a child from a public school without going through the proper channels can cause a lot of headaches, such as truancy investigations or—in a worst case scenario—charges of neglect. So please do your homework! Contact HSLDA for more suggestions.
Returning to homeschooling after an intermission can be intimidating, but it is also exciting. Since you’ve already got some experience, you are in a much better position to avoid some of the pitfalls newer homeschoolers fall into. So go forward with your head high, O’ homeschooling mom!