By Janis Adams
There are times when a traditional school is just not working for your child. It may be as simple as scheduling. Perhaps a child’s personal or professional interests may require a flexibility that schools are unable to accommodate. It may be that a child’s academics do not align with their grade level. The child may be highly gifted or in need of remediation, struggling with a curriculum that does not even closely match their academic level. It may also be emotional, for example, a child that is being bullied. There are many reasons that parents seek alternative options to a one-size-fits-all school.
When a traditional school fails to meet a child’s needs, many parents decide to homeschool. This option sounds fun and creative, anticipating days spent exploring, discussing, and bonding. However, despite these benefits, it can also be over-whelming and frustrating for both the child and the parent. Taking responsibility for a child’s education requires ample time and an unwavering commitment. It is a teaching job and not something to be treated lightly.
It’s never simple being both the teacher and the parent. Designing hands-on curriculum takes time, knowledge, effort, and a skillset that many parents have not trained for. Personal homeschooling also means following the state standards with assessments and evaluations to guarantee your child is at or above grade level.
Your child knows you as Mom or Dad. It can be quite difficult for them to allow you to put on the teacher-hat and accept critique and guidance as if you are not judging them personally. The older the child, the more difficult this gets.
The home environment can also work for or against you. While a child works well in a safe and nurturing environment, the home may also be too familiar, comfortable, and, most of all, distracting. Learning at home is in direct competition with video games, pets, even the refrigerator.
The ideal homeschool would provide a neutral, structured, yet creative and stimulating learning environment away from the child’s actual home. Individual learning rooms would provide a quiet space for maximized focus and concentration, and a highly qualified, versatile teacher would provide customized curriculum to match each child’s unique learning style. There may in fact be several teachers, each highly proficient in their subject, with the knowledge and skillset to infuse a child’s interests and learning style into a well-designed, engaging, standards based curriculum. It would be a place your child could have a flexible schedule, a customized curriculum, and a top notch educational experience.
Fortunately, there are several full and part-time homeschool academies in Los Angeles. In addition to the alternative schools, there are various homeschool groups and meetups, allowing for parents to piece together the ideal academic school year. Los Angeles has creative, versatile, and innovative ways to creatively build the whole child and a wise parent who choses to homeschool should explore them all.
Janis Adams is the CEO/Founder of Academic Achievers Educational Services and Academic Achievers Academy, a one-to-one K-8 private school in Santa Monica.