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.
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.
Each state has its own Homeschooling Requirements and you will need to check the exact details for your own state. You can find out about the different legal options under which your state allows you to homeschool with the local education authorities. Here are some requirements you may have to meet.
Most states want compulsory schooling for a child to begin at the age of five. A few may allow delayed instruction to begin under certain circumstances. So if you intend to homeschool your child make sure that you have your legal paper work ready by the time your child turns five.
While the day to day running of your homeschool classroom can not be monitored, you may be subject to inspections from time to time by educational authorities who wish to see the progress of the child. It is a good idea to have records of your curriculum, lesson plans, attendance sheets and any other paper work you maintain ready for such an inspection.
You may want to teach your child what he is interested in, but you will also need to teach your child what the state deems compulsory. Usually these will be basic subjects that are taught in public schools and ones that you would have to cover with your child in any case. However it is better to take a look at the subject list before you begin homeschooling for that academic session.
Tests and Grades
While there are no tests that are taken in the homeschool, you may have to subject your child to standardized tests each year. These serve the purpose of showing you and your child just where he stands amongst his peers. It also makes a good record of academic progress through the years which would be required should your child wish to go into regular college at a later date.
There are several other homeschooling requirements that you can take a look at. The educational authorities are usually happy to let you know exactly what you can expect and what you would be required to do.
The advent of digital cameras have made taking pictures so simple that anyone can point and shoot. The smartphones with their smarter cameras make it possible to even take videos on the go. The easy accessibility and general simplicity of use makes a digital camera or smartphone a great teaching tool for the homeschool classroom. Here are some ways to use photography as a teacher’s aid.
Photos are a great way to keep records of what all you have covered in the homeschool classroom. If you conduct any special activity or science experiment make sure that you take photos. A year book can be filled up with all the great photos that you have taken from the academic session. It can also serve as a quick revision for children as they see what all they have covered. Not to mention all the great memories the photos will provide.
On a field trip you see a number of things but can speak about only a few. Hand a camera to the child and ask him to take photographs of all the interesting things he sees that day. Then later you can review all the photos and speak about all the sights a second time at leisure as you watch them on a slideshow at home. It will be interesting to see what captured your child’s imagination and what popular sights he did not pay much attention to.
Learning to Handle Technology
By handing over a digital camera to the child you will encourage him to also learn the different technological skills associated with it. This would include recharging the batteries, attaching the lead that allows you to transfer images to the computer, handling the software that shows the pictures and maybe even editing the pictures when they learn some more.
Using photography as a teacher’s aid in the homeschool classroom can be a whole lot of fun. Just let your children get inventive with how they can apply photography to any lesson that you have taught them. They may come up with some surprisingly innovative ideas to do so.
Drifting through life is not an option for most kids who need to find a worthwhile objective for their lives. Kids when young want to be a million different things but as they grow older the choices for a fulfilling career narrow down. Perhaps the most angst is experienced by homeschooling teenagers who are not sure just what their goals for the future should be. Here we look at a simple method that will help them set valid goals that will improve the quality of their future.
Start Goal Setting Young
Goal setting is an acquired skill requiring some amount of organization. The best way to teach it to homeschooling children is when they are still young. Start with simple goals by asking them simple questions like what sport or skill would you like to become really good at this year? Or who are the people you want to spend more time with. Or what do you want to save money to buy this year end at Christmas. As long as the goal has a measurable end it is a good one. You should be able to measure the difference in skill level, or time spent with a loved one or purchase of the product.
Make Goals More Complex
As children manage to set and achieve simple goals in their younger years you may like to up the ante to more complex goals as the days go by. Start by asking questions like what would your ideal day be like, what all would you do that day? Or what all would you like to own or have by the end of the year. The fixed time frame and measurable results help the goal become a reality. If your child wants to publish a book of poetry ask how many poems the book will have, who the publisher will be and what the illustrations will look like. The more details the child is able to focus on the better the chance of the book actually being published. It works in a similar manner for any other goal that your teenaged homeschooling student may have.
A homeschool student’s dream can stay a dream unless you push your child into making it a reality. One of the best ways to consolidate the steps that lead to the fulfillment of a dream is designing a vision board. This is a simple form of goal setting that homeschool students can follow. Here is how it works.
