Five Tips on Starting to Home School

Home schooling can be an interesting, stimulating, and even fun journey for both parent and student. But, sometimes, it ends up being frustrating for everyone. Below are ten tips to make homeschooling enjoyable for the whole family:1. If you are removing your child from a traditional school situation, give him time to adjust to a whole new daily routine. Be flexible, while understanding there is a process called “deschooling” during which your child may seem unusually lazy, withdrawn, and at loose ends, even if he asked to leave school and be home schooled. No one in the family is sure at the beginning of home schooling what a typical school day and school week will look like now, and that uncertainty breeds doubt. Trust yourself and your child by not pushing too hard and by taking his opinions on methods, books, etc. into consideration. Deschooling will last different lengths of time depending on the individual child, the situation he was removed from, and how eager he is to be home schooled. The parent’s first job is to make the home school a place where the child wants to be.2. Gear your teaching methods to your child’s strengths. If she’s an auditory learner, consider audio tapes and musical tapes; if she’s a visual learner, consider including artistic activities within many subject areas. There was a stage in my son’s development where he needed to keep his hands busy in order to listen. Therefore, I let him build with legos while he was doing auditory learning. Though it seemed as though his attention might be divided, he actually remembered what he heard better when his need for movement was satisfied through keeping his hands occupied.3. Utilize your public library. The amount of resources available for free is mind-boggling, especially in cities with multiple library branches. Also, check into the possibility of being able to use the libraries at public colleges and universities nearby. Libraries are not just places to borrow books, videos, and DVD’s, but there are also many programs, such as free foreign language learner groups and book discussion groups, to participate in.4. Find a home school support group in your area. Especially for a child who leaves behind old friends when he leaves school to learn at home, finding a support group with other home schooling families will open up a world of potential new friends and ameliorate feelings of being different because he’s no longer in school. Support groups are also of great benefit to the teaching parent as she can share ideas, frustration, curriculum tips, etc. with others who’ve been there and understand.5. Whatever the reason you decided to home school your child, the bottom line is that you want her to be a successful learner and a well-adjusted human being. Always keep those purposes at the forefront of your thinking and planning. Even a child who had difficulty in a traditional school can be given many opportunities to be successful in learning at home. Set up successes for your child by assessing where she is, meeting her there, and then proceeding at a pace that is comfortable for the child. Home schooling has produced great succes for many students, but it works best when the parents understand that they too are learners and that learning is a family occupation.In the first weeks of being a homeschooling parent, I would awaken in the middle of the night and wonder if I wasn’t ruining my son’s life. Now, six years later, I can laugh at that idea! Home schooling is an awesome responsibility, but, by keeping your purpose in taking on that responsibility always in front of you, you and your family can follow those goals down the road to a home full of learning and a school full of life.

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