Deciding on how to educate your child is one of the biggest, most important choices you’ll ever have to make as a parent. Do you opt for the “traditional” classroom experience that public schools offer? Should you go the private school route? Perhaps a charter school? Or how about homeschooling?
If you’re reading this, you’re obviously considering homeschooling. In this blog series (check out part 1, part 3, and part 4), we’ll take a look at the world of homeschooling, from the decision-making process to enrollment. If you’ve decided that homeschooling is the best option for your child–great decision! But there’s a lot to consider when deciding which homeschool to choose. So, today we’ll discuss what you should look for in a homeschool program.
Everyone is different, and kids are no exception. They have different personalities, capabilities, strengths, and styles. The way one child prefers to learn probably differs from other children. That’s why identifying each student’s learning style is so important. Some of the main hurdles that kids who are struggling academically face are fear of failure, lack of interest in what is being taught and how it’s being taught, and frustration with comprehension. Homeschooling can eliminate all of those fears. How? With personalized learning.
- Knowing HOW your child learns best allows you to tailor a homeschool education to his or her learning style to ensure full comprehension.
- Understanding WHAT your child wants to learn sparks interest in learning, which creates a love and excitement for learning. Of course there are some subjects that all kids have to learn, but further exploring the subjects that truly interest your child makes a world of difference when it comes to wanting to learn.
- Knowing HOW your child learns and understanding WHAT your child wants to learn creates not only a love of learning, but confidence. With this type of learning system in place, kids start seeing measurable results, which gives them the confidence to keep going.
At Bridgeway Academy, we understand the importance of personalized and individual learning styles better than anyone. We offer prospective students a Learning Style Assessment and, based on the results, we create a personalized curriculum that will allow your children to learn, focus, and grow confidence at their own pace, in their preferred style, and to the best of their abilities.
If you’re unfamiliar with accreditation, here’s why it’s so important: accreditation ensures that your student is getting the proper credit they deserve for all of the hard work that they put in during the school year. Accreditation means that schools take their academics seriously and strive to be the best. Bridgeway Academy, for example, has accreditation through AdvancED, NCA CASI, NWAC, SACS CASI, and The National Association of Private Schools, and all of these accreditation boards annually review and evaluate Bridgeway against their high standards of education. We work diligently every year to review our homeschooling standards and systems to ensure that they exceed these expectations, because your child deserves the best homeschool education possible.
Additionally, accreditation means that your child’s education is recognized by colleges and universities across the globe, and also opens the doors to possible scholarships.
Flexibility and Choices
Every family is different, but one common denominator among why families choose homeschooling is the flexibility and choices that it offers. One thing to note: not all homeschool programs provide the same level of flexibility. Some may require that students learn during certain parts of the year and for a certain number of hours per day. Others dictate what curriculum is to be used. Some are strictly Bible-based, while others are only secular. Bridgeway Academy, however, takes a different approach. We know each family is unique, so we encourage flexibility and choice in a number of ways.
- We empower families to determine the months and days that your child receives instruction. The homeschool year doesn’t have to run from August through May or June. It can be during the time of year that works best for your schedule.
- We give you the freedom to choose which subjects you focus on each day and for how long you focus on them. If a student is struggling with a particular subject or topic, it’s okay to stick with it for a while until he or she gets it. That’s a freedom you can’t find in a public school, where it’s on to the next thing regardless of who understands what’s being taught. The idea is for the child to LEARN, not struggle.
- We partner with more than 50 curriculum publishers so your family has plenty of options from which to choose, including electives. This allows you and your students to select the courses that are most appealing, important, and relevant to their education or career path.
- We offer both Bible-based and secular homeschooling programs, so you can decide which works best for your family. You can even combine elements of both into your child’s education.
Specialized Academic Tracks
Think of this in terms of choosing a major…but before college! Some kids know from an early age what they want to be when they grow up. Having a homeschool that utilizes specialized academic tracks can help get kids on the right path as far as their education as well as their careers and goals. Look for a homeschool that offers technical and/or vocational courses, college prep classes, honors and advanced placement (AP) courses, and dual-enrollment courses, which actually count as college credits. Find courses related to your child’s career interests…getting this kind of education before college puts homeschoolers a step ahead once they graduate from high school.
Variety matters when it comes to homeschooling. Too much of the same routine gets stale very quickly, and that can lead to kids completely tuning things out. This is one of the big reasons why many students grow bored with traditional school–same thing, day in and day out. Keeping kids’ attention in school is critical, and that’s why you want to find a homeschool program that offers a healthy variety of learning formats that keep school fresh. Bridgeway gives you the option of textbook learning, self-paced online courses, Live Online Classes where kids are in a virtual classroom with other students and a professional teacher, and even the opportunity for kids to go on virtual field trips! Variety is part of the benefit of customization, and we offer plenty of variety.
Assistance and Support
Navigating the sometimes-confusing waters of homeschooling can be a challenge, especially for families new to home learning. There’s paperwork to file, state laws to consider, records to keep, grades to track…it can be daunting. That’s why you want a homeschool that offers support and help whenever you need it. That’s available to you with Bridgeway. Not only do we offer add-on services to handle records, report cards, transcripts, standardized testing, and the paperwork your state requires, we also provide each family with an academic advisor. Our advisors are former teachers and homeschoolers who understand the demands and requirements and are with you every step of the way to answer questions, make recommendations, and offer helpful advice. With Bridgeway, you’re never in this alone.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to consider when deciding on a homeschool program. Our next blog will focus on what types of homeschooling are out there, and which might be best for your family. Stay tuned!