With every child you homeschool you have a large number of goals in mind. Some of these goals are common for all the children in your family such as having certain values and following few principles. Other goals may be more individualistic such as honing the musical skill of a specific child versus the creative artistry of another child. Here are some questions that you can answer before you set the perfect homeschooling goals for each individual child in your homeschool.
Good Human Being Values
Some goals are universal for all children whether they are being homeschooled or not. Moral values such as being honest, caring for other family members, pitching in when help is required, and generally being a valuable contributing family member are an important aspect of education for any child. These are values that make today’s child a good citizen for the country tomorrow. These are essential for any child to learn and should be a prominent part of your goal list.
Life Ambition Toolkit
On the heels of the general goals you set for all children you need to generate the list of goals that are specified to the individual child. These would involve goals that provide the homeschool student with the tools that he needs to meet his life ambition. For instance you can not become a professional basket ball player later in life if you do not learn to play basket ball in your formative years at home. Of course this approach also works for wanting to be a NASA scientist and being a concert pianist. No matter what the child’s life ambition, you need to factor in smaller goals to meet it all through school.
Skills to Follow Interests
A major problem with setting the life ambition goals is that children often change their minds about what they are going to be when they grow up. Does this mean that you can’t set goal for them? Not at all, you just have to set goals that involve giving them skills that they can use all their lives. They should be able to find out more about what interests them and research the best way to learn all about it. That is your end goal, to empower your homeschool children to learn what they want, whenever they want to.
When you are in charge of educating your own brood things can be fun, flexible, full of life and just a little bit frightening. Each day has a plan, which may or may not succeed, but you can be sure there is an adventure in store along the way. Here are some activities that you need to turn into daily homeschool essentials to ensure that what is important stays at the front of your mind and in your childrens’ lives.
Listen to Each Child
Spare five minutes each to have a one to one conversation with each child. This allows you to connect individually with each homeschool student and helps you to understand how they are feeling and what they want to do on that particular day. Make sure that each child understands that this time is only for them, and there are no interruptions from any of the other children when you have your five minute talk. Allow them the freedom of a no holds barred conversation where they can tell you anything in exactly five minutes.
Take Things Outdoors
Sitting inside the house can get old really fast, so you do need to ensure that you get the homeschool students outdoors each day. It could be for some physical activity in the back yard if the weather is good, or for a walk to the park all bundled up in the cold. Just make sure you take that outdoor break every day. The fresh air can really clear those cobwebs in the mind instantly. If you do not feel up to tackling a physical activity each day, just take them along on shopping trips for groceries, or paying bills.
Chores and More
When each member of the family contributes to the upkeep of the house, things roll much smoother. No matter how small your child is, there is always something that they can help you or older siblings with. Define chores and set them up on weekly rotations and ensure that the children get the chores done in addition to their formal classwork. Its part of life skill building and will stand your children in good stead later on in life.
Making lists is a great way to keep up with all the different things that you know you need to tackle in the homeschool classroom. Keeping these checklists handy allows the homeschooling parent to know what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done on a daily basis. Then there is the special list of things that you would like to do at least once during the years you homeschool with your children. That is your homeschool bucket list. Don’t have one yet? Here are some things that could easily go on it.
Go on a Road Trip
There are so many of life’s little lessons to be picked up on a road trip. Start with practical ones such as how many miles will be traveled, how much fuel those miles will consume, and how much money will be required. Then there are the subtle lessons like patience will be rewarded, there is no short cut to success, and it is very important to get along with your co-passengers if you wish to have a pleasant journey. It’s amazing how much learning can be crammed into a single two night trip by road!
Organize a Charity Drive
Giving back to the society that we live in is a choice that precious few people seem to want to make these days. Most are just too busy struggling with life to even attempt to give more than a simple check. Involve your homeschool students with a suitable charity and have them invest their time in organizing a charitable drive to truly make a difference in the lives of the people affected. This could be a one time effort or an on-going project depending on the charity that you pick. Ensure that the children get a say in which charity you pick to contribute to, as after all they are the true volunteers.
Participate in a Competitive Event
It is a thrill to be a part of a larger event, being judged along with many of your peers. This could be at a sports event, a science fair, a chess competition or just about any activity that you can find handy in your town. The idea is to give your homeschooling youngsters a first hand experience of the competition that they will be sure to face when they leave the confines of the homeschool classroom.
When a new subject is introduced in a grade in regular school they just about scratch the surface of the subject and then leave it at that. The subject is then again picked up in the next grade and more details added to it. It may be the established method of dealing with a new subject being introduced to children in regular school, but that may not work well for a homeschool classroom. Your homeschool students may want to know more about a subject that interests them. How do you deal with that?
