Along the Way….
What I’ve Learned on my Homeschooling Journey
By: Teresa Burnett
1. Start your day with some quiet time, even if it’s just a few minutes, with prayer and reflection.
2. Keep an open mind about how you expect your day to go. Be flexible. Be willing to change your plans and go with the flow which may mean abandoning what you have planned for the day to chase a learning opportunity or just simply to adjust a situation because of stress. Feeling stressed? Stop what you’re doing and take a break, go on a nature walk, turn on music, or put on an educational video to help you and your child/children get back on track.
3. Lesson plans are great and help keep you on track but don’t get too tied to them; you may miss out on some great learning opportunities if you’re not willing to take advantage of unexpected learning opportunities. It’s helpful to have several educational videos, games, color pages, toys, computer games such as typing, foreign language, etc. on hand as a back-up plan or time filler.
4. Don’t try to recreate a “public school” classroom. Keep your learning environment causal and comfortable. There may be some days your child/children will whiz through math or some other subject and other days extra time is necessary.
5. Having a bad, unproductive school day? Remember, as a general rule your worst day of homeschooling is still better than a good day in public school. You will easily spend more one-on-one time teaching and tutoring in a day then what your child would get in public school in a week.
6. About grading... it’s not necessary to keep grades (particularly for younger children) but instead focus on achieving skills and making sure a concept has been adequately learned before moving on. This is particularly important in math and writing. To meet the home school requirements for high school, students will need to follow the states’ high school requirements which can be found online.
7. How do you deal with younger siblings? Time subjects (like math) that need mom’s time for teaching and tutoring when little ones are taking a nap or planning a read-aloud when little ones are snuggled in your lap for a nap is a great way multi-task your quality time! It’s handy to have toys out for little ones to play with that they don’t have access to at other times.
8. Remember, home schooling doesn’t just happen at home and it’s not found just in a book. Take advantage of museums, science centers, the zoo, nature centers, your backyard, etc. to enhance your children’s learning experience.
9. Take some time when you first start homeschooling to learn a little about your child’s learning style. Buying or borrowing a book/s on learning styles to help get you “tuned in” to different ways learning takes place can be helpful. Remember, just because you like to learn something a certain way doesn’t mean your child will “get it” the same way. Take notice of your child’s interest and use that as a teaching tool. Interests change which will always give you new things to explore with your child. Also, keep in mind seasons and timing for teaching about certain things, particularly in science; for example, Spring is a great time for nature studies.
10. Last but not least, keep God a central part of homeschooling and curriculum choices.
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. Proverbs 18:15