Make Homeschool Students Anticipate Their Lessons

Wouldn’t it be nice if your homeschool students were excited about what they are going to learn next? By building up anticipation in your children you can actually help them boost their learning. Here are some tricks you can use.

Build Up Suspense

When you know what you will be teaching next week, give your homeschool students little hints and clues to guess what they will be taught. Tell them the more appealing aspects of what you will be doing in the classroom. Let them anticipate the fun they will have. It is a mental game of seek which will have them guessing what part of the syllabus they are going to cover next.

Let Them Feel Accomplished 

Make a big goal and tag it on to the noticeboard on the wall. If they need to study 10 chapters make ten tiny sections below the written goal. Now each time they finish a chapter they get to color in one section. That way there is a visual representation of the syllabus that they have completed. As they see their progress every day they will stay motivated to keep learning.

Give Them Pleasant Surprises

A pop quiz does not have to be an event to dread. Instead of making the homeschool students fear it, have them anticipate it. This can be done by creating inbuilt rewards for them. Each question correctly answered can win them treats that they look forward to. Each pop quiz will then be eagerly anticipated as a good way to earn treats. The treats don’t have to be edible or even things you need to buy. Stuff like getting out of chores will also work.

Allow Video Games and Smartphones for an Hour Everyday in Class

They way we learn is changing as the technology we use changes. Pick a video game in which the decisions of the player are based on informed choices. This will help them learn more as they go into higher levels. Let them also get some time with the smartphone to fill in answers to questions that may have arisen during the actually learning process. Both events will be anticipated eagerly.

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Online Resources that Make Homeschooling Simpler

There is no denying the fact that a homeschool teacher needs all the help she can get. Books are a great place to start, but ever so often they are limited in their scope and going online to get reinforcements is a common practice for homeschool teachers. Here are some resources that can truly make the experience of homeschooling so much simpler.

Wikipedia

This online encyclopedia is a phenomenal resource. Free to use, it has material on any number of subjects and topics. It continuously grows thanks to the ability of everyone to contribute to it. The data may needs some double checking at times, but on the whole it is a credible resource for the use of homeschool students.

About (dotcom)

This data mining site is written by experts in different fields. If you are looking for a very specific answer to something, chances are you will find it here. From advice to parents, to information for students, there’s something for everyone in the homeschool classroom at this website.

Homeschool (dotcom)

A comprehensive list of everything needed for homeschooling, plus links to a great many paid as well as free resources can be found on this website. It doesn’t matter if you are new to the experience or that there are many years of homeschooling under your belt. This site will always have something to offer you.

Coursera (dotorg)

There may be nothing more exciting than the fact that your homeschool student may be taught a certain course by an expert professor from an Ivy League college. Sitting at home and for free. This MOOC site is a popular place to get quality education for free for not just the homeschool students but also the parent.

Freecycle (dotcom)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This site allows you to give away stuff that is lying around to someone who may find it useful. It also allows the homeschool parent to eliminate waste and get resources that they may need for free. Next time you need something check out the website before you head for the market to buy it. Same goes for something that you may be looking to throw away.

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Biology Basics in the Homeschool Classroom

Showing your little homeschool students how Biology is a living and breathing science is an activity that a homeschool parent can really involve them in. Here are three simple biology based science activities that can be fun to do in the homeschool classroom. They all take time so plan ahead for the activities.

Sprouts and Salads

A number of seeds can be sprouted very easily at home. Pulses, beans and the like also make very good additions to a nutritious salad. So get the sprouts done by the children, then give them a quick homemade salad recipe. Now you can literally eat your biology experiment for snack time. It’s a good way to get them to eat plant based proteins instead of animal based proteins. Teach them about roughage and how it helps digestion as well.

Planting Herbs

This is a good idea if you want to show homeschoolers how the food we grow comes to the table. It only needs a few planters which can be sown with seeds soaked overnight. Regular watering and placing the planters in a spot where some sunlight reaches them is a must. When the herbs begin to grow have the students measure how fast each one grows. Of course when there is enough growth you can have them take a small scissors and clip off bits of the herb for seasoning their food. Do make sure that they wash the herbs properly before adding eating them. Ask the which one tastes the best and worst.

Dissecting a Flower

Start with a stroll of the garden and identify different parts of the plants. You can take a trip to the local park if you live in an apartment building and do not have your own backyard. Now visit the florist and pick up at least three different types of flowers. Place a newspaper on the desk for easy clean up later, and then have the homeschool students take the flower gently apart. Let them view and identify each part as given in the textbook. Have them set out the different parts of each individual flower and label them.

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Homeschool Science Projects for Elementary Grades

Teaching your homeschool students about science should always be accompanied with fun activities. If you can hook them when they are in elementary grades, they will become science enthusiasts for life. You don’t need a full fledged science laboratory to help them conduct interesting experiments. All you need is some stuff lying around the house and you are ready for fun time! Here are some simple experiments that your homeschool classroom can easily conduct. All you need to do is give them instructions and supervise.

