Are you considering homeschooling? Are you not sure where to start? Homeschooling is growing in popularity for so many reasons: religious beliefs, schools are cutting services, special needs not being met, the pandemic, political ideology being forced on kids at a young age, the ever-increasing focus on testing… these scenarios and others are driving more and more parents to pull their kids out of traditional school settings and keep them home for their education.
The important thing to remember, as you jump into homeschooling your kids, is that you can do it. Nobody knows or loves your kids like you do. There is simply nobody better equipped to teach your kids than you. This is true in my experience especially us mamas whom have special needs children
As you begin your homeschooling journey, there are some things to remember. These tips will help you change your way of thinking of what learning can actually be, as you start making decisions about how you’re going to teach your kids, and what you’ll want them to learn.
1. Don't limit your child's studying material to textbooks.
Introduce your child to other reading materials such as regular books, magazines, comic books, or newspapers. Have your children read articles that will help them keep up on current events. Discussing and analyzing these events will teach them lifelong analytical skills.
Choose books from all different genres. Exposure to great works of historical fiction can spur your kids on to want to learn about many different time periods in history, leading to a more authentic understanding of history that could ever take place in a history class.
Zoos, Museums and Art Galleries are also great ways to add to your education experience. Scavenger hunts, traveling exhibits, and keeper talks are all opportunities to expand on lessons learned from your curriculum to make it a more tangible experience.
2. Turn your life into an opportunity for learning to take place.
While a complete curriculum is important, homeschooling is about teaching them academics as well as life lessons. Aid them with their grammar when they are speaking or reading. Let them help prepare meals and learn how to convert units of measurement through doubling recipes. You will be proud of how fast your children can learn.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle. The choice to homeschool your children affects other things you do, as your kids are with you most of the time. You have a very unique opportunity to make a lesson everywhere. While I’m not advocating you turn everything into a lesson, you can talk about why the sand is different on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean where you live and on the shores of the Gulf when you visit the opposite coast of Florida on vacation once a year. Real-time, hands-on learning sticks. It’s authentic, engaging, and real.
Plan learning activities into your family vacations. Include trips to different historical landmarks, zoos, museums or science centers. You can even set aside a whole day of your vacation for learning activities. You and your family will have a great time together, while learning about something new, exciting, and fun.
3. Create opportunities to allow your kids to get together with others.
Socialization is the biggest joke of the homeschool community, since it tends to be the first thing people new to the idea ask veteran homeschoolers. There’s a misperception that since homeschooled kids aren’t part of a regular classroom, they don’t get a chance to see other kids. We actually get more opportunities to make real connections with all walks of life.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are so many clubs, co-ops, classes, play dates, and other activities to join in, that once you find your community as new homeschoolers, you’ll have to pick and choose what to take part in or you’ll never actually be home. Plus, the interaction isn’t limited to same-age peers as it is in a traditional school setting.
Homeschool socialization tends to reflect the real world more than a school setting that’s segregated by age ever could. Kids can get the opportunity to gravitate towards kids that have similar interests and build friendships upon those rather than just because they are the same age. Just like I choose other homeschooling moms of various ages (one of my best friends is much older than me!), my kids can play with others who like the same games or activities as them.
Homeschooling can be such a great thing for your family. You can pick and choose the types of materials to use, embrace a lifestyle that creates a love of learning, and find true friendships for both you and your kids.
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