“We’ve Chosen Online Homeschooling! Now What?!”
Getting Started on Your New Journey
Congratulations! You’ve joined the ranks of many families who have chosen online homeschooling for their children’s education. Here are the steps to take to get you off on the right foot.
- Research Local Requirements – Find out what is required in your state. Your local school district can help by letting you know what testing (if any) is required for homeschool students, what record-keeping is necessary, and how/where to submit a Letter of Intent to Homeschool. A local homeschool co-op is also a good source of information and support.
- Gather Necessary Equipment – Decide what device your children will use for their online homeschooling. Will it be a desk top in the den? A lap top at the kitchen table? IPad? Tablet? Be sure the device you choose will be comfortable for the student and technologically adequate for the learning programs. If you have multiple learners, headphones will be in order as well as multiple devices.
- Choose Appropriate Curriculum – The possibilities seem endless! Global Student Network is an excellent source for online homeschool curriculum because there are many options available from one location. You can see a side by side comparison to determine which option is best for your learner. GSN offers courseware for grades K-12 including Christian, Common Core, Non Common Core, Honors, Career/Technical, middle and high school electives, ACT/SAT prep, and language study. If you need more help, GSN has live enrollment specialists who can help you.
- Determine Your Schedule – First, decide by which date on the calendar you would like your children to complete their courses. Most systems allow you to enter that date (usually called a targeted end date) and a learning schedule will be generated accordingly. Of course, you have the final say in when learning happens! YOU know what time of day is most effective for YOUR children and whether there are special circumstances (like travel, professional pursuits, etc.) that will require learning to happen more in spurts. You can also determine if students will tackle one or two courses at a time or work through all classes evenly. Students hoping to excel may work quicker through the courseware. That’s the beauty of online homeschooling – it’s NOT one size fits all!
- Get Acquainted with the Curriculum – Most online homeschool programs have an orientation video or presentation. Be sure you and your student are familiar with each feature. Do you know how to “unlock tests?” What if you need tech support? What types of activities comprise the final grade?
- Student Takes Initial Pre Test – Most learning systems begin with a pre test. Usually these are at the beginning of each unit. These clearly show what the student knows already and what they need to learn. The system will exempt them from lessons that teach skills or concepts students already know. However, you can have your child complete exempted items if you would like them to have the extra practice.
- Track Student Progress – Each learning program has a way for you to see exactly what the student has learned. You can see how they are progressing through the course and with what accuracy.
- Interact with Your Child – Besides overseeing their online progress, ask your child what he or she is learning. Discuss controversies in history. Encourage outside reading. Find fun ways to remember the multiplication tables. The more you connect with your child, the richer their online learning will be.
- Keep Proper Records – According to what is required in your state, be sure to complete necessary documentation. GSN can help with this too! We have record keeping assistance for homeschool families.
The first steps in any journey are often the hardest! But in no time you will well on your way to a successful online homeschooling adventure!