Make a Rainbow on a White Sheet of Paper

Take them out into the sunlight with a clear glass of water. Place the water glass, which should be see-through, on a table’s edge. Now give them the white sheet of paper and ask them to catch the rainbow on the sheet. Teach them how to angle it below the glass of water and spot all the different colors.

Make a Rain Cloud in a Mason Jar

Not sunny outside? Let’s make clouds indoors. Take a mason jar and fill it up with clear water. Now fill the inch on top of the water with Dad’s white shaving foam. Get some blue liquid color from the kitchen and begin to add drops of the color to the foam. As the food color slips through the cloud of the foam it will begin to form the rain in the liquid water. You may just get a little tornado in the mason jar.

Make a Volcano in a Glass

It’s best to do this outside the house if you detest cleaning up sticky and gooey stuff. Take a glass which is clear and place it on the ground. Now add some drinking soda to it. It can be any flavor. Next take a Mentos candy and place it in the glass. Move back and watch the lava flow from the volcano that you just created.

These are just a few examples of fun science based activities that you can do with your elementary homeschool students. Find many more such activities on the internet with a quick search. Pick the ones you like best and you are set.

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Back to Homeschool Activities

You may have taken a break from homeschooling or you may just be moving on to the next grade for your homeschool students. Now is the time to celebrate the love of learning in your homeschool classroom. Here are somethings that you can do on the first day.

Take a Photograph

A group photo of all your kids with the calendar date prominently visible. Or make huge cut out frames with the grade they are starting written on the frame and let them hold it up in front of them as you take the picture. Make it quirky, make it fun. It’s a good memory to go back to at the end of the academic year. Keep the print outs handy for making a year book at the end of the year. Use a carton to fill up all through the year with different memories.

My First Day of School Form

Print out a page for the homeschool students to fill out their likes, dislikes, favorite food, book, movie, color, best friend’s name, and just about any trivial detail that they can share about themselves at their age. Have them fill it out and keep this for the end of year memory book as well. You could even have them repeat the same activity on the last day of the academic session to let them see how they have changed. It will give them a kick to see what changed and what stayed the same.

A Traditional Celebration

Going back to the homeschool classroom in a higher grade is reason enough to celebrate. You can pick a tradition that can be followed each year. It could be something as simple as singing a song to motivate everyone to learn together, or maybe just going out for ice cream after class. You could make it somewhat more complex by having an actual pop quiz on their favorite subjects and seeing how much they score. Or you could simply invite all their friends over and have a pot luck party.

What you do should be an accurate reflection of how you function in your homeschool classroom.

 

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Reasons to Outsource Homeschool Classes

The idea behind homeschooling is to provide the very best education at the most affordable price to your children. This is a reason why many homeschool parents rule out outsourcing classes for their students. However there are some economically viable alternatives available to consider.

Virtual School On Public Funds

Some States allow homeschool students to take up to six units for free on Virtual Schools that they run. Check for the virtual school classes that your State offers and may be a good match for your homeschool student. The classes are free so no economic strain, plus you don’t have to teach it. That means you save time and effort that can be put to better use elsewhere.

Single Subject Class in Public School

Complete isolation of the student is never the aim of homeschooling. By enrolling them in a single subject class, which you may not be too comfortable teaching at home, you can kill two birds with one stone. Not only does your homeschool student get exposure to their peer group, it also allows you to prove to friends and family that you are not against the public schools despite your decision to homeschool.

Year Long Online Classes on Appropriate Website

If you are not familiar with a specific subject that your high school student wants to learn, it will be easier to get him an online teacher who knows the subject better. You would save time and money spent in study material gathering and actually have an expert teach the homeschool student what is required in a preset curriculum which meets his needs. Now this may not seem the best way to homeschool to you, but outsourcing a class or two to actual experts can work out better in the long run for your homeschooler.

Besides the economic reasons, parents are unsure of exposing their children to strangers and online self paced study courses are a great way to compromise. The child sits at home and learns from a good teacher even as he has access to a number of study resources that you as a parent would struggle to put together.

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Buying and Selling Homeschool Resources

Perhaps the number of hours that you spent creating the perfect lesson for your homeschool students may seem like too much trouble for too little returns to you. Here’s where you can capitalize on this new study resource that you have created. CurrClick and Teachers Pay Teachers are websites which offer a great opportunity to homeschool families. They have the option to both buy and sell resources such as ebooks, audios, video, print books and a whole lot more.

Buy and Save Time

Instead of reinventing the wheel each time you need to teach your homeschool students something, you can take a look at the resources available here and pick anything from a single ebook to a whole year long study course. By outsourcing this requirement to a website like CurrClick, you save time. Time which you can gainfully utilize in doing a hundred other things which you seem to always be putting off.

Sell and Earn Money

While there may be some subjects where you are glad you can use ready made material to teach your homeschool students, there may also be those subjects where you are sure that what you put together will be far superior to any ready made resource available in the market. Why not use these resources for more than just teaching your own kids? Teachers Pay Teachers is a great place to sell this material in a hassle free manner, specially if it’s just a simple digital download.

