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Homeschooling: A Certified Teacher’s Pro Tips For A Successful Academic Year at Home

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Because so many parents, myself included, have decided to remove their children from the public school system in light of recent events, we thought it would be beneficial to share some tips from an actual teacher.  These are her professional tips to get your kids motivated and learning at home this year!

Related: How To Find The Right Homeschooling Program For Your Family

This is new for many, and it’s already been a learning experience. For me, I have one child who is ready to be homeschooled because he doesn’t want to sit alone on the bus.  My other child is a social butterfly and she’s having a hard time understanding that she won’t have that socialization even if she goes back to school.  I found that finding another mom with kids she gets along with who is also homeschooling has already helped me convince her to give it a try. So if that’s your hang-up, see if you can find other kids who homeschool in your area!

But how do you stay on track while at home?

Tip #1 – Forget What You Thought Homeschooling Be Like

You need to “unschool” yourself. Undo what you think homeschool needs to look like based on your public school experience. Your homeschooling day doesn’t have to last all day long or even close. You don’t have to have a cute activity for every subject. Books, pencils, and paperwork are just fine. Your child is not going to be spending half the day in a class line moving about the school anymore.  You don’t have to think about this taking nearly as much time as a school day, which a lot of that is spent at recess, lunch, on the bus, waiting for the bus, and waiting in lines.

Many traps new homeschool parents fall into is trying to check all the boxes. Forget what other parents are doing and do what works for you. One year for history, a certified teacher read a chapter a day to her kids about a particular time in history, and then they talked about it. That’s it! Now, when they hear that topic come up they will say things like, “I remember him, didn’t he do so and so?”

Tip #2 – Stay Organized

Try getting a few plastic crates. It’s a low-cost way of keeping your kids organized. It is easy to transport in case kids need some extra privacy and also accommodates hanging file folders for sectioning off classes and assignments. This works well for all kids, even those who aren’t overly organized, so they know where their stuff is. Grab some matching colored binders and sort subjects by color. Before school starts, have your children each organize her subjects by the file folder and coordinated her binders to match the hanging file folder so that it was easy to remember.

Tip #3- Give Each Child Their Space

Since homeschooling is likely going to be more of a long-term thing for most of us, try providing them an area in the home that is their designated workstation so they can go somewhere quiet and work or listen to their video classes.

Tip #4 – Start Later, But Keep A Schedule

You don’t have to catch the bus or worry about your kids hanging their coats up or getting their backpacks ready, so you can start later in the day.  However, make a schedule and stick to it! Have them set an alarm, get up, eat breakfast, and brush their teeth.  Make sure you start at the same time every day.  I got my kids each a watch, and they have to take notice of the time, and start working at 9 am.  That’s our schedule.  Their alarm will Go off at 7:30 am giving them plenty of time to geat and get dressed. I have plans to end at the same time every day too, around 1 pm for lunch, possibly earlier. I found during my time homeschooling when the pandemic first closed schools, that keeping a schedule was better than not.  They quickly learn what they need to do and how long they need to work on it.

Tip #5 -Talk to Your Kids About Subjects

Knowing the exact date the Civil War started is less important than knowing why it started. Think about having your children learn the morality you’d like to have them adhere to as well.  Teach them why certain things like stealing and hurting people are wrong.  These are things schools often leave out.

Tip #6 – Memorize

Kids are little sponges, so fill them up! If you know a language, have them memorize the words for animals, colors, numbers, etc.  They may not be able to conjugate verbs just yet, but they’ll have those words to refer to later.

Tip #7 – Let Your Child Have A Say

Kids enjoy different things, so letting them have a say in which subject matter they want to cover can be helpful. Make sure you cover all the bases, but they will enjoy different subjects so try to accommodate that. This is a great time to help your kids explore some of the subjects they are interested in. One of my kids wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up so we are incorporating that into her learning. She can learn about basic animal anatomy and if she continues staying interested, we can find projects to help her further explore this interest.

#8 Don’t Be Afraid To Mix It Up

If you need to change things up, and perhaps go on a hike or teach them how to do a proper push up, feel free to do that! Those are skills they can use. If you have things you love to do and hobbies that you can share with them, feel free to take a day and teach them what you know!

With these tips from a certified teacher, you should be able to homeschool with confidence. I know how nervous this can be, because I’m a little on edge with having to figure this out myself. But it sure beats participating in the school system this year.


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