The thought of taking on the education of your children can be both exciting and overwhelming. At times, you’ll find questioning yourself whether you’ll be able to find the time, resources, and ideas to successfully complete this task. The most important thing is to remember you can do it, as many other families do. You just need to follow some of these simple but essential homeschooling tips for parents.
5 essential homeschooling tips for parents
When it comes to homeschooling, most people need simple baby steps to get started. In fact, that’s the best way to approach this serious and yet very fun endeavor. Let’s take a look at these essential steps that have worked very well for other homeschooling families.
1. Join a local community
The first thing you need to do in order to overcome your fears and insecurities about homeschooling is to find and join a local community. As soon as you connect with like-minded people, you’ll feel more secure and ready to take the education of your children in your hands. You’ll also gain valuable information and answers to many questions related to effective homeschooling.
Another benefit of joining a local community is your child’s socialization. One of the biggest criticisms of homeschooling is the question whether the children will be properly socialized. By joining a community of homeschooling parents, you can cross this issue off your list of worries. It will give you the opportunity to form small clubs that suit your children’s interests. You can also use the weekly meetings to teach a subject to a group of children.
Even if you are not interested in joining such a community, don’t go through the homeschooling journey alone. Find at least one other family that practices homeschooling. Organize joint activities like visiting museums or libraries once in a while, so your children can socialize and have fun with other kids.
2. Learn about your state’s homeschooling laws and requirements
Homeschooling regulations and requirements vary from state to state. Some states require parents to register as private schools, others require children to take standardized tests. Some states even require parents to keep attendance records and submit quarterly reports. This is why one of the essential homeschooling tips for parents is to make sure you know how to legally educate your children.
This is where your local homeschooling community might help. But to be safe, you should contact your state’s homeschool association or the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). It’s also good to contact your local school district and ask if you should formally withdraw your children from the classroom roster.
3. Choose a homeschool curriculum
For many homeschooling parents, finding the right curriculum is a matter of trial and error. In fact, very often the curriculum they settle on first doesn’t work. But this doesn’t mean their entire homeschooling decision is a failure. Before you start frustrating yourself on this matter, you need to remember this – there is no such thing as the perfect curriculum. You will probably have to experiment for a while before you find the one that fits your children.
When choosing a curriculum, it’s essential to focus on its compatibility with your children’s learning style. People learn in three ways: by touching (kinesthetic), listening (auditory), and watching or reading (visual). However, everyone prefers one specific learning style over the others. If you want to make sure that your children will enjoy learning, adapt the curriculum to fit their style. Include learning games that will help them develop crucial skills in a fun way.
Since the curriculum should help you organize your teaching, it is important to find one that fits you, too. When it comes to this, one of the most important homeschooling tips for parents is to avoid trying to create their own curriculum. The existing ones have been crafted by people who have been through the homeschooling endeavor. They have created these learning plans based on their knowledge and experience.
4. Plan your classes
Creating a calendar for your homeschooling classes will help you stay on track. You’ll know exactly when you have off days and plan your time accordingly. You don’t have to rigidly stick to this plan, of course, but it will make it easier to keep track of your teaching. This plan will be especially handy if your state requires a specific number of teaching days.
If you find it difficult to implement a schedule for homeschooling, try developing some routines. For example, make a list of things that your children can do on their own. Then, get them in the habit of doing those things before you start your class. You don’t need specific time – only general guidelines such as after breakfast, before lunch, etc.
As soon as you have your time framework, plan the homeschooling space. Make room for holding workbooks and textbooks. Organize the space depending on your curriculum – will you need a blackboard or maybe a computer?
5. Relax and make it fun for everyone
This is probably the most important of all our homeschooling tips for parents. Remember to be patient with your child and with yourself. Be flexible and ready to learn as you go. The freedom of homeschooling can sometimes come as a challenge. The things that work well for one child might not work at all for another. The time you have planned to spend teaching your children might not be the best time for them to learn.
Some days, your children will not want to learn. Other days, you will not want to teach. And that’s fine. Spending your days out on a nice weather doesn’t have to mean they are missed school days. On the contrary, embrace those days and move the school plan outside. Take a walk. Look at insects and plants, and learn about them. Do some physical activities.
Life skills are equally important as academic skills. Think about the life lessons you want your children to learn before they leave your tender care. Plan activities that will reinforce the knowledge you believe will be crucial for them in the future. This way, you’ll ensure that your children will be able to take care of themselves. You will also let them help your family, which will increase their self esteem and the sense of responsibility.
Remember: you have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with your children – make the most out of it!