Homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular in this day and age due to factors like the number of children in a classroom growing, reducing one on one teaching time and other risks such as bullying in the playground or classroom. Or, you might want the experience of teaching your children yourself. Whether you’re a qualified teacher or not, it’s totally possible to homeschool your children, but it’s important to remember that it’s not going to be a walk in the park either. If you’re thinking of homeschooling your children, check out these things to remember so that you can make sure it’s the right choice for you and your family.
It can take a long time to “settle in”
Much like public school, your child (and you!) will need time to adjust to this new routine, especially if you’ve taken your children out of public school. This new routine in your lives will take some getting used to and quite often, it isn’t until you’ve completed a whole academic year that you find your feet. It’s important not to rush these things, as it’s a new experience for you all! It’s also important to remember that everyone learns at a different pace, and even you as their teacher are learning something new every single day. Don’t let a bad day or week ruin the prospect of homeschooling. Give it time and you’ll fall into your rhythm and wonder what the fuss was all about!
You’ll need to know what milestones to aim for
Milestones are important for every child, no matter whether they’re just starting school or about to head into their final exams. We all know that each child learns at a different pace, but you should also make yourself aware of your children’s most important reading milestones so that they’re not left behind in the teaching process. This is especially important if you’re teaching multiple children of different ages. You should also read up on other targets they should be hitting this academic year so you can keep an eye on it and most importantly, give them extra tutoring if needs be.
Choose one room to teach in
Much like working from home, it’s important to draw a line between school life and relaxation time. While there will be times where you’ll want to teach your children in different rooms of your home, it’s important to outline one particular room for their lessons. This will help both you and your children focus into school work during school hours, and also relax once the school day is over. Failing to do this can lead to stress in both you and your children, so be sure to dedicate a room just for learning.
There’s no “right way” to teach
You may be feeling anxious about homeschooling your children because you’re nothing like any of the teachers you’ve ever known. However, there’s more than one way to teach, and you simply need to find the right teaching style for you. You may also find that your children react in a positive way to a certain type of teaching style, whether that be more of a hands on approach, or a copy of what’s on the board method, you’ll need to take the time to find out what works for you as a unit. That’s why, sometimes, it can take over a year to find your groove with homeschooling.
Explore different methods of teaching to find what works best for you, and also to help keep classes interesting. You may even consider using different teaching methods for each school subject.
Finding their passions will help them learn
When you’re passionate about something, it’s natural human instinct to learn more about that particular interest, and you can use this to your advantage when it comes to homeschooling. Say your child is extremely interested in music, for example, you can use their favourite style of music to help them learn in other subjects too by creating songs and rhymes to help them remember important information.
Or, if your child is computer savvy, creating their curriculum on a computer as much as possible will help keep their interest piqued and allow them to practice their skills on the computer too.
You don’t have to be their soul teacher
The idea of homeschooling can be quite daunting, especially if you’re their main carer too. Being in each other’s company all day every day can be a scary thought, but homeschooling doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be their soul teacher! Perhaps there are subjects you’re not well versed in, or subjects you weren’t particularly good at yourself when you were in school? You can outsource a home tutor to take those subjects off your hands, giving you time to get on with other things around your home such as housework and grocery shopping.
If you like the idea of taking your children out of public school but have a career of your own, you might even consider hiring a teacher full time instead of homeschooling your children yourself. You don’t have to take on that responsibility!
It’s okay to take a break
Your children may already be used to the “regular” public school break times, and if that works for your family then there’s nothing wrong with sticking to that! However, you may find during some lessons that both you and your children are starting to lose motivation and energy. When this happens – take a break! Even if it’s 5 minutes to have a snack, make a coffee, and let the children run around for a short time, it can make the world of difference! Don’t feel pressured into conforming to regular school break times.
School hours can be changed to suit your family
There may be other reasons you’ve decided to homeschool your children such as needing help running your farm, and this is perfectly okay too! One of the benefits of homeschooling (much like working from home), is that you can choose school hours! This might mean you’re all up early to complete school work before heading out to do work on the farm, or it might mean that you sleep in longer than normal and teach until later. Utilize the ability to change up traditional school hours to suit your family’s needs and wants, and you’ll find it a much nicer experience for everyone.
Your children will still need to socialize
You may have chosen to take your children out of public school to avoid them experiencing bullying – which is totally understandable! However, if they aren’t given the chance to socialize with children of all different ages, their social skills could fall behind and become a problem later on in life. It’s important to find other families like yours and get together from time to time to give your children (and yourself) some quality time to socialize with friends. Alternatively, you should encourage your children to take on hobbies and classes to give them a chance to experience real world social situations. Bullying is horrible, but it’s important to remember that it happens in all walks of life. Hiding your children away from it completely could damage their social skills. Instead, teach them how to deal with nasty comments, and support them through their learning process.
Homeschooling can be extremely rewarding, and it gives you extra time together as a family to bond and make memories. Keep these things in mind when homeschooling your children and before long, you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about!