There is a lot to be said about actually seeing and doing things, as compared to simply reading about them or speaking about them. You can create an interesting learning experience for homeschool students by creating field trips at everyday places that they are familiar with. Here’s a couple of places and activities to educate and entertain the homeschool students on their field trip
The Grocery Store
For young children create a bingo type card with a list of items that they are likely to see on different aisles of the store. As they find each item, they get to check it off on the card. Once they check off everything, they win a prize.
For older children hand out actual shopping lists that have been put together. For instance if they want to cook a specific menu for dinner, what all ingredients will they need? Have the list ready when you reach the store.
You could also organize a scavenger hunt where your homeschool students are given a list and asked to find all the items on it. They can take a basket along to gather their items. First one to get everything on the list wins a prize!
The Music Store
This one is specially interesting to people who are musically inclined. For your young ones create a sheet with pictures of different musical instruments. Now they have to go to the store and find out the name of each one and write it down on the sheet. They should ask the store staff for help if they can’t write as yet.
Older children can be asked to classify musical instruments that they see in the store into the heads such as percussion, woodwind, brass or strings. They can make lists of each type of musical instruments at the end of the visit.
Those who play music can be asked to create a simple notation for a musical piece and then play that on as many different instruments as possible. Keep the music piece to less than a minute and get the permission of the store owner in advance.
With the smartphone becoming an inevitable part of our lives, it is necessary to harness it’s power in the homeschool classroom. Most children can spend a lot more time sitting on an app on the phone than they can when given a book to read. The multimedia nature of the app is what helps capture and retain the attention of the child.
The sounds, pictures and challenges allow the child to interact with the material much more intensely than what involves reading a paperback book. It makes sense that the homeschool parent should use this to their advantage. Specially with younger children who have a relatively short attention span. Here are some apps to start off with.
Counting & Addition Kids Games
It is part of the iLearnWith series of Android apps. It focuses on one specific concept and builds student’s skills through a variety of activities. It will allow your homeschool student to meet the expectations of the Common Core standards. Plus they have fun with a set of animated figures who take them through the concepts and activities that reinforce the learning.
This app is for slightly older children and will focus on teaching them fractions. It’s more like a game where they need to put in ice bits and rocks to clear the path for a Mastodon. It’s not teaching them the theory of fractions, but instead focuses on the conceptual knowledge enrichment.
As the name suggests this is an app that teaches the homeschool student phonetics. It has a flashcard concept that allows the child to identify the letter with the different sounds it can take up in different words. Every conceivable phonetic combination is presented to the child in an enjoyable manner. Great app for young readers.
World’s Worst Pet – Vocabulary
This app is designed for children in the seven to fourteen age group. It is in the form of a narrative that takes them through a digital adventure while introducing them to new words. There are a number of levels that the children can practice their vocabulary with in the app.
In most families the father is not the primary homeschool teacher. The day to day studies is left to the mother to handle. However that does not mean that the homeschool father has no role in the homeschool classroom. Depending on the amount of time that the father can spare, he can take on a lot of different activities.
Handle the Sports Activities
This could be done easily on the weekends when the fathers are off from work. Take the homeschool students through drills, or just teach them how to play a game. It could be one on one with the child, or take the whole group together for an activity. This not only meets the curriculum requirement of physical education for the homeschool students but also gives the father and children time to bond.
Pick up the Slack
A homeschooling mom often has to juggle many tasks. There is likely to be something that falls to the side every now and then. The homeschool father should ask her about what tasks he can take on either in the homeschool classroom or around the house, to help ease her burden. This will provide support to the homeschool mom and allow the homeschool father to feel more involved with the family.
Give Mom a Break
By simply taking away the children for a while, or allowing the mom to step out of the house for some activity that she enjoys, the homeschool father can give the homeschool mom a much needed break. This is a great way to allow her to rejuvenate her batteries and come back stronger to the homeschool classroom. Make this a weekly affair to ensure best results.
Show Love and Affection to the Family
While the father may be very much involved with the well being of the family, there has to be a physical expression of love and affection shown towards all family members. The hugs and kisses may not seem like much, but they leave a huge impact on the psyche of the children. Make it a point to be affectionate towards the mother in front of the children as well.
Surviving on a single income is made easier when you know what expenses you need to plan ahead for. Here are some heads of expenses that most families are likely to face. You can add or deduct ones that your own homeschool family is likely to have.
Curriculum and Books
For each academic session you will need to pick up new books for each grade. This cost can be shared if you get reference books that can be reused for younger children. However fresh workbooks and study material will be required for each child. Subscriptions to resource materials such as physical magazines or digital websites should also be factored into this head.
Extra Classes and Activities
The homeschool students are likely to have sports, music, art and craft classes which are not conducted by the homeschool parent. The fees and equipment expenses need to be added to the budget as a regular head of expense. Swimming, ballet, guitar, tennis, and all such classes will be included under this head. You may also need to factor in field trip expenses for trips to museums, zoos and the like under this heading as well.
