As many families will tell you, homeschooling comes with great rewards and a few challenges. Following, are some suggestions and tips to help you get off to a good start. But the most important homeschooling tip of all is to focus on creating an environment that emphasizes a love for learning.
Look before you leap
Research your state's requirements for homeschooling. It's also beneficial to connect with other parents to see how they are successfully handling time involvement, scheduling and materials.
What materials will you need? How will you fulfill the state requirements? Do you have the time? How will this affect the rest of your family life and time commitments? While you're thinking about taking care of your child's education, don't forget to think about taking time to take care of yourself too.
Setting up your homeschool environment
Creating an atmosphere that is conducive to teaching and learning is critical to success. Set aside a specific area for studies, with minimal distractions. It can be as simple as the kitchen table or a small desk, where children can read, study and focus without distractions. Make sure you have the needed homeschool materials – like a chalk or white board, an alphabet board, a computer, art materials, etc. Creating portable containers for each child or for each subject makes it quick and easy to start, stop and clean up. Be sure to separate the work area from plays areas in your home.
Understand your child's needs
To achieve the best possible results, you will need to understand not only your child's needs and their likes and dislikes, but also their paths to learning. Fortunately, as a parent you already know how your child operates. However, when it comes to learning, each child learns different subjects in different ways, so it's important to understand how your unique child learns. For example, a child may learn math by using a math manipulative but may learn history by listening. You can easily tailor your child's learning to match their style.
Structure and flexibility
Planning a homeschooling schedule is essential. As a homeschooler, you have the flexibility to determine how long your school day and year will be. Map out your lesson plans and create a daily, weekly and year-long schedule for each subject. Prepare what you will teach for each day ahead of time and track your child's progress.
A critical part of each day's schedule is break time. Kids, especially young ones, need time to expel some energy. This will ensure that they stay focused during the lessons.
It's also important to be flexible so you can adapt both the homeschool lessons and each day's schedule to fit your child. This helps ensure he/she learns the material. Allow a "cushion" in your lesson plans for challenges. Stay flexible to your child's learning style. Some lessons they might breeze through while others will require extra time.
Your child can learn anytime, anyplace. Being flexible will afford you the chance to take advantage of circumstances, such as moving science class outside on a sunny day. A field trip to the local aquarium or museum brings a world of experience and adventure into learning.
Homeschool teaching tips
Learning is everywhere, so bring lessons into the real world: counting animals at the zoo, learning fractions by cutting apples, spelling in the grocery store or even learning about clouds outside in a spring shower. Make lessons relevant by applying math to everyday chores like counting the plates as you put them into the dishwasher. Break down problems or learning tasks into manageable pieces. Learning by doing is one of the best ways to stimulate a love of learning.