8 Homeschool Tips For Beginners
“Online school is going to kill me,” says every mother of children in public school.
One of the most difficult parts of the COVID 19 pandemic, is online education. Since parents are working from home, they decided that pulling their children out of the public school system and homeschooling would be better for their family schedule. If it’s “killing” the parents, it raises the question, “What kind of stress is it putting on the kids?”
If you are a mom who has decided to homeschool her children, it’s natural to have lots of questions and concerns. Read on to get some homeschool tips that will inspire you to greatness!
Did you know that up until the last 100 years 1-12th grade education usually happened at home? Most of our ancestors learned to read from their parents or from private tutors who were handpicked and vetted by the family. Tutors allowed parents more free time to do their own business, while still closely supervising the in-home schoolmaster. Regardless of who was teaching, homeschooled children were expected to learn things like a second language, mathematics, read the classics like Shakespeare, the Bible, and Aristotle, and write in cursive. These things were passed on from parent to child, and it was also a valuable bonding time as parents passed on life skills that their children carried into adulthood.
While our society has changed greatly in the last 100 years, most parents today who switched to homeschooling found that they and their kids are enjoying it more than they thought possible!
A few reasons parents love homeschool are:
Homeschool gives you the freedom to customize your child’s learning experience.
Children are less stressed without the demands of faulty technology.
Improved student grades.
Homeschooled children are much more likely to learn varied life skills since parents are more likely to include them in everyday chores and tasks.
Parents can have meaningful conversations with their children, which leads to deeper relationships.
Parents can choose their own curriculum! No more “cookie-cutter style” learning.
As you can see, homeschooling has many sociological and practical advantages which is why it has risen in popularity in the last few years, even before COVID.
If you are a parent who has never taught formally, homeschooling might seem daunting and impossible! But don’t fear. Parents have been teaching their children for centuries, and you totally got this!
Here are 8 tips to get you on the right track!
1. Give Yourself Grace
It will take some time to find your rhythm and see what works for you and your family, so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel awkward at first. One of the perks of homeschooling is you get to learn yourself!
2. Remember, You Don’t Need A Degree To Be A Good Teacher
Most veteran homeschooling moms don’t have a degree in teaching, but somehow their kids’ grades are higher on testing scores than publicly school-educated children. Why? Because being a good teacher is about knowing what makes your child excited and making education fun and relatable to them.
3. Try To Be Consistent
Being consistent with your school routine will make you feel and be more successful as a homeschool mom. It also will help your students find structure if the time and place stay the same. If you don't have a homeschool room, the kitchen table works just fine! As long as the surroundings and time are the same everyday, your students will not feel the urge to get distracted.
4.Take Quality Breaks
In recent years public schools have lessened the recess time for children. Even though education is important, children still need time to be children. As Mr. Rogers used to say, “Play is the work of children.” Playtime encourages a healthy weight, proper blood circulation to the brain, imagination development, and clears the head. Play is still education, but kids just don’t realize they are learning. Since you are in charge of your class’s schedule, try to take quality outdoor break times or let them have “alone time” in their room to play with quality toys (not a screen.) And while we are on the subject, take breaks for yourself too!
5. You Don’t Have To Teach The Entire Textbook
Most first-time homeschooling moms assume that they have to teach every single concept in their child’s textbook, which leads to burnout and overwhelm for both the teacher and the child. Textbooks come with all of the information related to the topics they teach, but that does not mean your child needs to know every single detail about a topic. Remember, you chose to homeschool to provide a more customized education for your family. Don’t fall into the trap that you have to read it all and do every single experiment written in the teacher’s guide. You are allowed to pick and choose and break down the lessons as you see fit and as they fit into your schedule. As long as your child is passing their tests with good marks, you are doing just fine!
6. Find Other Homeschool Families
The number one complaint about homeschooling is the lack of social interaction. In the “pioneer days” of homeschooling, this was a genuine problem. However, the modern homeschool family is connected to a local co-op for their social needs! Finding local families or co-op groups is the best way to stay motivated, connected, supported, and most importantly get your kids in a social setting with kids their age. They are also great places to get support from other moms when you feel you hit a brick wall or you need some inspiration. Often these groups share textbooks and school equipment, which can save you cash and time. Co-op groups also offer a variety of different activities like sports, band, swim teams, etc.
7. Get Out Of The Classroom
Scientists say that the great outdoors and “good, clean dirt and sunshine” is the best way for kids to build their immune systems and to expand their imaginations. Some days it’s a good idea to put the books away and do some learning outside of the kitchen. If your child is struggling to focus, then it’s time to get more visual and hands-on. Plant some seeds together, go on a nature walk, or commit to a field trip! Google local history and science museums, zoos, or nature preserves near you and spend a whole day learning outside of the classroom. Also, consider taking your students to do things like volunteer at a homeless shelter or a pregnancy resource center to teach them concepts like compassion and basic life skills. Getting out and participating in the real world opens a child’s mind to deep conversations and gives them a chance to interact with people from different backgrounds, different ages, and various ethnic groups. Remember, education does not have to come only from a textbook--you are the teacher, and you get to shape their world!
8. Use Every Opportunity To Teach
One of the most awesome things about homeschooling is that you can do it on the go. For example, if you are going shopping use it as a time to teach your child how to weigh produce on the scale, how to use a calculator for the grocery bill, how to budget, and how to shop on a budget. Let them write a small report about it and count it towards their school grade. Another example is to include them in the kitchen. It might be messier and more time-consuming to cook with a budding chef, but the best way to learn how to add ½ and ¼ together is by pulling out the measuring cups and putting those fractions to practical, real-world use. You will find that by including your children in your daily routine, they will be able to learn their textbooks in a much more proficient way.
With consistency, grace, and a good routine, most families love homeschooling. Remember that you are enough, you are smart enough, and you are capable enough to guide your children into functioning, responsible citizens. Good luck on your homeschool journey!