Questions to Clear Your Doubts on Homeschooling

There’s a million things rushing through your mind. You have been homeschooling for a while and it’s beginning to look like a big mistake. You wonder if putting your children back into a regular school may be the right thing to do? Here are some questions you need to ask yourself, to check if it really is so.

Why Did You Begin Homeschooling?

This is one way to bring it down to the basics. Think about the primary reason why you decided to homeschool your children. Now check if that want is being met. If you needed them to learn in a loving environment instead of one filled with fear, you should have succeeded the very day you began teaching them at home. If it’s about removing your child from the influence of a bully, again, you’ve already achieved the goal. Most people usually have trouble with providing a consistent education in homeschool. It’s not wrong, it’s just not regular school.

What Are Your Homeschooling Goals?

This is one that often helps bring irrational fears to rest. Writing down your goals, whether they are academic ones that your homeschool students need to reach, or life goals like building their characters, it makes it easier to view your progress when you have it down in front of you in pen and paper. If you find yourself lagging behind in a few areas, all you have to do is concentrate on them for the next month or so to make up the progress. If you want them to accomplish more life skills, add it to your goals.

Do Your Doubts Have A Valid Reason?

Most parents who take up homeschooling will go through bouts where they doubt their ability to do justice to their children. The ideal and perfect education may get a bit lost between sticky tables and dirty knees. However, if you are leading a happy group into learning more skills each day, it should not worry you how they learn. It is rare when the parent is truly unable to meet the requirements of their homeschool students. So unless you have a valid reason, don’t sweat about it too much.

 

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Temporary Homeschooling

There can be a number of reasons why your child is unable to attend regular school for a while and may need to be homeschooled. Maybe there was a job change that involved a move for the family, or the child had been ill and couldn’t attend regular school.

It could be because the child is adverse to desk work and unable to sit down and study in regular school or there are gaps in their education that the school is unable to cover. The reason for taking on temporary homeschooling do not matter, what matters is that you meet the child’s current educational needs.

Do Education Differently

You know you have just a season or a year of homeschooling to do, so why should you recreate a regular school like classroom at home? Instead do things differently by taking your child out on road trips, visits to museums, art galleries, concerts and more. Each experience will open new vistas for your homeschool student, giving him a better understanding of the world.

Focus on the Core Subjects

There’s no need to go crazy doing everything. Just focus on the core subjects that your child would have worked on in regular school in the given grade. You can do some research online or get a teacher to share what educational skills they need to master at the current grade level to keep a target for yourself. Once you know what your homeschool student needs to learn, set up study material for it. Make it available to your student.

Have a Goal Split Up into a Series of Steps

Once you have the bigger picture about what your homeschool students needs to cover during the temporary homeschooling phase, create a step wise checklist for the end goal. This will allow you to have a “to- do” list of a kind, that keeps you on track for the time you spend homeschooling. It’s a good road map to have when you can easily get distracted by other things. This way you can keep ticking things off the checklist when you get them done.

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From Middle School to High School in Homeschool

As your homeschool student grows up, things become more interesting in the classroom. There’s a number of new skills to be honed, and a lot more independence to be learnt. In the midst of this transition, it is also time for the homeschool teacher to loosen the reigns and let the student explore on their own. Here are a couple of points to consider when your Middle School kid moves up into High School in your homeschool.

Some Amount of Autonomy Is In Order

Offer the homeschool student some choices to make about their education curriculum. Get them more involved in the process of selecting what they need to study for the grade level. Ask them how they want to proceed with the study material. It’s a good thing to get their input on what they would like to do in High School.

That way when you have assignments related to what they want to learn, they are much more likely to cooperate with you in the homeschool classroom. Maybe not all the time, considering that they are now heading into the teenage years, but they are more likely to do things that they have said they would like to do, than what you tell them to do.

Strengthen Weaknesses and Work Towards a Goal

A High School teenager is not going to be happy working on something he is not good at. This is the age that they want to be the best at everything. It will take some fast talking to convince them that they should work on their weaknesses so that they can be transformed into strengths. This is done with greater ease when they have a specific goal in mind.

For those who have a problem with math, it may help convince them to learn better so that they can handle their future finances better. Those with a problem with reading may be convinced about the amount of speed reading they will have to do in college related courses. The homeschool parent would be the best judge of how to motivate their homeschool student to work harder.

 

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From Pre-School to the Homeschool Classroom

It’s not that much time before your pre-school toddler needs to be admitted to regular school. However, if you have been having fun teaching your kid at home, you may want to continue that with transitioning them to a regular homeschool classroom. In most cases the shift from informal learning to formal schooling can occur with minimal fuss, if you mentally prepare the homeschool student and get organized. Here are some ways to make it easier for yourself.

Pick Up a Curriculum Guide

By having a set curriculum, it makes life much easier when you are easing into more responsibilities as a homeschool teacher. This can be a stressful time as many first time parents are often overwhelmed with the number of things that they need to do in the homeschool classroom. Having a guide helps them break into their new role as the sole teacher of their children with ease. It leaves the homeschool teacher with more free time to implement the curriculum.

