Success in homeschooling doesn’t always come easy. In fact, it often takes several years to find your groove. Small, intentional steps will help you get to that light at the end of the tunnel and, enjoy the journey along the way. Check out my Seven Steps To Make Your Homeschool A Raving Success.
My one and only goal in homeschooling is to assure that my children learn how to be independent not only in their learning, but in life.
Seven Steps to Make Your Homeschool A Raving Success
1 | LET THEM DO FOR THEMSELVES
Encourage your children to undertake activities they feel capable of doing. Move beyond age-appropriate, or grade level expectations. If kids feel able to tackle something new, let them try. Even if they fail, they will learn some lessons in the process. Allowing exploration in things that may be difficult, helps them develop confidence and a fearlessness toward learning.
Don’t be so fast to run to help your children when they are struggling. This doesn’t mean that you have a hands-off approach to homeschooling, just that you give them ample time to explore, and come to their own conclusions, successes and failures.
2 | THEIR LEARNING IS NOT A REFLECTION ON YOUR TEACHING
Children’s learning is not necessarily a reflection of your teaching skills. Kids learning happens in an ebb and flow. What seems easy one day, may be difficult the next. Material that you taught yesterday, may not be remembered tomorrow. Kids brains grow at a phenomenal rate, and it takes repetition for kids to understand new concepts. This article on Frontiers for Young Minds, explains perfectly why kids prefer repetition in learning. Their brains take time to process and make sense of all of this good information.
Growth spurts, hormones, life events, learning styles, hunger, tiredness, subject matter, and mood, all have a profound effect on homeschooling. Add in regulating emotion, special needs, and even a rainy day, and your child may find it difficult to prioritize and manage all that life throws at them. Give them opportunity to digest it all, and most of all have patience when learning takes longer than expected.
3 | ENCOURAGE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN DECISION-MAKING
The only way that kids learn to make good decisions is by making decisions. Children learn through trial and error. Adults often expect kids to have a full grasp on their learning capabilities, future careers, and work completion. That rarely happens. Provide opportunities to choose curricula, work completion, and even method of how work will be done. Do they really need to write a paper about Hamlet, or can they create a theater production to show what they know? Do they need to take a class on auto-motive repair, or will taking apart and rebuilding a motor serve them better?
Let children make as many decisions as they can.
5 | DON’T FOCUS ON THE WHAT IFS.
When you’re too scared about everything that can go wrong in your homeschool, you miss out on what’s going right. Is your mind is a perpetual state of thoughts of choosing the wrong curriculum, failing your child, never doing enough, and your perceived lack of qualifications to homeschool? How do you expect your homeschool to be a positive, uplifting place when you focus on all that might be going wrong? Celebrate the joys, the baby-steps to success, and the milestones in homeschooling. Celebrate the raving success! Focus on what your children are learning now, and the amazing progress they have made.
6 | GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITES
My goal in homeschooling is to assure that my children dodn’t need me to learn. That doesn’t mean I don’t provide lessons, but rather that my children know how to find information if I am not there. Gaps in their learning are easily taken care of when your child fully explores something he/she knows nothing about.
Responsibilities like chores, a check off list for assignments, pet care, employment, a business adventure, driving, bedtime rituals, and a host of other activities; are great ways to encourage independence in your children. Let go of the control, and let them take charge of areas where life skills, and learning meet.
7 | LET THEM ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES
Parents are not kid’s personal entertainers. I’m not suggesting that you don’t play with your children, but rather that they find and explore what delights them.
Boredom is a great asset for kids. This article from AHA Parenting gives some great suggestions for bored children. Encourage your kids to play without adults micromanaging every aspect of play. If your kids are short on ideas, try an idea jar as noted in the article, and let your kids decide what play looks like. Play is learning. Building a fort, might result in a coffee table being turned into a reading cave, or an outdoor treehouse being revamped into a zookeeper’s hut. Let their imagination take over.
Homeschooling isn’t easy, but these seven steps to make your homeschool a raving success, can help.
What would you add to this list?