There is the basic skill of writing which backs all learning in the homeschool classroom. However most homeschool students are not very keen on writing down their lessons. They are happy to rattle off their knowledge orally but ask them to take a paper and write it down, and more often than not you will hear them groan and complain. So what can you do to help them enjoy writing more?
Get Creative With Writing
If the only time your child is writing is when they have to do worksheets or practice math, they are not going to enjoy it. Instead, allow them to do some creative writing. Show them an interesting picture and ask them to write down what they see in it. Ask them to build a story around the picture if they can come up with characters and a plot in discussion with you. Let them enjoy the process of thinking and writing.
Writing Doesn’t Always Have to be Pen and Paper
By changing the material that they write with or write on, you will interest them to keep writing some more. Give them oil paper and crayons and ask them to write a list of things they want for their birthday. Give them broad markers and ask them to write greetings on card paper to family members who may have birthdays coming up. Give them ideas about what they want to write. Discuss the concept of writing short stories, poems and flash fiction.
The Practical Aspects of Writing
Show them the use of writing in day to day life. Ask them to write out a list of groceries at the kitchen table as you open the cupboards to check what all needs to be replaced. Make them write out a message from a caller to the parent when they answer the telephone. Have them write out their letters to grand parents describing their day or a field trip that they took. Show them the importance of writing in daily communication. When they see it as a useful tool, they will be more eager to learn and practice writing.
It’s Okay If You Can’t Do Everything
The first time you attend a homeschool convention, you may feel that you should go to every single event in the schedule. It’s simply not possible. There will be some happening at the same time. You will have other mingling to do. So it’s perfectly fine to give yourself permission to not do everything. Don’t feel guilty when you planned to do ten things in the day and barely managed to get six done.
Bring Cash, Cards and Cheques
These conventions are a great place to invest in study material and resources for your homeschool classroom. Don’t get surprised if some of the vendors are unable to process a credit card. Many of them are homeschool parents themselves and will be happier receiving cash for your purchases. The bigger brands will have swipe machines available. So keep your payment options open.
Carry a Rolling Suitcase
There will be a number of heavy purchases made. You do not want your shoulders to be weighed down with a bag or backpack. Get a small, empty, rolling suitcase along with you to the convention hall. It can hold all your material with ease and you can have your hands free most of the time as you can simply leave it at your feet and go through the books in front of you.
Visit the “Used” Sales
There is usually a section out back where the “used” and second hand material is available. Some of it may be in remarkably good shape. Make sure that you go through the stuff here, specially if there are already specific resources that you are looking for. At times simply browsing through the stuff on sale can uncover a couple of gems that you would not of thought of.
Go in a Group With Friends
It’s always better to travel in a group. You can scout out more when there’s a good number of people together. Plus it’s a fun experience to share with your friends. If you have kids with you, the other adults can also help keep an eye on them at the times that you are busy with a workshop or some other activity.
There’s more to attending a homeschool convention than simply showing up. By handling the logistics in advance you can ensure that you stay frugal even while getting the most bang for your buck.
Pre-Book and Get the Early Bird Discounts
Most homeschool convention registrations are cheaper if you get them done well in advance. Up to 6 weeks before the actual event, you should be able to get a good discount on the price. If you can team up with other homeschool families and register as a group, the price may drop further. Float the idea among your local homeschool community to see if there are any takers.
Decide If You Want to Bring The Kids Along
Sometimes it can work out well bringing the kids along as they can be attending interesting workshops and doing some travelling. The experience can help them grow as individuals. However, at times it may be simply more convenient to travel to the convention on your own. This could be a working vacation for the homeschool parent. You get a break from the homeschool classroom, but learn so much that you can take back to it.
Plan Accommodation and Travel In Advance
Since staying is usually the biggest expenditure if the convention is out of town, look out for family or friends in the city who don’t mind you crashing with them for a few days. The next option is to look for homestays with apps like Airbnb, or Oyo rooms. Hotels are the mist expensive and should be a last resort. Traveling to the destination also needs to be fixed whether it’s a bus or road trip in your own car.
Go Through the Event Schedule for Speakers and Workshops
To get the most out of the homeschool convention, go through the event schedule and plan out your days in advance. Some of the workshops may require additional registration. Once at the venue you have little time to think and can become lost trying to figure out what to do next. By ensuring that you have already circled the events you need to attend, you will have a much more positive experience.
Homeschool conventions are run in practically every state of the US. You can get online and find out the schedule for the year with ease. There are many benefits to attending a homeschool convention. There are a large number of homeschool vendors available in once place. They offer fabulous discounts on most of their products. Speakers will share tips on different aspects of homeschooling. You get to socialize with other homeschooling families and your children can treat it as an educational field trip.