Have a Proper Space for The Class

Having a physical area designated to be the homeschool classroom can be a very good idea. It allows the homeschool student to associate the place with formal learning. It’s also easier to store all the study material that the homeschool teacher will need to accumulate. The separate are becomes a place of study and the students know that they are expected to act in a certain manner there. It helps in settling them down to book learning faster.

Educate Yourself on What to Expect

There are a lot of homeschooling parents who are happy to pass on their personal experience. Just do an online search and you will end up with more blogs and websites than you can possibly read in your lifetime. It may be a good idea to pick up a few bloggers who have popular blogs and begin to follow them. There will be a number of ideas that you can pick up from them.

Plus most of them are happy to reply to your questions in their comments section. Having real life expertise is extremely helpful at times.

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Tools to Teach Toddlers in Homeschool

Homeschooling pre-school kids can be more play than work. The bonding is stronger and the child can grow up curious about learning more from the parent when they transition into the formal role as a homeschool teacher. While we may not need to invest much when it comes to play learning with toddlers, it’s a good idea to have these tools around to use.

Books

Reading out loud has many benefits that have been cataloged and studied over the years. If you read to your pre-school kids they will have better vocabularies, be able to focus attention for longer and learn to think about situations and people much faster. The reading and writing skills of such children also develop faster when they are in the homeschool classroom. Have a few books that you can read out to them and make it a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, get a library membership to keep up the new book supply.

Blocks

A set of this simple but ingenious toy can keep your toddlers engaged for hours with the help of a little creativity. Using abstract blocks can help them design and invent their own world using their imagination. A trait that must be encouraged and nurtured. A healthy imagination allows your pre-school kids to think outside the box and come up with unusual solutions to daily issues.Plus it’s always fun to build and knock down the towers.

Jigsaws

Everyone enjoys a bit of a puzzle to exercise the brain. Jigsaws are a hot favorite with children. A word of caution, do make sure that the jigsaw puzzle that you are sharing with your toddlers is age appropriate. The skill level of the pre-school kids is not inclined to match to a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle. When it’s much too tough to do, the children will lose interest. Keep it to the simple versions and only increase the difficulty level once they master the basics.

Sensory Boxes

Soap bubbles, sand boxes, silk scarf, just about anything can be put into a sensory box. Have a set of boxes that can be pulled out and used to explore for the toddlers. Most of them love to put their hands into boxes filed with beans or rice. Allow them to make their own clay with white flour and water. Ice cubes can provide endless hours of entertainment. Have them add color to the water before freezing the cubes and use them to paint pictures.

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Tips to Begin Homeschooling Pre-Schoolers

Pre-schoolers are the kids aged two to five years. They are the most perfect sponges. Everything you do around them is absorbed at such a quick rate. This is the ideal time to try out your teaching skills. Especially if you are planning on homeschooling later on. Here are some ways to make toddlers in your home learn even before they start out school.

Read Books Out Loud To Them

Reading out stories is a great way to get started on pre-school education. Ask them questions as you read a story for the first time. Make them think about what the character does next. Predicting what happens gets them more engaged in the story. Once is never enough for pre-schoolers, so the second time you are reading out to them you may want to point out the pictures. The third time you may like to use your fingers on the words that you are reading out loud to help them identify the words.

Don’t Use Baby Talk and Made Up Words

Yes it sounds very cute when the toddler speaks with a limited number of words and gestures, but that doesn’t mean that you as the adult should dumb down your speech. Please don’t use made up words and confuse your child. A baby is extremely intelligent and will use whatever words you feed him. Try and keep the vocabulary building going, rather than giving in to rhyming words that make no sense, but just sound funny or sweet.

Always Add Free Play Time

A child learns about the world around him by exploring it on his own. The best way to do this is through playing. Keep educational toys handy, but don’t start guiding the child on how they need to play with it. It’s amazing to see the imagination soar with a couple of pre-schoolers and a few teddy bears in the room. This is what helps them build a skill set of their own, even as they explore their limited world on their own terms. Don’t get too worried if they get dirty! That’s what baths are for.

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Going Beyond ‘Memorize and Regurgitate’ In the Homeschool Classroom

Learning does not necessary occur with memorization and regurgitation. A child may know the facts but may have to idea how to apply them. Cramming up information without having a clue what to do with it, is actually quite useless. On the other hand when connected with real life, such learning can make a huge difference to the homeschool student.

Make Learning Relevant

We may all remember memorizing random facts and multiplication tables, but do we realize why we need to regurgitate all that data? Does what we have learnt, have any use in real life? Perhaps the homeschool classroom gives the teacher a chance to teach relevant skills rather than mere facts.

Teach Future Life Skills

Intersperse the academic learning in the homeschool classroom with actual life skills that would be needed in the future. Have the homeschool students learn how to clean dishes, make a bed, tie shoelaces, and make simple meals. It is important for them to know the things that they will need to do on a daily basis as an adult.

Practice with Practicals

Mathematics is not half as much fun in theory as it can be in practicals. Have them study fractions by diving up pizza slices. Maybe bake a cake to understand the difference in volume of ingredients. Go grocery shopping to handle actual money and see how savings can be made by buying things on sale.