Explore Other Options

While these two websites are popular amongst the homeschool community for the easy trading of study material, they are by no means the only resources available. You can have a number of your resources on sale online on other websites of a similar nature. A simple search online will be able to get to names of many other popular websites where you may be able to buy and sell homeschool study resources. Some deal with only digital products, others have options for print material as well. A few even allow you to resell old material that you may have used with your homeschool students and no longer need.

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Politics and Homeschool Students

How involved should your homeschool students be in political intrigues. In an election year it is difficult to keep the subject from the children, so perhaps it’s a good idea to teach them about exactly how the government works. The basic election process, and how they should choose which candidate deserves to be voted for. How do you help them make an informed decision when they finally do get to exercise their votes? Here are some tips to consider.

Give Them a Daily Dose of News

By letting them watch the same news on different channels you will allow them to see how different points of view may exist about the same topic. it will also allow them to be up to date with current affairs. Ask them to read newspapers, pursue blogs and get information from other high quality sources online. Have them learn between unsubstantiated rumors and actual facts. Teach them how facts may also be twisted to seem good or bad depending on the point of view of a political candidate.

Discuss the Process, Even if Its a Three Ring Circus

By speaking about what is happening you are educating your homeschool students. Have them read up on the candidates and issues and then have a debate in the homeschool classroom. Ask them to give their opinions on who should do well as an elected political representative and why. Make them think about what they would want their representatives in government to do. Get them to attend local political debates if possible, or at least hear a couple of candidates giving speeches on television.

Participate in the Actual Voting Yourself

Children always learn by example, so if you talk but don’t physically go and vote, they are going to think it’s not important enough. Be an actual participant in the elections yourself. It will allow your children to understand just how important the voice of every single person can be in an election. They will respect the democratic process more and yes they will be that much more willing to participate when they become eligible to actually vote for themselves.

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Why Homeschoolers Move Away From Virtual School

Virtual Schools can be a great option for first time homeschooling families. They help the homeschool parents to find out what methods suit them best. They allow the homeschool students to adjust to the fact that there are lessons to be done in a specific manner. They even allow the schooling to be cheaper as a major part of it can be sponsored by state funds. However eventually most homeschool teachers will move away from Virtual School as a mainstay of their education. Here are some reasons why this happens.

Flexibility Issues

While it is a whole lot more flexible than regular school, there are still a number of rules that govern studying at a Virtual School. Children in different grades may be taught unit studies by the homeschooling parent on the same unit at different levels. However the Virtual School will have a pre set curriculum and will not consider siblings who need to learn together. So your first grader may be learning about plants while your third grader may be learning about rocks in the same week causing the homeschool parent to work in two different units.

Longer Study Hours 

A homeschool parent can wind up a lesson with their homeschool student in a shorter time if the student has picked up the nuances of what has been taught. However when attending the Virtual School the time for the classes is fixed and even if the student has understood the concept the class will continue as planned. On the other hand the homeschool parent could use the time left over from the first lesson to start out on another subject and finish more school work in the same amount of time.

Books and Study Material

A Virtual School will have it’s own recommendations for text books, and reference material which the homeschool student needs to use. This is not always the case with homeschoolers who tend to mix and match study material from different sources when they learn. This can become an issue when the child goes to a higher grade and wants to read from books other than those given by the Virtual School.

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Starting Homeschooling with Virtual School

Most states run Virtual Schools for students who are unable to attend physical school or want to learn subjects which are not offered in the regular school. During the fall and spring semesters these virtual schools offer homeschool students the opportunity to earn some credits through state funded studies. If you are just beginning to homeschool and are not too sure about what method you would prefer and how you should fix your curriculum, starting with a virtual school is a great idea.

Cost Effective

Since a portion of the fees for the academics will be covered by the state, you will not have a huge economic drain on your resources. Virtual schools are known to basic resources such as paint, clay and even a whiteboard for the enrolled students. In a specific course even a microscope was sent home.

Full Support

When you start with a Virtual School there is full support in terms of a teacher, curriculum designed for the grade the student is in, and ready made lesson plans literally dropped into your lap. That has to be the easiest way to find your feet while beginning the homeschool adventure.

Clubs and Field Trips

When you start out homeschooling it takes a while to set up a support system and peer group with whom your homeschool students can socialize. With a Virtual School you don’t have to solve that problem alone. You can let your children join the clubs at the school and have them attend the field trips that they organize.

The Mentor 

The teacher in charge of your child can become an excellent mentor for you as you are starting out. She can be asked for advice on matters that confuse you. Be around to clear doubts of procedures you are not sure about. Also it’s a great way to learn new methods to teach your child by sharing your experience and getting her to offer suggestions on what else you can do.

All in all by starting with a Virtual School you can get a good jump start into homeschooling  your children the right way.

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