Homeschooling Strategies for Busy Parents
Homeschooling has many advantages – such as a flexible schedule, the opportunity for children to learn at their own pace, and the ability to focus the curriculum on your child’s specific interests. However, if you’re new to homeschooling and have a busy life, it can be an overwhelming responsibility. If you’re wondering how to make it a little easier, read on for strategies that can help make the transition to homeschooling as smooth as possible.
You don’t have to approach homeschooling all on your own. Try to connect with other homeschooling families in your area (or virtually if you find an online homeschooling community that you like). This will help you gain social support, fresh ideas for lesson plans, and might even lead to some fun co-learning opportunities (such as field trips). Consider reaching out to educators as well, and you may find that you have more resources and support than you realize.
Let community-based resources do some of the educational legwork for you. For example, science centers, cultural events, museum tours, and arts performances are all great learning opportunities for your child. Even if some of these are not accessible in person, many organizations provide online material and virtual programs.
Embrace your role
If you were unexpectedly thrust into homeschooling, the change can be challenging. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you don’t have to become a teacher overnight. Embrace your role as a facilitator of your child’s education, rather than putting pressure on yourself to be a teacher if you have no training or background in education.
You may find yourself learning alongside your child and discover the benefits of homeschooling as you go. You’ll be able to support your child’s efforts if they’re struggling in a subject and can come up with creative solutions together. It’s important to give yourself and your child kudos for adjusting to homeschooling. You may both become more self-directed and resilient as a result.
Mix things up
To keep homeschooling interesting for both you and your child, incorporate some novelty into your curriculum. Consider adding variety to your learning methods, routines, content, and pacing. This not only improves learning outcomes but also makes homeschooling more fun. Because much of your child’s learning may be computer-based, any physical activity will keep them engaged and healthy. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box.
You can even vary the classroom setting. For example, why not take science classes outdoors? Direct observation is a great way to learn about the natural world. Before heading outside, be sure that you’re well-prepared for the elements and the terrain. Wear appropriate clothing, and keep safety in mind when observing wildlife.
Set achievable goals
Because you and your child will be proceeding at your own pace, you can add structure that works for you both. Consider what you want to accomplish and create some short- and long-term goals. When your goals are practical and realistic, they’ll help you stay focused and provide a way to measure your progress. Be sure to consider nonacademic goals, too – such as getting enough physical activity, socializing, and pursuing extracurricular activities.
Although homeschooling offers freedom, flexibility, and great opportunities to connect with your child, it’s a path with some challenges. It’s up to you how you address those challenges, and you’ll be able to learn as you go. By reaching out to others for support, defining (and re-defining) your role, mixing things up, and setting goals, you’re giving both you and your child a great chance to thrive in a homeschooling environment.
Guest article provided by: Jenna Sherman, Parent-Leaders.com