Do Some Research Before You Reach
There will be tons of vendors at the convention. Most of them also will be homeschooling parents themselves. Have a list of people that you want to meet. It will help you avoid the overwhelm at the venue. Just like a shopping list helps keep the weekly grocery shopping on track, your list will keep you focused on meeting with the vendors who you feel can help you with specific issues. Explain your requirements to them and see what they suggest.
Don’t Buy Stuff on Day 1
Most homeschool conventions last two to three days. Make sure that you attend all days and do not buy anything on the first day. Just use the first day to familiarize yourself with all that the convention has to offer. Then make another list of stuff that you feel is cool, useful and what you want. The second day you will have weeded out the impulse purchases and go with what is actually essential. Also remember to have a fixed budget in your head before you start shopping. Maxing out your card at the convention is not acceptable.
Listen to the Speakers
At each convention you have a host of different topics being covered by the speakers. Most of the talks are free to attend along with the admission to the convention. Make sure you take advantage of these speakers experiences. Most of them have finished homeschooling their own kids and are now out to help others who are doing the same. You will pick up a number of tips by simply listening to them.
Being stuck in a job you dislike can be instrumental in having a miserable life. On the other hand if you choose a job that you love to do, you will be happy every single morning for the rest of your working life. Since the homeschool student is not exposed to many professionals, it may be a good idea for the homeschool parent to ensure that they learn a bit about different jobs by actually getting to do them for a while. Here’s how they can make it happen for homeschool students who are in high school.
Self employed professionals in your area may be willing to take on your homeschool student as an apprentice. The opportunities could be in appliance repairs, piano tuning, or even plumbing. The idea is to expose your homeschool student to a skill set that they can pick up which has a professional application. It will allow the real life experience to seep in before the child picks a career of their own. In addition the type of skills they learn will be helpful to them around the house as they grow up and live alone.
Bigger companies are often looking for interns who can work at the smaller jobs around the office. The internships could be free or paid, full time or part time. Depending on the type of company and work that your homeschool student is interested in, it may be a good idea to trace the companies in your town who are looking for interns. A number of colleges also prefer the students who have done an internship, so besides learning new skills, the student will be able to add positively to their resume.
A number of organizations such as hospitals, zoos, nursing homes, rescue operations, and animal shelters don’t have the money to pay full time employees. Most of them are happy to work with volunteers who they can train to do the hob. This is a good way for the homeschool student to get some experience, pick up new skills and make a positive contribution to society. They can volunteer at different places till they find something they truly care about.
As a child grows older the expectations from the homeschool parent change. When they transition from middle school to high school, it’s a good time to explain the changing rules in the homeschool classroom to them. Here are some aspects that you may want to speak with the homeschool student about.
Guided to Independent Studies
As the homeschool student moves from middle school to high school it’s a good idea for the homeschool teacher to move from hand holding to a supervisory sort of guidance. It’s time for the homeschool student to study on their own more than wait to be taught everything by the homeschool parent. Encourage the child to learn on their own. To explore new topics, and to find the resources that can help them learn more about them.
Choosing the Curriculum and Schedule
As a young child the homeschool student was made to follow the curriculum and schedule that the homeschool parent felt was best. Now as they head into high school encourage them to make their own schedules. Guide them to balance the subjects each day, but allow them to create their own lesson plans and what they would like to learn during the week. It will teach them how to take responsibility for their own learning, while freeing up the homeschool parent’s time.
Identifying and Improving Weaknesses
For the most part it’s easy to tell what subjects a child is weak in for the homeschool parent, however it is important that the homeschool student also learns to identify this. It’s usually the subjects that they don’t feel comfortable with or the ones that they avoid because they don’t understand. It’s important that they understand that this is a weakness, and then figure out ways in which to improve.
Planning for the Future
It’s important that your homeschool student know where he or she is headed. High school is the time to plan what they want to do with their lives. Think of jobs they may want to do, and the qualifications that they will need to do those jobs. It’s a good idea for the children to write down a plan for their own future and then make up the steps that will lead to it’s success.
No matter how fit a homeschool parent is, at one stage they will not be able to keep up with the physical energy of their homeschool students. So how do you find outlets for all that energy without having to push your own self physically to do activities with them. Here’s a list of suggestions.
Family Gym Membership
Getting a family gym membership is a good idea when you want to combine a light workout for the homeschool parent with a more intensive one for the homeschool students. Most gyms offer classes on aerobics, zumba or kick boxing, which could work as an additional exercise session for the homeschool students, while the parent catches their breath.
For those blessed with active children, a yoga class can prove to be a boon. Yoga helps balance the mind and body energies. Not only will the children find the yoga asanas challenging, they will automatically develop a serious control over their mind. Yoga is a low intensity workout which can still be quite tiring physically speaking. A good option for your homeschool students.
Those interested in a more traditional set of exercises, may like to place their homeschool students in a formal athletics training class. Running could be a simple exercise that doesn’t need a formal class. Other sports that the child may be interested in could also be given a shot. Try the local YMCA or community sports center to get free coaching if the budget is rather tight and doesn’t allow for extra classes.
