Shifting Between Systems

Homeschooling may not have been your first choice but perhaps it is your only one. Maybe you have shifted abroad and no local school has English language based instruction, or you move about so much that studying in a regular school is not an option. No matter what the reason you may have to shift from regular school to homeschool, there is bound to be some apprehension on both sides when you make the switch.Here’s what you can do to make it easier on both sides.

Prepare for the Change

A child, who is not used to the parent being in a teacher’s role, will need to redefine the authority figure. A parent, who has not been much of a disciplinarian, may have to work on methods to hold the child’s attention. For both, the teacher and the student, this period of transition can be difficult. However if you are mentally prepared for the undertaking it can be done with considerable ease.

Keep the Child Informed

If you are going to begin homeschooling ensure that the potential homeschool student is aware of the situation that is leading to this change. Give the child time to come to terms with the change. About a month in advance start preparing the child for the future. Sit down and have a detailed chat about the course of action you are taking and the reasons for it. Even a younger child may have questions and doubts that you should take the time to address.

Avoid the Isolation

Going to public school involves meeting up with a large number of people everyday. Even if the actual number of friends that your child has is limited, he is used to seeing many people when he leaves the house. Homeschooling will cut into this and may leave the child feeling isolated. To avoid this ensure that there are after school activities that the child can join in. A club, a sport, or even learning a musical instrument can all count as acceptable distractions. Making new friends may not be possible immediately but having new people around the child is. Perhaps he will pick new friends from among them.

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Do You Homeschool Year-Round?

homeschool science Regular schools shut down for the summer, but homeschooling families have no such compulsion. So do they take a break during the summer as well or do they carry on homeschooling all year round? The yearly routine would depend on a number of factors. Here are some that you can consider.

Are you planning a long trip out of town?

Some families tend to go visit grandparents or take exploratory trips that last more than a couple of weeks. If you plan to take a long trip out of town at a different time of the year, it would make more sense to continue homeschool classes during the summer. That way you will stay on track academically speaking without piling on the pressure towards the end of the year.

Does the weather where you live get particularly hostile at some part of the year?

If you live in a place where the winters cause you to get snowed in or the summers are so hot that you get housebound for the major part of the day, it would make sense to continue homeschool classes at these times. Since you are going to be stuck in the house for the majority of the day due to the weather, it would make sense to use the time to get some learning done.

Do you take a mid term break when you finish half of your syllabus?

Some families start slowly and build up momentum through the homeschooling year with the majority of classes happening in the last quarter. Others prefer to take a dash into the new academic year by quickly picking up speed in the homeschool classes as soon as the new session begins. No matter when you get there, when you finish half of your prescribed syllabus for the year, consider taking a mid term break to relax and recoup.

Scheduling short breaks for each season may also work

Every season has something new to offer in terms of physical activity like swimming in summer, or hiking in autumn, or camping in spring. It makes sense to take a short break from homeschooling to enjoy these activities. So schedule your school breaks in a manner that allows you to make the best of the season.

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Homeschool Disconnects the Father

homeschool curriculum In most homeschooling families the pattern that is followed is that the mother is the homeschool teacher and the father is the primary bread winner. In this case the mother spends most of her day in the company of the children and grows closer to them in a way that would never be possible if the children were attending a regular school.This does not happen with the father.

Not the best thing for the family

While the stronger bond that the mother and children forge is a beautiful gift in itself, it can have one slightly ugly fallout. The homeschool clique consisting of the mother and childre unintentionally disconnects itself from the father. The kids are much more comfortable speaking with the mother and are not quite as quick to share their thoughts with the father. While it is only natural that a child feels more comfortable with the parent he is spending more time with, the eventual outcome of this situation may not be the best thing to happen to the family.

Involving Dad in the daily thread

It is important that the homeschooled children spend some quality time with their father. Since there is not much scope for a long activity at the end of the day it could be something simple like playing a game or reading a book together. The shared hobby such as stamp collection or building a model plane may also work well. It should be something exclusive to the children and their father. What is important is that they spend some time together everyday doing a common activity which both look forward to. It is equally important for the mother to sit this activity out.

Exclusive family outings

The best way to bond as a family is the spend time together. By planning weekends where the family goes climbing a hill, or exploring a museum, or playing an out door sport, the children will get to spend time with Dad and Mom. This will enhance the family aspect of their lives. The bonds that they forge will now be with both parents as a set rather than with just one individual. With a little effort and a lot of love it is easily possible to make Dad reconnect with the family.

 

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Homeschool Breaks Are Important

online homeschooling Working non stop can become tiring for both the homeschooling parent as well as the student. Sometimes the parent feels that by finishing up all the written study work in the morning and keeping the afternoon relatively free is a good system. While this may sound good once in a while, most homeschooling students do not want to study non stop for five hours in the morning only to have nothing to do in the afternoon. They would rather take small breaks between all the tasks that they have to do all through the day.

