Helping Your Homeschool Students Focus Better

Getting a child’s attention is easy, its holding their focus on the task involved that holds the real challenge. If your young homeschool students are unable to focus on anything for more than five minutes flat, you may like to help them to focus better using some of the tips given here.

Unplug All Distractions

There is nothing as disruptive as intrusive technology. Before asking your homeschool student to focus on a task make sure that the mobile phone is switched off, no television program is running and the siblings all are made aware that the current task needs utmost focus. Get everyone into the mode of silent concentration for that given duration so that every one can focus on what they are doing. It’s a good idea to synchronize the tasks that need concentration for everyone.

Break Down the Task into Smaller Goals

Keeping a long attention span does not come naturally to children. You will need to build up the focus duration by starting with simple five minute long tasks that your homeschool student must finish. Once he is able to focus for that long, gradually add a minute or two to the next set of tasks. Before you know it he will be able to focus for half an hour with no trouble at all.

Keep a Buffer Time Between Lessons

It is difficult to go from one attention demanding task to the next without a break. The human brain has a tendency to perform better when it is given frequent and small breaks. So between two lessons that require complete concentration and focus please keep a five minute buffer time. Let the homeschool students relax in these five minutes with no task to perform.

Cut Down on Sugar

The diet of the child can also affect his ability to concentrate for long periods of time. If you want your child to be more focused in the classroom, ensure that they eat light meals without too much sugar in them. This will make sure that they don’t feel heavy, bloated or energy charged in the classroom, leading to better attention spans.


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Keeping Your Homeschool Class Healthy

A single child falling sick in a homeschooling family can throw the whole schedule out of kilter. The trip to the doctor with the sick child and subsequent care for him will ensure that the efficiency of your homeschool classroom drops drastically. This means that keeping your set of homeschool students in good health should be a major priority for you. Here are some simple ways that you can tweak your daily routine to ensure that all of your students, and you, stay healthy.

The Healthy Diet

Yes, the food you eat plays a major role in maintaining good health. We do not give our children junk food, but are we ensuring that they eat healthy? Have you studied the fact that each child requires a different amount of calories at different age levels? Or that the daily requirements of vitamins and minerals also varies with age?  General guidelines to a healthy diet would include eating more fresh fruits and vegetables as opposed to processed foods. Also adding plenty of nuts and whole grains helps. As does cutting down on sugars and starches. Specific dietary requirements for children with allergies will have to be taken into consideration as you move to eating more wholesome meals.

The Regular Exercise Routine

No, there is no getting away from the exercise. You can simply not stay healthy if you do not give your body at least fifteen minutes of concentrated exercise every day. The good news is that as a homeschooling family you can choose an activity that helps you all exercise together. Plus you can pick more than one activity from a wide selection such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, yoga, tennis, basketball, and more. The idea is to ensure that everyone gets a mini workout every day. The important part to remember is that the exercise may differ each day, but the body needs to be exercised in a healthy manner each day. Even on the weekends.

If this seems too much to ask given your busy schedule, just ask yourself how much more trouble you will be in if a single one of you falls ill!

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Guiding Your Teenage Homeschooler

Whoever said that time solved all problems, never went from homeschooling a toddler to homeschooling a teenager! While some skills are mastered by the time the homeschool student hits his teens, there are a whole new set of issues that the parent must deal with as he grows older. How do you guide this young human being to live up to his full potential?

Share the Dream

The key to creating a life full of inspiration and passion is to help your teenager take charge of his own learning. The basis of this is to ask your child what his dream for life is. The things he wants to do, the job he feels he would like to work at, the kind of place he wants to live in, the hobbies he will develop. You need to sit down and work out each phase of his dream life with him. Then ask him to make a plan on how he wishes to accomplish all that he wants in life.

Create your own Life Plan

Now that your teenager has a clear idea of what he hopes to achieve in life, give him the freedom to create his own life plan. The study syllabus should be designed by him keeping the end goal in mind. He will now pick lessons that bring him closer to accomplishing his dreams. Let him find out all about what he needs to learn in order to be successful in his chosen field, then help him learn all of it. His academic achievements now have a definite goal in mind.

Building Skills and Confidence Level

No matter how independent your teenager may seem, he is still a child who is learning to take his first steps into creating a life of his choice. He will constantly need your support specially when he is unable to ask for it out of pride. You have to be able to mentor him in a way that he builds skills that will help him. Then when he succeeds with short term goals, it will give him the confidence he needs to meet his long term goals and dreams.



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Fostering Creative Skills in Homeschool Students

In the homeschool classroom you want to teach your students all that they would ever need to know to do well in life. In the zeal to teach them everything you know, sometimes you forget that they need time to work things out on their own. In order to foster creative skills and self learning in homeschool students you should help them develop their own interests.

Have a Creative Time Slot

Yes, you want them to gainfully occupied with learning at all times, but creativity does not work that way. Give them a creative time slot in which they can do, or not do, anything they want. Let them read books that inspire them, or just sit out in the garden till creativity strikes. Just tell them to come up with a project that allows them to be creative in some manner.