Utility Bills and Car Petrol
Factor in the water, electricity and other utility bills that will see a rise if you are at home all day. For non homeschooling families the utilities will be less expensive as everyone spends a chunk of time outside the house. Teaching the homeschool students to be judicious with using utilities is a good way to cut costs. Also the car running is likely to be more with a homeschooling family in terms of field trips and other errand running activities. Cater for the extra petrol that will be needed for these activities.
Consumables and Groceries
While a major reoccurring expense is likely to be shopping for food to feed the family, there will other expenses such as clothing that will need to be met. Children have a tendency to shoot up suddenly and shopping for extra clothes may not always be factored into the budget. Keep a little extra padding of money available for such unexpected and sudden expenses.
Crafting a realistic budget is important when homeschooling. Finances are usually tight for homeschooling families and it makes sense to work on a shoestring budget. The beauty of homeschooling lies in the freedom afforded to the homeschool parent in picking and choosing the resources that are used in the homeschool classroom. It’s important to keep sight of the main goal, which is to ensure that your homeschool students get a good education. It’s not necessary to get all the most expensive boxed curriculum sets in order for them to learn well.
Outline Your Expenses
Do remember that by expenses we are not speaking of merely the study material that you need to use in the homeschool classroom. Make a comprehensive list of everything that you need to buy in a week, a month and a year. Include heads like food, clothing and other resources that you spend regularly on. Every single place you spend money on, needs to be accounted for in order for you to be able to have a realistic, workable budget.
Know Your Revenue Sources
While having the salary of the working parent is an important chunk of the change that you have to spend, it is always possible to create alternative revenue sources. This will allow the homeschooling family to have extra money available to allocate in the budget. It may also provide occasional windfalls that are not expected. Even if you can not count on a steady revenue from these sources, you can ease your financial situation by creating the possibility of extra inflow of money.
Make Mid-Course Corrections
No matter how carefully you plan out your budget, it is always going to need monitoring. Budgets have a tendency to be derailed by unplanned expenses. By being vigilant about these expenses, you can still juggle the funds you have and stick to the budget. Make adjustments for each head of expenses. Some may not need all the funds allocated to them, while others may need more than you catered for. The next time you create a budget you will have a much better idea about how to make it realistic.
A convention is something that sounds like a set of doctors or politicians may attend, so what’s it got to do with homeschooling? Apparently there are regularly organized homeschool conventions that are focused on helping out homeschooling families in their journey.
What can you do at a Homeschool Convention?
A homeschool convention is a place where you can look at all those books and curriculum choices that you have been struggling with. You can meet up with other homeschooling parents and share your experiences. Not online in some chat forum, but in person over a cup of coffee. You can learn about new trends and understand what other parents with similar grade students are opting for in their classrooms. There are prominent speakers who come up with relevant talks on what homeschoolers are facing today. There is a lot for you, as a homeschool parent, to do at a homeschool convention.
What about the kids?
Most homeschool convention organizers understand that homeschool parents need the support system for their children if they are to attend the event. They usually have a separate children’s program organized on the same dates. The homeschool parent can register the children for this program and have them gainfully occupied with interesting activities during the time that they are attending the homeschool convention. This facility is usually available for younger children who can not be left alone. Please ensure that you find out the terms and conditions before you plan on putting your child into the program.
Are Finances the Issue?
All homeschooling parents know the importance of managing their money to stretch it to the maximum. This ensures that occasional expenses such as homeschool convention tickets may be an indulgence that may just not be possible. Does that mean there is no way to attend one? Not at all. Most conventions rely heavily on volunteers to run the event successfully. Should you wish to attend the convention, approach the organizers as a volunteer. Few people are turned away and you will be able to attend the event. Find out more about the event that interests you by emailing the organizers or speaking to them on the phone.
Children with special needs often find it nearly impossible to benefit from the regular school system. That is when their parents often step in with the option of homeschooling. Unfortunately the issues that the child has, do not change. This means that the parent who is planning to homeschool needs to have a set of strategies to deal with their behavioral issues. Here are some tips that can help in this situation.
Organize All You Can Beforehand
Having all your resources in order before you begin homeschooling will make a huge difference in the homeschool classroom. If you don’t waste time shuffling papers and looking for books, the homeschool students won’t get time to create difficult behavioral situations.
Stay Consistent In Reinforcing Behavior
If something is not acceptable, there will be undesired consequences. If something good is done, there will be a reward. As long as the homeschool student is consistently corrected in this manner, the right behavior will eventually get reinforced. The key is for the homeschool teacher to stay consistent in their behavior.
The Daily Routine is Fixed
It makes a lot of difference to the homeschool child when he knows exactly what the day’s routine is going to consist of. Try and stick to a fixed schedule each day with studies and play balanced out. Also try and keep study hours the same every day and play time should follow.