Visual Clues to Fulfillment
Say that your child’s dream is to participate in a sport at the international level, Olympics or whatever associated sporting event it may be. Start by collecting images of the sport at local, state, national and international levels. Now organize them on a chart paper and paste them. Add motivational quotes from famous personalities or celebrities who have played the sport. Jazz it up with decorative items and hang it in the homeschool classroom. It doesn’t have to be realistic, but it needs to be inspirational.
Goal Setting for a Bright Future
You can make these vision boards for all their dreams and hopes. It could be something as complex as winning an Olympic gold as given in the example above, or something as simple as visiting the beach next summer. Let them also write down the steps that they will need to achieve the goal in a journal or personal diary. Keep a track of how many of these dreams come true. You can make individual boards for personal dreams, or come up with a family board for a shared goal like saving for a family vacation.
Why it Seems to Work
Children tend to be very artistic when designing their dream boards. As they scan through images that they can use they also begin to think of manners in which the dream can be realized. They look at the vision board and each day do a little something that will bring them closer to achieving that goal. The process just needs a whole lot of trust and some time to work its magic. A dream usually can be made to come true by having a good vision board for it.
all their dreams and hopes
all their dreams and hopes
The Fourth of July celebrations should extend to the homeschool classrooms. The homeschooling students need to know about the historical significance of the day. This can be taught in a fun manner by the homeschooling parent using these methods.
For really young children tell the story of how King George III of England decided to tax the 13 colonies of the new world. Explain how the people in America then were British Citizens and had to prove their allegiance to the distant king sitting in Europe. Explain how things got nasty with the rising taxes. Then comes the famous tea tax and the Boston Tea Party. You can use pictures from the internet and make it a powerpoint slide show to go along with the story to make it more visually appealing.
Work your way up to the fifty six men who decided to break free from colonial rule and signed the Declaration of Independence. Spell out how it was considered treasonous against the crown and the men were in danger of losing their lives if caught. Talk about the freedom movement reaching its culmination in 1783. Then speak of the ways in which the day is celebrated. The fireworks, community picnics, marching bands in parades and all. In the end have them stand up as you hoist the flag and sing the national anthem.
As your children grow older you may have to repeat the story a couple of years for them to remember all the pertinent details. Then you can ask them to join in on the retelling of the story of how America won independence. Introduce them to important documents such as The Magna Carta, The Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, George Washington’s Farewell Address, The Star Spangled Banner, and The Gettysburg Address.
Eventually you can move on to an Independence day Quiz based on all that they read in these documents. Instill in your homeschooling students a sense of pride in their nation. Teach them about liberty, oppression, the law and just governance. Explain how the nation stands for freedom from tyranny of the exploitative and unjust forces that use violence to gain their means. Talk about how America helps other nations who are suffering from such compulsions. Give them much food for thought and a sense of gratefulness to be born in such a great nation.
No matter how creative you are, when you homeschool you can can always use a few new ideas to ensure that you can keep your homeschool students motivated and happy in the classroom. One of the best places to pick up free homeschooling material is the Amazon Kindle sebook store.
Don’t worry if you do not have an Amazon Kindle device. You can still access Kindle ebooks on the Kindle Cloud Reader on your computer. All you need is an Amazon account, which being a homeschooling parent you might already have. Here’s how you can get more material for your homeschool classroom.
Log in to your account and find free material
Once you have signed in to your Amazon Account head over to the Kindle ebook store. Here type in homeschooling material related keywords for what you need more ideas. Also type in $0.00 along with this keyword. The results will show you a number of ebooks related to your query. Look for the ones that interest you most and open these product pages. Confirm that the price is set at $0.00 before you click the purchase button.
How to use this free material for homeschooling
Once you have confirmed your purchase the ebook will be added to your online library on Kindle. You can now view this ebook using the Kindle Cloud Reader. A fresh window will open up with the contents of the ebook displayed. You can now use this material as reading practice, a comprehension exercise, or even devise worksheets for your homeschool students out of this.
Be careful about copyright usage
Since most homeschooling families tend to share the material that they have developed with their friends who also homeschool, you will have to be vigilant about copyright violations. It would be a good idea to let your friends know that you are using a specific ebook to develop the material. That way they will not inadvertently post the material in public and violate copyright of the material. Some material is offered free and is allowed to be shared, but you will need to be careful how you use it.
