Oct. 11, 2017

Parent Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Sage Oak Student Succeed

When we speak to the parents of our homeschool students, we find that each family has their own reasons for homeschooling. They’ve also developed their own first-hand experience and insights that has made the process a little simpler for them, and more beneficial to their students.

We talked to Alida, one of our Sage Oak parents, about her homeschool journey. With her children already in eighth grade and high school, she’s picked up a few things about homeschooling along the way. Here are three things she’s learned that might help you out as well.

You Can Do This; Just Take It One Year at a Time

When Alida first decided to homeschool her children, it was because she didn’t feel comfortable with the environment and overcrowding at the local schools. Being a preschool teacher, she figured she could homeschool her students for preschool and kindergarten and go from there. A couple years later, she opted to continue to homeschool because she didn’t want to be driving back and forth to an elementary school all day—since her children would be getting out of school at different times. She made her decision to homeschool roughly on a yearly basis, based on what was convenient and smart for her family.

Years later, with her son was in high school and her daughter in eighth grade, she’s continued to homeschool both of them.

“I was really just enjoying my time with them and getting a kick out of watching them learn,” Alida says. “I never started out to just homeschool forever.”

Alida now smiles when she meets parents who tell her they would never be able to homeschool, because she was once in their shoes.

She says, “People think it has to be this huge commitment, but it’s like, you can homeschool them for a year, and take it from there.”

Homeschooling Is Going to Look Different for Everyone

One of the biggest challenges with homeschooling, according to Alida, is worrying about whether you’re doing enough or covering everything your child needs to know.

She shares, “The first thing I always tell parents is if you’re planning on homeschooling, just know it doesn’t need to look like traditional school.”

Alida likes to remember that even in a traditional school system, students have difficulty understanding. There are gaps in their comprehension, so there’s no need to stress out. The support from Sage Oak has been instrumental in overcoming this challenge, but she also turns to homeschooling groups and the school’s vendors.

Homeschooling will look different for every family. Alida says she knows some parents who are very type-A and have to plan everything out, other parents are more laid-back with their teaching—both types of parents have children who are eloquent, intelligent, and creative.

“That’s the beauty of it,” Alida says. “You just have to find something that works for you and your kids, and that’s a process that’s not going to happen your first year.”

There’s No Wrong Way to Build Your Child’s Curriculum

Alida combines her philosophies with the interests of her students and the support of her Teacher Facilitators (and now Education Advisors) to create a curriculum that works best for her children and meets state standards. When she first started homeschooling, Alida learned about Waldorf education and liked the direction it took her family in. Now that her children are older, she sticks loosely with that philosophy and prioritized a well-rounded education.

For instance, when she was in high school, Alida had a very traditional European-American perspective of history. As a homeschool parent, she chose a history curriculum for her son that allows her to decide what books her son studies, so not only is he learning about the heroes of the revolution, but also about the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, and other “darker,” often-overlooked pieces of history as well.

And as her children got older, she has given them more control over their education. When her son was in eighth grade she let him choose a high school class to take so he could become familiar with the workload; she’s done the same thing with her daughter now that her daughter is in eighth grade. Even though they are following A-G requirements to meet state standards, Alida realizes there are several ways to do so, and she says Sage Oak is very supportive of that.

With the flexibility of the program, Alida’s kids are able to explore their interests. Her son took a cyber security class over summer and has even started a Cyber Patriot group with other Sage Oak students.

“It’s kind of fun to see him taking things in that direction,” she says. “It really is about where their interests lie and what they want to do.”

To learn more about helping your child succeed with Sage Oak, click here.