Breaks are Part of Your Schedule

Just as important as covering your subjects may seem to you, breaks are also important. In fact you need to schedule in the breaks that you will take each day. Without a break you will find that your children’s ability to concentrate will suffer. They will become tired and get irritable when you suggest that they do some more writing work. You can ensure that they get enough down time by sprinkling in enough breaks through the school day.

20 Minutes is Optimum

It is a good idea to take a short break once you have finished with a subject or topic that you have scheduled to cover in your homeschool classroom. Ideally speaking a 20 minute break, outside the homeschool classroom spent doing something fun, is optimum. These breaks serve as a refreshing and rejuvenating period between otherwise demanding classes. You will find that when you return to the homeschool classroom your homeschool students will perform better after a break.

Don’t Let Anything Interrupt Your Break Schedule

There are some days when things are not exactly going as planned in the homeschool class room. The students are taking longer to finish their written work, or someone is just not interested in the assignment that has been given out. Maybe there has been a discipline issue, or household chores like laundry, baths, and making lunch have taken more time than they should have. The reason why you are running behind in the academic schedule does not matter. In such a situation you will be tempted to delay or cut short a break. Don’t do that as a break is likely to prove more therapeutic under such circumstances to both you and the children.

 

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Creative Exploration at the SLO Maker Space

SLOMakerSpace

If you enjoyed exploring science and technology this past week with SuperchargedScience Camp, then you may find the SLO MakerSpace (in San Luis Obispo, California) a valuable resource for your family. The MakerSpace is a shared tech facility with wood and metal shops, ceramics, electronics, sewing, laser cutter, and 3-D printers. We are developing programs for kids such as our creative building challenge every Friday evening 6:00 – 8:00.

If you are interested, more information can be found at: http://www.slomakerspace.com/.

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 8.12.58 PM

https://www.facebook.com/SloMakerSpace

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The World Through Monuments in Crafting 3D

homeschool science Exploring the whole wide world can be quite daunting in the homeschool classroom. Here is a simple idea to introduce your homeschool students to some of the highlights of the world through famous monuments.

Start With Ten Monuments

Pick examples of famous buildings or iconic statues from around the world. Statue of Liberty, Colosseum, Eiffel Tower, Christ the Redeemer, Chichen Itza, Taj Mahal, Gateway of India, Great Wall of China, Sydney Opera House, Red Square’s St Basil’s Cathedral, or any other historically significant and famous monument will do.

Provide the Back Story

No monument is interesting to a child till you reveal its historical importance. Talk about one monument per day. Make sure you read up the back story beforehand to be able to answer the many questions you are sure to be asked. Have images ready in form of photos and videos to show your homeschool students.

Make a 3D Model in Craft Class

Now that the homeschool students know what the monument is all about get them to design a model. Explore the different materials that they can use to make a 3D model of the historically significant landmark. Have them construct one based on the original. It doesn’t have to be to scale or perfect. It should simply bear a good resemblance to the original.

Display the Monument Models on a World Map

Once you have constructed all ten monuments it is time to put them in perspective on the map of the world. You can buy a large sized map of the world and spread it out on the dining table. Now take each of the monuments and place them on the city/ country that they are found in. You can now include a discussion about each country out of the ten you have chosen.

Study the Countries in More Detail

Now that a general sense of interest has been invoked for each of the ten countries that the monuments are found in, you can speak more in detail about these countries. Talk of history, culture, language, popular celebrities, food and more from each country. Talk about which place they would like to visit and why they chose it. This is a great way to study the world.

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Android Apps to Aid Homeschooling

homeschool program You are not the first parent to give their child their smartphone. However you can be part of the growing group of smart parents who download educational apps disguised as games for their children to play with. With the Google Play Store at your finger tips you can actually download a fresh app every single day of the year. Not that I would recommend that you do so. Instead, pick from the top free apps in the educational section to ensure that when you hand over your smart phone to your child next, there is a good chance that homeschool learning will continue to occur. Here are some apps that parents have found useful.

Math Duel : 2 Player Math Game

A mathematics based game for two. It provides a basic math workout for students around 7 years of age and above. Teenagers will specially enjoy the competitive aspect of the game. Helps to revise addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. You also have the option to turn off a specific operation of the child has not yet grasped it.

eduDroid : Muti- tasking app

This one has a picture creator, stop motion, triangular maths, word searches, handwriting, phonics, spelling, reading, eBooks, quizzes, multiplication, number bonds, precision teaching, sound recording, money counting, hundreds tens and units, time, flash cards, app lock and more… all in one app. It can be used in parent and school modes as well.

TED : Videos an Audios

TED talks have gained a reputation for being the most informative and entertaining talks available in video format in the world today. With the TED app you can access all the different TED conferences in close to 22 languages. More than 1700 TEDTalk videos and audios are available with new ones being added each week. Its an unending source of information.