This is a relatively new fad, but can be a good full body exercise. There are rock climbing centers where the homeschool students can learn the basics of safety and technique involved in rock climbing. The homeschool parent does not need to be physically active in this class as the instructors are trained to overlook the safety of the students participating.
Martial Arts Classes
Karate, tae kwon do, judo, or any other martial arts classes are a good way to keep active kids engaged. They are physically demanding and ensure that the homeschool students get a good workout. You can find the local instructors who offer these classes online or through word of mouth from other parents whose children are attending such classes.
Getting out of the house and exercising need not be a chore. There’s a lot of activities that a homeschool family can take on, which can be fun and prove to be a complete physical workout for the homeschool students. Here are some options to consider.
A single basket ball hoop can provide hours of entertainment and exercise. The family can play together, the children can practice on their own, friends can come over in the evening to shoot hoops, there’s so much that can happen by getting this one sporting accessory fit. You will also need the basket ball and a pump to ensure that it’s not run out of air. Teach the homeschool students to care for their equipment.
Getting the family to go out for a long ride on the weekend is a good way to start a picnic. The homeschool students can also use their bicycles around the neighborhood in the evening. Friends can team up and have cycle races, and it is a good way for the children to learn to get around independently on their own. Ensure that safety equipment like helmets, knee and elbow pads and training wheels are available if required.
If the family sets out to explore local hiking trails, it’s a good field trip to study rocks, flora and even the smaller animals that may cross the path. It also ensures that the homeschool family gets a good amount of exercise as well as a healthy dose of Vitamin D by being in the sunlight. Take a look at the area around where you live, what are the best places to start exploring?
Improvise doing body weights with the homeschool students around the house. You do not need to spend on dumbells, just use plastic bottles of water in pairs. Squats, push ups and sit ups can be added to the workout. It can be done in a competitive manner by encouraging the homeschool students to do more repetitions than they managed to do the day before. Keep a record of how many each child manages each day.
The technological advances made in the last decade alone have created a generation gap between the current set of parents and their children. As gadgets allow the homeschool students to connect to the internet in new ways and gain more information, it’s imperative that the homeschool parent teach the homeschool class to use technology wisely.
Teach yourself before you teach them
There are a number of things that you can do using the internet, and new gadgets that you are probably not even aware of. For instance did you know that it’s possible to find an App to learn just about anything? Check out the ones that you feel will be helpful to your homeschool students and play with them yourself before asking them to try it out.
Teach them the limits and boundaries
There is so much to do, but they should have a limited time each day to be online. Makes sure that they understand basic security threats and how they should avoid them. Never ever allow them to give out their information online on any website without you being present. Plus educate them about malware and virus attacks. They should have a fall back drill for all such eventualities and you need to make sure that they remember them.
Supervise from a distance
Learn to set up filters for the internet so that your homeschool students don’t inadvertently end up on websites that they should not be accessing. Keep a check on the internet browser history to see what they are doing online. Ensure that they are being safe when they go online. Trust them, but keep a check as there are many kinds of threats these days.
Act as a role model
When you ask them to limit their screen time, ensure that you do it as well. If you are setting up a guideline for them to follow, educate them about how it works. Then ensure that they see you following the guideline when you go online or use a gadget. All children learn best when they imitate their parents, so it’s up to you to act as a good role model.
There is little that can be done without rules in the homeschool classroom. The homeschooling parent needs to make the rules very clear to the children so that they can be followed. Also important is to make the children understand that if the rules are not followed, there will be consequences. These must also be defined for breaking each rule. Here are a few house rules to get you started.
Be Respectful of Everyone
This means there will be polite behavior towards everyone. No fighting, no name calling, no biting, no punching, and no ill will created. Use the golden words of ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘You’re welcome’. If this rule is ignored, prepare the child to lose a privilege. The exact course of consequences will have to be modified for each child based on their interests, but these consequences should be communicated in advance.
Be Honest in Speech and Actions
To develop a conscience early will allow the homeschool student to do well in social interactions later in life. They need to be taught that they must always speak the truth. Not to lie by omission. To say what they really mean and not simply what they feel the parents want to hear. They should always follow through on their promises.
Be Responsible for Own Words and Deeds
The homeschool students should be aware that everything they say and do will result in some consequences. They should be able to take responsibility for the consequences that follow their actions. They should clean up the messes they create. Learn to ask for help when they need it. Think how their actions will affect others before they act. apologize when they have done something wrong, even if it was unintentional.
Be Full Of Gratitude
It is important for children to understand that not everyone has everything that they seem to take for granted. Make the homeschool students show their gratitude for their blessings. Have them help those less fortunate than them on a regular basis. Also a small thank giving prayer said at the end of the day for all the good things that happened would also be a good idea to implement.