Sharing Homeschooling Tips
Tips for Homeschooling Your Child
Without an education degree or any experience teaching, the thought of being solely responsible for your child’s education may seem daunting. After all, you likely haven’t been in school yourself for several years; I personally can’t even remember the last time I sat inside a geometry class. However, there are a multitude of tips and tricks that any homeschool parent can take advantage of in order to maximize their child’s at-home learning. And with more and more parents moving to homeschooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, this information is vital for everyone to know. Read on to learn some tips for homeschooling your child.
Have a Space Specifically Designated for Learning
One of the most effective first steps in beginning to homeschool your child is designating a specific space for learning. This could be an entire room, such as an office, or it could simply be a desk in the corner of the kitchen. Whatever the case may be, make sure it is a space separate from already designated spaces. For example, they should not be doing work in their bed or at the kitchen table. These are spaces that the brain already associates with other activities; this means that, if you’re doing your work in bed, you’re more likely to become sleepy and unfocused. Set aside a specific space for learning so that their brain and body come to associate that space with learning.
Break the Day into Small Chunks
When learning at home, the school day doesn’t have to last a full 7 hours - and the younger your students are, the shorter the instructional day should be. You will also want to incorporate frequent breaks between lessons, or your kids may find themselves burnt out. One of the best ways is to split your learning sessions into shorter, more frequent chunks with small breaks in between. You may choose to have 30-minute lessons or activities with 10-minute breaks in between. Just remember, it’s okay if you’re not in “school mode” for 7 full hours a day; your child will not be missing out.
Follow a schedule and be flexible
It’s no secret that children thrive on routine. Having a daily routine with defined expectations and, if possible, a visibly posted schedule, can make a huge impact on your child’s level of focus. Not knowing what will happen next can sometimes cause anxiety, leading to restlessness and lack of focus. Subsequently, they retain less information. You can always adapt your schedule based on trial and error and the vibes of the day, and you don’t have to follow it strictly to the minute (unless you know that that is what works best for your child). What’s most important is that your child can see a basic layout for how the day will most likely go, so they don’t feel left up in the air and will expect (and possibly even prompt) transitions. It’s also okay to be in “school mode” for more than 7 hours a day if your child is really engaged with something. Go with the flow, and adjust based on how your kid is feeling. Stick to a schedule as much as possible, but understand that adjustments must be made at times. The best part about homeschooling is that you can be flexible when life gets in the way, because you ARE the teacher, the administration, and the school system all rolled into one!
Set learning goals and involve them in thier own learning
Students who are in public school settings are taught lessons in order to meet research-based goals and standards, usually determined by your state. You need to be teaching to these standards as well if you want your child to be academically at the same level as other students his or her age. However, as their teacher, you have the added benefit of adding other goals based on your lifestyle and your child’s interests, as well as determining for yourself how those goals should be reached. Without a goal in mind, you won’t have any idea where you want to go, and you won’t be able to determine the necessary steps to get there; this is why this step is essential. Nothing invokes internal motivation in students quite like involving them in their own learning. As you work to set goals for them, ask them what they think they want to focus on or improve in in the coming weeks. What are they interested in learning? They may actually surprise you! Allow them to assist you in setting their own goals, as well as determining the steps they think they’ll need to take to get there. Not only will this help increase their internal motivation, but it’s a valuable life skill for everyone to learn.
Look for creative ways to apply learning
Don’t be afraid to take learning outside the “classroom” in creative ways. Take your science lesson to the local science center, or your history lesson to the local museum. Let kids see lessons in real-life settings, hands-on and up-close. Finally, view everything as a learning opportunity, and teach your kids to do the same. Consider a Co-Op. Homeschool co-ops allow for socialization, swapping tips and homeschooling ideas with other parents, and offering to share and take advantage of each other’s unique skills and concepts. It doesn’t have to be a big, formal thing, either; sometimes even just pairing up with another homeschooling family can pay off. Maybe you’re bad at one subject and good at another, and a parent from another family complements you in that area. You can agree to teach all the kids the subject you’re good at, while she can teach all the kids the subject she’s good at. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. .
In the end, only you know what’s best for your child. These are simply tips that have made learning easier for other parents in the past. If something doesn’t work, feel free to adjust it as necessary. Remember, the primary goal is your child’s learning and growth; don’t get too hung up on all the other details.
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