Booksy: learning-to-read platform

This one is primarily for your children who are starting to read. The app comes preloaded with three books for your youngster to start off with. Booksy describes itself as training wheels for books. It allows a child to read a book on his own and gain confidence in his fledgling reading skills.

These are not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding great Android apps to aid the homeschool parent. Search the Google Play store for more apps that you can use.

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Two Characteristics Your Homeschool Curriculum Must Have

home school programs When you decide to pick a curriculum for your homeschool students you must take a number of factors into consideration. The first would be financial as you would want a curriculum that you can afford, however don’t just pick the cheapest one available without checking the quality it affords. Ask other parents who have used homeschool curriculums to share their experiences. Word of mouth is often the best way to find out about a curriculum. The two characteristics that your homeschool curriculum must have are good academic standards and a well rounded world view.

1. Good Academic Standards

Since you want your child to learn all that is relevant to his grade you would need to pick a curriculum that has good standards. Academically speaking each child has to reach a certain level in every grade. You as the homeshcooling parent need to be aware of what this level is. Your homeschool curriculum is the one which will tell you what a good academic standard for children your child’s age is likely to be. A good curriculum allows you to understand the skills that your child needs to pick up in each academic session and shows you how to go about achieving this task.

2. Well Rounded World View

While there is nothing wrong in knowing what’s happening in your local city and state, it is now imperative for even young children to understand that there is a whole big world out there. Your homeschool curriculum should be able to cover not just your state or nation, but also that of other nations and the world in general. We are living in a world where boundaries are disappearing faster than ever and it is important for tolerance and understanding to grow. It is only when our children understand why other cultures do things slightly differently, will they be able to accept them.

For a child to grow up today without understanding the potential global village that he lives in, will be a huge disadvantage when he grows up. This is why he needs skills that help him cope with the world that he will be headed out to make a living in.

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Homeschool Transcripts

Keeping a record of the progress made by your homeschool student is not just optional, but a necessary requirement for many states. These homeschool transcripts may be required per subject along with a consolidated one for the entire academic session. It is a lot like the report card that a child in a regular school may receive at the end of the academic session. Creating these transcripts can be a new and challenging task to the first time homeschooling parent. Here are some ideas to get you started.
curriculum for homeschool

State Generated Guidelines

If your state has specific guidelines for the transcripts that they need you to follow it will be easier for you to keep records. You can just ask for the blank templates from the education authorities and fill them out. If however your state does not have a fixed form, you will need to read the guidelines provided in order to understand what all headings you are required to fill out details under.

Using Transcript Templates

If you find the task of designing your own records and transcripts from scratch too daunting, you can take a look at the number of templates available online. Homeschool transcript templates can be downloaded for free from a number of websites. Once you have seen a few you will get a good idea about all information needs to go in to a transcript and how you should arrange it.

Individual Subjects and A Master Homeschool Transcript

It is a good idea to divide the school year into four quarters and give the children grades and credits for each individual quarter in each subject you have taught. Then at the end of the year you can make a master homeschool transcript in which you can show each individual subject grade or credit in one sheet. This will be like an annual report card for the student.

Making transcripts is not as difficult as you think it is. The first year you may struggle a bit to get things just right, but the second year onwards you will already have a basic template available with you. Then its just a matter of filling out the printed sheets.

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Clutter Free Homeschool Classroom

With the large amounts of homeschooling material that you have on hand it can be easy for the classroom to become a huge mess. In order to organize things better and keep your homeschool room clutter free try using these tips.

homeschooling science

Find Storage Everywhere

You will have some cupboards and shelves in the room, but will soon realize that they are no where near enough for all the homeschool material that you have floating about. This is where you need to get inventive about finding storage areas. Get some bins that have covers and can be stacked up one on top of the other. Label the bins by subject or by child. Let the back of each child’s chair double up as storage with a tote hanging behind. The basic stationary for the child can be placed here. Use large glass jars or plastic bins to store manipulatives, flashcards, art material and more. Have everything labeled so that the children know what goes where.

Display Wall for Artwork, Schedules and More

Given the number of worksheets and artwork that each child generates in an academic year, you will have to come up with a good system to display them and preserve them. The best will naturally go in to the portfolio of the child which is a formal requirement at the time of college admissions. The rest can take turns being displayed for about a week on the display wall in the classroom before they are stored in a folder. Again make separate folders per child so that you can have easy access to the papers when you wish. It would be a good idea to label the folders with the year and what they contain if you have the time to do so.

Create Free Work Spaces

Not all families invest in separate study desks for each child. Some use the dining table, others use smaller tables and some just let the children sit on the floor. No matter what system you follow, a certain number of work spaces for writing, art and craft work, and doing science experiments needs to be created. Ensure that you keep these surfaces free of clutter and ever available to work on.

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