Provide the Materials They Could Use

When the creative idea strikes, ask them to write down all the materials that they think they will require to complete the project. This will get them in the habit of logical thinking as well as list building. A good set of skills to reinforce creativity. Once you have the list, suggest changes that you may have and then set off for the shop. Creativity should not stop for lack of materials.

Plan the Project in Phases

Depending on the complexity of the creative project undertaken by your homeschool student, have him divide it up into different phases. Each phase can take from a single day to a week based on what needs to be done. This is sort of a route map that they can measure their activity against. It will also give them a rough idea about just how long a certain project will take to be completed.

Be Supportive but not Intrusive

A new project undertaking can be an existing time for the homeschooling family. Be sure to let your child know that you are there to support him in the project, at the same time reign in your own enthusiasm. Remember it is not your project, so allow your child to learn from his own mistakes and experiences.

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Making Science Experiments a Part of Homeschooling Life

Considering that every thing around us, and a number of activities that we perform daily are all part of some stream of science, it is easy to add science experiments to the daily routine of a homeschooling family. Just start talking about the principles behind the activity being undertaken and it automatically goes from being a daily chore to a simple science experiment. Here are some suggestions for science experiments that you can incorporate into your daily homeschool routine.

Watering the Lawn

Mark off a small square with some string on four sticks. This area is part of the lawn, preferably towards one edge, that is not to be watered when the rest of the lawn is. Keep a visual record of how the patch of grass begins to dry up by using a digital camera. Calculate how many days the grass could survive without water before it dried up. Ask why the edge towards the rest of the lawn stayed green longer. Record all observations in a special science experiment notebook.

Cleaning the Kitchen Counter

With young children helping to make their own snacks, there is bound to be a mess on your kitchen counter. Use the bread crumbs, ketchup, peanut butter or jelly on the counter for a clean up experiment. Ask the homeschool students what would be the best cleaner to get the stuff off the kitchen counter. Have them try to clean the surface with a dry towel, then a wet wipe, and even using a cleaning fluid for more stubborn stains. Soon they will be able to deal with each type of mess in a much more organized manner, using the best cleaner to leave the kitchen counter spotless.

Drying the Wash

If you have a dryer, your children may not have seen a clothesline and how the sun can be used to dry the wash. Just rig up a small clothesline and have them wash personal items like hankies and socks to hang up on it. Now let them check how long it took for the sun to dry the clothes. To make it even more interesting one sock can be left hanging inside the house while the other dries in the sun. Have them record the time both took to dry.


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Interactive Multimedia Books for Your Homeschooler

The current generation of children are more used to watching a movie than reading a book. It is a habit that follows the homeschool students into their classrooms. If you wish your children were more interested in reading the book, here’s a great way to bring them into the book reading club. Add some videos and audio tracks to the book, a couple of QR squares to be scanned and viola the boring old book has been transformed using a smartphone in to a multimedia marvel.

Get interactive with the books

The story book which can have a video attached to it, along with a song that the child can sing along is definitely going to be more popular than one which has just some pretty pictures printed in it. The first time you read Alf the Workshop Dog by Emma Calin, you can rest assured that your homeschool student will teach you just how to scan the QR code to reach the YouTube video where the national anthem can be seen. Don’t be surprised if you have to watch the video more than once and even find yourself humming the tune.

Hunt for Interactive Books on Amazon

If you are wondering where you will find such books, its very simple. The online Amazon store has a fair number of such children’s books. In the search box type out interactive books in the children’s books department and you will have a great many results to pick from. Choose stories that would be interesting to your child when you buy your books. Trust me, once they discover how easy it is to connect the story in the book to a video online or a set of images that they can play with, it is going to become their new favorite read.

Once you have hooked them on such interactive books, you can gradually make them focus on the actual written word where the story plays out. Now they will be more receptive to actually reading the story and gradually you can move them on to regular books. That’s the beauty of using an available educational tool to meet your end result of getting your kids to read more books!

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Searching for Homeschooling Resources

There is no denying the fact that a homeschooling parent can find a huge amount of data on the internet to help in the classroom. The problem often lies in finding and using the material to its optimal. Here are some suggestions that you may find useful when searching for homeschool resources online.

Free or Paid?

The first question you need to ask yourself is how much are you willing to pay for the homeschool resources? Would you prefer to pay in money and save time for ready and available resources? Or would you like to save money and spend some time in order to get free resources off the net? Once you know exactly what you are looking for it will be easier to find.

Terms to Specify What You Are Looking For
Instead of looking for “Homeschool materials” or “Homeschool resources” try using keywords such “activity book grade five” or “used science curriculum book grade three”. The more specific you are the better chance you have of finding a resource that you will be able to use effectively. Add the word “free” in order to see what other results the search engine may throw up.

Shipping and Additional Costs

While getting digital downloads is the easiest way to have your homeschool resources delivered, you may have to get other materials shipped to your location. This holds true of used homeschool books. Even if the books are being offered free, the shipping charges will have to be met. Make sure you contact the people about any additional costs that you may have to pay when getting the materials from them.

