If you’re a New York City parent who is ready to take the homeschooling plunge and all the responsibilities that it entails, you’ll certainly have your work cut out for you. Fortunately, NYC has a plethora of resources at your disposal. With its abundance of cultural and educational institutions ripe for exploration ones which will certainly enrich your homeschooling agenda and assist you in crafting a suitable academic curriculum for your child.
Alexandra Mayzler, director of NYC’s Thinking Caps Tutoring (www.thinkingcapstutoring.com) and author of Tutor in a Book (Adams 2010) recommends that the family sits together and reviews the positives and negatives of various learning environments and carefully consider why homeschooling is an option for their family. Homeschooling is certainly a good choice for many families but one that requires intensive preparation and it is important that parents carefully take into account the amount of work that goes into homeschooling a child.
Mayzler offers parents interested in pursuing a homeschooling curriculum these valuable tips.
Finding Online Resources
Once parents have made the commitment to homeschool their children there are several resources they can tap into to help them along with the process. Parents can start with the following online resources:
- Homeschooling In New York
- New York City Home Educators Alliance
- New York Home Educators Network
- New York City Department of Education
Families can also review state standards to understand the requirements as well as to aid in creating a framework for home study. Of course the City of New York is an amazing and exciting resource in itself — with energy and commitment it is possible to use the City as a classroom.
Considering Fit Your Family
The most important thing that families should understand are the expectations of homeschools both legally and at home. A thorough understanding of standards in the city and state are important. Just as integral in considering homeschooling is a thorough exploration of the time and responsibility of providing an education. The biggest mistake is to embark on the journey without properly estimating the commitments it requires. Finally, a knowledge of a child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning tendencies is important in creating a well-rounded education that will encourage independent and critical thinking.
Finding Curriculum For Home Classrooms
Families can hire a for-profit company or piece together a course of study on their own. Keeping in mind a child’s strengths and weaknesses is an important key element in building a curriculum. Parents should refer to state standards and educational organizations with curricula as models to help flesh out their homeschooling framework. Most importantly, families can use the resources in New York such as museums and colleges to create activities and curricula. Many universities have summer programs that high school students can engage in for classroom learning. NYU, Columbia University, New School, and several CUNY offer classes that are open to high school students. For students of all ages New York City museums are the best way to learn hands on, ranging from general interest to specific topics. A great place to view a full list of city museums is http://www.ny.com/museums/all.museums.html. Libraries also are full of special programs that can be incorporated into home classroom activities. For a list of New York City libraries and programs parents can visit http://www.nypl.org/locations.
The more research that is done when deciding what type of educational environment is appropriate the better. In addition to exploring curricula and legal standards, is it certainly helpful to hear about first hand experiences.
Including Test Scores And Socialization
Socialization is certainly an important part of childhood and adolescence; gaining social skills are as important as learning math. Students who are homeschooled must have other outlets to acquire social knowledge. Families can consider homeschooling with other families or enroll kids in extracurricular activities that will encourage socialization. NYC is filled with opportunities from organized clubs, sports teams, and classes to independently organized programs such as volunteering or apprenticeships. As for test scores, colleges do look at test scores and a student’s ability to perform on tests is ultimately something that is tested. Parents should explore ways for homeschooling students to sit for state or country wide exams. Preparation for these exams will not only create a framework for study but will also prepare students for higher education where tests are often a standard.
Doing Your Homework
Homeschooling, much like selecting any educational path and environment, is a big and important decision with many positive and negative aspects. Understanding the expectations and considering the goals of education is absolutely vital. Parents must do the homework to make sure that their kids receive the instruction and experiences necessary. New York presents never-ending educational opportunities; the city itself is an exciting classroom and also provides endless resources. NYC families interested in homeschooling need to create standards that reflect the family goals, values, and expectations and work in an organized fashion from there.
Melissa Chapman writes about children and families in her blog Kids In The City.