The decision to homeschool has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many parents find the idea of this to be daunting but with the right preparation, homeschool is possible for just about anyone. Although homeschooling can be challenging, there are many benefits to it as well such as schedule flexibility, more time with your child, and a more personal learning environment. Below, we’ve listed some helpful tips for parents who are homeschooling young children.
1. Have a Designated Learning Space
It is important for your child to have a designated learning space for their homeschool assignments. Make sure to have a desk space or table where your child can comfortably sit when completing assignments. Try to keep learning supplies such as books, pens/pencils, and notebooks in a designated area when not in use. Work with your child to put them away when learning time is complete for the day. By keeping school supplies organized and in a designated area you can help foster a better learning environment for your child by being intentional about learning activities.
2. Follow a Routine
Getting into a good routine will help with homeschooling. Even though homeschooling offers much more flexibility than regular school (a big reason why many parents choose it), structure is still incredibly important for children. Create a daily schedule ahead of time and choose a designated learning time for your child. Incorporate breaks throughout the day at designated times and make your child aware of the daily schedule before getting started each day. You can also plan out the curriculum that you will follow each day and share that with your child ahead of time to help them prepare. Creating a color-coded calendar is one simple way to help organize your daily routine and keep your child on board.
3. Plan the Curriculum Ahead of Time
Take advantage of summer break and set aside some time to map out the curriculum for the year before starting. This can help you stay on track with learning goals and plan out any large projects that your child will be completing. Knowing all of what you’d like to tackle for the given school year can help you break big goals up into smaller pieces and can help prevent you from compromising or forgetting about certain goals.
4. Involve Your Child in Goal Setting
Homeschooling gives parents and children much more autonomy when it comes to curriculum planning and setting goals. Take advantage of this by involving your child in goal setting. Set aside some time to sit down and discuss your curriculum plan with your child. Ask them about any concerns they have or challenges they anticipate. Come up with a plan to help tackle big goals or daunting tasks. This can help show your child the importance of breaking up bigger tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. Having your child involved can also help motivate them to stay focused and involved in learning.
Having a plan in place for tackling specific goals makes you and your child more likely to accomplish those goals. This process also teaches your child the valuable lesson of setting goals and developing a plan to accomplish those goals, a skill they will always use throughout their education and into their future.
5. Get Creative
Not all homeschooling has to take place in a traditional setting -- such as teaching from a whiteboard while sitting at a desk. One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is that it allows parents the freedom to decide where and how their children learn. Figure out what works best for you and your family and try getting outside or planning some fun and creative activities to help guide learning.
- Try incorporating life skills into the curriculum such as cooking, baking, budgeting, and laundry.
- Take the textbooks outside for a day of learning spent in nature. Simply find a nice park with seating for your child where you can teach all of the same material, only in a nicer environment.
- Incorporate art projects into your curriculum that help reinforce the lessons for the day.
- Visit your local library to give your child the opportunity to pick out some books on subjects they are interested in learning about.
- Have a gardening day. Get outside and teach your child about some plants that are native to your area. Give them the opportunity to plant some of their own seeds that they can maintain throughout the school year.
6. Connect with Other Homeschool Families
One of the biggest reasons why many parents are reluctant to homeschool is that they are concerned about their child missing out on the social aspect of a traditional school environment. This is definitely a valid concern because it is so important for children to gain social skills and spend time around other kids their age. Find some other homeschool families in your area and try to plan a homeschool meetup. This will look a little different for everyone, depending on your situation and the other families in your area. You may be able to fully integrate into another homeschool group, meaning you could meet up regularly for group lessons, or you may only be able to plan less frequent meetups, such as once a month. If you’re unable to find other homeschool families in your area, you can sign your child up for some other extracurricular group activities such as music lessons, sports, art classes, or dance classes.
7. Have Patience
It is important to keep in mind that homeschooling is not going to be an easy process. It will likely take time to work out the kinks and to fall into the routine that works best for you and your child. There is also the chance that your child may fall behind the curriculum at times and you have to understand that this isn’t something to blame yourself for. If you run into challenges with homeschooling, remember to have patience with yourself and your child. Many children face learning challenges in the classroom setting as well as in a homeschool setting but it is easier to feel more accountable as a parent when running into these situations while homeschooling. Try your best to work through these issues and remember it’s likely only a minor bump in the road that your child will ultimately grow from.
The California Beach Co. offers a variety of useful products that are designed to make parent’s lives easier.