You need to read a lot if you homeschool your children. This means that you will have access to lots of books on world history, philosophy, physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, literature, and many other topics. So what’s stopping you from reading up more on something that really interests you?
Pick a Subject
You can become a student in your own homeschool classroom. Just like you would plan lessons and activities for your children’s subjects, you can plan one for yourself in the day as well. You could keep quite about it and do it in your own time when the children are otherwise occupied, or you could announce your decision to learn more about a subject that you have picked up to the whole class. Older students of the homeschool classroom may want to join you in learning more about the topic, or may even decide to make out your test sheets based on what you are reading!
Write down the reason you want to study something
Having a goal is an important motivational tool. Say you want to revise your long forgotten French. Write down what use you will put this language to, and how proficient you expect to become. Break it up into small daily goals that you must reach. For instance you could revise how to say one new sentence each day. At the end of the month you will have picked up thirty new sentences. This is akin to the way you would plan a lesson for your homeschool students.
Stay on the path, don’t give up
Its not always going to be fun when you are homeschooling your children, and in addition trying to learn something new yourself. However persistence is the key here. Make sure that you pay attention to all aspects of your homeschool. Teach the children and take out a little time for yourself to get to your books. Even if you feel that there are a hundred other things that need your attention, give yourself 15 minutes to be a student in your homeschool classroom. It will pay off in the long run as you will end up meeting your goals and getting a major high!
In a bid to do everything right the homeschooling parent can end up stressing out over small issues. Here are some guidelines to ensure that you do not sweat the small stuff.
Fit the curriculum to your needs
The curriculum is just a suggested way of teaching your children. Remember that you are not having school at home, you are homeschooling. You do not need the rules that school needs, you just need to enjoy what you teach your child. Watch them learn while you sit on the sofa and watch a historical movie, or pick up a book and curl up in bed, its all up to you. Do what is best suited to your family needs.
Identify learning styles of each child
Just because one child did worksheet after worksheet to master addition is no reason why the other one will also follow the same academic path. Some children learn better when they read, others pick up stuff faster if they see a video. The different learning styles have been identified and classified by leading experts. So you need to learn which style suits each child best and then use it.
Variety is the key to interest in the homeschool classroom
Try all kinds of different stuff. You never know when you will find something interesting that the children will enjoy. Buy different kinds of art supplies to use, enroll for group learning activities, play different musical instruments, get all kinds of videos to watch, visit different types of places on your field trips. The idea is to make the world come alive for your children. Show them what all there is available so that they can pick up what they like best out of that.
Don’t ignore “Life Skills”
Academic skills are taught in school but life skills are taught in homeschool. Things like learning to fold your own socks, make your own bed neatly, riding a bike, to eventually driving a car, are all life skills that your child needs to learn. Ensure you prepare them for life by writing out a list of these skills that your child needs to learn before they leave your home.
The majority of families who homeschool tend to see the mother in the primary role of homeschooling teacher. There are families where the father is the main teacher but this is the exception rather than the rule. However every homeschooling father can do small tasks that support the effort of the mother and play a meaningful role in the lives of their children.
Teach at least one class in the week
It can be current affairs, practicing their multiplication tables, going through proverbs or moral stories. Pick anything that you can teach with minimum preparation if you do not have time to set out a full lesson plan and activities. Make the class as interesting as you possibly can with interactive activities. The subject does not matter, what matters is that your children see you as a part and parcel of the homeschooling tradition of the family.
Be the hand of discipline
Most children love to be seen as perfect little angels by their fathers. However if they are a bit on the naughty side, and children will be children, the father can take over the role of disciplinarian. That way the mother merely has to threaten to tell the father when the children are misbehaving and regain control over the homeschool classroom. No actual punishment is needed, merely the hanging threat works most of the time. However the punishments must also be real initially for this system to work well.
Love and respect your wife
You can preach a million sermons but children can see through your lies in an instant. By affording your wife and partner love and respect in front of your children, you are in fact teaching them a valuable lesson in relationships. It takes a team to raise a happy family. One parent can never take the full blame or credit of having done something. It is important for the children to see how a well established partnership works to be able to replicate this in their own adult relationships. So be affectionate towards your wife and include the children when you plan special surprises for her.