Tips for Successful Homeschooling
Where to start?
The decision has been made to home school your child. Here are some suggestions and pointers on what to do and what to avoid when starting this new venture.
Believe in yourself and your abilities. You can do this. You don’t have to be superwoman. Don’t listen to well-meaning friends and relatives who try to talk you out of your decision. This choice is one to be decided by you and if applicable, your spouse. Remember that you understand your child’s needs better than anyone else. You appreciate their strengths and recognize their weaknesses. You are familiar with their likes and dislikes, their characteristics and traits.
Meet with Parents that Home school
Meet with other parents that home school. Most will be more than willing to offer ideas for you to explore. They have a wealth of expertise. Remember that, at one time, they were new to this experience. Don’t limit yourself to meeting with only one homeschooling family. Get in touch with as many as possible. Each family will offer their unique perspective of homeschooling.
Discover What Your Community has to Offer
Discover valuable resources in your community. Determine if there is a home school group or co-op. Contact them. Ask questions regarding curriculum choices and homeschooling styles. Join and subscribe to their email list. Some of the benefits of joining could include invitations to field trips, holiday parties and other social get-togethers for your child. There may be a home school library from which you can browse and check out curriculum and other materials as well as a buy and sell group for homeschool materials and supplies.
Use your communities’ assets, such as the local library. Books can be put on hold for future studies. Find out what nearby museums have to offer. They have excellent programs that you may be unaware of. Enroll your child in local activities and groups, such as skating lessons, music classes, and drama and art courses.
Where to Look
Search the internet. There are an infinite number of websites offering free lesson plans in any number of subjects and grade levels. Many sites offer interactive lessons and some enable you to download and print out these lessons. Keep a copy of the regional schools’ core values and expectations for the grade level your child is currently in. Have this easily accessible for planning and evaluating your child’s progress.
Learn to be flexible. If one method of teaching doesn’t work for you, try another. Set mini-goals for your child and yourself. Integrate fun into the home school experience. Positive attitudes go a long way in encouraging your child.
Keep an eye out for sales on classroom material. Browse second hand and consignment stores for books, craft supplies and other useful resources. Bulletin boards and white boards are helpful. Set a cheerful and colorful atmosphere for learning.
A Final Word
Get out of the house with your child. All teaching doesn’t have to be done at home. Go for a walk, swim or bike ride together. Learning happens all around us. Take advantage of opportunities to instruct and coach. Learn to listen and be willing to learn. No one has all the answers. Benefit from the talents and experience of others.
Don’t expect perfection on your part or your child’s. Expect it to take time for each of you to adjust to this new situation. There will be successes and failures. Celebrate the victories and learn from the let-downs. Create a schedule that works for you. Most importantly, relax and enjoy this time with your child.