Learn At the Child’s Pace
You do not want to overwhelm a homeschool student with too much information about a subject. That is a sure fire way of ensuring that they lose whatever interest they may have developed in it. Instead you give them some details and leave them to pull the strings that appeal to them. Provide the next step when the child has mastered the first. If the child shows an interest in what comes next, you can push ahead with it. When the child does not seem to keen to proceed, you can drop the subject and move on to something else. revisit the subject after a period of time has lapsed in the current academic session or let it rest till the new session begins.
Exhausting a Subject is Not Necessary
As with all self learning when an adult finds out about a subject that interests him, he will find out a few cursory details at first. If what he learns still manages to hold his interest he will think of picking up a book on the matter or browsing more websites related to the subject. At some stage he will decide he has enough information on the subject. It may not be necessary that he has all the information possible on the subject, but he has enough for his personal needs. This signals an end to the learning and this is exactly how a subject should be approached in the homeschool classroom. Learn the basics, then poke around till it interests you, then let it go to pick it up another time.
As a homeschooling parent you have the option to follow a homeschool curriculum from a formal source or make up one of your own based on what you feel is best. In case you choose to make up your own curriculum there may be this nagging little voice in the back of your head asking you, will this leave gaps in the education of my child? It is natural to wonder if you are covering everything of importance with your children as you are the sole person in charge of what they learn in the classroom.
What Should They Know?
Teaching children is a way to ensure that they have all the knowledge that they need to survive in the world that they inhabit. In the early days these were a set of survival skills without which the human race would perish, but as things are a whole lot more civilized today these skills are almost redundant. What each child needs to learn to survive in today’s world is different. More than survival it is a matter of interest, and picking what could be their future career.
Basic Skills to Follow Their Interests
While even formal educators,educators, curriculum publishers, authors of children’s books, and other educational thinkers are unable to agree on what all should be taught to a child, there are some basic skills that can not be ignored. These would include reading, writing, comprehension, and basic arithmetic calculations. With a foundation of these basic skills firmly in place it would be possible for the child to follow his own interests with ease.
The Popular Mixed With Classics
Another aspect of their education which homeschooled children may need guidance in is common knowledge. Whatever is popular in the world of television, movies, books, and music in the current day and time must be communicated to these children. In addition they should be given a basic understanding of the classics from the past as well. This will allow them a sense of history and pride in their own heritage. This done, there is little more to consider a gap in their education. They will learn what they require as per their interests and the time they have to spare.
Static electricity is all about charge and the forces that happen because the charges are not in balance. It’s what happens when you separate the plus and minus charges, and you can get objects to move even when they are not touching each other.
I’ve got two different videos that use positive and negative charges to make things rotate, the first of which is more of a demonstration (unless you happen to have a 50,000 Volt electrostatic generator on hand), and the second is a homemade version on a smaller scale that you can do right at home, right now.
Here’s the demonstration first:
Now let’s look at how to make something right at home that really shows the same thing. All you need is a yardstick, a balloon, and a big spoon. And a very dry day (this won’t work if it’s rainy or humid)…
So why did the yardstick move? It has to do with something called static electricity. Static electricity is what happens when you separate the positive and negative charges and play with the forces between them. We’re going to learn about this and more in my upcoming class on electricity, so I’ll see you on class soon!
There are many different ways to homeschool and the best part is that you don’t have to conform to someone else’s norm. For parents new to homeschooling, the most difficult part is figuring out just what their homeschooling system should and should not have. Remember there is no right or wrong way to homeschool: there is only what suits your needs versus what seems tedious and tiring. Here’s how you can identify what works best for you.
Morning? Afternoon? Weekends?
If you wanted your children to attend school first thing in the morning just because that’s how traditional school works, you are not doing yourself any favors. You are the homeschool teacher and that offers you the flexibility to pick the hours in which you want to work. You even get to pick the days you want to teach. Just because everyone else works Monday through Friday and rests on the weekend is no reason why you should do it too. Maybe the afternoons suit you better than the mornings. Saturday and Sunday are ideal for long science experiments, just pick the time which makes most sense for your needs.
Textbooks? Movies? Worksheets?
As each child learns somewhat differently from the other, what worked wonders with your first homeschool student may not work so well with the second one. Some children respond better to reading about a new topic, others do better when they see how the concept works, while a few kids may like to actually do the science experiment to understand how what they learned about translates in the real world. As the homeschool teacher, you need to figure out the best way to teach your children. Remember just because another homeschooling family finds a way to be easy does not mean it’s the only way to go.
Scope and Sequence Are Important
You need to know what your homeschool students must learn in the school year. This is the scope of their studies in that academic session, but scope is not enough without sequence. The order in which you teach your children is also equally important as that will help them learn sequentially. Ensure that you check out the scope and sequence of topics to be taught in each subject at the beginning of the year. With that done, you can structure your lesson plans exactly as you wish!