Make Lessons Fun
Not all lessons need to be serious. Sometimes playing a game to learn a lesson can be a whole lot more productive, not to mention more fun. For instance while studying fractions, use the recipe of a cake to convert individual ingredients. Or let the children make words beginning with the letters on a number plate of a car up ahead on the road.
Have a Support System
Remember that you are human and don’t try to take on more than you can manage. If you are having an off day, have a friend or relative step in for you in the homeschool classroom. Take time for self care as only when you are at your best will you be able to offer the best to your homeschool students.
Notebooking is a method in which the homeschool student maintains a written record of what they have been taught in class. The child has the option of writing down facts accompanies with their own opinions and then decorating the whole thing. Here are some more reasons why homeschool parents should encourage notebooking in their classrooms.
A Record System
The easiest and most popular use of a notebooking exercise is to allow the homeschool parent to keep a record of what has been covered. Needless to say that the notebooking would then be required to be done for all the subjects being taught, as well as for all the lessons that are covered. While it may seem like a whole lot of work, it becomes much easier when it is made a regular habit.
If your homeschool student loves doing scrap -booking, then they are going to enjoy notebooking by extension. It’s just like making a scrap book, but about the stuff you learn in class rather than anything else. There is a lot of scope for the creativity of the child to be expresses using this tool. Since just about any medium of materials can be used from crafty stuff to images from the internet, they have a multitude of choices to make about what they really want to add to their notebooking project.
An Assessment Tool
Don’t want to make your child tense with repeated testing and retesting in the homeschool classroom? Still want to find out just how much they understood and learnt in the class when you taught them? Get them to do notebooking, then read through it to assess just how much of the data they managed to register. It’s a great way to check that they have understood basic concpets.
Interest Led Learning
The best part of notebooking is the fact that it is led by the child’s interest. This means the child is motivated to learn more about a topic and will do so without any intervention from the parent. That has to be the best kind of learning ever. It is a very creative way to reinforce learning.
Writing work can take many forms in the hoemschool classroom. You can have your homeschool students fill out worksheets based on what they have just been taught, or you could introduce them to Notebooking. This is an interesting concept which tends to involve the homeschool students more.
What is Notebooking?
In a nutshell, this is getting your homeschool student to write down in a notebook exactly what they understood in their lesson. First you have them orally narrate what it is they picked up. This helps them to outline what was taught. Then you give them time to write it down. They can illustrate it, use different color codes for different aspects, and make it their own creative project. The older children may require less help and could do different notebooks for different subjects. The younger ones may just do an occasional notebooking project.
Advantages of Notebooking
Since the homeschool student invests so much time on the lesson recreating what was taught, they are much more likely to remember everything. Also they get an opportunity to show off their creative skills. This makes them more involved in the lesson. They may look up extra details to add to their notebooking and may end up doing more research on the lesson by themselves. Plus they learn how to showcase what they know in an interesting manner. They stay motivated to learn more and to find new ways to express what they have picked up.
How to Start Notebooking
Begin by getting a notebook! One that is only for the use of your homeschool student for notebooking. They can do all subjects in the same one initially. Next get them to speak up about what they understood and make an outline for them. They can then use this outline to write down their thoughts in the notebook. Let them give the basic facts followed by their opinion. This allows them to think for themselves and form original thoughts. Plus the decorating aspect allows them to indulge their creativity. Help them find and use free resources online to improve the quality of their notebooking project.
A Homeschool Curriculum Spine is a quick reference tool for all that you intend to do in a specific subject, for a specific grade. There are a number a items that may be added to the Spine. Here is an indicative list of stuff that you can put into it.
Identify Your Primary Resource
Based on the subject this could be a text book, a curriculum guide, or anything else that you are basing the rest of the lessons in the homeschool classroom on. Make sure that this is always checked when you set out to teach something. Other stuff is optional, but this is not.
You may choose to follow a specific text book for a subject. Ensure that you enter the details of what you covered from the text book and what you would like to do as well. That way you can keep checking off the chapters as you move along.
You may like to add certain books for specific chapters to reinforce what is being taught. Mention the name of the book and the lesson that it will supplement information for. This can be done as an added bonus.
Some concepts lend themselves very easily to hands-on activities for the children to practice. Make a list of all possible activities that can done for this particular subject. Leave some space as you will be adding more stuff to the list as the academic year goes on.
If you have printouts you can stick them in the Spine. Otherwise write down the name of the workbooks that you want to use. You can even add the names of the websites or forums that you intend to get the worksheets off.
Sometimes a Unit Study may work for a number of subjects. Feel free to add it to the Spines for all of the subjects. You may also choose to do only parts of the Unit Study for a specific subject.
This is a fun activity that can still help your homeschool student to learn. Add the list of names that you feel would prove educational to the Spine. Tick them off as you finish watching them.
Keep a list of places that you may like to visit to reinforce certain principles being taught in a specific subject. When a place shows up often enough, plan a day trip and cram in all the data that you need to share.