Returns Policy

Sometimes you may inadvertently order things second hand which are not suited for your purpose. Rather than being stuck with low cost books that you are not going to use, it is a good idea to discuss a returns policy with the person you are dealing with. Have a clause to return whatever material you are not going to use in order for a percentage refund of your money. That way you are not stuck with things you don’t need.

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Homeschooling Materials You Will Need to Use

While homeschooling gives you a great deal of freedom to teach your children how you want, it also allows you to use unconventional resources and homeschooling materials. Here is a list of such materials that you will surely need to use in your homeschool classroom.

Study Books from Different Curriculum

These books will be required to cover the syllabus that you have fixed up for your homeschool student’s grade. You may be using a specific curriculum for all subjects or taking the best bits of a number of curriculum and working out your own system. You can get study books and reference books at a discount if you go for second hand books.

Activity Books and Worksheets

While worksheets allow your homeschool student to practice new concepts that you have taught in the class, activity books help keep him occupied when you have other things to do. Both have an important place in the homeschool classroom and you will be using them extensively. Activities that go out of the books into constructing your own projects will always be preferred by the students to merely coloring between the lines. Scholastic has some great books that you can check out.

Educational Toys and Board Games

A good educational toy allows the homeschool student to learn a number of skills while making it all seem like play. There are a wide variety of educational toys available for all age groups and grades in elementary school level. the toys will give way to board games as the children grow older. Again some of these games can be so much fun, that the learning that takes place is hardly noticed. Try Funskool for many entertaining and educational toys.

All Kinds of Organizational Tools

Placing all the school materials in order and organizing them in such a manner that you can reach everything when you need it requires great organizational skills. Or perhaps having the right tools and furniture can help. The right folders, shelves and cupboards in a classroom can make life much easier for both the teacher and the children. Consider getting special furniture made to fit in to your classroom if you really want to make optimum use of space.

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Note Taking for Homeschool Students

Taking down notes is an essential learning skill that a homeschool student must learn. Especially if they plan to go on to regular college. It is also a simple skill to learn. Given here are some tips that you can use to teach your homeschool student to take good notes down.

Create Your Own Shorthand Code

While you do not need to learn official shorthand, it helps if you have your own short cut codes while taking notes. There is usually no time to write complete sentences, so writing in symbols and key concepts helps keep up with the speaker. The homeschool student should be encouraged to develop a series of abbreviations that he can memorize and use with ease while note taking. The more familiar the homeschool student is with the code the faster the note taking will go.

Evaluate, Organize and Summarize

The homeschool student needs to hear what is being said, while simultaneously evaluating which points are important, organizing them into headlines, and then summarizing whatever has been said per headline in a couple of statements. It will help to have more occasions to practice the skill. Encourage the homeschool students to take notes of a sermon in church, a new broadcast on television or even a TED ED video.

Review and Revise On the Go

As soon as the speaker has finished speaking, go over he notes that have been taken down. This will help to add in details that you may have missed, or add more explanations that you may want to, and even make corrections and clarifications that you wish to write in. The longer you wait to revise, the less you will remember of what the speaker had spoken. That’s why its important to re-read the notes you have taken right away.

Formal Note Taking Methods

Two formal note taking methods are the Column method and the Mind Map method. In the Column method the  page is divided into three columns, where the first column is used for main ideas and the remaining two for filling in details and examples. In the Mind Map method the topic or central idea is placed at the middle of the page, then lines are branched out for subsequent sub ideas that are mentioned. Related ideas get lines from the same branch, new ideas get placed in a fresh branch.

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Making Time for Homeschool Children While Working From Home

The more time you spend with your children the better their emotional health will be. This is a fact supported by scientific study. This means that a homeschooled child should be very well adjusted indeed, or is there more to the story? Typically a homeschooling family is surviving on a single parent’s salary. This means careful budgeting for just about every activity. It also means that the homeschooling parent will try and find a way to boost the family income while working from home. Now before it all becomes too much for you, use these tips to spend more time with your homeschool students.

The Daily Fun Activity

While you will never neglect the children’s study schedule on purpose, it is easy to let the fun times slide, especially when you are feeling bushed for time. Children are very sensitive to the emotions of a parent and if you are feeling rushed for time, they are not likely to open up and talk with you. They will quietly do their own thing and not speak with you even if they do have a problem. The onus of keeping up the daily fun activity lies entirely on you. Don’t skip it, or you may realize you missed out on spending fun time with your children for weeks together.

Cook Together

From special treats like cupcakes to any regular meal of pasta and sandwiches. It really doesn’t matter what you cook together, as long as you have them reading recipes, measuring ingredients, and finally sit down together to enjoy the fruit of your effort together. There is a whole lot of learning happening while you and your children are enjoying each other’s company. Plus you have multi tasked by having them help you cook the snack or meal of the day.

Bed Time Routine and Story

As younger children love being read a story to at bed time, you can ensure that you spend quality time with them as part of the daily routine. In due course of time, as they become older, they may not wish to be read out loud to, but you can still continue to spend about fifteen minutes of time at night before bed time with them. This is the time when they can chat with you and have your undivided attention if they wish to share something important.


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