So you’ve bit the bullet because of COVID and so you’re looking for homeschooling tips and tricks. You have many questions and I know that you are probably overwhelmed.
Don’t worry! That’s more than natural!
Let me share with you some homeschooling tips and tricks from the viewpoint of a homeschooling mother of over 10 years.
See I started homeschooling my son in second grade after disastrous and stressful Kindergarten and First Grade years. I realized that my son was a round peg in a square hole. I knew that he was a hands-on learner. The stress from the emphasis on worksheets and tests seriously effected my son’s health.
So when we decided to homeschool in March of 2008, I knew that everything I did would be different.
My sister, who had been a homeschool mom for years, gave me a precious gift. She gave me the curriculum she had used— a unit study called KONOS.
I fell in love with it and committed wholeheartedly to it.
Was it easy? No, not at all. But here are some homeschooling tips and tricks I learned along the way:
1) Go to a convention
This was one of the first things I did that summer. I went to the state homeschooling convention and learned so much! I connected with other homeschooling moms and that helped tremendously.
2) Get involved in a local support group
This was high on my list. I contacted my local Christian homeschooling support group and became a regular member. We were able to connect with other families on playdates, art and science fairs, and more.
3) Choose your curriculum based on their learning style and your teaching style
Because I knew that my son is kinesthetic and I am highly creative, I chose a unit study. At the convention, I selected a math curriculum that I felt was just what we needed. I also bought Handwriting without Tears which became my son’s favorite curriculum at the time.
4) Determine not to bring traditional school home
You don’t have to fill school days with text books or worksheets, unless that is what works for you and your child. But not every student learns like this. There’s a whole world out there of unconventional learning and it runs the gamut from unschooling to game schooling.
5) Have your child evaluated
I took my son to a professional homeschool evaluator that first year and I got an understanding of his strengths and weaknesses.
6) Make sure you know your state’s laws
Look under your state’s homeschooling organization or go to HSLDA.org. In fact, it would be a good idea to sign up with them. Sometimes public school districts will try to intimidate new homeschooling parents. Also, HSLDA has a TON of resources.
7) Find activities and programs you and your child will enjoy
There are so many options these days with homeschooling. It truly is the best socialization there is. Just realize that the COVID restrictions were not ideal for homeschoolers either.
8) Remember that there’s no such thing as behind
Society is good at pressuring parents into believing that they are behind or not adequate. Each child is different. Each child learns differently and on a different time schedule. Each child’s brain develops differently.
9) Don’t forget to play and have fun
Children learn best when they’re happy and confident. Don’t be so serious that you forget to have fun. Remember that children of all ages need to play and so do you! Children will remember more by play then they would by reading a text book.
10) Give your child time to explore on their own
It’s amazing how much a child can learn when they follow their passions! My son started off by learning about dinosaurs, then World War II, weather systems, and cryptozoology and so much more. He’s pretty much completed two years of high school with his studies on his own. I could have never taught him all this information using traditional methods.
11) If your child has special needs, remember that you’re his best teacher
You know your child best. You love your child best. You know what is best for your child. Don’t let any “expert” tell you differently. A child with special needs benefits greatly from one-on-one teaching because you can customize his or her education.
12) Get involved in your child’s interests
Whatever your child’s interests, get into their world. Get on their level. This will strengthen your relationship which will improve your schooling and parenting.
When I first started homeschooling, I thought we’d fight all the time. But the more I entered my son’s world, the closer we became. Realizing that he didn’t fit in even the homeschooler traditional mode, I started to arrange our lives to fit his needs. For instance, I couldn’t get a co-op to work so I started a play and creative based one. It began to get my son out of his shell. Then we changed it into a Live Action Role Playing group because I knew that he was really into medieval games and Lord of the Rings. Then a few years ago he asked me to “go bigfooting with him.” I didn’t laugh at him. In fact, it’s one of my interests. Though I was scared, I did it. We went hiking in the mountains and looking for signs. I was hooked! We now hike together at least one time per week. My son gave me my sense of adventure back and now I am motivated to lose weight and get in shape. In fact, our goal is to be able to hike a couple of segments of the Colorado Trail together. My son probably saved my life because I am obese and now I’m working to reverse that, though it is super hard.
And here’s the truth of it: I have learned so much from my son! Your children can teach you, too! More than you can ever realize. They are indeed a blessing from the Lord!
I hope that gets you started in your new journey as a homeschooling parent. I hope you have enjoyed these homeschooling tips and tricks. It’s a rewarding job but a tough one.
May you find the joy in learning and reach new heights in your homeschooling and beyond!
Cover photo by Adobe Stock