Some home schooling families select a packaged curriculum to lessen preparation time and maximize teaching time, and to assure no gaps in instruction. These families benefit from the integration of subjects as well as the reinforcement of concepts throughout the lessons.
Each approach has its merits. Identifying your child’s learning style, especially for new home schoolers, is helpful. Is he or she an auditory learner, a visual learner, or a kinesthetic learner? Effective home teachers use lessons that vary the learning modalities.
Another key that many home teachers leave to the last minute is the actual home classroom.
Establishing an environment for learning early in the homeschooling process supports your educational efforts in several key ways, like showing the child that the parent teacher is serious about home instruction, and that he or she will be required to meet expectations. The dedication of a space to the classroom reinforces the importance placed on the child’s education. It helps to keep materials organized and available, which in turn makes it easier to select appropriate items for each day, as well as the materials to take on field trips and other excursions.
Creating a good educational environment is especially important for new home schoolers, and for students who need additional help in focusing on the lessons at hand. The following helpful suggestions for building the right home school classroom were complied from conversations with the experts – experienced home schooling families.
Make sure that when instruction begins, the area is clear of other, non-educational items, which could prove distracting. The classroom should offer storage space, such as a bookcase, and good lighting. A comfortable chair and desk-or other workspace-is important. If home schooling several children, study carrels are helpful. They provide private work areas for each child and limit distractions. Using large cardboard boxes to create partitions that can be folded and put away when not in use can create study carrels.
Your child can personalize his carrel by creating artwork on the cardboard walls with markers, crayons, or stickers.
Having an easel, flip chart, or chalkboard available can enhance instruction. You will also want to have wall space available for displaying your student’s work, maps, and posters. Access to a globe, a dictionary, other reference materials, and a computer are helpful additions to the academic setting.
How often, while going about the weekly challenges of balancing work, play and homeschooling does your family really connect? Perhaps you are still able to get everyone around the table at six for the family dinner. The dinner hour can be an instrumental time for family members to “touch base” with each other.
When children are small and less involved in activities outside the home, eating meals together is fairly easy to accomplish on a regular basis with a simple commitment made by the parents. Unfortunately, as children grow older and become involved outside the home in extracurricular activities, getting everyone to the dinner table at the same time can be a struggle regardless of how committed the parents are.
Priorities can change as children advance out into the world and begin to take charge of their lives. No, your children are not being insensitive. If you have encouraged independence and raised your children to follow their passions, you are going to find that some of the opportunities that are presented to them will at times overlap the ritual dinner hour. Late night family dinners may work for some families with older children but can create hardship for a family with a mix of younger children who need to be in bed early. And, what about the parents who work the night shift or need to be up before the crack of dawn to get to work the next day? What can you do?
First of all, don’t let yourself become stressed out over the fact that your family doesn’t assemble regularly for dinner at five. You don’t have to sit down to dinner every night of the week to have quality sharing time with your family.
Be flexible and consider planning a weekly family meeting. Whatever your family’s current scheduling dynamic, we encourage you to set aside a special time at least once a week when you can all be together to talk and listen to each other. Create a safe space in time where you can communicate on a level of understanding that strives to keep you all on the same page as life pulls your family in different directions. Family meetings are an opportunity for sharing and listening to one another.