It’s always a little difficult for homeschooling mothers to speak about all the little things that excite them in a homeschooling day to their husbands or parents. While family may love you and appreciate that you are happily homeschooling your children, they are may not be quite keen on listening to all the million little details that make up your regular homeschool day. This is it’s a good idea to include a homeschool buddy in your support system. There are many advantages to having a homeschool buddy.
You Can Support Each Other With Classes
Its nice to have a second homeschooling teacher to fall back on. Your homeschool buddy can teach classes for your children along with hers on days when you need to take a break. Then ou can return the favor when she needs a day off. This way the homeschool students get a bit more exposure by being taught by a different person and watching how other homeschooling classes run. They will also make new friends.
You Have a Like-Minded Friend
The fact that your homeschooling buddy chose homeschool will already give you a lot in common. You can talk about the reasons why both of your preferred homeschooling to sending your children to regular school. It is always nice to have a friend who gets the motivation behind your actions. Who’s to say that there are other common interests you two may also share such as books, movies, and hobbies?
You Can Give and Get Feedback to Each Other
Ever so often when you are homeschooling you will bump into road blocks. There are usually various approaches and strategies to get past these little bumps. When trying to decide what will work best with your homeschooling situation, it is nice to have a homeschooling buddy who may have faced a similar situation and is able to give you some feedback on what you can do. You can be there for your friend in a similar situation as well.
The best part is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one homeschooling buddy. Anyone who gets homeschooling and can become a friend is a potential buddy!
If you are just getting started with homeschooling you may have visited online forums where other homeschooling teachers say that they are constantly teaching their children. When you are currently struggling to get that first month’s lesson plans in order, this may seem just a bit intimidating. How do you plan to ensure constant learning for your homeschool students? Isn’t it a bit too much to ask to schedule a lesson every single minute of the day? Well, that’s not exactly what constant learning involves.
Homeschool Learning is Different from Regular School Learning
In a regular school a certain number of fixed skills are taught to the students, while they pick up additional skills at home and in other co curricular activities. School taught skills would include learning to read, write and understanding proper grammar. While home taught skills would include learning to tie shoelaces, making your bed and packing your school bag for the next morning.
With a homeschooling family, most of these formal and informal skills are taught at home. Consider the situation where a homeschool student finishes morning lessons and steps in to the kitchen with the homeschooling parent. Instead of picking up a tray in the cafeteria of a regular school and getting in line for food, the homeschool student gets to pick a plate and help put together their meal. It’s a different skill and it involves learning.
Constant Learning is Simple with Life Skills
There is constant learning for the homeschool student because each day lunch is different. Have them help with meal planning and focus on things they are able to make or assist you in making. This could be a sandwich on Monday, soup on Tuesday, nachos on Wednesday…you get the general idea. In a similar manner the homeschool student learns how to help with chores around the house by learning new skills such as loading the washing machine, using the dryer, folding the laundry, dusting and vacuuming.
They may not seem like much, but trust me they are important life skills that your children will use in the years to come. It is this that homeschooling parents realize is important and teach literally non stop throughout the day to their children in terms of constant learning.
If you are serious about homeschooling, there is a considerable amount of advance planning that you need to do. There are also some other basic things that you should consider doing if you have not done already.
Get Involved with the Local Homeschool Community
This makes sense to do before beginning homeschooling for a number of reasons. First, you will meet like-minded people who can guide you on what to expect. You can also make friends who will support you through your homeschooling adventure. And of course each family with a child in your child’s grade or age group can become an asset when it comes to socialization. The community will open up a number of new opportunities for learning and fun that you may never have thought of on your own: think sports clubs, combined field trips, class exchanges and a whole lot more that can make your homeschooling journey a whole lot easier.
Attend a Homeschool Conference (or Seminar, or Convocation)
No matter what they call the event, it is a window into the soul of present day homeschooling. You will meet experts who have been through what you’re just starting and you can learn a lot from them. You can physically check out study material, stationary, reference books and other related paraphernalia with merchants and vendors at the venue. This will give you a good idea of what you will be comfortable using in your own homeschooling classroom. Often you will be able to pick up products at a discount at these events.
Learn About Homeschooling Styles
For most first time homeschoolers there is little knowledge of the variety of styles of homeschooling available. They usually just think of homeschooling as school at home and in doing so miss out on the many simple pleasures that the flexibility of homeschooling allows a family. This is why it is a good idea to read up about different homeschooling styles and if possible talk to others using them. Even if you are not sure what style will suit the needs of your children best, you will get a good idea of what all you can attempt to do.