Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Three Tips for Homeschooling

We are well into our second week of school for the new year, and my kids will tell you that it is really hard to crack open the books when the neighborhood kids are skating and biking down the sidewalks. However, we are taking a beach vacation in September, so it will be good to have an entire month of work done before we leave. It will be a well deserved break.

I was recently asked by a friend for some time to sit and talk about homeschooling. She wanted some advice. I came up with three things that have really worked for me in organizing our homeschooling effort that I thought I would share with you.

1. Incorporate some structure in your day. The amount of structure and the timing for things will look different in each family, but having a plan for when meals are, a time for naps, a period for school, work and play, and a time for getting up and getting to bed, are very helpful. A routine allows the children to understand that there is a time for everything. If the important things of the day follow a logical and anticipated routine, it cuts out a lot of nagging and arguing. The kids and I know what to do when and they know if they are responsible with their work they can enjoy their free time later.

2. Have your lessons written down in advance. I found that when the kids had to come to me for what to do next through the day, and I had to figure it out, it was just not working. Having the lessons written out ahead of time allows the children to see exactly what they need to accomplish before the school day is considered done. With their lesson planners, they have been able to learn how to budget their time, and plan ahead for big projects. I give them some flexibility, and the responsibility, for taking charge of their work. They have learned to be independent and self-motivated students.

3. Focus on the basics. The classic reading and writing, 'rithmatic and religion should form the foundation of your curriculum. If you do not have these subjects well established, then there is no use going off on elaborate unit studies in history and science, or anything else, that is unless the lessons incorporate a lot of reading and writing.

So, hopefully, some of these suggestions can inspire you to another successful year of homeschooling. If you are not homeschooling, may you and your children enjoy a good year. I still can't believe another summer has passed us by (almost!).

Peace, Hope