Saturday, April 18, 2015

Starting Homeschooling

When families are first starting out their homeschool adventure, they often try to do too much. When your plate is too full you burn out very fast. Consider easing into homeschooling with these easy tips:
  1. Do a four day week instead of a five day week. You don't have to follow the school schedule. We do a 3-4 day week, but also go year round. We take breaks when we are busy and during a big family vacation in the winter. Since my husband works in the summer and has the winter months off, I like being very flexible with our schedule. 
  2. Consider curriculum carefully. I recommend trying one that has levels rather than grades especially if you are starting in the elementary grades. These are usually built around mastery and work well for those students who are fast learners and also those who need extra time and and more practice. Move to the next level when they are ready instead of to the next grade because of their age. This eliminates the stress of feeling like you need to get so much done by a certain date and feeling like your failing when that deadline isn't met. 
  3. Focus on what your child needs. A kindergartener needs reading, writing, spelling, and math. Make sure those are covered before adding anything else. If your K-3 grader is struggling in those areas, anything else is going to add more stress for you and your child. 
  4. Don't be afraid to change the schedule. Take time off when you need it. Try taking them to the library on Monday and start a week long research project. Even your elementary students can learn how to do it. On Friday they can present what they found . We all need time to refill and refresh. Take that time even if it's not scheduled. 
  5. Lesson plan IN PENCIL. Planning is really important but so it being flexible. Plan at least 3-4 weeks in advance and do it in pencil so when your child needs an extra day of review or something comes up, you won't be redoing all your lesson plans. 
  6. Have fun. Make learning fun. Encourage questions and teach your children how to discover answers on their own. Let them be creative. Don't expect them to be all the same and learn the same. Enjoy their individuality and let the decide how and what you teach. 
I have enjoyed Homeschooling my kids and I'm so thankful for my college classes in elementary education and special education and my experiences with so many young kids. That has made my experience much easier and given me a chance to do what I love.

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