Stress on Character Development

Yes, academic learning has an important place in making the life of a homeschool student, however it is important to stress on character development as well. A person with a pleasing and helpful personality is much more likely to succeed in life than a person who is scowling and disrespectful of others.

Life Events are Not a Disruption

Having a birth or a death or a wedding in the immediate family is a major life event that must be experienced by the homeschool student. They are actually great opportunities for the homeschool teacher and student to learn and grow together as a family. Teach them how to have compassion and help out in such situations.

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Tips for Shifting From Regular School to Homeschool

For parents who have had to shift their children from regular school to homeschool for some reason, it can be a difficult transition if one is not prepared for it. Especially if the reason for homeschooling is something like a sports injury or a move out of the country which keeps the child away from an environment that they actually enjoy. Here are some tips and tricks to help with the shift.

Remember it’s not school, but homeschool

The homeschool classroom does not need to run in the same manner as a regular school classroom does. There is a difference. Allow your homeschool student to see that difference and appreciate it. Don’t simply try to recreate a regular classroom environment at home.

Instead, every once in a while do something alien to a regular school. Ditch the textbooks and watch a movie about the historical event that they need to study about. Make the science experiment come alive in the kitchen instead of simply reading about it. Keep the experience interesting and demanding of the homeschool student.

Allow your children to learn as they want to

With a nod to unschooling, make sure that you are not superimposing the academic year’s syllabus to the exclusion of all else for your homeschool students. Yes, the recommended reading is required, but it is also necessary for your child to feed his creativity and imagination.

If there is a topic that particularly interests your child, let him run with it and explore all that he can about it. Support this interest in learning about something new by bringing in new reference material. Ask your child about transferring the learning into a practical day to day solution.

Observe your child before establishing a new routine

If you have always had to battle with your child to wake him up and get ready in time for morning school, you may now switch things around with your new homeschool student. Pick the hours when your child is most productive. If this means studying in the afternoon, so be it.

There’s some activity that your child may be interested in such as solving puzzles or doing gymnastics, maybe even dramatics. Encourage the child to include these interests in the new routine being established.

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Keeping Homeschool Students Gainfully Occupied in the Summer

While schools take a long summer break, it may not be the best idea to have such a long break in your homeschool classroom. Summer brain drain is a very real threat. Organize the summer break in such a manner that for a short time there are no classroom activities and learning.

However use that time for other structured learning activities that not only teach your homeschool student new skills, but also help in their socialization process. Here are some ways to ensure that your homeschooled children are making the best of their time during the Summer Break.

Day Camps

If your homeschool students are interested in learning new arts and crafts, this is the perfect time for them to join day camps that teach stuff like painting, sculpting, jewelry making, and more. A number of new techniques can be taught in a day camp and then the homeschool student can practice them at home. Supplementing the day camp’s learning with a set of videos on YouTube can be an easy task.

Series of Classes

While day camps are good to pick up one off skills, your homeschool students may need to join a series of classes when it comes to skills like cooking a specific cuisine, learning a musical instrument, crafting short stories and poems, or learning how to drive a car. Pick up a series of classes that match your child’s interests for the summer. Also make sure that it’s something that you can drive them to regularly with ease, or that they can reach on their own.

Volunteer activities

There are a number of places where a school child can volunteer during the summer break. You can have them volunteering at the local museum, or the SPCA (society for prevention of cruelty to animals).They don’t need to go to a specific place, they can simply volunteer to clean up the street in the neighborhood, or spend time reading out loud to an elderly neighbor or bringing them groceries. There are a number of ways that they can volunteer their time in a productive manner while giving back to society.

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Tips to Run a Smooth Homeschool Class

Just because you are teaching your children at home, doesn’t mean that you can’t be serious about their education. Here are a few tips that can help keep your homeschool classroom on track.

# Have a Fixed Schedule

It is important for children to know that they are expected to do certain tasks at a certain time. Having a schedule helps. If you have older children, get them to make their own weekly schedule for academics and as well as chores around the home for your approval.

# Don’t Answer the Phone

Nothing wastes time more than having to answer a phone call during homeschool class hours. Have your voicemail deal with any calls that come during a study period. You can always check and get back to them after the class ends and before you start on the next one.

# Set a Measured Pace

One newbie mistake that is often made is setting an unrealistic pace to cover the syllabus. Just because you finished lesson 1 in three days does not indicate that lesson 2 may need five days. Have a realistic and measured pace for covering each topic and add a few extra hours for each subject for the unforeseen.

# Be Completely Present

While multitasking can be an invaluable tool for any homeschool teacher, it is important to understand that your homeschool students need your full attention when you are teaching them in the class. Put away any other tasks for later, be completely present when you are teaching them.

# Plan the Breaks During the Day

Instead of having a single long break, it often works better to have several ten minute breaks interspersed throughout the day. This way the homeschool students can get all those water breaks and bathroom breaks out of the way without intruding on the actual study time.

# Add Physical Activity to Each Day

Homeschool students need to move their bodies and get some exercise every day. Toss up the physical activity with a combination of chores to be done around the home and actual sports activities. Just make sure that they are not couch potatoes waiting to become obese.

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